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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: History
  • Essay length: 1079 words

How justified were the German objections to the Versailles Treaty?

Extracts from this essay...


How justified were the German objections to the Versailles Treaty? The Treaty of Versailles was signed on the 28th June 1919 and was the Treaty that dealt with with Germany at the end of the First World War. It is said that the harshness of the treaty the cause of the Second World War as it partly caused the rise of the Nazis. There were many complaints from Germany that were largely ignored by the Allies and there are good reasons for their objections. However, there are also events that make the German objections seem less justified. One fact that supports the German objections was the fact that the treaty was negotiated as a 'Diktat' treaty. This meant the Germans had no say whatsoever in the initial planning and negotiation of the treaty; they did send representatives to Versailles but they were not allowed to take part in the actual negotiations. This was not at all fair on the German people and gives the German nation fuel for their objections to Versailles.


One of the main objections by the German government was over Clause 231, the War Guilt clause. They did not like this treaty as they thought that it was not fair to blame the entire war on Germany because in their opinion the allies were also partly responsible. They also did not want to pay the huge reparations that would be justified by the War Guilt clause. Their reason for this objection was that the Germans had to pay reparations then the German people as a whle would be paying for the actions of the previous government, who were no longer in power. They also said that Germans who were not even born yet would be suffering in the future because of the reparations. These seem to be reasonable points and do seem to justify the German objection to the reparations. The Germans expected a treaty based on the fourteen points, and as part of the Reichstag Resolution in 1917 they said they would work towards a "peace of understanding ......


The first point is the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a very harsh treaty dictated by Germany and supported by the majority of the Reichstag despite the Reichstag Resolution published a year before, asking for a "peace of understanding". This seems to point towards a potentially harsh treaty from the Germans if they had won. Germany was also relying heavily on foriegn loans, loans that were only taken with the idea that they would pay them back from the losing opponents reparations. This suggests that they would also have demanded reparations from the loser. These points seem to give an idea of the holes in the Germans objections to Versailles. However, from all these points I think that the overall harshness and hypocracy behind the treaty outweigh these holes, and I think that the German objections were justified. The fact that the treaty was a 'Diktat' treaty shows that it was not fair on Germany. I also think that the winning allies would have been much better off if they had given Germany a less harsh treaty and not tried to destroy Germany, as the French Prime Minister would have wanted.

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