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Treaty of Versailles

The peace settlement was drawn up at the end of a long and gruelling war (WW I) which cost over eight million lives and, according to one estimate, around 260 billion dollars - or to put it another way, over six times the sum of all the national debt accumulated in the entire world from the end of the 18th century to 1914.

When press reports about Wilson's Fourteen Points first reached Germany, the American peace programme was indignantly dismissed by conservatives as being a 'front for imperialistic conquest' and striking a note of victory which was 'hardly appropriate to Germany's unprecedented promising military situation' in early 1918.

'...after weeks of tortuous negotiations, a peace was finally hammered out and presented to the Germans...'
Discussions about possible peace terms were repeatedly interrupted by urgent political and military crises revolving around the renewal of the armistice with Germany, the threat of the spread of Bolshevism and continuing fighting in Eastern Europe. There was an assassination attempt on the French premier, Clemenceau.
Both Lloyd George and Wilson had to return home part-way through the conference to attend to urgent parliamentary business. Orlando of Italy stormed out in late April. But after weeks of tortuous negotiations, a peace was finally hammered out and presented to the Germans on 7 May.

It stripped Germany of over 13 per cent of its territory, much of which, in the shape of Alsace and Lorraine, was returned to France. It also reduced Germany's economic productivity by about 13 per cent and its population by ten per cent. Germany lost all of its colonies and large merchant vessels, 75 per cent of its iron ore deposits and 26 per cent of its coal and potash.

woodrow

Woodrow Wilson with the American Peace Commissioners

Germany was to pay substantial reparations for 'civilian damage', because it was held responsible, along with its allies, for causing the war with its heavy losses. However, a definite sum was not specified in the treaty, but would be decided upon after the conference by a specially-appointed Reparations Commission. In 1921, the sum of £6,000 million was set, but this was further reduced in subsequent years. Germany's army and navy were drastically cut in size, the army to 100,000 long-serving volunteers, and the country was forbidden to have an air force.
The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and the German Empire. After months of negotiations, which took place at the Paris Peace Conference, the treaty was signed as a follow-up to the armistice signed in November 1918 in the Compiègne Forest (which had put an end to the actual fighting). Although there were many provisions in the treaty, one of the more important and recognized ones required that Germany accept full responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231-247, make reparations to certain countries that had made up the Allies.

versailles Palace

The Palace of Versailles, where the treaty was signed.

Negotiations between the allied powers started on May 7, the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. Terms imposed by the treaty on Germany included losing a certain amount of its own territory to a number of surrounding countries, being stripped of all of its overseas and African colonies, and its ability to make war again was limited by restrictions on the size of its military.

Because Germany was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the German government issued a protest to what it considered to be unfair demands, and soon afterwards withdrew from the proceedings. Later a new German foreign minister, Hermann Müller, agreed to sign it on June 28, 1919.

The treaty was ratified by the League of Nations on January 10, 1920.

In Germany, the treaty caused shock and humiliation that contributed to the collapse of the Weimar Republic in 1933, particularly because many Germans did not believe that they should accept the sole responsibility of Germany and its allies for starting the war.

The "Big Four" that negotiated the treaty consisted of Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America.

Germany was not invited to France to discuss the treaty. At Versailles, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result was said to be a compromise that nobody liked.

Contents:

1 Conditions

1.1 Military

1.2 Reparations and the War Guilt Clause

1.3 France's Aims

1.4 Britain's Aims

1.5 Reaction to the Treaty

Conditions

The treaty had provided for the creation of the League of Nations, a major goal of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The League of Nations was intended to arbitrate international disputes and thereby avoid future wars. Only four of Wilson's Fourteen Points were realized, since Wilson was compelled to compromise with Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Orlando on some points in exchange for retaining approval of the "fourteenth point," the League of Nations.
The common view has been that France's Clemenceau was the most vigorous in his pursuit of revenge against Germany, the Western Front of the war having been fought chiefly on French soil. This treaty was felt to be unreasonable at the time because it was a peace dictated by the victors that put the full blame for the war on Germany. This was over-simplistic. Some modern historians, however, argue that this clause was reasonable in that it reflected the harsh terms Germany had negotiated with Russia with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Besides the loss of the German colonial empire the territories Germany lost were:

