First World War (1914-1918) = The Great War = The War to End all Wars = Total War Long Term Causes: [animal]

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The terms of the treaties

Here are the main provisions of each treaty - showing 1) terms of disarmament, 2) amount of reparation, 3) land lost, 4) new countries formed - starting with the Treaty of Versailles.  

Germany: Treaty of Versailles (28 June 1919)  

  • 100,000 soldiers, six battleships, no air force

  • 132 billion gold marks to be paid in reparations

  • Posen, Polish corridor, Alsace-Lorraine, all colonies

  • Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania

Afterwards: The Dawes and Young Plans re-scheduled Germany's payments.  
Austria: Treaty of Saint Germain (10 Sept 1919)  

  • 30,000 volunteers, no navy

  • reparations agreed, but never set

  • the Austro-Hungarian empire was dismantled, Tyrol lost to Italy

  • Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania

Afterwards: Austria went bankrupt before the amount of reparations could be set.  

Hungary: Treaty of Trianon (4 June 1920)  

  • 35,000 volunteers, three patrol boats

  • 200 million gold crowns

  • The Austro-Hungarian empire was dismantled - Hungary losses 2/3 of its territory

  • Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania

Afterwards: Hungary could not pay the reparations, so its payments were suspended.  
Bulgaria: Treaty of Neuilly (27 Nov 1919)  

  • 20,000 volunteers, four torpedo boats, no air force

  • 2.25 billion francs

  • Land to Yugoslavia, Romania and Greece

  • n/a

Afterwards: Bulgaria paid its reparations.  
Turkey: Treaty of Sèvres (10 Aug 1920)  

  • 50,000 soldiers, seven sailboats and six torpedo boats

  • None

  • Smyrna and East Thrace to Greece, Rhodes to Italy

  • Kurdistan, Armenia, Hejaz (Arabia). Iraq and Palestine became British mandates. Syria became a French mandate





League of Nations

Hated it


Hated it

Hated it

Guilt Clause

Hated it



Hated it

German army reduced

Hated it

Hated it


Hated it


Hated it

Hated it


Hated it

German lost land

Hated it

Hated it

Hated it

Hated it

Opinions of Versailles


The Germans hated everything about the treaty:  

  1. They were angry that they had not been allowed to negotiate.

  2. 'Deutsche Zeitung', a German newspaper, vowed: "We will never stop until we win back what we deserve."

  3. Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, leader of the German delegation at Versailles said Article 231- the war-guilt clause - was: "a lie". Germany officially denied the war-guilt clause in 1927.

  4. There was a revolution (the Kapp Putsch) against the treaty in Berlin in 1920.

  5. Germany hated reparations. It had to be made to pay in 1921, defaulted in 1923 and eventually Hitler refused to pay altogether.

  6. Germany had hoped for a softer punishment as it had thought the treaty would have taken in much more of Wilson's Fourteen Points

  7. Did not think it was fair to have to accept responsibility for the start of the First World War

  8. Did not like the fact that it was forced to sign the treaty without any negotiations of the terms

  9. It disagreed with the reparations and especially the territorial losses

  10. It was also angered by the exclusion from the principle of self-determination

  11. The German population was angered by the treaty and wanted to see it revoked


Britain gained some German colonies and the German navy was destroyed but:  

  1. Lloyd George thought the treaty was too harsh, saying: "We shall have to fight another war again in 25 years time."

  2. The British diplomat Harold Nicolson called it: "neither just nor wise" and the people who made it: "stupid".

  3. The economist John Maynard Keynes prophesied that reparations would ruin the economy of Europe.


France got Alsace-Lorraine, German colonies, harsh reparations and a tiny German army but:  

  1. Many French people wanted an independent, not a demilitarized, Rhineland.

  2. Most French people did not think the League of Nations would protect them against Germany.


Woodrow Wilson got the League of Nations, and new nation-states were set up in Eastern Europe but:  

  1. Wilson thought the treaty was far too harsh.

  2. Self-determination proved impossible to implement - neither Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia survived as united countries.

  3. Many Americans did not want to get involved in Europe, and in 1920 the American Senate refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, or join the League of Nations.

Criticisms of the Settlement:

  • Didn’t respect the 14 Point Program:

  • Germany was not present

  • Britain did not give up right of search (for ships)

  • Tariff barriers increased (against free trade)

  • No multilateral disarmament

  • G.B. and France gained colonies

  • The Allies intervened in Russia

  • The Italian frontiers’ issue was not fixed

  • Self-determination was not applied

  • Resentment in Germany at having to pay reparations

  • Divisions amongst the allies over reparations

  • Didn’t respect Self-determination

  • It was economic and strategic factors which influenced the establishments of frontiers/countries

  • The ‘War guilt’ clause

  • Created German resentment against the Versailles Settlement.

  • Were the allies entitled to the reparations they demanded?

Long term criticisms:

  • Treaties were completed in haste

  • Procedural difficulties (views of allies on how to deal with matters differed)

  • The treaties were on the whole a compromise btw differing views

  • The treaties assumed the allies would remain united

  • The USSR was excluded (this weakened the settlement)

  • It broke up A.H.

  • Created rivalries in the Balkans

  • Prevented economic cooperation in the newly formed states

  • The balance of power in Europe was disturbed

  • The league did not function as had been hoped

  • The changes brought by the settlement were incomplete.

Economic Consequences of WW1 and Reparations

  • There was a massive direct cost to all nations involved in WWI

  • The opportunity cost of all the resources used to destructive ends

  • There was a change in the financial center of the world (from Europe and G.B. to the USA) since European nations became debtor nations

  • A fall in European living standards (European countries had to cut down on imports)

  • Increase in USA’s economic strength

  • Decrease in international trade (lack of a stable currency)

  • Worldwide markets shrunk

  • Established trade patterns were disrupted

  • Intense hatred between the two sides meant that is was (in the short term) impossible to reestablish previous trading patterns.

  • Few saw beyond the short term, therefore most politicians sought revenge, and not the recovery of the defeated states (this was also the result of popular opinion)

The Reparations Problem:

  • Division amongst the allies on this topic

  • The Germans did not believe such reparations could ever be paid (especially with its post-war losses)

  • Countries relied on reparations to finance reconstruction and the delaying of reparation payments meant the delaying of the reconstruction process

Evaluation of Reparations:

  • Could Germany afford them?

    • Keynes criticized reparations. He later admitted he might have underestimated Germany’s ability to pay reparations.

    • Some argued that there was a lack of will in Germany to pay for reparations

    • Some argue that Hitler spent more on rearmament (in a short time) then the total revised reparations payments

  • How much was paid? Estimations point to $9 billion but she receive $8 billion in loans

  • Reparation payments did little to help the recovery of the allies

  • Reparations contributed to inter-war period tensions

  • Britain and France linked war debts and reparations and refused to pay war debts until reparations were paid to them

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