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Versailles -ooreenkoms - Geskiedenis

Versailles -ooreenkoms - Geskiedenis



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Versailles -ooreenkoms

Die verdrag van Versailles is op 28 Junie 1919 onderteken. Die Geallieerdes het vir vyf maande onderhandel oor die verdrag met onderhandelinge wat op 18 Januarie begin het, voordat hulle dit as 'n voldonge feit aan die Duitsers voorgelê het. Die verdrag was streng om die Duitsers te dwing om skadevergoeding te betaal en groot gebied prys te gee.



Ingevolge die wapenstilstand wat die geveg beëindig het, het Duitse troepe hulle teruggetrek uit die hele gebied wat hulle in België en Frankryk gehad het. Die Geallieerdes het ook die reg gehad om die Rynland te beset, wat hulle gedoen het. Die ooreenkoms was egter 'n skietstilstand en nie 'n vredesooreenkoms nie. So het die geallieerde leiers in Parys vergader om 'n vredesooreenkoms te beding. Die onderhandelinge was nie met die Duitser nie, maar eerder onder die Geallieerdes wat ietwat verskillende doelwitte gehad het.

Die Franse was die ergste deur die oorlog. Hulle myne was oorstroom, hul platteland was 'n groot slagveld, en hul jeug was vernietig, nadat hulle 1,3 miljoen mans verloor het, wat 25% van die mans tussen 20 en 30 jaar verteenwoordig. Hulle was ook die kwesbaarste in die geval van 'n ander oorlog ('n bekommernis wat beslis 20 jaar later waar was). Die Franse onder leiding van George Clemenceau wou drie dinge hê van 'n vredeskonferensie, geld om te herbou, 'n Duitsland wat te swak sou wees om weer aan te val en 'n bietjie wraak te neem. Die Britte onder leiding van David Lloyd George, wat nie naastenby soveel gely het as die Franse nie en wat Duitsland wou verswak, wou seker maak dat sy sterk genoeg was om 'n belangrike handelsvennoot met Engeland te bly. President Wilson wat die Amerikaanse afvaardiging gelei het, wou 'n vredesooreenkoms hê wat soveel as moontlik voldoen aan die 14 punte wat hy in sy toespraak uiteengesit het.

Gesprekke het op 18 Januarie 1919 begin. Aanvanklik het 70 afgevaardigdes uit 29 lande aan die onderhandelinge deelgeneem. Die werklike onderhandelinge het egter vinnig plaasgevind met die groot vier- die leiers van Frankryk, Engeland en die Verenigde State, en dan net met die drie groot. Die drie en vier mans het 145 keer ontmoet en onderhandel oor die verdrag wat die Duitser sou moes onderteken.

Dit het vyf maande geneem, maar teen Junie het die Geallieerdes die verdrag uitgewerk. Hulle eis toe dat die Duitser die ooreenkoms onderteken. Toe die Duitsers weier, dreig die Geallieerdes om die oorlog te hervat, 'n oorlog wat die Duitsers in geen toestand kon voer nie. Die Duitser het toegestem, en op 28 Junie 1919 is die Verdrag onderteken.

Ingevolge die verdrag is Duitsland gedwing om groot gebiede af te staan, waaronder Elsas-Lotharingen. Wes -Pruise is aan Pole gegee, en die Poolse "gang na die see" is geskep. Die Saar, 'n steenkoolryke streek, is 15 jaar lank onder Franse beheer geplaas, en die Rynland sou 15 jaar lank deur die Geallieerdes beset word en dan permanent gedemilitariseer word. Duitsland sou 'n leër van hoogstens 100 000 man, sonder lugmag en 'n vloot van 6 skepe onderhou. Duitsland is ook gedwing om vergoeding van 20 miljard mark te betaal. Laastens is die Volkebond gestig.

Die Vrede van Versailles het min ooreengestem met Wilson se "Veertien punte".


Shandong probleem

Die Shandong probleem of Shandong vraag [a] (vereenvoudigde Chinees: 山东 问题 tradisionele Chinees: 山東 問題 pinyin: Shāndōng wèntí , Japannees: 山東 問題, Santō mondai [1]) was 'n geskil oor artikel 156 van die Verdrag van Versailles in 1919, wat handel oor die toegewing van die Shandong -skiereiland. Dit is in 1922 in China se guns opgelos.

Tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog (1914–18) het China die Geallieerdes gesteun op voorwaarde dat die Kiautschou Bay Huurgebied op die Shandong -skiereiland, wat aan die Duitse Ryk behoort het, voor die besetting deur Japan in 1914, na China terugbesorg sou word. In 1915 het China egter onwillig ingestem tot dertien van Japan se oorspronklike een-en-twintig eise, wat onder meer erkenning gegee het aan die Japannese beheer van die voormalige Duitse besittings. Brittanje en Frankryk het Japan belowe dat hulle hierdie besit kan behou. Aan die einde van 1918 bevestig China die oordrag en aanvaar betalings uit Japan. Artikel 156 van die Verdrag van Versailles het die gebied van Kiautschou sowel as die regte, titels en voorregte wat uit hoofde van die Sino-Duitse verdrag van 1898 verkry is, aan die Keiserryk van Japan oorgedra eerder as om dit aan die Chinese administrasie terug te gee. [2]

Ondanks sy formele ooreenkoms met Japan in 1915 en 1918, het China die oordrag van Duitse besittings tydens die Vredeskonferensie in Parys in 1919, met die sterk steun van president Woodrow Wilson van die Verenigde State, aan die kaak gestel. Die Chinese ambassadeur in Frankryk, Wellington Koo, verklaar dat China nie meer Shandong, wat die geboorteplek was van Confucius, die grootste Chinese filosoof, kon prysgee as wat Christene Jerusalem kon toegee nie. Hy het die beloofde terugkeer van Shandong geëis, maar tevergeefs. Japan het die oorhand gekry. Chinese volksverontwaardiging oor artikel 156 het gelei tot betogings op 4 Mei 1919 en 'n kulturele beweging bekend as die vierde Mei -beweging. As gevolg hiervan het Wellington Koo geweier om die verdrag te onderteken.

Die VSA, wat deur alle Grootmoondhede geïsoleer was, het ingestem tot die Japanse, Britse en Franse eise. Die Chinese publiek het woedend geword oor die uiteindelike verdrag, die Chinese regering daarvan beskuldig dat dit uitverkoop is, en het teleurgesteld geraak oor die mislukte beloftes van Wilson. [3]

China se weiering om die Verdrag van Versailles te onderteken, het 'n aparte vredesverdrag met Duitsland in 1921 genoodsaak. Die geskil oor Shandong is in 1922 deur die Verenigde State bemiddel tydens die Washington Naval Conference. In 'n oorwinning vir China is die Japanse erfpag op Shandong in die nege-mag-verdrag aan China terugbesorg. Japan het egter sy ekonomiese oorheersing oor die spoorweg en die provinsie as geheel gehandhaaf. [4] Toe sy oorheersing in die provinsie bedreig word deur die voortgesette Noordelike Ekspedisie om China in 1927–1928 te verenig, het Japan 'n reeks militêre ingrypings geloods, wat uitgeloop het op die Jinan -voorvalskonflik met Chinese nasionalistiese soldate.


