The Treaty of Versailles, though had it’s fair share of unfairness towards Germany, can’t be justified. Though in war, nothing is ever fair or justified, as defeated nations will have to obey the winning nations no matter what. The Treaty of Versailles was an agreement that the “ Big Three” had come up with, Woodrow Wilson from America, Lloyd George from Britain and Clemenceau from France all had different ideas on what the Treaty was to be like and how harshly Germany should be punished. Even though that was the case, the Treaty was designed to cripple Germany in the end, reason being so that it could not start another war. Many of Wilson’s peaceful Fourteen Points weren’t accomplished, but he had faith in the League of Nations to sort things out later.
The treaty was not the only reason for the failure of the Weimar Republic, issues such as the period time and the great depression contributed to this also. To state the treaty of Versailles was the only significant factor is difficult, as no single factor contributed to the rise of the Nazi party and eventual fall of Germany. The Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany was to loose essential territory to various victors of World War One. The most significant being loosing Alsace and Lorraine to France. The treaty added to Germany losing six million inhabitants and essential resources that contributed to their exports and in turn the economy.
This treaty placed blame solely on Germany resulting in loss of the Rhineland, also Germany had to demilitarize and pay back billions to allies as part of war reparations. This push by the Allied powers left Germany defeated but not destroyed as this loss offered a starting point for a political push away from the imperial government of the past to a new republic as Germans began to revolt. Named the Weimar Republic, the new government in place was incapable of dealing with the complex problems via the Treaty of Versailles. Hyperinflation and political revolts began to affect the country. The sanctions of the treaty placed Germany was in dismay, this offered neighboring European countries the ability to take advantage of Germany.
(Document 6) As written in The Origins of the Second World War, by A.J.P. Taylor, if more countries kept getting involved with the issue of the Munich Agreement, Czechoslovakia would have been safe. Taylor also thought that German people were the only ones in the world who can “turn Hitler out” This was to be thought because the Germans were the ones who put him into power in the first place. “The appeasers” feared that the loss of Germany would result in the domination of Europe” (Doc
In the following paragraphs we will have a close look at both of the reasons or events that made Hitler popular. First I would like to start with “the Treaty of Versailles”. Treaty of Versailles was monumental in the rise of Adolf Hitler from a struggling military officer to Fuhrer of the Third Reich. It was the Treaty of the Versailles that made Hitler appears to stand against and remove all the things that were blamed on Germany. The Treaty of Versailles in the mind of the Germans stabbed them in the back, especially the guilt clause that made them take blame for the First World War.
The Treaty of Versailles had very stiff terms; it was a consequence of the struggles and the political collapse in Wilhelmine Germany. (Williamson 1995: 3) It is well known that the Republic was created under difficult circumstances; it was a constant reminder to Germany about the national humiliation and the defeat of the First World War. (Geary 1993: 14) The Weimar republic would have survived as it was a fair and democratic system but it lacked the support of the people. It was first introduction of democracy and it should have lead to a stable Germany, only it had many problems, it was to be doomed by the Treaty of Versailles. A lot of Germans thought that the Treaty undermined Germany though it was initially set up with the intentions of becoming a peace agreement between Germany and its allies.
The army leaders’ harsh treatment of the Allies at the end of the war created an even greater hatred between the Allied countries and Germany. This influenced the Treaty of Versailles as the Allies aimed to ensure that Germany would never be a threat to French or Britain again. Thus, a harsh treatment through serious reparations was created. These large reparations, influenced by the harsh German army, seriously depleted the chance of success for the Weimar Republic as the economy would struggle to prosper whilst paying reparations. Ludendorff’s ‘Black Day’ speech and the army’s refusal to sign the Armistice influenced the failure of the Weimar Republic as they wiped their hands clean of the defeat of war.
However, with widespread political unrest and a crippling economic crisis, was the constitution simply lucky to have survived her infancy years? It is widely believed that the foundations of the Weimar Republic were perilous to the strength of the new government. When the armistice was signed in 1918, the Germany people were shocked and disgraced as they had been led to believe by propaganda that they were winning the war. Ebert had become a hated and disrespected political figure. Not only did the people of Germany feel betrayed by a man of their own country but consequently, had no faith in the new democratic system.
They were stripped of territory, arms and were required to make reparations (payments for war damages). The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed with Germany, punished Germany severely. The German government agreed to sign the treaty only after the victorious powers threatened to invade. Many Germans particularly resented the clause that forced Germany to accept responsibility for causing World War I. The next factor that seemed to emphasize the cause of the war was German's dictator, Adolph Hitler, who led the Germans with the ideas of fascists.
Hereafter he was primarily concerned with consolidating the newly unified Germany. 'When we have arrived in a good harbor we should be content, and cultivate and hold what we have won.' In practice this meant that whereas before 1870 Prussian foreign policy had been essentially aggressive and warlike, now the Iron Chancellor sought a period of peace -- but peace on his terms. In foreign affairs Bismarck had defeated each of his enemies - Denmark, Austria, and France - in isolation. He realized that a powerful united Germany could not expect to fight another carefully insulated war.