To what extent is the Treaty of Versailles fair?
The Versailles Treaty actually was not fair on any level. Even though an armistice ending the war, Britain still maintained a naval blockade of Germany, thus starving the country. Germany was faced with two options--sign the treaty and suffer for decades paying off reparations, or hold out for better terms, and risk further ruin to the nation. Germany was forced to accept all of the blame for the war, even though German leaders initially encouraged Austria-Hungary to act with caution and only fully mobilized when Russia mobilized their troops. Many of the atrocities that were attributed to German soldiers on the Western front later turned out to be part of an Allied propaganda ploy meant to get America into the war sooner. While the U-boat was initially considered a war crime, Britain also flouted maritime law by flying the flags of neutral vessels and shipping weapons of war aboard passenger ships. Not only was Germany forced to accept the blame for this war and to pay reparations, but the nation had to do it while weakened due to manpower and industrial shortages, thus making the expectations more unrealistic.