• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Germany came to see itself as a victim without actually being destroyed" How accurate is this?

Extracts from this document...


"Germany came to see itself as a victim without actually being destroyed" How accurate is this? On the 16th June the German government, lead by Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, were presented with the Treaty of Versailles. They were originally given 14, and then 21 days, to agree to it. "The treaty, which included some 440 Articles, was not as vindictive as Clemenceau had wanted nor as moderate as Lloyd George would have wished. It certainly fell far short of the conciliatory features of Wilson's fourteen point proposals." (Evans and Jenkins) However, in order to decipher whether the end results were destructive to Germany or not, it is necessary to asses not only the main points of the treaty (including military provisions, territory, financial provisions, war guilt and the establishment of new nation states), but also the treaty makers themselves and their intentions towards Germany. The main three statesmen associates with Versailles are: Lloyd George of Great Britain, George Clemenceau of France, and Woodrow Wilson from the U.S.A. With regard to these statesmen Stephen Lees claims that we should "start by not being too dismissive" He claims that although they were responsible for their own people they also were also able to think on an international level. Their three main aims were "to guarantee Europe against the possibility of future German aggression; to revive the economic infrastructure of the allies; and to ensure the stability of the new nation states in central and Eastern Europe. ...read more.


. . each of them containing large masses of Germans clamouring for reunion with their homeland" It also took away much of their industry including 48% iron ore, 16% coal, and15% agricultural production. J.M Keynes believes that these terms were "inexpedient and disasterous" Anthony Wood does not agree with this point of view and states "any defeated country, whether it negotiates or not, has to accept the conditions the victor demands . . . the terms which Germany imposed on Russia at Brest-Litovsk in March 1919, deprived her of any moral right to complain of Versailles; indeed in comparison with her allies, Austria Hungary and Turkey, Germany had kept the bulk of her territory in tact and those regions which had been removed from her were of a mixed population and had mostly been the fruit of conquest" Indeed this is true, at Brest-Litovsk Germany had demanded a huge sum of 6 milliard marks from Russia. Although this should be kept in mind, it should also be noted that the land that was taken was not simply a few fields but some of the most industrious, rich areas in Germany! Not only this but that fact that they should all be taken at once with no chance to prepare for such a huge loss seems less than fair. Along with the transfer of territory came the creation of new nation states. Stephen Lee maintains that these were already "a fait accompli, emerging from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires in 1918" ...read more.


*France failed to achieve its aims of a permanently weakened Germany and a secure border. *Reparations were not so burdensome that they destroyed the German economy". Other Historians believe that this is not the point and that "the real damage the treaty did to Germany was to disillusion more moderate men who might otherwise have supported their new Republic . . . The peace settlement continued to poison the political atmosphere in Germany for many years" (A Nicholls). However, when dealing with this issue it is felt that Historians tend to treat Versailles as an isolated factor. Certainly if you look at individual terms and work hard enough they can all be justified. However Versailles was not the only thing Germany had to contend with. It is forgotten by many people the extreme problems that they were already facing at home. Between 1913 and 1918 the mark had lost 75% of its value, only 16% of the war costs could be met by taxation and earnings were falling by 20-30%. To make matters worse by 1916 the death toll from starvation and hypothermia alone totalled 121,000. These circumstances would be difficult to manage in a relatively stable country such as Britain, but Germany was not such a country. Germany had only recently become a democracy and there was no political stability what so ever. Whilst thinking of Versailles and adding it onto these factors, it is hard to imagine that they were not destroyed, at least for that era. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. "Was the treaty of Versailles fair?"

    The Treaty became known as a Diktat - as it was being forced on them and the Germans had no choice but to sign it. Many in Germany did not want the Treaty signed, but the representatives there knew that they had no choice as German was incapable of restarting the war again.

  2. Summary of John Maynard Keynes' "The Economic Consequences of the Peace".

    Germany should receive back both the mines and territory without payment. France should supply Germany from Lorraine with at least 50%. 3. Problems in Upper Silesia should be held and in coming to a final decision the regard will be pay by the principles of the allies.

  1. Versailles and Hyperinflation, Germany 1919-28.

    Stresemann called off passive resistance in the Ruhr. Since Germany had begun to pay her reparations again, the French and Belgian troops had no real reason to stay in the Ruhr, so began to withdraw.

  2. Has to much emphasis been placed on the negative aspects of pre-1914 Germany?

    The formation of the Agrarian league fostered nationalism, which had been the basis of Sammlungspolitik. The combining of a national policy with the view of Germany as a nation is quite accurate. Weltpolitik can be seen as structurally connected to Sammlungspolitik.

  1. Wish there was a Lord Keynes here, today?

    It was widely recognized at the time as an act of political immorality. There were no grounds of public interest which did not call for a short delay until the issues of the new age had a little defined themselves, and until the country had something more specific before it

  2. The airline industry

    The person would pull out the card and show it to the clerk to see what airlines he could use on the next trip and still redeem miles and/ or points. Napkins in the plane could as well bear the other Group members' logos and by exposing them to everyone advertising would be done in a very efficient way.

  1. It was 'coal and iron' not 'blood and iron' that unified Germany

    Many of the smaller surrounding states saw the successes of the customs union and so decided to join themselves. From then on many large states joined. The customs union became known as the Zollverein. The Zollverein was a great success and was a large step to the unification of Germany.

  2. Post War Peace -even though Wilsons conception was considered idealistic, it was the best ...

    Clemenceau believed that as he had seen his country being invaded he wanted protection and a very strong French border, for this not to repeat. The Rhine is a valuable for attacking France, so while it was under German control, France was prone to attack.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work