Die Volkebond

Terwyl die Britse en Franse amptelike beleid tradisionele territoriale en koloniale ambisies volg, gekombineer met waarborge vir militêre veiligheid en herstel van die verslane, is Amerikaanse vredesdoelwitte uitgedruk in president Woodrow Wilson se ideaal van selfbeskikking en sy veertien punte, wat eers voor Kongres in Januarie 1918 as die grondslag van 'n regverdige, duursame vrede. Dit bevat die nuwe konsep van '' 'n Algemene vereniging van nasies ... met die doel om wedersydse waarborge van politieke onafhanklikheid en territoriale integriteit aan groot en klein state te bied '. Duitsland het die veertien punte as 'n eerbare uitweg uit die oorlog beskou, en dit was dus sentraal in die geallieerde onderhandelinge in Parys, wat uiteindelik gelei het tot die verdrag wat aan die Duitsers voorgelê is, wat van die konferensie uitgesluit was. Die Amerikaanse president, wat persoonlik aan die hoof van die Amerikaanse afvaardiging was, het 'n leidende rol gespeel om sy bondgenote oor 'n gemeenskaplike teks te laat saamstem. Hy het dikwels as arbiter opgetree tussen hul mededingende eise en as moderator van hul territoriale en finansiële eise van Duitsland en sy bondgenote, hoewel die Britse premier, David Lloyd George, volgehou het dat hy die versoener was tussen Wilson, die naïewe idealis, en die Franse premier Georges Clemenceau, die snaakse realis.

Wilson se grootste persoonlike prestasie in hierdie opsig was die vroeë aanvaarding van sy vereniging van nasies deur Brittanje en Frankryk, wat huiwerig was om 'n stuk van hul soewereiniteit aan 'n internasionale organisasie af te staan, en die uitwerking daarvan in die Covenant of the League of Nations, wat vorm deel I van die verdrag. 'N Artikel daarin sluit effektief die moontlikheid uit van 'n lang oorlog tussen die ondertekenaars, laat staan ​​nog 'n wêreldoorlog, as die Europese groot moondhede, Japan en die Verenigde State dit sou volg:' Sou 'n lid van die Liga oorlog voer in miskenning van sy verbonde ... dit sal inderdaad geag word dat hy 'n oorlogshandeling teen alle lede van die Liga gepleeg het ... Dit is die plig van die Raad om in sulke gevalle aan die verskillende betrokke regerings aan te beveel watter effektiewe weermag, vloot, of lugmag, sal die lede van die bond afsonderlik bydra tot die weermag wat gebruik word om die verbonde van die bond te beskerm. " Die Franse was nog steeds nie daarvan oortuig dat dit hulle vir ewig beskerm teen hernieude aanval deur 'n demografies en ekonomies sterker Duitsland nie, en hulle dring aan op verdere waarborge vir militêre veiligheid van Brittanje en die Verenigde State, wat hulle mondeling in April verkry het. Aangesien die kwelvraag oor 'Duitsland laat betaal' later deur 'n herstellingskommissie beslis moes word, was die weg nou duidelik vir 'n skikking wat oënskynlik gebaseer was op Wilson se opvattings oor 'vrede tussen gelykes'. In teenstelling met die algemene oortuiging, afgelei van baie effektiewe Duitse propaganda, was daar in die bewoording (deur Amerikaners Norman Davis en John Foster Dulles) van artikel 231 geen sprake van oorlogsskuld as sodanig nie, wat in suiwer juridiese terme ingesluit was gee 'n regverdiging vir die vergoedings wat reeds in die klousules van die wapenstilstand voorsien is.


Die Verdrag van Versailles, 1919 28 Junie 1919

Na vier jaar van verwoestende gevegte, het die Eerste Wêreldoorlog in 1919 in Versailles tot 'n einde gekom. Die verdrag, wat 'vrede' vir sommige en 'n 'diktat' vir ander verteenwoordig, het ook die saad gesaai van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, wat twintig jaar later sou uitbreek.

Byna 'n halwe eeu na die afkondiging van die Duitse Ryk het die Franse president Clémenceau op 28 Junie 1919 wraak geneem toe die verslane Duitse afgevaardigdes die vredesverdrag in die Spieëlsaal onderteken het, op dieselfde plek waar Duitsland voorheen sy ryk verkondig het. Die Eerste Wêreldoorlog was verby. 'N Lodewyk XV -kantoor is in die middel van die saal onder die emblematiese skildery van Lodewyk XIV geplaas Die koning regeer self. Die sessie het 50 minute geduur. Die plegtige geleentheid, wat nie met dekor of musiek gevier is nie, is bygewoon deur 27 afvaardigings wat 32 magte verteenwoordig het. Die vier verteenwoordigers van die vernaamste bondgenote was aan tafel: Clémenceau vir Frankryk, Wilson vir die VSA, Lloyd George vir Groot -Brittanje en Orlando vir Italië. Die Duitse afvaardiging was saamgestel uit Müller, die minister van buitelandse sake, en 'n regsgeleerde, ene dokter Bell.

Versailles tydens die Groot Oorlog

Onderhandelinge was moeilik. Die verdrag is opgestel tydens 'n vredeskonferensie wat op 18 Januarie in Parys gehou is, maar Duitsland is buite die ooreenkoms gesluit, terwyl die Geallieerdes alleen daaroor gedebatteer het, sonder om onderling saam te stem: Frankryk wou die Duitse bedreiging definitief verwyder en die land verlam, Groot -Brittanje wou sy status behou, die VSA het gedroom van 'n vreedsame wêreld met die stigting van die Volkebond, en Italië wou die gebiede wat in 1915 belowe is, oorneem. Die verdrag is uiteindelik aan Duitsland op 7 Mei. Dit was baie hard. Die teenvoorstelle wat op die 29ste ingedien is, is almal verwerp. Duitsland wou nie teken nie. Op 17 Junie het die Geallieerdes Duitsland vyf dae gegee om te besluit of die oorlog hervat moet word. Duitsland het die 'diktat' aanvaar.

Dit kan nie ontken word dat die omstandighede ietwat drakonies was nie. Duitsland aanvaar die verantwoordelikheid vir die oorlog en verloor 68 000 km² grondgebied, waaronder Elsas en Lorraine, wat in 1870 geannekseer is, en 8 miljoen inwoners. 'N Gedeelte van Wes -Pruise is aan Pole gegee, wat toegang tot die see verkry het deur die beroemde "Poolse gang", en Duitsland het ingestem om die verpletterende som van 20 miljard goudmerke te betaal aan die herstelwerk wat Frankryk eis. Boonop verloor dit die grootste deel van sy erts- en landbouproduksie. Sy kolonies is gekonfiskeer en sy militêre krag is lam. Vernederd, het Duitsland wraak geneem. 'N Nuwe oorlog, wat almal gehoop het om te vermy, waai reeds op die horison, amper sodra die Duitse afvaardiging daaroor terugtrek.


BARON ROTHSCHILD

Op 2 November het Balfour 'n brief gestuur aan Lionel Walter Rothschild en die baas van die Rothschild -familie, 'n prominente Sionis en 'n vriend van Chaim Weizmann, waarin hy verklaar dat: “his Majesty ’s regering met guns die vestiging in Palestina van mening vir die Joodse volk, en sal hul bes doen om die bereiking van hierdie doel te vergemaklik, aangesien duidelik verstaan ​​word dat niks gedoen mag word wat die burgerlike en godsdienstige regte van bestaande nie-Joodse gemeenskappe in Palestina of die regte en politieke status wat Jode in enige ander land geniet. ”

Teen die tyd dat die verklaring 'n week later in Britse en internasionale koerante gepubliseer is, was een van die belangrikste doelwitte daarvan verouderd: Vladimir Lenin en die Bolsjewiste het die mag in Rusland verkry, en een van hul eerste optrede was om 'n onmiddellike wapenstilstand te vra. .

