Revision Diary

Treaty of Versailles


Main terms of The Treaty of Versailles –

     territorial changes, military restrictions, war-guilt and reparations



Make sure that you know:

1.  the DETAILS of the Treaty of Versailles.

2.  WHAT they Germans felt about it

3.  The RESULTS/IMPORTANCE of the Treaty




The Treaty of Versailles


•   clause 231- Germany accepted blame ‘for causing all the loss and damage’ of the war.


•   army: 100,000

•   no submarines

•   no aeroplanes

•   6 battleships

•   Rhineland de-militarised


•   Conference couldn't decide - handed it over to a Commission of the LoN which reported in April 1921

•   £6,600 million – in instalments, until 1984


   lost land

•   Alsace-Lorraine to France

•   Saar to France (15 years)

•   Malmedy to Belgium

•   North Schleswig to Denmark

•   West Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland

•   Danzig a ‘free city’

•   Memel to Lithuania

•   In all, Germany lost 10% of its land, all its colonies, 12% of its population, 16% of its coalfields, half its iron and steel industry, most of its army and navy, all its airforce.


•   set up: first 26 articles of the Treaty (and of St Germain, Neuilly, Trianon) were the Covenant of the LoN


•   forbade Anschluss

•   Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania independent states.




How Germany felt about the Treaty


  Facts Effects


•   no part in the Conference talks

•   forced to sign

•   few of 14 Points in the Treaty.

•   based instead on Armistice

•   riots in Berlin

•   Deutsche Zeitung attacked ‘the disgraceful treaty’

•   Kapp Putsch (1920) to try to overturn the Treaty

•   led to the 'Stab-in-the-back' legend, and hatred of the 'November criminals' = Weimar government lacked support


•   ‘Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie’, said Count Brockdorff-Rantzau.

•   led Germany to publish all documents

•   Hindenburg denied it in 1927 = first successful challenge by Germany to ToV


•   Rhineland clearly unreasonable

•   France invaded in 1920 when Germany sent in troops to quell a riot

•   Germany could not defend itself against even small countries (whom they called the Dungervolker - Dung people).

•   gave moral force to Hitler's demands for the Rhineland/ rearmament


•   too big for the weakened Germany economy to pay

•   Germans said the allies were trying to starve their children.

•   needed Dawes Plan (nb Hungary and Austria also needed economic help)


   lost land

•   a humiliation

•   contrary to self-determination

•   took farm land (W Prussia) and industrial land (Saar).

•   made Germany economy too weak to pay reparations = problems in 1923

•   gave moral force to Hitler


•   an insult

•   treats Germany as an outcast nation


•   meant that Germany could not defend itself in the League of Nations.

•   meant that the 'November criminal' German politicians could not even say they had restored Germany to a place amongst the nations


•   forbidding Anschluss was against the principle of self-determination.

•   made nationalist German determined to achieve it

•   gave moral force to Hitler's demands for




Importance of the Treaty of Versailles


Big Three negotiated Versailles - it had all the authority of the Allies.   Other countries sent delegations to them = an IMPOSED treaty, not a negotiated treaty.

Outlined principles (self-determination/Guilt/Army reduced/Reparations/loss of land) - the treaties of St Germain, Neuilly and Trianon were designed by officials who simply copied the principles of Versailles.

League of Nations was set up by Versailles - set political agenda for next 20 years/ a force for peace/ forerunner of the United Nations of today

Major Powers - it said how GERMANY was to be treated. Drew the political map of Europe for the next 20 years.

Afterwards, Versailles led to Hitler and World War II:

•   Unfairness of Treaty outraged Germans (see above) and led them to hate the Weimar politicians ('November Criminals' who had 'stabbed the army in the back', and to support Hitler when he promised to overthrow it.

•   Severity of reparations caused 1923 crisis in Germany/ led to Dawes Plan.   Hitler could still get support by promising to stop paying them in 1933.

•   Unfairness of Treaty demoralised Britain and France and gave force to 'appeasers' who thought Hitler's claims were 'reasonable'

•   Failure of US to ratify/support it led to the failure of the LoN and peace.


Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



e-book on terms and German reaction

More on terms


See the BBC Bitesize interactive map


Online revision sheet  


Essays on the TermsGerman reaction and reparations



Check your learning:

Do the Self-test on ToV