Territorial changes imposed by the treaty were also factored in. The German Government was to issue bonds at five per cent interest and set up a sinking fund of one per cent to support the payment of reparations. In February and March , the Schleswig Plebiscites were held. The people of Schleswig were presented with only two choices: Danish or German sovereignty. The northern Danish-speaking area voted for Denmark while the southern German-speaking area voted for Germany, resulting in the province being partitioned.
Further plebiscites were held in Eupen, Malmedy, and Prussian Moresnet. On 20 September , the League of Nations allotted these territories to Belgium. These latter plebiscites were followed by a boundary commission in , followed by the new Belgian-German border being recognized by the German Government on 15 December Following the implementation of the treaty, Upper Silesia was initially governed by Britain, France, and Italy.
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The plebiscite resulted in c. Memel remained under the authority of the League of Nations, with a French military garrison, until January The League of Nations mediated between the Germans and Lithuanians on a local level, helping the power-sharing arrangement last until On 13 January , 15 years after the Saar Basin had been placed under the protection of the League of Nations, a plebiscite was held to determine the future of the area.
The region returned to German sovereignty on 1 March When the result was announced 4, people, including refugees from Germany fled to France. In late , American, Belgian, British, and French troops entered the Rhineland to enforce the armistice. Belgium maintained an occupation force of roughly 10, troops throughout the initial years. The British Second Army , with some , veteran soldiers, entered Germany in late The total number of troops committed to the occupation rapidly dwindled as veteran soldiers were demobilized, and were replaced by inexperienced men who had finished basic training following the cessation of hostilities.
The size of the BAOR fluctuated over the following years, but never rose above 9, men. The French Army of the Rhine was initially , men strong, including at a peak 40, African colonial troops Troupes coloniales. By , the French occupation force had decreased to roughly , men, including 27, African troops. This campaign lasted throughout the s and 30s, although peaked in and For example, a German Government memo detailed acts of violence from colonial troops, which included 65 murders and sexual offenses.
Historical consensus is that the charges were exaggerated for political and propaganda purposes, and that the colonial troops behaved far better than their white counterparts. In June , the Third Army demobilized and by the US occupation force had been reduced to 15, men. Harding in The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency. Although the causes of the devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and disputed, Germans blamed the near-collapse of their economy on the treaty, and some economists estimated that the reparations accounted for as much as one-third of the hyper-inflation.
In January , French and Belgian forces occupied the rest of the Ruhr area as a reprisal after Germany failed to fulfill reparation payments demanded by the Versailles Treaty. The German government answered with "passive resistance", which meant that coal miners and railway workers refused to obey any instructions by the occupation forces. Production and transportation came to a standstill, but the financial consequences contributed to German hyperinflation and completely ruined public finances in Germany.
Consequently, passive resistance was called off in late The end of passive resistance in the Ruhr allowed Germany to undertake a currency reform and to negotiate the Dawes Plan , which led to the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr Area in In , the head of the Reichswehr Hans von Seeckt clandestinely re-established the General Staff, by expanding the Truppenamt Troop Office ; purportedly a human resources section of the army.
In response, French troops advanced further into Germany until the German troops withdrew. German officials conspired systematically to evade the clauses of the treaty, by failing to meet disarmament deadlines, refusing Allied officials access to military facilities, and maintaining and hiding weapon production.
Bofors was bought by Krupp , and in German troops were sent to Sweden to test weapons. Publicly, these diplomatic exchanges were largely in regards to trade and future economic cooperation. However, secret military clauses were included that allowed for Germany to develop weapons inside the Soviet Union. Furthermore, it allowed for Germany to establish three training areas for aviation, chemical and tank warfare. During the year, over half of Chinese arms imports were German and worth 13 million Reichsmarks. In January , following the withdrawal of the Allied disarmament committee , Krupps ramped up production of armor plate and artillery.
Non-commissioned officers NCOs were not limited by the treaty, thus this loophole was exploited and as such the number of NCOs were vastly in excess to the number needed by the Reichswehr. In December , the Reichswehr finalized a second rearmament plan that called for million Reichsmarks to be spent over the following five years: this program sought to provide Germany the capability of creating and supplying a defensive force of 21 divisions supported by aircraft, artillery, and tanks. This coincided with a 1 billion Reichsmark programme that planned for additional industrial infrastructure that would be able to permanently maintain this force.
As these programs did not require an expansion of the military, they were nominally legal. The British later proposed and agreed to an increase in the Reichswehr to , men, and for Germany to have an air force half the size of the French. It was also negotiated for the French Army to be reduced. On 7 March , German troops entered and remilitarized the Rhineland. According to David Stevenson , since the opening of French archives, most commentators have remarked on French restraint and reasonableness at the conference, though Stevenson notes that "[t]he jury is still out", and that "there have been signs that the pendulum of judgement is swinging back the other way.
In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace , John Maynard Keynes referred to the Treaty of Versailles as a " Carthaginian peace ", a misguided attempt to destroy Germany on behalf of French revanchism , rather than to follow the fairer principles for a lasting peace set out in President Woodrow Wilson 's Fourteen Points , which Germany had accepted at the armistice. He stated: "I believe that the campaign for securing out of Germany the general costs of the war was one of the most serious acts of political unwisdom for which our statesmen have ever been responsible.