Rusland was uit die oorlog, en geen oortuiging van Sionistiese Jode wat, ondanks die oortuiging van Brittanje in die teenoorgestelde, relatief min invloed in Rusland gehad het nie, kon die uitkoms nie verander nie.


Het die vredesverdrag van Versailles nog 'n wêreldoorlog veroorsaak?

'N Eeu gelede het die Vredeskonferensie in Parys 'n einde gemaak aan die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Maar was die gevolglike Verdrag van Versailles - wat op 28 Junie 1919 in Frankryk onderteken is en op 10 Januarie 1920 in werking getree het - so hard teen die Duitse volk dat dit 'n tweede wêreldwye konflik gewaarborg het? Professor David Reynolds ondersoek hier in watter mate die vredesverdrag tot die Tweede Wêreldoorlog bygedra het.

Hierdie kompetisie is nou gesluit

Gepubliseer: 7 Januarie 2020 om 11:00

Twee trillende Duitse afgevaardigdes het die lengte van die Spieëlsaal in die Paleis van Versailles geloop om een ​​van die beroemdste, selfs berugte, verdrae in die geskiedenis te onderteken. 'Die stilte is skrikwekkend', het die Britse diplomaat Harold Nicolson in sy dagboek geskryf. 'Hulle hou hul oë weg van die 2 000 starende oë ... Hulle is dodelik bleek.' Die Vredeskonferensie in Parys het op 18 Januarie 1919 in Louis XIV se groot paleis geopen. Die onderhandelinge is op baie plekke in die Franse hoofstad gevoer en die resultaat was nie minder nie as vyf verdrae - vernoem na verskillende voorstede in Parys - elk met een van die verslane sentrale moondhede. Maar die belangrikste hiervan was die Verdrag van Versailles met Duitsland, wat op 28 Junie 1919 in die Spieëlsaal onderteken is.

Vir Frankryk was die wraak soet. “Une belle journée, ”Het Georges Clemenceau, die Franse premier, tranerig verklaar. Hy het aan die vergadering gesê: 'Ons is hier om 'n vredesverdrag te onderteken.' Beide die tydsberekening en die plek is noukeurig deur die Franse bereken. Die aanvangsdatum, 18 Januarie, was die herdenking van die dag in 1871 toe Wilhelm I as keiser van die nuwe Duitse Ryk in die Spieëlsaal uitgeroep is. Dit was 'n doelbewuste daad van politieke teater deur sy kanselier, graaf Otto von Bismarck, om Franse neuse te vryf in die agteruitgang van hul nederlaag in die Frans-Pruisiese Oorlog. En so, na die oorwinning in die Groot Oorlog, het die Franse hul kans gegun om die vernedering met rente terug te betaal, en formeel die Ryk se laaste rituele toe te dien op die plek waar dit gebore is.

Maar byna sodra die ink droog was, het deelnemers en kommentators die uitspraak van Clemenceau bespreek. Was Versailles 'n vredesverdrag? Of het dit die weg gebaan vir nog 'n groot oorlog? Was die oorwinningsmagte in Parys 'vredemakers' - of eintlik 'warmmakers'?

Die mees gevierde aanklag is gelewer deur die jong ekonoom John Maynard Keynes, 'n ontnugterde lid van die Britse afvaardiging in Parys. Sy topverkoper polemiek, Die ekonomiese gevolge van die vrede, wat in Desember 1919 gepubliseer is, het die verdrag aan die kaak gestel as 'n 'Kartago -vrede' (die term wat voortspruit uit die totale onderwerping wat Kartago deur Rome opgelê is), met 'n 'beleid om Duitsland tot 'n geslag tot diensbaarheid te bring' en sodoende 'verval van die hele beskaafde lewe van Europa ”.

In 1961, in 'n ewe gevierde boek, Die oorsprong van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, het die Britse historikus AJP Taylor beweer dat "die vrede van Versailles van meet af aan morele geldigheid ontbreek" en beweer dat "die eerste oorlog die tweede verklaar en dit eintlik veroorsaak het, in soverre een gebeurtenis 'n ander veroorsaak". Op dieselfde manier het die Amerikaanse diplomaat en historikus George Kennan in 1984 reguit gesê dat die Tweede Wêreldoorlog die gevolg is van "die baie dom en vernederende straf wat Duitsland opgelê is".

In die poging om die argument uit te pak dat die vredemakers - doelbewus of nie - die saad van toekomstige konflik gesaai het, moet ons eers onthou dat die lot van Duitsland nie die enigste kwessie op hul agenda was nie. Die hele kaart van Europa is deur oorlog en revolusie verskeur en vier groot dinastiese ryke - die Romanofs, Habsburgers, Hohenzollerns en Ottomane - wat eeue lank oor die middel en ooste van die kontinent geheers het, platgeslaan. Uit die puin het nasionalistiese politici en hul leërs reeds nuwe state, soos Tsjeggo -Slowakye, geskep en ou state soos Pole opgewek. Die konferensie in Parys was dus 'n poging om die gemors op te ruim: die vredemakers het nie met 'n leë leisteen begin nie.

Die drie geallieerde magte van een verstand was ook nie. Clemenceau en die Franse was obsessief daarop ingestel om Duitsland te beheer, wie se bevolking 50 persent groter was as dié van Frankryk en wie se ekonomie in 1913 die mees gevorderde in Europa was. Die Britse premier, David Lloyd George, was egter van mening dat die Duitse ekonomie noodsaaklik was vir die herstel van Europa, hoewel hy graag uit Duitsland wou herstel. Hy was bang dat 'n te straf vrede 'n wraak op wraak sal voed en die verspreiding van Bolsjewisme oor die hele vasteland sal aanmoedig. Die Amerikaanse president Woodrow Wilson was meer los van Europese besonderhede: sy verterende ambisie was om 'n Volkebond te stig om vrede en veiligheid te waarborg.

Die gevolglike vredesverdrag was dus 'n morsige kompromie tussen die drie groot. Die Franse het Elsas en Lorraine herwin, wat in 1871 afgestaan ​​het na 'n nederlaag teen Pruise, maar mag nie die Rynland vir ewig annekseer nie. In plaas daarvan bied Brittanje en Amerika 'n gesamentlike waarborg vir die Franse veiligheid as Duitsland weer aanval. Wilson het sy Volkebond gekry, maar op voorwaardes blyk dit die vooruitsig van onbeperkte verpligtinge om die vrede te behou, oop te maak sonder om genoegsame mag daarvoor te hê.

Pole is herontdek as 'n staat na meer as 'n eeu se skeiding tussen Duitsland, Rusland en Oostenryk - maar die herlewing daarvan is bitterlik in Berlyn gegrief, nie die minste vir die 'Poolse gang' wat die nuwe staat ten koste van die Oossee toegang gegee het nie van die skeiding van Wes- en Oos -Pruise. Die Britte het gewaarsku teen Duitse herlewing, maar te midde van sterk Frans-Amerikaanse steun aan Poolse eise, kon hulle die situasie slegs versag deur van Danzig (nou Gdańsk in Pole), wat toe grotendeels Duits was, 'n 'vrye stad' te maak. 'eerder as 'n deel van Pole.