  • Alsace-Lorraine, the territories which were ceded to Germany in accordance with the Preliminaries of Peace signed at Versailles on February 26, 1871, and the Treaty of Frankfurt of May 10, 1871, were restored to French sovereignty without a plebiscite as from the date of the Armistice of November 11, 1918. (area 14 522 km², 1,815,000 inhabitants (1905)),
  • Northern Schleswig including the German-dominated towns of Tondern (Tønder), Apenrade, Sonderburg, Hadersleben and Lügum in Schleswig-Holstein, after the Schleswig Plebiscite, to Denmark (area 3 984 km², 163,600 inhabitants (1920)),
  • the Prussian provinces Posen and West Prussia, which Prussia had annexed in Partitions of Poland (1772-1795), were returned to the reborn Poland. This territory had already been liberated by local Polish population during the Great Poland Uprising of 1918-1919 (area 53 800 km², 4,224,000 inhabitants (1931)).
  • West Prussia was given to Poland to provide free access to the sea, along with a sizeable German minority, creating the Polish corridor.the Hlučínsko Hulczyn area of Upper Silesia to Czechoslovakia (area 316 or 333 km², 49,000 inhabitants),
  • the east part of Upper Silesia, to Poland (area 3 214 km², 965,000 inhabitants), although after plebiscite 60 % voted for Germany
  • the area of German cities Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium
  • the area of Soldau in East Prussia (railway station on the Warsaw-Gdańsk route) to Poland (area 492 km²),
  • the northern part of East Prussia as Memelland under control of France, later transferred to Lithuania without plebiscite.
  • from the eastern part of West Prussia and the southern part of East Prussia Warmia and Masuria, a small area to Poland,
  • the province of Saarland to be under the control of the League of Nations for 15 years, after that a plebiscite between France and Germany, to decide to which country it would belong. During this time the coal went to France.
  • the port of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) with the delta of Vistula river at the Baltic Sea was made the Freie Stadt Danzig (Free City of Danzig) under the League of Nations. (area 1 893 km², 408,000 inhabitants (1929)).

Article 156 of the treaty transferred German concessions in Shandong, China to Japan rather than returning sovereign authority to China. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations and a cultural movement known as the May Fourth Movement and influenced China not to sign the treaty. China declared the end of its war against Germany in September 1919 and signed a separate treaty with Germany in 1921.

Military

The German Army was to be restricted to 100,000 men, there were to be no tanks or heavy artillery and no German General Staff. The German Navy was restricted to 15,000 men and no submarines while the fleet was limited to six warships. Germany was not permitted an air force (Luftwaffe).
Finally, Germany was explicitly required to retain all enlisted men for 12 years and all officers for 25 years, so that only a limited number of men would receive new military training.