Keynes in an attempt to rebut Keynes' claims. More recently economists have argued that the restriction of Germany to a small army saved it so much money it could afford the reparations payments. It has been argued for instance by historian Gerhard Weinberg in his book A World at Arms  that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany.
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The Bismarckian Reich was maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany largely escaped post-war military occupation in contrast to the situation following World War II. In a essay, Weinberg noted that with the disappearance of Austria-Hungary and with Russia withdrawn from Europe, that Germany was now the dominant power in Eastern Europe. The British military historian Correlli Barnett claimed that the Treaty of Versailles was "extremely lenient in comparison with the peace terms that Germany herself, when she was expecting to win the war, had had in mind to impose on the Allies".
Furthermore, he claimed, it was "hardly a slap on the wrist" when contrasted with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that Germany had imposed on a defeated Russian SFSR in March , which had taken away a third of Russia's population albeit mostly of non- Russian ethnicity , one-half of Russia's industrial undertakings and nine-tenths of Russia's coal mines, coupled with an indemnity of six billion marks.
Barnett also claims that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in Germany's eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power. Barnett asserts that its post-war eastern borders were safer, because the former Austrian Empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states, Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war , and the newly restored Poland was no match for even a defeated Germany.
In the West, Germany was balanced only by France and Belgium , both of which were smaller in population and less economically vibrant than Germany. Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the treaty "much enhanced" German power.
Unterrichtsstunde: Wer war Alfred Krupp?
The British historian of modern Germany, Richard J. Evans , wrote that during the war the German right was committed to an annexationist program which aimed at Germany annexing most of Europe and Africa. Consequently, any peace treaty that did not leave Germany as the conqueror would be unacceptable to them. He also argued that Versailles was not the "main cause" of National Socialism and the German economy was "only marginally influenced by the impact of reparations".
Ewa Thompson points out that the treaty allowed numerous nations in Central and Eastern Europe to liberate themselves from oppressive German rule, a fact that is often neglected by Western historiography, more interested in understanding the German point of view. In nations that found themselves free as the result of the treaty—such as Poles or Czechs —it is seen as a symbol of recognition of wrongs committed against small nations by their much larger aggressive neighbours.
Resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi Party.
Unterrichtsstunde: Wer war Alfred Krupp?
As an example of the absurd arguments against the Versaillerdiktat he quotes Elizabeth Wiskemann who heard two officer's widows in Wiesbaden complaining that with their stocks of linen depleted they had to have their linen washed once a fortnight every two weeks instead of once a month! The German historian Detlev Peukert wrote that Versailles was far from the impossible peace that most Germans claimed it was during the interwar period , and though not without flaws was actually quite reasonable to Germany. French historian Raymond Cartier states that millions of Germans in the Sudetenland and in Posen-West Prussia were placed under foreign rule in a hostile environment, where harassment and violation of rights by authorities are documented.
The plebiscites initiated due to the treaty have drawn much comment. Historian Robert Peckham wrote that the issue of Schleswig "was premised on a gross simplification of the region's history. Versailles ignored any possibility of there being a third way: the kind of compact represented by the Swiss Federation; a bilingual or even trilingual Schleswig-Holsteinian state" or other options such as "a Schleswigian state in a loose confederation with Denmark or Germany, or an autonomous region under the protection of the League of Nations. Poland appeared so close to collapse that even Polish voters had cast their ballots for Germany".
Blanke alleged "coercion of various kinds even in the face of an allied occupation regime" occurred, and that Germany granted votes to those "who had been born in Upper Silesia but no longer resided there".
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Blanke concluded that despite these protests "there is plenty of other evidence, including Reichstag election results both before and after and the large-scale emigration of Polish-speaking Upper Silesians to Germany after , that their identification with Germany in was neither exceptional nor temporary" and "here was a large population of Germans and Poles—not coincidentally, of the same Catholic religion—that not only shared the same living space but also came in many cases to see themselves as members of the same national community".
Despite the oppression and migration, Opole Silesia "remained ethnically mixed. Frank Russell wrote that, in regards to the Saar plebiscite, the inhabitants "were not terrorized at the polls" and the "totalitarian [Nazi] German regime was not distasteful to most of the Saar inhabitants and that they preferred it even to an efficient, economical, and benevolent international rule. During the formulation of the treaty, the British wanted Germany to abolish conscription but be allowed to maintain a volunteer Army.
The French wanted Germany to maintain a conscript army of up to , men in order to justify their own maintenance of a similar force. Thus the treaty's allowance of , volunteers was a compromise between the British and French positions. Germany, on the other hand, saw the terms as leaving them defenseless against any potential enemy. Max Hantke and Mark Spoerer wrote "military and economic historians [have] found that the German military only insignificantly exceeded the limits" of the treaty prior to Bell argued that the British Government was aware of later Weimar rearming, and lent public respectability to the German efforts by not opposing them,  an opinion shared by Churchill.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles disambiguation. One of the treaties that ended World War I.
Long name:. Principal Allies. League of Nations. Treaty of Versailles. Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Treaty of Trianon.
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Events leading to World War II. Main article: World War I. Play media. Main article: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Main article: Armistice of 11 November Main article: Occupation of the Rhineland. Main article: Blockade of Germany. Further information: Full text of the treaty. Administered by the League of Nations. Annexed or transferred to neighbouring countries by the treaty, or later via plebiscite and League of Nations action. Weimar Germany.
Main article: League of Nations mandate. Main article: World War I reparations.