Kompromie was nie net die gevolg van geskille tussen die voorste oorwinningsmagte nie. Dit weerspieël ook die feit dat die Geallieerdes nie so sterk geplaas was as wat dit gelyk het nie. Trouens, wat die Franse ook al gehoop het, 1919 was nie voldoende wraak vir 1871 nie. Om die tafels opreg te draai, sou 'n verdrag in Duitsland in sy eie historiese hart, by Sanssouci of 'n ander van die paleise van Frederik die Grote, in Potsdam op die buitewyke van Berlyn. Tog was dit onmoontlik in 1919 omdat Duitsland nie binnegeval, verower en beset was nie. Die wapenstilstand was dus vir miljoene Duitsers onbegryplik. Hulle het 'n maklike prooi geword vir diegene aan die regterkant, soos Adolf Hitler, wat die skuld gegee het aan 'n verraderlike 'steek in die rug' deur pasifiste, Bolsjewiste en veral Jode. Vir hierdie Duitse regses was 1918 nie 'n nederlaag nie, maar eintlik 'n verswakte oorwinning wat verlos moes word: daarom het marskalk Ferdinand Foch donker voorspel dat Versailles nie 'n vrede was nie, maar slegs 'n wapenstilstand vir 20 jaar.

Die feit dat die Geallieerdes in 1919 'n Verdrag van Versailles aan Duitsland opgelê het, nie 'n Verdrag van Potsdam nie, beklemtoon egter die onvolledigheid van hul oorwinning. Dit het al te duidelik geword toe die VSA, wie se ekonomiese sterkte en mannekrag van kardinale belang was om die Duitse wil om te veg in 1918, teruggetrek het van hul oorlogsbetrokkenheid in Europa. Onwillig om 'n kompromie aan te gaan, het Wilson nie die nodige meerderheid van twee derdes in die senaat gekry om die ratifikasie van die Verdrag van Versailles te verseker nie. Aangesien hy die Liga en die Anglo-Amerikaanse waarborg van Franse veiligheid aan die verdrag gekoppel het, het die Amerikaners ook daarvan afgesien. Die Britte was nie van plan om Frankryk self te onderskryf nie, dus het die waarborg verval, wat die Franse meer blootgestel en daarom onversetliker laat.

Dit bring ons terug na Keynes en die Karthagiese vrede. Was dit herstelwerk wat Duitsers werklik verbitter het en hul ekonomie verbreek het? Geen presiese wetsontwerp is in Parys vasgestel nie: die Verdrag van Versailles het eenvoudig die beginsel vasgestel dat Duitsland en sy bondgenote verantwoordelik was vir die skade wat hul aggressiewe oorlog veroorsaak het (artikel 231), terwyl in artikel 232 ook erken word dat hul hulpbronne nie voldoende was om 'volledige herstel' doen. Soortgelyke balanseerstellings is in al die verdrae met die verslane moondhede ingevoeg, maar slegs die Duitsers (om propaganda -redes) het die herstelkwessie as 'n geallieerde toerekening van 'oorlogsskuld' voorgestel - 'n frase wat nooit in die verdrag gebruik is nie.

In 1921 het 'n geallieerde kommissievergadering 'n skedule opgestel van die vergoedingsbetalings vir Duitsland van 132 miljard goudmerke, of ongeveer $ 33 miljard, plus rente. Hierdie drakoniese hoofsom was egter grootliks vensterversiering om Franse en Britse hardliners tevrede te stel. In die praktyk was die bedrag wat die Geallieerdes wou opneem ongeveer 50 miljard mark oor 36 jaar, wat nog steeds 'n groot bedrag gelyk het.

Histories gesien, was die vergoedingsrekening egter die jongste ronde in 'n Frans-Duitse tietmes. Toe Franse beleidmakers herstel in 1919 oorweeg het, het hulle die bepalings van die Verdrag van Frankfurt in 1871 in gedagte gehou wat Bismarck Frankryk opgelê het ná sy verwoestende nederlaag. Hy het op sy beurt teruggekyk na Napoleon se behandeling van Pruise in die Verdrag van Tilsit in 1807. Die Londense betalingsplan van 1921 het hoogstens 'n jaarlikse las van ongeveer 8 persent van die Duitse nasionale inkomste opgelê - minder as die 9-16 per sent wat Frankryk jaarliks ​​na 1871 in vergoeding betaal het. Die wetsontwerp, meen die meeste ekonomiese historici, was dus finansieel nie ondraaglik nie.

Die eintlike kwessie was polities. Die Duitsers het nie nederlaag aanvaar nie en was nie van plan om te betaal nie. Vir die Franse was die onttrekking van skadevergoeding 'n wanhopige poging om 'n ekonomiese plaasvervanger te kry vir die beslissende oorwinning wat die Geallieerdes in 1918 nie op die slagveld kon behaal nie. die voortsetting van die oorlog op ander maniere ”.

Opeenvolgende Weimar -regerings het baie moeite gedoen om te verhoed dat hulle hul normale paaiemente betaal. In die vroeë twintigerjare het die ministerie van ekonomie aansienlike hoeveelhede buitelandse valuta gekoop om die waarde van die Duitse mark te verlaag en die uitvoer van die Duitse mark meer mededingend te maak. Volgens 'n belangrike ekonomiese adviseur sou 'n uitvoeropbloei 'die handel met Engeland en Amerika verwoes, sodat die skuldeisers self na ons toe kom om die wysiging van 1921 te vereis'.

'Die doel van ons hele beleid moet die aftakeling van die Londense ultimatum wees', het die Duitse kanselier, Joseph Wirth, in 1922 aangevoer. die land se fiskale probleme was nie onstuitbaar nie en daar kon geld gevind word vir herstelwerk - as Duitsers dit wou vind.

Om hierdie begrotingstekort te dek, beteken dat geld gedruk word, wat inflasie aangewakker het, maar die magnaat Hugo Stinnes het vir 'n groot deel van die Duitse elite gepraat toe hy in 1922 volgehou het dat 'die keuse tussen inflasie en revolusie was'. Dit was, het hy gesê, ''n kwessie van u geld of u lewe'. Tog veroorsaak inflasie 'n ander revolusie. Vanaf die herfs van 1922 het prysstygings tot hiperinflasie gelei op 'n skaal wat ergens anders in Europa dwerg.

Duitsland het sy vergoedingsbetalings in gebreke gebly, so in Januarie 1923 het die Franse en die Belge, volgens die beginsel van oorlog op ander maniere, troepe gestuur om die Ruhr, die industriële hart van Duitsland, te beset en met geweld geweld te herstel. Spontane plaaslike protesoptogte het toegeneem tot 'n veldtog van passiewe verset wat deur die Duitse regering gesubsidieer is, wat oor die hele land versprei het.

