With reference to origin and purpose, discuss the value and limitations of the source below for historians studying the Treaty of Versailles?  Source C The Treaty of Versailles, 1919, in Documents...

With reference to origin and purpose, discuss the value and limitations of the source below for historians studying the Treaty of Versailles?

 

Source C

The Treaty of Versailles, 1919, in Documents on World History, John Wroughton and Denys Cook, London, 1976.

Article 42.Germany is forbidden to maintain or construct any fortifications either on the left bank of the Rhine or on the right bank to the west of a line drawn fifty kilometers to the east of the Rhine.
Article 231. The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.....Germany undertakes that she will make compensation for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allied and Associated Powers and to their property.

Asked on by rak64

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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When studying historical documents, primary sources are always better.  This is the exact text for two small parts of the Treaty of Versailles.  The value of the information provided is that it makes very clear what the Allies intended for postwar Germany in demilitarizing the Rhineland and demanding war reparations.  One can also infer that this showed a fear, at least among the French, that future attacks were possible and so a demilitarized zone was deemed necessary.

Assuming this is the full document from the collection mentioned above, one limitation is that it is very selective, printing only two articles from a very long and detailed treaty (and one can infer how long it must be given that there are at least 231 articles, judging by the numbered articles included).  This means there is no context, or surrounding information from the treaty by which we might draw more accurate conclusions.

Since this is a British collection of documents, we can consider the source as a bit biased.  Even though the text is word for word from the treaty, and is therefore a primary source, the very limited and specific selection of these two articles perhaps shows a British or pro-Allied bias.

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