Reparations and the War Guilt Clause

In her book, Margaret Olwen MacMillan wrote that "from the start, France and Belgium argued that claims for direct damage should receive priority in any distribution of reparations. Belgium had been picked clean. In the heavily industrialized north of France, the Germans had shipped out what they wanted for their own use and destroyed much of the rest. Even as German forces were retreating in 1918, they found time to blow up France's most important coal mines." Article 231 of the Treaty (the 'war guilt' clause) held Germany solely responsible for all 'loss and damage' suffered by the Allies during the war and provided the basis for reparations. The total sum due was decided by an Inter-Allied Reparations Commission and was set at £6.6 Billion. This would have taken Germany till 1984 to pay.
The economic problems that the payments brought, and German resentment at their imposition, are usually cited as one of the more significant factors that led to the end of the Weimar Republic and the begining of the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, which eventually led to the outbreak of World War II. Some historians, such as Margaret Olwen MacMillan, have since disagreed with this assertion, originally popularised by John Maynard Keynes.
In 1921, Carl Melchior, a WWI soldier and German financier with M. M. Warburg & Co who became part of the German negotiating team, thought it advisable to accept an impossible reparations burden. Melchior said: "We can get through the first two or three years with the aid of foreign loans. By the end of that time foreign nations will have realized that these large payments can only be made by huge German exports and these exports will ruin the trade in England and America so that creditors themselves will come to us to request modification." (Quote from: Lord D'Abernon, An Ambassador of Peace, Vol. 1, p. 194.).
The 1924 Dawes Plan modified Germany's reparation payments. In 1930, the Young Plan reduced further payments to US $26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years. In addition, the Young Plan divided the annual payment, set at about US$473 million, into two components, one unconditional part equal to one third of the sum and a postponable part for the remaining two-thirds. However, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression resulted in the Allies instituting a moratorium for 1931–32 during which the Lausanne Conference voted to cancel reparations. By this time Germany had paid only one eighth of the sum required under the Treaty of Versailles. However, the Lausanne agreement was contingent upon the United States agreeing to also defer payment of the war debt owed them by the Western European governments. The plan ultimately failed because of the U.S. Congress refusal to go along but in fact no more reparations were paid by Germany.
On first glance, the reparations seem excessive. However, according to William R. Keylor in "Versailles and International Diplomacy", 'A relatively moderate increase in taxation and reduction in consumption in the Weimar Republic would have yielded the requisite export surplus to generate the foreign exchange needed to service the reparation debt.' In "American Reparations to Germany 1919-33", Stephen Schuker says that 'the Weimar Republic ended up paying no net reparations at all, employing the proceeds of American commercial loans to discharge its reparation liability before defaulting on its foreign obligations in the early thirties.'

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) reads in full:

"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.

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) is commonly known as the “Guilt Clause” or the "War Guilt Clause", in which Germany was forced to take complete responsibility for starting World War I. England and France played the primary role in the article, while the United States did not play as active a role, mostly due to President Woodrow Wilson's principle of "peace without victory".

Article 231 is the first article in Part VIII, "Reparations", and serves as a justification for the obligations put upon Germany in the remainder (Articles 233 through 247) of Part VIII.
Apart from "Article 231", there is no title for this article in the treaty itself. The names "Guilt Clause” and "War Guilt Clause" were assigned in later commentaries.

The aims of the victors

the victors

Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France, and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America

The Big Four had known even before they met that Germany was to be punished. France wanted Germany to be punished, Britain wanted a relatively strong, economically viable Germany as a counterweight to French dominance in Continental Europe, and the United States wanted a normal situation as quickly as possible, with financial compensation for its military expenditures and the destruction of the old empires.

The result of these competing and sometimes incompatible goals among the victors was a compromise that left nobody satisfied. Germany was neither crushed nor conciliated, which, in retrospect, did not bode well for the future of Germany, Europe or the world as a whole.

  • France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war (some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead; see World War I casualties), and much of the war had been fought on French soil. France wanted to be given control of many of Germany's factories. In wanting this, Clemenceau was representing the interests and opinions of a demanding French public.
  • Coal from the Ruhr industrial region was transported to France by train. French military had taken over towns in key locations such as Gau Algesheim, forcing homelessness upon its inhabitants. German railroad workers sabotaged coal shipments to France. Around 200 German railroad workers involved in sabotage were executed by French authorities.
  • Clemenceau's intentions were therefore simple: punitive reparations and Germany’s military to be not only weakened for the time being, but permanently weakened so as never to be able to invade France again. Clemenceau also wanted to symbolically destroy the old, militaristic Germany – something that could have been achieved by never allowing the pre-1914 politicians back into politics and by hanging the Kaiser (who had abdicated towards the end of the war and fled to the Netherlands). He also wanted to protect secret treaties and impose naval blockades around Germany; so that France could control trade imported to and exported goods from the defeated country.
  • Territorially, France felt that Germany should be punished. Obviously, she demanded the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, but also the demilitarisation of the Rhineland to act as a buffer zone against future attacks. Furthermore, Germany’s colonies should be taken from it and distributed between the victors. Clemenceau was the most radical member of the Big Four, and received the nickname "Le Tigre".
  • France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war (some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead; see World War I casualties), and much of the war had been fought on French soil. Much of the country was in ruins, with extensive damage to historic and important buildings and resources. George Clemenceau of France wanted reparations from Germany to rebuild the war-torn country. In all, approximately 750,000 houses and 23,000 factories had been destroyed, and money was demanded to pay for reconstruction. In 1871, France and Germany had also fought, with Germany recovering an area with a predominantly German-speaking population that had been annexed by France in the 17th century, Elsaß/Lothringen -Alsace-Lorraine. Clemenceau also wanted to guard against the possibility of an attack ever coming from Germany again, and demanded a demilitarisation of the Rhineland in Germany, and Allied troops to patrol the area. This was called a "territorial safety zone". They also wanted to drastically reduce the number of soldiers in the German army to a controllable point. As part of the reparations, France wanted to be given control of many of Germany's factories.
  • Not only did France want to punish Germany, it wanted to preserve its empire and colonies. While America put forward a belief in national or ethnic "self-determination", France and Britain were also strongly motivated by a desire to hold onto their empires. Clemenceau largely represented the people of France in that he (and many other Frenchmen) wanted revenge upon the German nation. Clemenceau also wanted to protect secret treaties and impose naval blockades around Germany, so that France could control trade imported to and exported from the defeated country. In effect, Clemenceau and many other French wanted to impose policies deliberately meant to cripple Germany militarily, politically, and economically. He was the most radical member of the Big Three, and received the nickname "Le Tigre" for this reason.

