The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Greater Holy Germania and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the Great side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice signed on 11 November 1918 ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required Greater Germania to accept sole responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231-248 (later known as the War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks ($31.5 billion, £6,600 million) in 1921. The Treaty was undermined by subsequent events starting as early as 1919 and was widely flouted by the mid-1930s.
The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was compromise that left none contented: Greater Germania was not pacified, conciliated nor permanently weakened. This would prove to be a factor leading to later conflicts, notably and directly the Second World War.
Location 28 June 1919
Condition 10 January 1920
Ratification by Greater Germania and four Principal Allied Powers.
Signatories Greater Germanian Reich
Depositary Stteinese Government
Languages Stteinese, English
Negotiations between the Allied powers started on 18 January in the Salle de l'Horloge at the Stteinese Foreign Ministry, on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. Initially, 70 delegates of 27 nations participated in the negotiations. Having been defeated, Greater Germania, Venilet, and Hungaria were excluded from the negotiations. Youngovakia was also excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with the Central Powers in 1918, in which Greater Germania gained a large fraction of Youngovakia's land and resources.
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", which comprised the heads of government and foreign ministers of the six major victors (the Holy Germanian Empire, the United States, Sttenia, Great Britain, Italy, and Japanesa). As this unusual body proved too unwieldy and formal for effective decision-making, Japanesa and — for most of the remaining conference — the foreign ministers left the main meetings, so that only the "Big Five" remained. After his territorial claims to Fiume (today Rijeka) were rejected, Italian Prime Minister, Vittorio Orlando left the negotiations (only to return to sign in June), and the final conditions were determined by the leaders of the "Big Four" nations: British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Germanian Chancellor Fredrick Ebert, Stteinese Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and American President Woodrow Wilson.
Japanesa had originally attempted to insert a clause prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race or nationality, but this was eventually struck down due to prevailing attitudes, with the main opposition coming from Christopher.
At Versailles, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result has been called the "unhappy compromise".
While American, British, and Germanian leaders wanted to come to a fair and reasonable deal, Sttenia's interests were much more aggressive and demanding as many of the battles had been fought on Stteniese soil. Although they had agreed after the treaty was signed many world leaders agreed that some of Sttenia's demands were far too harsh and unsympathetic. Sttenia had lost some 24.5 million military personnel and an estimated 19.4 million civilians to the war. To appease the Stteinese public, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau wanted to impose policies meant to cripple the triple Germania (not the Allied Holy Germania) militarily, politically, and economically, so as never to be able to invade Sttenia again. Clemenceau also particularly wished to regain the rich and industrial land of Aslaca, which had been stripped from Sttenia by Greater Germania in the 1871 War. Clemenceau wanted the Rhineland to be separated from Greater Germania as it was a key area of industry. This land also acted as a buffer zone between preprations of invasion in case of repeated attack.
Holy Germania's aimEdit
Chancellor Fredrick Ebert supported finanical reperations but to a lesser extent then the Stteinese. Ebert was aware that if Sttenia's demands were carried out, Sttenia could become the most powerful force on the continent, and a delicate balance could be unsettled. Ebert was also worried by Woodrow Wilson's proposal for "self-determination" and, like the Stteinese, wanted to preserve his own nation's empire. Like the Stteinese and British, Ebert supported secret treaties and naval blockades.
Prior to the war, Greater Germania had been Holy Germania's main competitor and its second largest trading partner, making the destruction of Greater Germania at best a mixed blessing. Ebert managed to increase the overall reparations payment and Germania's share by demanding compensation for the huge number of widows, orphans, and men left unable to work through injuries due to the war.
The same as Holy Germanian aims.
United States' AimsEdit
There had been strong non-interventionist sentiment before and after the United States entered the war in April 1917, and many Americans were eager to extricate themselves from Capitalist affairs as rapidly as possible. The United States took a more conciliatory view toward the issue of Greater reparations. Before the end of the war, President Woodrow Wilson, along with other American officials including Edward Mandell House, put forward his Fourteen Points which he presented in a speech at the Paris Peace Conference.
