After comparing the similarities and differences of the Treaties of Versailles and Brest Litovsk, was one more humane than the other and how does this relate to the German sense of betrayal after...

After comparing the similarities and differences of the Treaties of Versailles and Brest Litovsk, was one more humane than the other and how does this relate to the German sense of betrayal after the war?

Asked on by pregigem

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In answering this question, we must realize that humaneness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  Hitler, along with many other Germans, felt that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was more humane than the Treaty of Versailles.  I would argue, however, that neither treaty was notably more humane than the other.  This means that Germany’s sense of betrayal after the war was probably unjustified.

It is hard to argue that either treaty was more humane than the other.  Both treaties forced the losers to give up some of their territory.  Both treaties took away important economic assets (coal mines, in particular) from the losing countries.  Both treaties required the losers to pay reparations to the winners.  It is true that the Treaty of Versailles required Germany to admit responsibility for the war where the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk had no such terms, but that hardly seems to me like a very important difference.  Thus, I would say that neither treaty was more humane.

What this means is that the Germans had little cause to feel betrayed by the Treaty of Versailles.  The Germans argued that the treaty was onerous and excessively vindictive.  However, it is hard to feel that they were justified in feeling this way when we consider that they imposed very similar terms on Russia in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

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