History Summary IG
1 Where the peace treaties of 1919–23 fair? What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles ?
● Main Aim: To strengthen the democracy in Germany so that the people and its
leader won't seek to cause another war.
● Reason: He thought that if Germany was treated harshly, they will recover and
seek for revenge. He wanted to promote self determination.
● Attitude towards Germany: He believed that Germany should be punished, but
not too harsh, even though he wanted to build a better and more peaceful world.
● Main Aim: To make Germany unable of making any further attacks in the future
and to make them weak.
● Reason: France had suffered enormous damage to its land, industry and people.
Almost a third of French soldiers have been killed or injured.
● Attitude towards Germany: They wanted to cripple Germany so that they
couldn't attack them again. They wanted to make weaken them.
● Main Aim: To make Germany lose its navy and colonies (UK felt threatened) Also,
they wanted Britain and Germany to trade again (Before the war they were
● Reason: Because they thought that Germany was a powerful economic Allie and
that by trading with them they would improve the situation with the UK.
● Attitude towards Germany: To justly punish Germany, but not too harshly,
because he thought that they would start another war in the future.
Why did all the victors not get everything they wanted ?
The victors did not get everything they wanted as they had a conflict of interests, each
leader wanted something different and as they had to make a decision, each of the aims
of the leaders was only partially done, incomplete.
The peace treaties of 1919–23:
The impact of the treaties on the defeated countries:
● Germany → Treaty of Versailles
● Austria → Treaty of St Germain
● Hungary → Treaty of Trianon
● Bulgaria → Treaty of Neuilly
● Turkey → Treaty of Sérres
War Guilt: Germans had to accept the blame for starting the war
Reparations: The country had to pay millions of pounds worth of reparations due to all
the damage that they had caused to the allies. It was later modified by the Young Plan,
otherwise it would have been impossible to pay.
German territories and colonies: Former german colonies became Mandates which
were controlled by the League of Nations, thus, in control by France and Britain. In
addition, the german european borders were shrunken down significantly. The country
was forbidden to join with Austria.
Germany’s armed forces: The army was limited to 100 000 men, soldiers had to be
volunteers. The army wasn’t allowed to have vehicles such as submarines and aircrafts.
The navy could only build 6 battleships. The rhineland became demilitarized, no german
troops were allowed.
● 10% of it’s land
● All of its overseas colonies
● 12.5% of it’s coalfields and half of its iron and steel industry.
Austria: It was separated from Hungary and new countries were made such as
Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Italy was given some land also. Several new countries had
economic problems due to the fact that much of their industry and market was now
separated, before, they were one big empire.
Bulgaria: It wasn’t so harsh but it lost land to Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia and
access to the Mediterranean. The country had to limit its army to 20000 and pay 100
million$ in reparations. Bulgaria played a small role in the war but was punished less
severely than the allies. It was governed by a foreign government by 1920.
Hungary: They lost a substantial amount of its territory and it’s population (3 million
Hungarians ended up in other states). Significant portions of territory were given to
Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. It’s industries suffered from the loss of
population and materials, it had to pay reparations but its economy was so weak it could
Turkey: It lost territory to Greece and to the French. The turks were so angered by this
unfair treaty that they challenged the treaty, and were able to change it by retrieving a
part of Greece. The arabs who had helped the british in the war gained little.
Could the treaties be justified at the time?
There is no doubt that the treaties which established the peace settlement at the end of
the First World War imposed very strict terms upon the defeated countries.
The view held by most historians since 1919 is that the treaties were too harsh and were
likely to lead to future war. It would only be a matter of time before the Germans, in
particular, set about seeking revenge.
Perhaps, therefore, those historians who have condemned the Treaty of Versailles have
been overcritical. Nowadays most historians think that the peacemakers did a reasonable
job considering the problems they faced.
What was the impact of the peace treaty on Germany up to 1923?
