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people were not happy with it. Some people felt that it was too harsh
and others felt that it was not harsh enough. There is evidence to
support both sides of this argument but I feel that
maybe we should have felt more sorry for Germany as they had to go
through a lot during the peace treaty process. But let’s not forget
that they could have been worse of if France and Georges Clemenceau
would have got their ways.
To most Germans, the treatment of Germany was not in keeping with
Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. For example, while self-rule was
given to countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,
German-speaking people were being divided by the terms forbidding
anschuluss (the speaking of German) with Austrians.
Some were also forced to go to new countries (like Czechoslovakia) to
be ruled by non-Germans. Germany felt more insulted by not being
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The term ‘war guilt’ was hated a lot by the German public. Germans had
felt that at the very least the blame should be shared. What had made
matters even worse, however, was that because Germany was forced to
accept blame for the war, it was also expected to pay for all the
damage caused by it during the war.
The German economy was already in a bad shape. People had very little
They feared reparations payments would cripple them and also might
produce a famine.
Allies demanding 6 billion pounds from Germany straight away seems a
little farfetched because even in today’s money this is an
astonishingly large amount. Still to this day the large sum of money
has not been paid.
The disarmament terms upset Germans. An army of 100,000 was very small
for a country of its size and the army was a symbol of German pride.
Despite Wilson’s Fourteen Points calling for disarmament, none of the
Allies disarmed to the extent that Germany had done in the 1920’s. For
instance they were only allowed 6 battle or naval ships, which for a
country bigger than England seem to be a very small amount.
Germany had indeed lost a lot of territory. This was a major brake
down to German pride and its economy. Both the Saar and Upper Silesia
were important industrial areas that were lost.
Meanwhile, as Germany was losing land, the British and French were
increasing their empire by taking control of German and Turkish
territories and settlements in Africa and the Middle East.
On balance I think that the treaty on Germany was by no means fair in
the series of terms pressed on them, but we should always remember
that it could have been worse. If Clemenceau would have gotten his way
Germany might have ceased to exist.