"Germany came to see itself as a victim without actually being destroyed" How accurate is this?

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“Germany came to see itself as a victim without actually being destroyed” How accurate is this?

On the 16th June the German government, lead by Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, were presented with the Treaty of Versailles.  They were originally given 14, and then 21 days, to agree to it.  “The treaty, which included some 440 Articles, was not as vindictive as Clemenceau had wanted nor as moderate as Lloyd George would have wished.  It certainly fell far short of the conciliatory features of Wilson’s fourteen point proposals.” (Evans and Jenkins)  However, in order to decipher whether the end results were destructive to Germany or not, it is necessary to asses not only the main points of the treaty (including military provisions, territory, financial provisions, war guilt and the establishment of new nation states), but also the treaty makers themselves and their intentions towards Germany.

The main three statesmen associates with Versailles are:  Lloyd George of Great Britain, George Clemenceau of France, and Woodrow Wilson from the U.S.A.  With regard to these statesmen Stephen Lees claims that we should “start by not being too dismissive” He claims that although they were responsible for their own people they also were also able to think on an international level.  Their three main aims were “to guarantee Europe against the possibility of future German aggression; to revive the economic infrastructure of the allies; and to ensure the stability of the new nation states in central and Eastern Europe.  None of these was inherently revanchist”.  Although they may not be ‘revanchist’ aims, they show little, if not no, concern for German interests.  It is possible to argue that the treaty makers in fact meant the Treaty to destroy Germany.  Britain, who had lost over a million men, 7 million tonnes of merchant shipping, and had spent over £75billion on the war, intended to squeeze the German orange “until the pips squeaked” (Lloyd George). France had also suffered greatly.  Much fighting had been done on French soil, ruining much of their land and their dead totalled over 1, 358, 000.  Clemenceau clearly wanted a harsh revenge and stated “Mr Wilson bores me with his fourteen points.  Why, God almighty only has ten”.  It seemed that perhaps President Wilson was infact the only delegate who had German interests at heart.  The key points he made included:  Self-determination for Germany, disarming to the lowest point, autonomy for Austria-Hungary, an independent Poland, and Alsace-Lorraine to go to France.  In order to ascertain whether Wilsons more moderate line had any effect, it is necessary to look closer at the terms themselves.

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With the ending of a devastating and extremely destructive war, the first thing that needed to be sorted was the Army.  The military terms stated that the German army was to be reduced to 100,000 men with no tanks or heavy guns, importation of munitions was banned, the navy was also to be reduced to, 15000 men, 6 battleships, 6 cruisers, 24 smaller vessels and no submarines, there was also no military air-craft allowed.  Stephen Lee points out that as the allies combined together could not defeat Germany and needed U.S intervention “it therefore made sense to limit the ...

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