Teen die tyd dat 'n nuwe koalisie onder leiding van Gustav Stresemann passiewe weerstand opgehou het, was die geldeenheid vernietig en was die Ruhr op die rand van hongersnood. In Januarie 1914 het dit 'n dekade later 4,2 punte gekos om 'n Amerikaanse dollar te koop, die nominale wisselkoers was 4,2 biljoen mark ('n toevoeging van 12 nulle). Gedurende 1923 het daaglikse werknemers hul lone in mandjies of kruiwaens ingesamel en dit dikwels onmiddellik gebruik om rekeninge te betaal en goedere te koop omdat die banknote letterlik uur vir uur waarde verloor het. Wat die land van die rand af teruggetrek het, was finansiële ingryping deur bankiers in Londen en New York. In 1924 het hulle fondse verskaf om 'n nuwe Duitse geldeenheid te ondersteun (die nou waardelose Papiermark in die oorlog word vervang deur die Reichsmark) en het hulle gehelp om herstelbetalings op 'n laer vlak te herstruktureer, ondersteun deur 'n internasionale lening. Hierdie pakket staan ​​bekend as die Dawes -plan, en bewys nie net van die energieke voorsitterskap van Charles Dawes, 'n bankier in Chicago nie, maar ook van die leidende rol wat Amerikaanse finansies speel. Onder hierdie skikking het die Duitsers die Franse uit die Ruhr gehaal, terwyl Frankryk weer begin herstel het van Duitsland.

Gedurende die twintigerjare het Amerikaanse beleggers vasgevang geraak in die Duitse ekonomie: die Dawes -lening, wat in Oktober 1924 deur 'n landwye sindikaat van 400 banke en 800 verbandhuise aangewend is, het 'n vloed van Amerikaanse beleggings veroorsaak, gevolg deur Britse en ander leners. Tussen 1924 en 1930 het Duitsland byna drie keer geleen wat hy in vergoeding betaal het. Die res van die geld is belê in Duitse sake (Ford en General Motors het albei verskeie motorfabrieke gekoop), in aandele en munisipale effekte - uitgereik om te betaal vir woonstelle, skole en ander geriewe. Kortom, buitelandse lenings is in die vroeë 1920's op dieselfde manier as waardevermindering gebruik - om die vergoedingslas te omseil en groei te subsidieer.

Maar net soos waardevermindering uiteindelik tot hiperinflasie gelei het, het skuldafhanklikheid katastrofies geword toe Amerikaanse lenings ná die Wall Street -ineenstorting van 1929 afgeskakel het, wat die bankstelsel destabiliseer net toe die Duitse ekonomie in 'n resessie was. Teen 1932 was die industriële produksie slegs 60 persent van die 1929 -syfer en 'n derde van die arbeidsmag was werkloos. Miljoene meer het verlaagde lone en 'n groot deel van die bankstelsel het uitmekaar geval. As gevolg van die depressie van Duitsland, die ernstigste in Europa in die vroeë 1930's, het die daaglikse bestaan ​​vir die tweede keer in minder as 'n dekade 'n nagmerrie geword.

Dit is geen verrassing dat baie Duitsers gereed was om hulle tot 'n nasionalistiese messias te wend nie. Tydens die verkiesing van September 1930 het die Nazi -party 18 persent van die stemme gewen en oornag die tweede grootste party in die Reichstag geword. 'Ek sal sorg dat die pryse stabiel bly,' beweer Hitler bombasties. 'Dit is waarvoor my stormtroopers bedoel is.' Daar is "geen twyfel nie", merk historikus Jürgen von Kruedener op, "dat die opkoms van Hitler ondenkbaar sou gewees het sonder die katastrofiese gevolge van die depressie".

Die vredemakers het baie foute begaan, maar dit het nie die volgende oorlog veroorsaak nie. Die Verdrag van Versailles was 'n kompromiedokument en het gevolglik tussen twee ontlasting geval, wat Duitsland vervreem sonder om dit te dwing. Dit was ook afhanklik van Amerikaanse betrokkenheid in Europa, wat na 1919 teruggekeer het-sodat die VSA nie daarin kon slaag om die verdrag te bekragtig, by die liga aan te sluit of die Anglo-Amerikaanse waarborg vir Franse veiligheid wat in Parys so belangrik was, te eerbiedig nie.

Die hoofprobleem was dat Duitsland nie omvattend op die slagveld verslaan is nie. Terwyl sy troepe steeds 'n front in Frankryk en België gehou het toe die wapenstilstand onderteken is, was sy mense vatbaar vir argumente van regs dat hulle tuis deur verraaiers beroof is. Dit was in die praktyk en in beginsel so erg dat herstelwerk so erg was dat opeenvolgende Weimar -regerings ekonomiese stabiliteit in gevaar stel om te voorkom dat hulle hoef te betaal. En toe Hitler aan die bewind gekom het, het die entoesiasme vir sy veldtog om die 'Diktat' van Versailles op te skerp, miljoene Duitsers verblind vir die ware aard van sy regime.

Geen wonder dat, toe die Geallieerdes die volgende wêreldoorlog geveg het, hulle aangedring het op die "onvoorwaardelike oorgawe van Duitsland", die hele land beset en hul oorwinningskonferensie in Potsdam gehou het. Daar sou nie nog 'n Verdrag van Versailles wees nie.

Professor David Reynolds is professor in internasionale geskiedenis aan die Universiteit van Cambridge. Sy mees onlangse boek, saam met Vladimir Pechatnov, is Die Kremlin -briewe: Stalin se korrespondensie in die oorlog met Churchill en Roosevelt (YUP, 2018).


Joodse geskiedenis

Aangesien die strydende leërs van Europa volkome uitputting nader, het president Woodrow Wilson op Januarie 1918 die wat die leer van die veertien punte genoem is, uitgespreek. Dit was 14 stellings waarop die wêreld na die oorlog gebou moes word.

Brittanje en Frankryk, wat die meeste gevegte en 'n groot deel van die bloeding uitgevoer het, was jammer vir Wilson se voorstel. Hulle het die Verenigde State nodig gehad, wat op 6 April 1917 by die Geallieerdes by die Geallieerdes aangesluit het om te besef dat hulle nie die oorlog kon wen sonder vars Amerikaanse troepe nie. Maar hulle was jammer dat Wilson die vrymoedigheid gehad het om 'n verdrag aan te gaan sonder hul oorleg. Hulle was self ook baie kwaad vir baie van die veertien punte.

Afskaffing van kolonialisme

Een van die veertien punte het byvoorbeeld in werklikheid te doen gehad met die afskaffing van kolonialisme. Alhoewel dit idealisties wonderlik klink om alle ryke te beëindig, was dit realisties diep ontsteld deur die koloniale moondhede. Een van die dinge waaroor die oorlog gegaan het, was die stryd om ryk. Engeland was nie op die punt om die Britse Ryk af te breek nie, en Frankryk wou ook nie sy kolonies prysgee nie.

Wat hulle onder die afskaffing van kolonies verstaan ​​het, was die afskaffing van Duits kolonies dat die kolonies Brits en Frans moet word (wat gebeur het). Wilson bedoel egter glad nie koloniale ryke nie.

Ten spyte van teenkanting, het die veertien punte 'n responsiewe koord getref onder die massas in koloniale lande wêreldwyd. Hulle het skielik hoop dat hulle nou hul onafhanklikheid gaan kry. When the post-war world would prove unable and unwilling to grant its wishes revolutions broke out, the repercussions of which are still echoing today.

Another of the Fourteen Points, the one that the Jewish people were most interested in, was a reference to the fact that ethnic minorities would have a right to independence and self-government. The Jews read it as an endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish national home in Palestine. Although a less-than-resounding endorsement, this was one of the reasons that Jews were nevertheless strong backers of the Fourteen Points.

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

Wilson had publicized his Fourteen Points during the war, and the Germans would have been well advised to accept them. However, they did not. They were bringing their army from the eastern front to the western one to mount a last ditch final offensive. There were Germans who felt the war could still be won.