Britain's aims

  • Though Britain had not been invaded, many British soldiers died on the front line in France; so many people in Britain also wanted revenge. Prime Minister Lloyd George supported severe reparations, but to a lesser extent than the French. Lloyd George was aware that if the demands made by France were carried out, France could become extremely powerful in Central Europe, and a delicate balance could be unsettled. Although he wanted to ensure this didn't happen, he also wanted to make Germany pay. Lloyd George was also worried by Woodrow Wilson's proposal for "self-determination" and, like the French, wanted to preserve his own nation's empire. This position was part of the competition between two of the world's greatest empires, and their battle to preserve them. Like the French, Lloyd George also supported naval blockades and secret treaties.
  • It is often suggested that Lloyd George represented the middle ground between the idealistic Wilson and the vengeful Clemenceau. However, his position was a great deal more delicate than it first appears. The British public wanted to punish Germany in a similar fashion to the French for her apparent sole responsibility for the outbreak of the war, and had been promised such a treaty in the 1918 election that Lloyd George had won. There was also pressure from the Conservatives (who were part of the coalition government) demanding that Germany be punished severely in order to prevent such a war in the future as well as preserving Britain’s empire. Lloyd George did manage to increase the overall reparations payment and Britain’s share by demanding compensation for widows, orphans, and men left unable to work through injury. Also, he wanted to maintain and possibly increase Britain’s colonies, and both he and Clemenceau felt threatened by Wilson’s 'self-determination,' which they saw as a direct threat to their respective empires. Lastly, like Clemenceau, he supported upholding secret treaties and the idea of a naval blockade.
  • However, Lloyd George was aware of the potential trouble that could come from an embittered Germany, and he felt that a less harsh treaty that did not engender vengeance would be better at preserving peace in the long run. Another factor was that Germany was Britain’s second largest trade partner, and a reduced German economy due to reparations would lower Britain’s trade. Moreover, he (and Clemenceau) recognised that America’s status as an economic superpower would lead to the U.S. becoming a military superpower in the future, and subsequently, Wilson’s idealistic stance could not be laughed at if Britain and France were to remain on good terms with the United States. This helps to understand why the League of Nations, Wilson’s main idea (along with self-determination), was apparently jumped at by Britain and France when Wilson arrived at the peace conference. Furthermore, Britain wanted to maintain the 'Balance of Power' — no country within Europe being allowed to become a lot more powerful than the others. If France's wishes were carried out, then not only would Germany be crippled, but France would soon become the main superpower, and so disrupt the Balance of Power in two ways.

