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What were the political effects of The Treaty of Versailles on Germany?

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The Versailles Treaty was horrible for Germany. The Germans at the signer's table actually expected to be treated fairly. Germany had replaced the Kaiser. Wilson's rhetoric also led the Germans to believe that they would have peace without losing honor. Germany was forced to take on guilt for the war—a war that Germany did not start. Germany was also forced to pay reparations to the Allies for years. Germany had to give up its navy and air force as well as drastically reduce the size of its army. Germany also gave Alsace and Lorraine back to France, though these territories were not gained between 1914 and 1918. The German treaty signers were horrified, but they signed anyway. If they did not sign, the Allies were willing to renew the war. Germans were already starving, since the Allies maintained their blockade between November 1918 and early 1919 during the armistice period. The treaty signers would ultimately be killed by German nationalists who felt betrayed. The Weimar Republic would be weak in the time between the wars, and Hitler would ultimately usurp its power by 1933.

All of these punishment clauses would ultimately lead to financial ruin for Germany. Germany took out extensive loans from the United States in order to pay for the reparations. Germany printed a great deal of money and therefore devalued its currency, thus hurting the average German. Germany also lost a great deal of its workforce and industrial capacity during the war. All of this would ultimately lead to the rise of Hitler less than fifteen years after the end of World War I. He claimed to represent the German soldiers who were the pride of the nation—photographs of Hitler often show him in military uniform. Hitler promised to get revenge on the Allies and put Germans back to work. He also promised to punish the Jews and Communists whom he claimed sabotaged Germany during World War I. Hitler annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia in order to reunite German speakers with the mother country. He did this despite the wishes of the people living in those areas. World War II officially started in September 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland. The main political effect of the Versailles Treaty was the onset of the Second World War in 1939.

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The Treaty of Versailles ended World War I and had profound effects on the country of Germany. Because of this treaty, Germany would enter a severe recession, which provided fertile ground for the rise of fascism and the forces of Hilter’s Nazi Party.

By 1918 Germany had been beaten back behind their original borders. Instead of allow an allied invasion to push them back farther, they surrendered, and the four victorious allied powers hammered out a peace treaty known as the Treat of Versailles. The terms of this treaty were harsh and led to significant political changes for the country.

In the treaty, Germany was declared solely responsible for the war and forced to pay huge sums of money in reparations for the damage. This bankrupted the country and undermined the power of the ruling Weihmar Republic. Germany’s army was also significantly reduced in size, which made maintaining order in the postwar power struggle that was Germany even more difficult.  

As a result of the treaty, Germany’s government was unable to rule effectively, emboldening political parties like the Communist and National Socialist Workers Party or Nazi’s as they were known. These groups usurped the power of the government, resulting in near anarchy in Germany for years as a new order tried to establish itself.

Eventually, the Nazi party was able to gain enough support to get their leader, Adolph Hitler, appointed to the Chancellorship. From there, he used Nazi party thugs to remove his political enemies from power and eventually established a totalitarian state. Without the Treaty of Versailles, this may not have ever happened.    

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