The defeated nations (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria) were forced to sign harsh peace treaties after World War I (1914–1918). The punitive treaties were written by men whose countries had suffered terrible losses. The carnage of World War I was unprecedented. Both the winners and the losers suffered enormous human and material losses. The victors demanded (Treaty of Versailles) that Germany pay reparations and accept blame for the war.
Nationalism was not well addressed by the peace treaties. For example, the Ottoman Empire dissolved at the end of the war, and its diverse ethnic groups were typically placed under a foreign nation's rule. For example, Palestine and Iraq were placed under British control. Syria and Lebanon were to be under French administration. Izmir was given to Greece temporarily, pending the outcome of a plebiscite. The transfer of all of these territories to foreign rulers was a victory for imperialists. Also, Turkey was not given much freedom over its own affairs by its initial peace treaty (Sevres). Kemal Ataturk emerged to lead the Turks to victory over the Greeks and a new treaty (Lausanne) was signed in 1923.
Postwar Germany did not enjoy much freedom because Allied troops occupied the Rhineland and the Saar. The Nazis spread fear and stoked racism by claiming that Germany lost the war because it had been "stabbed in the back" by Jews and other traitors. Many Germans found themselves living outside Germany because the Versailles Treaty had dissected the country.