Lloyd George's aims can be summarized as follows:

  1. To defend British interests by preserving Britain’s naval supremacy that had been threatened by Germany in the run up to the war, maintaining Britain’s empire and possibly increased colonial expansion;
  2. To reduce Germany’s future military power and to obtain reparations,
  3. Not to create an embittered Germany that would seek revenge and threaten peace in the long term future; and lastly,
  4. To help Germany economically to become a strong trading partner with Britain.

Negotiations

Negotiations between the Allied powers started on January 18 in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles; in bitter irony the German Empire had been first proclaimed there 38 years earlier to the day following the remarkably brief Franco-Prussian war. Initially, 70 delegates of 26 nations participated in the negotiations. Having been defeated, Germany, Austria, and Hungary were excluded from the negotiations. Russia was also excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with Germany in 1917.
Until March 1919 the most important role for negotiating the extremely complex and difficult terms of the peace fell to the regular meetings of the "Council of Ten" (head of government and foreign minister) composed of the five major victors (the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan). As this unusual body proved too unwieldy and formal for effective decision-making, Japan and - for most of the remaining conference - the foreign ministers left the main meetings, so that only the "Big Four" remained. After Italy left the negotiations (only to return to sign in June) having her territorial claims to Fiume rejected, the final conditions were determined by the leaders of the "Big Three" nations: United States, France and Great Britain. The "Big Three" that negotiated the treaty consisted of Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America. The Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Orlando, played a minor part in the discussions. Germany was not invited to France to discuss the treaty. At Versailles, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result was an "unhappy compromise". Henry Kissinger called the treaty a "brittle compromise agreement between American utopism and European paranoia - too conditional to fulfill the dreams of the former, too tentative to alleviate the fears of the latter."

Reaction to the Treaty

The French felt hard done by, and subsequently voted out Clemenceau at the next election. Britain as a whole was at first content, but then felt that the Treaty was too harsh, and of particular concern were Germany’s eastern frontiers, which were seen as a potential trouble spot for the future. For the USA, it was seen as Europe’s problem but that overall, the Treaty was too harsh.
Territorial adjustments were made with the aim of grouping together ethnic minorities in their own states, free from the domination of once powerful empires, specifically the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Secret treaties were also to be discouraged, and Britain and France greeted a reduction in armaments by all nations with disapproval. This was supposed to reduce indirectly the ability of navies to create blockades.

The Big Three had known even before they met that they wanted to punish Germany. France wanted revenge, Britain wanted a relatively strong economically viable Germany as a counterweight to French dominance on Continental Europe, and the U.S. wanted to create a normal situation as quickly as possible, financial compensation for its military spendings as well as the destruction of the old empires.

The result was a compromise that left nobody satisfied. Germany was neither crushed nor conciliated, which did not bode well for the future of Germany, Europe and the world as a whole.
Implementing reparations also failed to achieve its punitive aims insofar as Germany profited from the treaty by neither repaying most of its foreign loans in the following decade nor completing her indemnity payments.

Henry Kissinger called the treaty a "brittle compromise agreement between American utopism and European paranoia - too conditional to fulfill the dreams of the former, too tentative to alleviate the fears of the latter."

The Treaty of Versailles did however cripple Germany's economy in the early 1920's and left it vulnerable to the equally devastating Great Depression of the early 1930's, which in turn paved the way for Nationalism to receive popular support. On National-Socialist Germany's rise to power, Adolf Hitler resolved to overturn the remaining military and territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. German military buildup began almost immediately, in direct defiance of the Treaty. "It was this treaty which caused a chain reaction leading to World War II" said historian Dan Rowling (1951).

More recently, however, a new point of view has gained currency (well-articulated by Gerhard Weinberg in his book A World at Arms) that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany and far more generous than she had a right to expect. Most important, according to this view, the Bismarckian Reich was maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany largely escaped post-war military occupation. (Mistakes that were not repeated following the Second World War.)
Indeed, a good case can be made that Germany was in a much superior strategic position in 1919 than she had been five years earlier. Instead of a growing and threatening Russian Empire allied with France on her eastern flank, Germany now faced a diplomatically isolated Russia that was embroiled in revolution and civil war. To the south, the large (though increasingly emfeebled) Austro-Hungarian monarchy had been replaced by a grouping of small, weak republics that were to prove easy prey for a revitalized Germany two decades later. Indeed, the ease with which Germany later shook off the treaty's restrictions argues strongly against its being the "Carthaginian peace" of John Maynard Keynes' formulation.