After the offensive failed in October 1918, the Kaiser abdicated and the German government that took over sent a message to President Woodrow Wilson that they accepted the Fourteen Points, and wanted an armistice based on them. They intentionally directed their message to Wilson, not the leadership in France and England. Wilson wrote back to Germany that he would propose the matter to the Allies. He did so, but they never answered Wilson they felt it was an affront.

Finally, as the war turned very severely against the German army the Germans proposed — directly to the French — an armistice. When this armistice came to be on November 11, 1918 – “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” — written into the agreement was a vague statement that the Fourteen Points would govern the peace treaty that would later be signed. But it was a document subject to many interpretations and it certainly was not binding. However, the German army was in no condition to hold out and demand more than just this vague reference.

The hostilities ceased and a meeting was convened in January 1919 for the peace treaty. However, the Allies met by themselves without Germany present.

This peace conference took place in the magnificent French palace at Versailles, which is why it would be called the Versailles Treaty. The main negotiators of the treaty were Wilson, on behalf of the United States, Orlando on behalf of Italy, Clemenceau for France (also known as “the Little Tiger”), and David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister. Wilson would suffer a stroke while at Versailles, from which he would never recover.

His stroke had a fateful effect upon world history, because he was not able to campaign for his ideas or impose his will. In the end, the United States withdrew from the matter and entered a period of isolation from Europe. In the retrospect of history, the United States could have made the difference — economically, militarily and diplomatically – in restoring a stable Europe. Instead they left Europe to its own devices – which turned in World War Two after a break of two decades.

The British Mandate

The Treaty of Versailles established of the League of Nations, which was the precursor of the United Nations. Basically, it was meant to be a Parliament of all the sovereign nations of the world. They would get together and settle all matters by debate, arbitration, etc.

It was a marvelous idea, but it turned into a symbol of the futility of the world instead of a symbol of the hope of the world.

Despite that, the League of Nations played an important part in Jewish history in that it was given control over what were called “mandates.” There was a mandating committee whose purpose was to take away colonies from the defeated powers – Germany, Austria, the Ottoman Empire – and distribute them among the conquering powers – England, France, Belgium, Italy and to a certain extent the United States.

In order not to violate Wilson’s principle against colonialism it could not just be given away. Rather the League of Nations said that Palestine was not ready for independence. Therefore, it was given to England as a mandate, which was like a guardianship of a temporary nature. The goal was to eventually give the colony independence.

The most important thing, as far as the Jewish people were concerned, was that the mandate was given to England. If the mandate would have been given to France they could have completely ignored it. However, by giving it to England it raised the hopes of the Zionists and hopes of the Jewish people generally to soaring heights. There was never greater optimism among the Jewish people for the formation of the Jewish state by peaceful means as that existed from about 1920 to 1925.

Creating the Potential for WWII

Another major point about the Versailles Treaty was German reparations. A commission was established to set the amount to be paid, how it was going to be paid and who was going to get it.

The war had destroyed Germany’s economy. It had financed a war that was far beyond its ability to maintain. They had over $100 billion in debt by the end of the war independent of any reparations. The Versailles Treaty would force them to pay $22 billion, which by itself might have been manageable. However, when added to the $100 billion of debt incurred from war spending there was no way they could pay it.

The result was raging inflation in which the German currency and economy completed collapsed. In many respects that helped spell the doom of its post-war democratic government, the Weimar Republic, and allowed the likes of Hitler to fill the vacuum.

On top of the material suffering, Russia exported communism to Germany, and gained a very large and serious following. When we discuss the rise of the Nazis we will see that in the eyes of many the choice was between communism and Hitler. When Hitler came to power he killed or put into concentration camps all the communists he could. Those who survived either fled or turned into fascists. The same people who had marched for the red flag marched now for the swastika. The German needed to be subservient to something. In this case, they transferred their loyalties to a dictator rather than an idea.

Included in the reparations was that Germany had to relinquish great tracts of valuable territory. The fertile, soil-rich provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were given back to France. Germany had taken them away in 1871. Germany also had to give up the Saar Basin, which one of the largest coal producing areas in Europe. It was governed by the League of Nations, not France, but France got the coal.

Germany had to give up a large portion of Silesia to Poland, including what later came to be called the Polish Corridor, which was a strip of land that gave Poland access to the Baltic Sea. One of the promises Wilson had made was that an independent Poland would not be land-locked. The port they chose to give it was a German port, Danzig. Even though the majority of the corridor was Polish, Danzig was almost an entirely German city. Danzig was declared an international city – a city that belonged to no one and was governed by the League of Nations. In effect, this gave Poland access to its port. When Hitler came to power he made it a bone of contention.

The Versailles Treaty also stipulated that the eastern side of the Rhine up to a depth of 50 kilometers – the Rhineland – would be demilitarized. Germany could not maintain any forts, trenches, conduct military maneuvers or even station armed forces there. The demilitarization of the Rhineland was meant to guarantee that Germany could not mount another offensive against France. We will see that Hitler abrogated that for his cause as well.

A lot of Unhappy Customers

The Treaty of Versailles essentially made everyone angry and satisfied no one. The Germans were angry because they felt it was a deviation from the Fourteen Points and unfairly penalized them for the whole war. Even moderate Germans, such as those who represented the democratic Weimar Republic, resented it. It became a stigma. Those who signed it were marked for death – and many of them were assassinated by right-wing army officers. In post-war Germany, any political party had as the first and most important plank in its platform some statement that it would abrogate the Treaty of Versailles.

England and France felt the opposite. They thought it was too lenient it let the Germans off too easily. Instead of collecting $200 billion they settled for $38 billion, which was reduced to $22 billion. They should have taken more territory away. They should have brought Germany to its knees.

Clemenceau was a war hero and ran for President of France. His election should have been like Eisenhower’s, who later ran for the president of the United States and easily won. But Clemenceau lost the election because the French considered the treaty too lenient.

The same was true in England, where Lloyd George fell from power eventually. People resented it. And it is understandable, because when you are talking about 20 million war casualties, where every family felt it, people were out for revenge.

In short, the Treaty of Versailles not only failed to solve the problems that caused the war but ensured their perpetuation, and even created new problems.

As for the Jews, the result of the war was a tremendous uprooting and destabilization of communities, but the part of the treaty that created a mandate for the British to govern Palestine raised hopes as they had never risen before. Rabbi Kook characterized the First World War by saying, “The result of the war is that God is going to give Palestine back to the Jews.”


Army – was to be reduced to 100,000 men and no tanks were allowed
Navy – Germany was only allowed 6 ships and no submarines
Airforce – Germany was not allowed an airforce
Rhineland – The Rhineland area was to be kept free of German military personnel and weapons

Anschluss – Germany was not allowed to unite with Austria.
Land – Germany lost land to a number of other countries. Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France, Eupen and Malmedy were given to Belgium, North Schleswig was given to Denmark. Land was also taken from Germany and given to Czechoslovakia and Poland. The League of Nations took control of Germany’s colonies

This map shows the areas that Germany lost following the Treaty of Versailles


Learn about the history of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the German's resentment for the treaty paving the way for the next war

NARRATOR: In early 1919, the victors of the Great War meet in Versailles near Paris to negotiate a peace treaty. After four years of war, they hope to decide the future of Europe and of the defeated Germany. The winners expect reparations never again should a war begin on German soil. The French Prime Minister, Clemenceau, formulates this warning most strongly.