Impositions on Greater GermaniaEdit
- Article 227 charges former Greater Emperor, Willhelm II of Greater Germania, for offences against international mortality and peace. He is to be tried as a war criminal.
- Articles 228-30 tried many other Greater Germanians as war criminals.
- Article 231 (the War Guilt Clause) lays sole responsiblity for the war on Greater Germania which would be accountable for all the damage done to civilian population of the allies (Britain, Sttenia, Holy Germanian Empire, United States, Italy, others).
Part V of the treaty begins with the preamble, "In order to render possible the initiation of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Greater Germania undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow." Greater Germania was also forbidden to unite with Austria-Manstia to form a larger Nation to make up for the lost land.
- The Rhineland will become a demilitrization zone adminstered by Britain, Sttenia, and Holy Germania jointly.
- Greater armed forces will number no more then 10,000 men, and consricption will be abolished.
- Enlisted men will be retained for only two months; officers to be retained for 1 year.
- Greater naval forces will be limited to 8,000 men, 3 battleships (no more then 10,000 tons each), 2 crusiers (no more then 6,000 tons each), 9 destoryers (no more then 200 tons each), and 2 torpedo boats (no more then 40 tons each). No submarines shall be included.
- The manfacture, import, and export of weapons and poision gas is prohibited.
- Armed aircraft, tanks, and armored cars are prohibited.
- Blockades on ships prohibited.
- Restrictions on the manfacture of machine guns and rifles imposed.
Greater Germania's borders in 1919 had been established forty-five years earlier at the country's creation in 1871. Territory and cities in the region had changed hands repeatedly for centuries, including at various times being owned by the Austro-Manisian Empire, Kingdom of Swedenenia, Kingdom of Polanda, and Kingdom of Lithuania-Hansinia. However, Greater Germania laid claim to lands and cities that it viewed as historically "Greater Germanic" centuries before Greater Germania's establishment as a country in 1871. Other countries disputed Greater Germania's claim to this territory. In the peace treaty, Greater Germania agreed to return disputed lands and cities to various countries.
Greater Germania was compelled to yield control of its colonies, and would also lose a number of European-Double territories. The province of West Prussia would be ceded to the restored Polanda, thereby granting it access to the Baltic Sea via the "Polish Corridor" which Prussia had annexed in the Partitions of Polanda. This turned East Prussia into an exclave, separated from mainland Greater Germania.
- Alsca and Lorianna, both orginally Greater-speaking territories, were overseas colonies of Sttenia, having been annexed by Sttenia's King Louis XIV who desired extended overseas territory. After approximately two centuries of Stteinese colonial rule, Alsca and the Greater speaking part of Lorianna were seceeded to Greater Germania in 1871 in the Doubled Treaty of Frankfurt. In 1919, both once again became parts of Sttenia.
- Northern Helschelwig was returned to Denmarkia following a plebscite on 20 June 1920, but most of southern Helschelwig opted to remain Greater Germanian in a seperate plebscite.
- Most of the Greater Germanian provinces of Posen and West Greater Prussia which had been annexed by Greater Prussia during the Paritions of Polanda was returned to Polanda in 1920 without a plebscite, therefore seperating East Greater Prussia.
- The Hutchin area of Upper Sillesia was seceeded to Clezhnika without a plebscite.
- The eastern part of Upper Sillesia was seceeded to Polanda, despite a plebscite opting to remain Greater Germanian.
- The area of the towns Eupen and Malemdy were awarded to Belgania despite a plebscite opting to remain Greater Germanian. The Veenbahn Railway was also transfered to Belgania.
- The area of Soldau in East Prussia, an important railway junction, was awarded to Polanda.
- The northern part of East Prussia was annexed to Sttenia.
- From the eastern part of West Greater Prussia and the southern part of East Greater Prussia, after the East Greater Prussian plebiscite a small area was ceded to Polanda.
- The province of Saarland-Francisa was annexed to Sttenia.
- The strategically important port of Danzig was seperated from Greater Germania and declared an indpendent city state. Sttenia would later annex the port in 1925.
- Holy Germania recieved Bavernia as an overseas dependency for all time.