Initial rejection of the terms by Germany

On April 29, the German delegation under the leadership of the foreign minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff arrived in Versailles. On May 7, the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, the Germans finally received the peace conditions agreed upon the victors.

Because Germany was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the German government issued a protest to what it considered to be unfair demands, and soon afterwards withdrew from the proceedings.

A new German government accepts the treaty

On June 20 a new government under chancellor Gustav Bauer was installed in Germany after Philipp Scheidemann resigned. Germany finally agreed to the conditions with 237 vs. 138 votes on June 23.
On June 28, 1919 the new German foreign minister Hermann Müller and the minister of transport Johannes Bell agreed to sign the treaty, and it was ratified by the League of Nations on January 10, 1920.

 

Reaction in Germany

The treaty evoked an angry and hostile reception in Germany from the moment its contents were made known. The Germans were outraged and horrified at the result - since Wilson's idealistic fourteen points had painted the picture of a different outcome. They did not feel that they were responsible for starting the war nor did they feel as though they had lost. The German people had understood the negotiations at Versailles to be a peace conference and not a surrender. At first, the new government refused to ratify the agreement, and the German navy sank its own ships in protest.
Upon learning of the full terms of the treaty, the German provisional government in Weimar was thrown into upheaval. “What hand would not wither that binds itself and us in these fetters?” Scheidemann asked, and he resigned rather than accept the treaty. Army chief Paul von Hindenburg did the same, after declaring the army unable to resume the war under any circumstances. Only an ultimatum from the Allies finally brought a German delegation to Paris to sign the treaty on June 28, 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. The German leader, Ebert, eventually agreed to the agreement on June 28, 1919.

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists, and Jews were viewed with suspicion due to their supposed extra-national loyalties. It was rumored that they had not supported the war and had played a role in selling out Germany to its enemies. These November Criminals, or those who seemed to benefit from the newly formed Weimar Republic, were seen to have "stabbed them in the back" on the home front, by either criticizing German nationalism, instigating unrest and strikes in the critical military industries or profiteering. In essence the accusation was that the accused committed treason against the "benevolent and righteous" common cause.
These theories were given credence by the fact that when Germany surrendered in November 1918, its armies were still in French and Belgian territory. Not only had the German Army been in enemy territory the entire time on the Western Front, but on the Eastern Front, Germany had already won the war against Russia, concluded with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In the West, Germany had come close to winning the war with the Spring Offensive. Contributing to the Dolchstoßlegende, its failure was blamed on strikes in the arms industry at a critical moment of the offensive, leaving soldiers without an adequate supply of materiel. The strikes were seen to be instigated by treasonous elements, with the Jews taking most of the blame. This overlooked Germany's strategic position and ignored how the efforts of individuals were somewhat marginalized on the front, since the belligerents were engaged in a new kind of war. The industrialization of war had dehumanized the process, and made possible a new kind of defeat which the Germans suffered as a total war emerged.
Nevertheless, this social mythos of domestic betrayal resonated among its audience, and its claims would codify the basis for public support for the emerging National-socialist Party, under a racialist-based form of nationalism. The anti-Semitism was intensified by the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a Communist government which ruled the city of Munich for two weeks before being crushed by the Freikorps militia. Many of the Bavarian Soviet Republic's leaders were Jewish, a fact that allowed anti-Semitic propagandists to make the connection with "Communist treason".

 

See also: World War I | National Changes | British-German Enmity | French-German Enmity | Imperialistic Conflicts| Complicated Treaties| World War II casualties | Saint- Germain | Trianon | Kaiser Wilhelm II | Polish Corridor| revanchism | Anschluss | Wilson's fourteen points | German Revolution | Dolchstosslegende | European colonial powers | Dutch East Indies | war guilt | reparations | hyperinflation |   


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Created by:

Salauddine Mohammed Faruque on July 25,2007, last updated on 12.10.2007


 
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