Treaty of Versailles Questions and Answers

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How did the treaty of versailles effect Germany and Germans?

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The Germans felt angry, humiliated, and betrayed by the Treaty of Versailles. They were very upset that their government was forced to take complete blame for World War I and pay heavy reparations. Almost immediately, rumors of a "backstab" from insiders (often depicted as Jewish) who sold Germany out began to circulate.

On a material level, the Versailles treaty had harsh effects on the German economy. The German people now had to pay out vast amounts of money to rival states, particularly France. At this point, the German treasury was depleted to begin with from fighting the war, so this was a heavy burden. Further, the treaty limited the size of the German army to 100,000 men. This created social and economic problems, since the army had been a major employer before the war, offering respectable and well-paying jobs to young men with few other prospects. With the avenue of social mobility severely constrained, ambitious young men, often unemployed or underemployed, became restless and discontent, often joining informal militia groups.

All of this provided the perfect background for a charismatic demagogue like Adolph Hitler to fan the discontent into a racist and nationalistic political movement that blamed the Jews for Germany's humiliation and promised to make Germany and the German people preeminent once again.

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