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In relation to the experience of the Germans in the inter-war period, why might some people in Britain have been sympathetic to the view that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on Germany and that Hitler was a good nationalist leader?

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Introduction

In relation to the experience of the Germans in the inter-war period, why might some people in Britain have been sympathetic to the view that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on Germany and that Hitler was a good nationalist leader? On 28th June 1918, German representatives from the newly formed Weimar Republic signed the Treaty of Versailles, thus acknowledging their defeat in the First World War and simultaneously accepting the war guilt clause, Article 231, which attributed the blame for the war to Germany. This clause became the justification for many of the terms imposed upon Germany. In the immediate post-war period the vast majority of the British population upheld the Orthodox viewpoint on the issue of German war guilt. They felt Germany was to blame for the war. Famous slogans from the period such as, 'squeeze the German orange until the pips squeak' summed up the British position on the type of punitive treaty that Germany's behaviour had warranted. There was however some sympathy for Germany amongst high-ranking British diplomats and politicians such as Harold Nicolson who believed the treaty to be neither 'wise nor just'. ...read more.

Middle

From this it can be assumed that as a result of the 1923 crisis, more British statesmen became more sympathetic to Keynes' theory that the amount of reparations put intolerable pressure on the German economy and less sympathetic to the French idea that Germany needed to be kept weak. In October 1929, the Wall Street Crash caused a wave of depression to spread across Europe. Germany's weak economy was made weaker by the large amount of loaned money withdrawn by the U.S., leaving Germany facing economic peril. The chancellor at that time was Bruning, whose policies, such as cutting unemployment insurance by 60%, increasing taxes and decreasing expenditure in order to balance the country's budget, have been criticised by historians such as _____. The number of people out of work rose to an estimated 9m during Bruning's chancellorship. The only sector that Bruning had thought to support was agriculture, a tariff was implemented to prevent against cheaply foreign goods, and so food prices remained high whilst money scarce. Dropping birth rates and increasing suicide added to the impact of the depression. Witnessing the effects of the depression in Germany provoked a sympathetic reaction in Britain, particularly amongst the British middle classes who weren't as affected by the depression as the German middle classes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Dawes plan paved the way for U.S. loans which with withdrawn in 1929 after the Wall Street Crash thus causing Germany to plunge into depression. The effects of the depression were worsened by Bruning's unsuccessful policies. Out of the depression emerged Hitler who brought stability and prosperity by implementing new policies and by ignoring the Terms of The Treaty of Versailles. Hitler's success, in contrast to the severe hardship common to Germans in the inter-war years, provoked a sympathetic reaction in the Britain thus bringing the British round to the idea that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh and that Hitler had been a good Nationalist leader. From this summary it is possible to see how all the events in Germany which increased sympathetic feeling in Britain, originated from the Treaty of Versailles. In this way, I will conclude by saying that the Treaty of Versailles itself was the most important factor in creating British sympathy towards the view that the Treaty was unfair and that Hitler was a good Nationalist leader. T.A. Morris - The twenty years truce - The Third Reich J.M. Keynes - The economic consequences of peace Alan White - The Weimar Republic powerPaul Salmon - The closing years of the Weimar Republic ...read more.

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