In what ways was the Treaty of Versailles designed to restrict Germany's ability to attack France?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, its very essence helped to ensure that Germany would not be able to attack anyone, including France.  The demand for astronomical reparations to be paid to nations in Europe was one such inclusion that made it very difficult for Germany to attack anyone.  The idea of Germany having to pay off this debt would have taken such a long time and would have exacted such a cost that it would be rather inconceivable for Germany to attack France, or any other nation.  France's own demand for the Saar Basin also helped to minimize the chance that Germany could rearm itself for an attack against other nations, as coal was important and vital to any war effort.  The consolidation of political and national power against Germany as a result of the Treaty also helped to ensure that there could be little opportunity to allow Germany to reload and launch any attack nations such as France.  Given how the demands of the Treaty were imposed upon Germany, it seems unlikely that Germany would have had the capacity to launch any sort of attack, and this became the primary motivation of nations like England and France in drafting the Treaty.

dcaplinger | Student

There were SEVERE limitations placed on the total size of military force that post WWI Germany was allowed to have/maintain.  For example, according to wikipedia:

  • German armed forces will number no more than 100,000 troops, and conscription will be abolished.
  • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
  • German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, six battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each), six cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each), 12 destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each) and 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each). No submarines are to be included.
  • The import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Poison gas, armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.
  • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
  • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns (e.g. the Maxim machine gun) and rifles (e.g. Gewehr 98 rifles).


Hope that helps!