Why did the Treaty of Versailles punish Germany?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Versailles Treaty punished Germany. Even though Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia leading to the start of World War I, Germany received the harshest punishment. The Allies believed Germany was in a position to stop the war from occurring but chose not to do so.

Before Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Austria-Hungary asked Germany if Germany would support Austria-Hungary if they declared war on Serbia. Since Germany and Austria-Hungary had an alliance, Austria-Hungary believed Germany would support them. However, if Germany had said they wouldn’t have supported Austria-Hungary, it is possible Austria-Hungary wouldn’t have declared war on Serbia. Austria-Hungary knew Serbia and Russia were allies, and Austria-Hungary was concerned Russia would protect Serbia in case a war began. The Allies believed Germany could have taken the necessary step to keep the war from beginning. Because they chose not to do this, they were severely punished by the terms of the Versailles Treaty.

Germany also inflicted much damage on the Allied countries in World War I. The Allied nations suffered a great deal of destruction because of their fighting against Germany in the war. This also contributed to the harsh treaty being imposed on Germany.

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