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How Did The Treaty Of Versailles Lead To World War Ii?

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The Treaty of Versailles helped lead to World War II due to the conditions it created for Germany. Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles would be known as the "War Guilt Clause." Germany was forced to accept guilt for causing World War I and was forced to pay reparations for the war. This was considered a humiliation for many German people, as well as extreme economic depression as they attempted to pay reparations.

Germany would also lose a significant amount of territory due to the Treaty of Versailles. The territories of Alsace and Lorraine would be of particular note due to their industrial value. Germany also lost significant territory for the creation of Poland. As a result of territorial losses, there were many ethnic Germans who would now be living in territory that was no longer a part of Germany. This would lead to a desire by Adolf Hitler to reunite the German people during World War II.

Germany also would have extreme limitations placed on their military. Germany's navy was significantly limited, and they were not permitted to maintain submarines. The German army was not permitted to use tanks or heavy weapons. Germany was also prohibited from maintaining an air force.

Hitler's rise to power can be traced to the situation in Germany at the time. The German people were experiencing an extremely poor economy, and humiliation for their WWI defeat. Hitler promised to improve Germany and restore it to its greatness. Hitler also argued that the Versailles Treaty needed to be destroyed for Germany to rise again. Hitler would go on to reclaim lost territory, such as the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Hitler also violated the Treaty of Versailles by building Germany's military. It is often also noted that the inaction on the part of countries like France and Britain enabled Nazi Germany to gain strength, which made them very difficult to defeat when World War II began.

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atyourservice | Student

The treaty of Versailles imposed many punishments on Germany for ww1. The treaty of Versailles made Germany pay reparations for the war which sent Germany into debts and led to the great famine, this helped the rise of Hitler. 

German people also felt that the treaty of Versailles was unfair because they didn't believe they were the main reason for the war, this lead to dissent and a growth of hatred towards the countries who led them in this situation.

ashtwall1717 | Student

Had imposed humiliating conditions on the central powers.

fact-finder | Student

The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed by Germany at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I (1914–18), led to World War II (1939–45) because German leaders and citizens thought the treaty's terms were too harsh. As one of the defeated Central Powers in World War I, the German government was forced to sign the treaty at the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920) under threat of more fighting from the Allies. (The Allies were Serbia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, the United States, and nineteen other nations. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were the Central Powers, who fought against the Allies.) Nevertheless, the German people faulted their leaders for accepting terms that were meant to punish Germany. For instance, one clause in the treaty stipulated that Germany had to take responsibility for causing World War I. Besides losing territory, the nation was required to pay for an Allied military force that would occupy the west bank of the Rhine River for the next fifteen years in order to prevent Germany from committing further aggressions. The treaty also limited the size of Germany's military. Then in 1921 Germany received a bill for reparations (payments for damages done during wartime). It stated that Germany owed the Allies $33,000,000. The Treaty of Versailles weakened Germany, contributing to public resentment that soon developed into a strong nationalist (patriotic) movement and led to the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (1889–1945). It was Hitler's military aggression against neighboring countries that began World War II.

Further Information: Calvocoressi, Peter. Total War; the Story of World War II. New York: Pantheon Books, 1972; "The Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles." AP European History. [Online] Available http://www.eurohist.com/the_paris_peace_conference.htm, October 25, 2000; "Treaty of Versailles." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/3B/03B81000.htm, October 25, 2000.