MAURICE BOURGEOIS: "The Germans had wanted the war, they were defeated, and had to pay for it. That's the way it goes. And they have paid. As the saying goes, 'Woe to the vanquished.' We wanted revenge, and we got it."

NARRATOR: For several months, the delegates remain in Versailles, the legendary palace of King Louis XIV. The losers are summoned only to sign the peace treaty in the Hall of Mirrors. The Germans have no choice. They must accept the tough conditions. The Rhineland will remain occupied by French troops. Germany must substantially disarm, and make financial reparations. Furthermore, weapons, raw materials, and freight trains of goods are transported out of the country. One-seventh of the German Empire is partitioned. In the west, Alsace-Lorraine. In the east, Posen, West Prussia, and parts of Silesia. The greatest blow is the assignment of sole war guilt to Germany. The agreement results in angry protests.

ALFRED GROSSER: "In financial terms, the conditions were far less severe than those imposed on France by Bismarck in 1871. But the disastrous paragraph in the Versailles Treaty was the question of guilt, that it could be assigned to one party alone."

NARRATOR: The vast majority of Germans see the treaty as a disgraceful peace.

HEINZ HÖFFLING: "At school, our history teacher told us 'You and your children will suffer if you are to pay off these war debts. You will pay up to your deaths and beyond.'"

NARRATOR: Years later, it became clear that the economic blood-letting had hit Germany less hard than had been feared. But the feeling of humiliation lingered. Even among the victors there are critics of the Versailles Peace, also in France.

MAURICE COUVE DE MURVILLE: "Versailles opened the gates for the next war. It was clear that the Germans could not accept this agreement for all eternity. There was reason to fear that it would end badly."

NARRATOR: The treaty established safety rather than forging a lasting peace.


The Treaty of Versailles

Drafted in Paris and signed in June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles brought World War I to its formal conclusion. The Treaty of Versailles remained a contentious issue through the life of the republic. Right-wing nationalist groups despised it as an unfair and oppressive diktat, designed to crush and humiliate Germany. Centrist and left-wing groups showed no affection or loyalty to the Versailles treaty but they understood resistance to it was both pointless and dangerous for the German people.

Agtergrond

Convened almost immediately after the November 1918 armistice, the Paris peace conferences had a complex array of issues to consider.

Delegates to these conferences examined pre-war territorial disputes and attempted to resolve them by re-drawing Europe’s borders. They considered and evaluated movements for independence and self-determination, establishing several new sovereign nations.

They finalised the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Treaty of Saint-Germain (signed September 1919), the composition of eastern Europe in the Treaty of Neuilly (November 1919) and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Sevres (August 1920).

The most pressing issue in Paris, however, was what should be done about Germany.

Wilson’s Fourteen Points

One long-standing peace proposal was the Fourteen Point plan, advanced during the war by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States.

Wilson’s Fourteen Points had been on the table for almost a year, first unveiled in a speech in January 1918. It called for a reduction in armaments in all nations, the lifting of economic barriers, an end to secretive and disruptive alliances and freedom on the high seas.

Wilson’s plan also proposed measures for international negotiation and dispute resolution, facilitated by a newly formed League of Nations.

The Fourteen Points contained no specific punitive measures against Germany, other than the return of captured French and Belgian territory. For this reason, it became popular with the anti-war movement within Germany in the final months of the war.

In 1918, Wilson’s proposal was cited and praised both in the Reichstagand by the Kiel mutineers. The German government’s final decision to surrender was partly based on a belief that Wilson’s Fourteen Points would form the basis of a post-war treaty.

Allied disagreements

Wilson’s plan was not widely supported in France or Britain, however, where attitudes towards Germany were much less conciliatory.

The prevailing attitude in Paris and London was that Germany had been chiefly, if not entirely responsible for the outbreak of the war. For that, many argued, Germany should be held accountable and punished.

These Allied states also called for a reduction in Germany’s ability to make war by dismantling or reducing her military and industrial sectors. The push to castrate Germany’s military capacity came chiefly from the French, who had the most to fear from its eastern neighbour.

At the Paris negotiations, French prime minister Georges Clemenceau argued forcefully for punitive and restrictive measures against Germany. Clemenceau wanted to send Germany’s economy backwards, from a first-world industrial nation into a weak cluster of provinces concerned with agricultural production and small-scale manufacturing.

A punitive treaty

The Treaty of Versailles came to reflect much more of Clemenceau’s punitive approach than Wilson’s conciliatory one. Among its main terms and conditions:

  • Germany lost substantial amounts of territory. She was stripped of all overseas colonies and forced to surrender large amounts of European territory, including some of significant strategic or industrial value. Alsace and Lorraine were returned to France, while other areas were surrendered to Belgium, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
  • The Rhineland, an area of German territory bordering France, was ordered to be demilitarised, as a means of protecting the French border. Another German border region, the Saarland, was occupied and administered by France.
  • Germany was banned from entering into any political union or confederation with Austria.
  • The German Reichswehr (army) was restricted in size. It could contain no more than 100,000 men and it was forbidden from using conscription to fill its ranks. There were also restrictions on the size and composition of its officer class.
  • The German military was subject to other restrictions and prohibitions. Naval vessels were restricted in tonnage while bans were imposed on the production or acquisition of tanks, heavy artillery, chemical weapons, aircraft, airships and submarines.
  • The treaty’s Article 231 (the ‘war guilt clause’) determined that Germany was single-handedly responsible for initiating the war, thus providing a legal basis for the payment of war reparations to the Allies.

German delegates react

The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were formulated without the input of Germany, whose delegates were not permitted to attend the peace negotiations. In May 1919, a German contingent was finally invited to Paris. After being kept waiting for several days, they were presented with the draft treaty.

The German foreign minister, Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, addressed those at Versailles quite candidly. Brockdorff-Rantzau told them that while his country was prepared to make amends for wartime excesses, the premise that Germany was alone in starting the war or exceeding the rules of war was baseless:

“We are ready to admit that unjust things have been done. We have not come here to diminish the responsibility of the men who have waged war politically and economically or to deny that breaches of the law of nations have been committed… But the measure of guilt of all those who have taken part can be established only by an impartial inquiry, a neutral commission before which all the principals in the tragedy can be allowed to speak, and to which all archives are open. We have asked for such an inquiry and we ask for it once more…

In their hearts, the German people will resign themselves to a hard lot if the bases of peace are mutually agreed on and not destroyed. A peace which cannot be defended before the world as a peace of justice will always invite new resistance. No one could sign it with a clear conscience, for it could not be carried out. No one could venture to guarantee its execution, though this obligation is required by the signing of the treaty.”

German national unity

When news of the treaty reached Germany, it generated a firestorm of public anger. There were few moments of consensus and national unity in Weimar Germany but the response to the Treaty of Versailles was one of them.

Germans had expected a fair and even-handed agreement based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Instead, they were handed what they called the “Versailles diktat” – a treaty not negotiated between equals but forced on a war-ravaged and starving people at the point of a gun.

Erich Ludendorff considered the treaty the work of Jews, bankers and plotting socialists. Gustav Stresemann described it as a “moral, political and economic death sentence”. “We will be destroyed,” said Walther Rathenau.

In the Weimar Reichstag, delegates from all political parties except the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) rose to condemn the Versailles treaty and the conduct of the Allies. Almost every newspaper in Germany slammed the treaty and screamed for the government to reject it.

To ratify or not ratify?

