Explain how the Treaty of Versailles created many problems for Germany in the period 1919-1923?
The Treaty of Versailles created many problems and instability in Germany between 1919-1923. Their were many economic and political problems for attempts to overthrow the new democracy and depression. On 28th June 1919 the treaty was signed by two ministers of the German government. The Treaty was forced on Germany and was seen as a ‘Diktat’ (Dictated peace.) The government made sure that the allies knew of its disapproval. It showed them that, although it had signed the treaty, it believed its conditions to be unjust.
One of the things that caused many problems for Germany was the loss of land and colonies. The Treaty took away all Germany’s colonies. These were administrated by other powers under the League of Nations control; until they were ready for independence (these were called mandates.) The loss of colonies meant that trade was lost. Germany was to lose 10 per cent of its land which was over 70,000 square kilometres of land. Many industries which were part of that lost land. There was 16 per cent of its coalfields, and half of its iron and steel industry gone! This meant people lost jobs and money and went in to other countries which caused resentment towards the government and also affected the wealth of the Germany.
The area of Rhineland was turned into a demilitarised zone with the treaty disallowing German forces within 50 kilometres of the Rhine. This meant less defence as many people were lost in the army and the army was cut down to just 100,000 people. The biggest loss of land had 45,000 square kilometres of land and 2,023,000 people were given to Poland. This was named ‘The Polish Corridor’ and it separated East Prussia from West Germany. This had an affect on the people who lived there and had a loss of prestige and pride which caused resentment towards the government.
The loss of land and colonies in Germany mainly meant losses and shortages in their forces and people did not respect the government anymore.
Another major problem for Germany was the harsh military cuts that restricted Germany’s armed forces to a level far below what they had been before the war! The German army was to be reduced to 100,000 people and the navy limited to just six battleships. Germany was not allowed to build tanks, planes, battleships or to have any submarines. Germany was also forbidden to unite with Austria and conscription was banned which meant that all soldiers had to volunteer. All this meant many people lost jobs and were left unemployed. This again caused more resentment towards the government who were highly under pressure by all the angry Germans. An area 50 kilometres wide on the east bank of the Rhine was to be demilitarised. This meant that Germany could not station troops or keep weapons in this area, even though the allies intended to station stoops there themselves for the next fifteen years. The Germans definitely felt the loss of pride and all Germans, even those who were not in German territory anymore, felt highly humiliated and hated the government. All these losses in military cuts and limited restrictions made them weaker and weaker and unable to defend themselves. Germany’s army was demoralised.