The Treaty of Versailles
The Terms of the Treaty
1. War Guilt: This was simple but was seen by the Germans as extremely harsh. Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war.
2. Reparations: The major powers aggreed, withjout consulting Germany, that Germany had to pay Reparations tp the allies for the damage caused by the war. The exact figure was not agreed until 1921 when it was set at £6600 million. If the terms of the payments had not later been changed under the Young Plan in 1929, Germany would not have finished paying this bill until 1984.
3. German territories and colonies: Germany's overseas empire was taken away. It had been one of the main causes of bad relations between Britain and Germany before the war. Former German colonies became Mandates controlled by the Leagure of Nations, which effectively meant that France and Britain controlled them. Germany's European borders were very extensive, and the section dealing with former German territories was a complicated part of the Treaty. In addition to these changes, the Treaty also forbade Germany to join together with its former ally, Austria.
4. Germany's armed forces: The size and power of the German army was a major concern of all the powers, especially France. The Treaty therefore restricted German armed forces to a level well below what they had been before the war:
- The army was limited to 100,000 men.
- Conscription was banned.
- Germany was not allowed armoured vehicles, submarines or aircraft.
- The navy could only build six battleships.
- The Rhineland became a demilitarised zone. No German troops were allowed into that area. The Rhineland was important because it was the border area between Germany and France.
5. League of Nations: Previous methods of keeping peace had failed and so the League of Nations was set up as an international 'police force'. Germany was not invited to join the League until it had shown that it was a peace-loving country.