For two tense months, the Weimar government debated the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. The issue brought about the demise of Philipp Scheidemann, the Weimar Republic’s first chancellor. Scheidemann resigned rather than ratify the treaty, which he called a “murderous plan”.

President Friedrich Ebert was also opposed to the Versailles treaty. In June, he contacted military commanders and asked whether the army could defend the nation if the government refused to sign the treaty and the Allies resumed the war. Both Paul von Hindenburg and Wilhelm Groener advised the Reichstag that the army lacked material and munitions and could not withstand an Allied offensive or invasion of Germany.

Any refusal to comply with Versailles would also prolong the Allied food blockade. This blockade, which was still being maintained in June 1919, was contributing to thousands of civilian deaths from starvation.

The Treaty accepted

Confronted with this advice, the Reichstag had no alternative but to submit to the Allies. Germany’s delegates signed the treaty on June 28th 1919. It was ratified by the Weimar National Assembly almost a fortnight later (July 9th), passing 209 votes to 116.

For the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and other moderates, acceptance of the Versailles treaty was a necessary measure. It was done reluctantly to prevent more war and bloodshed, an Allied invasion of Germany and the possible dissolution of the German state. Some hoped the terms of the treaty could be renegotiated and relaxed later.

Those in the military and the far right, however, saw it as yet another betrayal. “Today German honour is dragged to the grave. Never forget it!” screamed one nationalist newspaper. “The German people will advance again to regain their pride. We will have our revenge for the shame of 1919!”

Conspiracists on the nationalist right claimed the ratification as more evidence of destructive forces at work in Germany’s civilian government. It was the work of the same “November criminals” who had signed the 1918 armistice.

The Treaty of Versailles – or, more specifically, the question of how Germany should respond to it – would contribute to political divisions for the life of the Weimar Republic.

1. The Treaty of Versailles, drafted in 1919, formally concluded hostilities between the Allies and Germany.

2. Germany was not a party to treaty negotiations but was handed peace terms in May 1919, inviting protest.

3. The treaty was widely opposed within Germany, the government briefly considered refusing to sign and ratify.

4. Faced with a resumption of the war and an Allied invasion, the Weimar government reluctantly ordered the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and organised its ratification by the Reichstag.

5. This acceptance of the treaty outraged nationalist groups, who considered it another example of the Dolchstosselegende. Versailles and its harsh terms contributed to more than a decade of political division in the Weimar Republic.

Citation information
Titel: “The Treaty of Versailles”
Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson
Publisher: Alpha History
URL: https://alphahistory.com/weimarrepublic/treaty-of-versailles/
Date published: September 23, 2019
Date accessed: Today’s date
Copyright: The content on this page may not be republished without our express permission. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use.


The palace

The original residence was primarily a hunting lodge and private retreat for Louis XIII (reigned 1610–43) and his family. In 1624 the king entrusted Jacques Lemercier with the construction of a château on the site. Its walls are preserved today as the exterior facade overlooking the Marble Court.

Under the guidance of Louis XIV (reigned 1643–1715), the residence was transformed (1661–1710) into an immense and extravagant complex surrounded by stylized French and English gardens. Every detail of its construction was intended to glorify the king. The additions were designed by such renowned architects as Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Robert de Cotte, and Louis Le Vau. Charles Le Brun oversaw the interior decoration. Landscape artist André Le Nôtre created symmetrical French gardens that included ornate fountains with “magically” still water, expressing the power of humanity—and, specifically, the king—over nature.

To the east of the palace is the Place d’Armes, a wide plaza that in the 21st century served mainly as a parking lot to accommodate the thousands of tourists who visited Versailles each day. In the centre of the Place d’Armes, facing the Avenue de Paris, is a bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV. Originally located at the apex of the Court of Honour, the statue was relocated to the Place d’Armes in 2009 after an extensive restoration. To the west is the Gate of Honour, a gilded iron gate and stone balustrade that marks the main entrance to the palace complex. Beyond that lies the broad expanse of the Court of Honour, bounded on the north and south by the Ministers’ Wings, outbuildings constructed in the 1680s to house the king’s secretaries of state.

The Royal Gate, an elaborate gold leaf gate, separates the Court of Honour from the Royal Court at the location where the Louis XIV statue once stood. Unveiled in 2008, the Royal Gate partially re-creates a gate that was designed by Hardouin-Mansart in the 1680s and was destroyed during the French Revolution. Some art historians criticized the Royal Gate as a modern interpretation of the original rather than a true restoration, but it served an undeniably valuable role in directing visitor traffic. Flanking the Royal Court to the south is the Dufour Pavilion, while the Gabriel Pavilion lies to the north. Both areas were extensively remodeled in the 21st century to serve as visitor reception centres. Beyond the Royal Court is the Marble Court, so named for the distinctive black and white marble tiles that adorn the terrace floor. Dozens of marble busts, depicting Roman deities and emperors, adorn the facades overlooking the court, and the central buildings of the palace complex rise around it.

The ground floor of the central building was reserved for key members of the royal family. Located there are the apartments of the dauphin, the dauphine, and the daughters of Louis XV. The private apartments of the queen, Marie-Antoinette, and the living quarters of the captain of the guard are also found on the ground floor. The first floor of the central building houses the lavish apartments of the king and queen as well as numerous salons for entertaining guests and members of court. The Bull’s-Eye Salon, named for its distinctive oval window, was the anteroom where courtiers waited until the king rose. It leads to the bedroom in which Louis XIV died and that Louis XV occupied from 1722 to 1738.

Perhaps the most-famous room in the palace is the Hall of Mirrors (1678–89). The gallery extends more than 230 feet (70 metres) and is characterized by 17 wide arcaded mirrors opposite 17 windows that overlook the gardens below. Glass chandeliers adorn the arched, ornately painted ceiling, upon which Le Brun depicted a series of 30 scenes glorifying the early years of the reign of Louis XIV. Gilded statues and reliefs border its marble walls. The hall is flanked on opposite ends by the equally striking Salon of Peace and Salon of War.

In the north wing, the palace chapel rises above the rest of the grounds. It was begun by Hardouin-Mansart in 1699 and was his last important work. The chapel was completed by de Cotte in 1710, and it hosted daily masses as well as royal weddings and baptisms until 1789. The north wing also contains galleries, salons, and apartments. At the far north end of the wing is the Opéra Royal, built under Louis XV by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. It was first used on May 16, 1770, for the marriage of the dauphin (later Louis XVI) and Marie-Antoinette. The theatre was the site of a lavish banquet for royal guardsmen on October 2, 1789, and the pro-monarchy excesses on display were reported—and likely exaggerated—by the Revolutionary press. Three days later the so-called “women’s march” on Versailles would force Louis XVI to relocate to Paris and spell the end of the palace as a royal residence. The Opéra Royal hosted the National Assembly from 1871 until the proclamation of the Third Republic in 1875, and the Senate met there from March 8, 1876, until the legislature returned to Paris in 1879.

The south wing was nicknamed “the princes’ wing,” as the princes du sang (“princes of the blood”) were given quarters there. That area underwent extensive remodeling in the post-Revolutionary period, and the ground floor is now dominated by the Hall of Congress, where the Chamber of Deputies met from 1876 to 1879. The first floor is almost entirely occupied by the Battles Gallery, which was designed by architects Frédéric Nepveu and Pierre-Léonard Fontaine and was unveiled in June 1837. It traces the military history of France from the reign of Clovis I to Napoleon. Dozens of paintings depict key battles, and the hall contains more than 80 busts of celebrated military leaders.


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