Treaty of Versailles Questions and Answers

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How and why might the German public have been surprised by the terms of the treaty?

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The Treaty of Versailles was a very significant treaty at the end of World War I. It was signed on the 28th of June 1919 in Versailles by Germany and the Allied Forces, which is why it is called the Treaty of Versailles.

Whilst the people of Germany were very happy and relieved that the horrors of World War I had finally come to an end, the content of the Treaty of Versailles did cause significant concerns. For example, it was very surprising for the German population when they heard that the treaty gave sole responsibility for all the losses made during the war to the Germans. Article 231 of the treaty stated that Germany was to be held solely responsible for any damage and loss. This is why this article is often referred to as the War Guilt Clause.

The sanctions Germany received were very harsh, one could even say harsh to an unprecedented extent, which would have been a surprise for the people of Germany. Clearly, they expected some degree of punishment, but not to the extent which the Treaty of Versailles dictated.

For example, a very nasty surprise for the population would have been the significant loss of territory, which was not just a political issue, but actually heavily impacted the lives of the Germans living in those areas, such as East Prussia in the east and Alsace-Lorraine in the west.

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