Explain why the 1919 Peace Settlement provoked so much opposition among the Germans.

With the surrender of Germany, the Great War came to an end. The hostilities ceased and peace efforts started in Europe. The Peace Conference was held at Paris in which the victor powers dictated the decided provisions of the Peace Treaties on the defeated nations. The Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany. As per this treaty:

  • Germany had to lose territory in Europe. The territories of Alsace-Lorraine were taken away by France. The area known as Saar which was rich in coal was put under League of Nations and France was allowed to use the coal mines. Rhine land was declared as demilitarised zone. The principle of Self-Determination was used selectively. The Non-German areas were given right to determine their future, the same right e=was not given to the Germans.
  • The African colonies of Germany were taken away and put under League of Nations.
  • Germany was not allowed to increase the number of army troops from 100000 and compulsory service was also removed.
  • The War Guilt clause fixed the responsibility and blame for the Great War on Germany.
  • Germany was made to pay 6600 million Pounds as the reparation of the damages done to the allied powers.
  • Germany was made to sign the treaty in the Hall of Mirrors where the German unification was proclaimed in 1871.

The provisions of this treaty and the manner it were imposed and made to sign were of deep national humiliation for Germany. This led to rise of Nazism. Thus, the opposition among Germans was due to several reasons. Firstly, it was a dictated peace because the German representative was not allowed to participate in the discussion and on the last moment they were called to sign the treaty. Secondly, the treaty was of revengeful nature. France made every possible effort to take the revenge of 1871. Third, loss of African colonies and territories in Europe; fourth military limitations imposed on Germany; and last but not the least – the Guilt Clause that blamed Germany for the outbreak of the war and Germany was made to pay reparation for the damages in huge amount.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Explain why the 1919 Peace Settlement provoked so much opposition among the Germans.

Published: March 19, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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