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How did the Treaty of Versailles contribute to Hitler's rise in power?

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Introduction

How did the Treaty of Versailles contribute to Hitler's rise in power? The Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany in 1919 by the winning allies, who included Britain and France. The Treaty consisted of five main points. The first was stated in clause 231 and blamed Germany and Germany alone for the war. This point angered the Germans as they felt it was extremely unjust. Great Britain had been involved in the naval race with Germany and so Germany was hostile towards being singled out and punished. Germany now saw Great Britain as an aggressive colonial power. The second point was reparations. Reparations called for Germany to pay �6600milion, as they were responsible for the war. Obviously if they didn't feel as though they started the war why should they have to pay? This anger wasn't just directed at the winning allies. The Germans felt betrayed by the politicians who had signed the Treaty of Versailles. They believed that politicians were supposed to look after their interests and yet they were seen to be giving money to Great Britain, USA and France when people were starving. ...read more.

Middle

Each one of the points of the Treaty is branded in the minds and hearts of the German people... We will have weapons again". Again he condemned the Treaty saying "sixty million men and women find their soles aflame with a feeling of rage and shame". The fourth point removed land from Germany. Losses include the following: Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France, after a plebiscite North Schleswigg went to Denmark, the Polish corridor was created, the Saarland was to be run by the League of Nations but France had control of the coal mines for fifteen years and the German colonies became mandates of the League of Nations. Out of the mandates Britain gained Jordan and Tanganyika and France got Lebanon. The Germans bitterly resented their loss of land and they also felt desperation, as they saw no way of paying back the reparations without their prime industrial land. This was a double punishment. The fifth point was the League of Nations. This was set up as an international "police force". ...read more.

Conclusion

As Carr states " it was not the contents of his speeches" that drew the middle-class audiences to him but "the denunciation of the Versailles Treaty, rhetorical talk about German's future glory and promises of tax reductions" (Carr: The 20th Century). Hitler was a great orator and leader and his oratory skills are linked to how the Treaty of Versailles contributed to his rise in power as without them he would not have been fully able to express his feelings and opinions to the people. The Treaty of Versailles gave Hitler ammunition. It led directly to the invasion of the Ruhr (as it allowed France to) and hence to hyperinflation. As Walsh states "The Treaty of Versailles destabilised Germany politically but the German's also blamed it for another problem - economic chaos". The Treaty imposed reparations, which the German's did not pay. The lack of repayment led the French into invading the Ruhr to confiscate raw materials and goods. The strikes that followed directly led to hyperinflation. As MacKichan states "the causes of hyperinflation were varied and complex but the German's did not see it that way. They blamed reparations and the Weimar Republic". The Treaty also therefore emphasised the weakness within the Weimar government. ...read more.

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