Reasons why the treaty of versailles was UNFAIR: Diplomatic:
● For the Treaty to work, Germany had to accept war guilt. This clause was unjust
since, although Germany was one of the countries most eager to start the war, it
was not the only one causing it. Accepting full responsibility was positioning
Germany in a way that they were the only country to blame, and that was
The tension between countries, that had built up to cause the war, had been
generated by imperialism, nationalism and arms race. This meant that not only
Germany was to blame, but so many other countries.
● Despite Wilson’s Fourteen Points calling for disarmament, none of the Allies
disarmed to the extent that Germany was disarmed in the 1920s.
● The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, launched Europe a step closer to
war, provoking Austria-Hungry to take an offensive towards the Serbs, and
therefore forcing Russia to mobilize her army. Germany believed it was forced to
defend itself, since, She knew Russia would soon declare war. In order to defend
the German alliance with Austria-Hungary, they started mobilizing troops and
prepared for war.
● In 1918, President Wilson's support for a new international system offered the first
practical opportunity to create a universal organisation of states pledged to non-
violent diplomacy. This article explores some of the earlier theory and practice of
collective security schemes designed to eliminate war, some of which contributed
to the evolution of the League of Nations. This meant that nations were able to
discuss problems openly. However, Germany was excluded from the League of
Nations in 1919.
● Another time in which the treaty brakes with diplomatic tradition was when,
Germany was not invited to be present at the peace negotiations.
While Germany was not present at the peace conference, and discussion
continued, the Allied naval blockade was maintained for 6 months and 200,000
German civilians died of starvation. Later Germany had to sign the treaty or face
invasion. These facts made the treaty unfair since, Germany was denied a voice at
negotiations and her concerns were totally ignored.
● They were expected to pay 6600 million euros, for all of the damage caused, in
annual instalments. This was two percent of Germany’s annual output. The
Germans protested that this was an intolerable strain on the economy which they
were struggling to rebuild after the war, but their protests were ignored.
This meant that not only the people who were involved in the war would have to
pay for their mistakes, but also the following generation would have to suffer their
consequences. This reparation, was only meant to destroy Germany’s economy
when in fact she was not the only country that caused the war.
● In the terms of the treaty, Germany lost 10 per cent of its land, all of its overseas
colonies, 12.5 per cent of its population, 16 per cent of its coalfields and almost
half of its iron and steel industry. The overseas empire was taken because it had
caused a bad relationship with Britain.
Former German colonies became mandates controlled by the League of Nations,
which effectively meant that France and Britain controlled them. This meant that in
addition to the reparations, Germany had to suffer a different kind of economic
loss. Because it lost people, industry, coalfields and land, Germany’s economy
went down, generating starvation.
● Germany also was not allowed to take over previous Austrian Sudetenland, this
area went under Czech rule this meant that German people were being ruled by
people that they did not want as their rulers this went against everything that
Wilson said about Self Determination. In the Treaty the Germans were also not
allowed to join with Austria to make one German speaking control, even though
other countries could.
● The size and power of the German army, was a major concern to many countries,
especially France. The Treaty therefore restricted German armed forces to a level
much lower to what they had been before the war. They were limited to an army of
100,000 men, conscription was banned which meant that soldiers had to be
volunteers , Germany was not allowed armoured vehicles, submarines or aircrafts,
the navy could only build six battleships and the Rhineland became a demilitarized
zone (no German troops were allowed into that area)
The Rhineland was important to them because it was a border area between
Germany and France. The amount that they were allocated for their army was
barely enough to defend their country inside against revolutions let alone if
another country decided to attack them.
Reasons why the treaty of versailles was fair:
● Many countries suffered a lot of land destruction caused by the Germans and
demanded an amount of money to repair its damages. Although Germany was not
the only country that participated in attacks, it was one of the countries that had
not suffered territorial destruction, due to the fact that none of the actual fighting
took place in German territory.
France, suffered a high loss of life, destroyed industrial region and economic
devastation. Hundreds of mines were destroyed along with railways, bridges and
entire villages. This made France demand not only reparations, but as well