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What was the overall impact of the treaty of Versailles?

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Introduction

WHAT WAS THE OVERALL IMPACT OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES? After the so-called revolution of 1918 in Germany which toppled the Second Reich and then swept away the temporary government of Prince Max of Baden to bring about a new democratic regime in Germany in the form of Weimar Republic which was led by Ebert, a socialist leader who became its first president of the republic. In a few months, however, the new republic could not prevent Germany's humiliating defeat in the hands of the Allies in World War I and the country was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty had an immense impact over the present as well as the future political turmoil in Germany which brings about the immediate question in our mind-"Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?" There are various aspects at which one might like to look at in order to analyse the impact of the Treaty of Versailles. To refine our analysis we should look at the impact from two perspectives-the Optimist and the Pessimist. The primary impact of the Treaty of Versailles was that Germany did suffer large territorial losses. From the pessimist point of view one must say that it spelled disaster for Germany. The country suffered the loss of the so-called 'Polish Corridor' which was a violation of self-determination. ...read more.

Middle

Even before the Allies had drawn a conclusion on the amount of money Germany should pay as compensation Germany was having to pay a certain sum of money (amounting to nearly 100 million German Marks) which was considered as unfair for a country still suffering from the consequences of a devastating defeat in a major war. Ultimately it was decided by the Allies that Germany would have to pay �6600 million as compensation which was a huge amount of money for a country whose economy was on the verge of breakdown. The imposition of 26% fine on the revenue earned by the government through exports further worsened matters especially when the earnings of the government largely depended on the exports of the country. Apart from these major setbacks for the German economy it should also be noted that there were further restrictions as Germany lost its colonies overseas, the amount of investments in other countries was restricted, there was a ban on tariffs for five years and the country was forced to grant the Allies the status of the most favoured nations and give them discounts on products which turned out to be big obstacles on the path of the recovery of the German economy. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the longer term this hatred remained to be a strong factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler. It could be looked upon as the cause of the economic crisis in 1923 and 1929. In conclusion we might say that the Treaty of Versailles lingered as a rallying point for right wing opposition for the newly born Weimar Republic. The optimist views, mainly presented by the Weimar historians in the Weimar schools were basically acting as a false lotion to soothe the wounds that Germany and its people had received-both on the practical scenario as well as on the emotional one and the negative impacts of the treaty that were presented were closer to reality than the positive ones. As the Weimar government rejected to accept guilt for the war the myth that the great German army had not been defeated on the battlefields but were 'stabbed in the back' by some of their own hypocrite countrymen. It gave strong grounds to the ultimate destructor of the Weimar republic-Adolf Hitler who cunningly manipulated this issue to win support from the German people. Little did the Weimar authorities now that signing the Treaty of Versailles at those embarrassing terms would ultimately lead to the Weimar Republic being doomed and here we see that most obviously this reason for the destruction of the republic was in its beginning. ARUNI MUKHERJEE 1 ...read more.

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