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What were the main provisions of the Treaty of Versailles?

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Kelvin Brakus eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty which was ratified in 1919. In essence, the treaty blamed Germany for causing World War One and we see this clearly through the 440 articles it contained. As the previous educator has mentioned, the treaty forced Germany to concede a lot of its territory. Some examples include the return of Alsace-Lorraine and the Saar to France, the return of the Hultschin district to Czechoslovakia and Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium. Parts of Upper Silesia and East Prussia were also given back to Poland. The Rhineland was also demilitarised which means that the Germany army was not allowed to go there.

Politically, the treaty also forbade a future union between Germany and Austria and Germany was not allowed to join the League of Nations.

Controversially, Germany was forced to admit that it was responsible for all of the loss and damage which came as a result of the war. This is known as the War Guilt Clause (Article 231).

You can read the terms of the treaty using the reference link provided. 

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gsenviro | Student

The treaty of Versailles was signed between Germany and the Allied powers (the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Japan) on 28 June 1919 and brought an official end to World War I.

Some of the key provisions of the treaty were:

  1. Germany lost a large tract of its territory (25,000 square miles) and millions of people (7,000,000) to the allied nations. Poland was the biggest beneficiary and gained almost 20,000 square miles of land. Germany had to let go of Poland and cede several other territories to France and Belgium. 
  2. A number of German colonies were lost to Britain, France, Japan, Australia, and other allied countries.
  3. Military restrictions were also imposed on Germany and its military strength was limited to 100,000 men. Former soldiers were not allowed to rejoin and conscription was banned. Germany was prohibited from maintaining an air force and its naval strength was also limited to a bare minimum.
  4. Germany was also held responsible for the war and was required to pay about $31 billion. 
  5. To ensure Germany's compliance, Allied forces captured and maintained a portion of German territory for 15 years.

The worst provision was the fine on Germany (point 4, above), which later on contributed to the rise of Hitler.

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