Was Germany Fairly Treated at Versailles?

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In 1919 Germany was handed a diktat by the ‘Big Four’, a treaty that they had no option but to sign. Germany originally signed the Treaty of Versailles with the belief that it would be based around President Wilson’s fourteen points, however it soon became clear to them that this was not in fact the case. Germany felt that the Treaty had cheated them and there was much outrage across Germany. The principle complaint Germany had was that they felt the War Guilt Clause, referring to article 231 of the Treaty, was totally unjust. Germany was forced to take all the blame for damages received by the allies. They were also forced to accept charges of starting the war. This left much of the German population feeling cheated by the ‘Big Four’, moreover, Germany had to pay all damages incurred in the French and Belgian territories during fighting. This subsequently caused great tensions in Germany, as they were bemused as to how they could be held responsible for starting the war, when they felt it was equally the faults of the four allied countries. It is commonly accepted that Germany were eager for a war, however in 1914 they were only responding to events in Sarajevo by agreeing to back Austria, as opposed to starting a war with no origin. The Germans also felt cheated by this treaty, because virtually none of Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points’ had been included in it. On the 5th November 1918, Germany had accepted the Fourteen Points as the basis for peace and an armistice, however when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the Fourteen Points had been largely forgotten. This shows Clemenceau’s’ and Frances’ determination to crush Germany as they were largely forced to accept charges that they knew would greatly weaken and inhibit them in the future as they tried to rebuild. Germany understood that they would have to ‘reduce weapon numbers’, however they did not expect to
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