How accurate is it to suggest that the Treaty of Versailles was mainly responsible for the political and economic instability in Germany in the years 1919-23?
Between 1919 and 1923, Weimar Germany encountered a lot of political and economic instability. There were a number of factors that contributed to this, including the Treaty of Versailles, the threat from the left, violence from the extreme right, and hyperinflation. The Treaty left many Germans dissatisfied with the Government, and eventually led to attempted revolutions from the far sides of the political spectrum; the left-wing Socialists and the right-wing Nazi. Their attempts to seize power, combined with the crippling effects of the economic crisis, all caused uncertainty in Germany; however, the main reason for this instability was the Treaty of Versailles, as it led to nation-wide anger towards the Government, and eventually culminated in the attempted revolts by the far left and right.
The Treaty of Versailles had very damaging effects on Weimar Germany, and caused both political and economic instability. The political instability arising from the Treaty was mainly to do with the loss of land, the war guilt clause, and military disarmament. Some Germans felt that the politicians who signed the treaty, who were referred to as the ‘November Criminals’, had caused the downfall of Germany. This was because they felt betrayed that politicians had accepted Germany had started the war, though the ‘War Guilt’ clause, had agreed to give up land, including the ‘Polish Corridor’ and Alsace-Lorraine, and arranged to reduce the to a maximum of 100,000 men. All of these terms, which were laid out in the Treaty, caused political instability in Weimar Germany. People believed they had been ‘stabbed in the back’, and should not have had to accept responsibility for all the damages caused by the war. Also, they felt that it was hypocritical that more than one million Germans were placed under Polish rule because of the ‘Polish Corridor’; this is because the Allies were said to believe in national self-determination, yet they denied German’s their own land. Economic instability was also caused by the Treaty of Versailles. At the Reparations Commission in 1921, the total sum that Germany would have to pay back was fixed at £6,600 million; this was seen by many as too harsh, as the Germans had not caused all of the damage, but still had to pay for the majority of it, as well as trying to get their own country to recover. After the war, the German economy was already in a bad state, with many forms of industry completely destroyed. Therefore, Germany knew that it was going to struggle to pay back the reparations, when their own economy was on the brink of collapse. This all highlights how the Treaty of Versailles caused political and economic instability in Germany between 1919 and 1923; the people were angry with politicians for accepting responsibility for the war, and the harsh reparations payments demanded by the Allies worsened already tough economic conditions, showing how almost all other issues in Weimar Germany at the time were as a result of dissatisfaction with the Treaty.