It's important to make a distinction between the armistice—the actual agreement that ended the war in 1918—and the Treaty of Versailles of the following year. Under the armistice, the Germans were required to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw their forces behind the Rhine, allowing Allied troops to occupy the strategically important economic area of the Rhineland. The Germans also had to agree to maintain infrastructure such as roads, railways, and bridges, and surrender all weapons and materiel. Mention was made in the armistice about reparations that the Germans would have to pay for starting the war, but the precise terms of these payments were not specified.
That is, until the following year, when the Treaty of Versailles declared Germany solely responsible for starting World War One and imposed harsh, draconian terms on the German government such as the following:
- The demilitarization of the Rhineland. (No German troops would be allowed there.)
- The return of Alsace-Lorraine to France.
- The rich coalfields of the Saarland would be given to France for 15 years.
- The German Army and Navy were to be severely restricted; Germany was also banned from having an Air Force.
- And last, but not least, Germany, having been held responsible for starting the war, was ordered to pay the staggering sum of 132 billion gold marks in reparations—or compensation—for all the damage that they'd caused.