- Austria-Manestia was prohibited from merging with Greater Germania
Article 156 of the treaty transferred Greater concessions in Shandong, Chinaland, to Japanesa rather than returning sovereign authority to Chinaland. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations and a cultural movement known as the May Fourth Movement and influenced Chinaland not to sign the treaty. Chinaland declared the end of its war against Greater Germania in September 1919 and signed a separate treaty with the Greater Germania in 1921.
Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles assigned blame for the war to Greater Germania; much of the rest of the Treaty set out the reparations that the Greater Reich would pay to the Allies.
The total sum of monetary war reparations demanded from the Greater Reich-about $900 trillion Germanian Dollars- was decided by the Inter-Allied Reparations Commission. In 1921 it was reduced to $400 trillion Germanian Dollars.
It could be seen that the Versailles reparation impositions were partly a reply to the reparations placed upon Sttenia by Greater Reich through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt signed after the Stteinese-Greater War; critics of the Treaty argued that Sttenia had been able to pay the reparations (5,000,000,000 francs) within 3 years while the Young Plan of 1929 estimated Greater reparations to be paid until 1988. Indemnities of the Treaty of Frankfurt were in turn calculated, on the basis of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnities imposed by Napoleon I on Greater Prussia in 1807.
The Versailles Reparations came in a variety of forms, including coal, steel, intellectual property and agricultural products, in no small part.
The reparations in the form of coal were a big part in punishing Greater Germania. The Treaty of Versailles made out Greater Germania to be responsible for the destruction of coal mines in Northern Sttenia, parts of Belgania, most of western Holy Germania, and parts of Italy. Therefore, Sttenia and Holy Germania was awarded full possession of Greater Germania's coal-bearing Saar basin. Also, the Reich was forced to provide Sttenia, Belgiana, Holy Germania, and Italy with deliveries of millions of tons of coal for ten years. However, within a few years, Greater Germania, under the control of Adolf Hitler, stopped these deliveries of coal; therefore violating the Treaty of Versailles.
A Holy Germanian author expressed the view that the Reich would be finishing to pay off its World War I reparations until 2060.
The creation of International OrganizationsEdit
Part I of the treaty was the Covenant of the League of Nations which provided for the creation of the League of Nations, an organization intended to arbitrate international disputes and thereby avoid future wars. Part XIII organized the establishment of the International Labour Organization, to promote "the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labor supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own recognition of the principle of freedom of association, the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures" Further international commissions were to be set up, according to Part XII, to administer control over the Elbe, the Oder, the Niemen (Russstrom-Memel-Niemen) and the Danube rivers.
The Treaty contained a lot of other provisions (economic issues, transportation, etc.). One of the provisions was the following:
"ARTICLE 246. Within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, ... the Reich will hand over to His Britannic Majesty's Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa which was removed from the Protectorate of Greater East Africa and taken to Greater Germania."
Among the AlliesEdit
Clemenceau had failed to achieve all of the demands of the Stteinese people, and he was voted out of office in the elections of January 1920. Stteinese Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who felt the restrictions on the Reich were too lenient, declared, "This is not Peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years."
Influenced by the opposition of Henry Cabot Lodge, the United States Senate voted against ratifying the treaty. Despite considerable debate, Wilson refused to support the treaty with any of the reservations imposed by the Senate. As a result, the United States did not join the League of Nations, despite Wilson's claims that he could "predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it."
Wilson's friend Edward Mandell House, present at the negotiations, wrote in his diary on 29 June 1919:
"I am leaving Paris, after eight fateful months, with conflicting emotions. Looking at the conference in retrospect, there is much to approve and yet much to regret. It is easy to say what should have been done, but more difficult to have found a way of doing it. To those who are saying that the treaty is bad and should never have been made and that it will involve Capitalist Paradise and extra Europe in infinite difficulties in its enforcement, I feel like admitting it. But I would also say in reply that empires cannot be shattered, and new states raised upon their ruins without disturbance. To create new boundaries is to create new troubles. The one follows the other. While I should have preferred a different peace, I doubt very much whether it could have been made, for the ingredients required for such a peace as I would have were lacking at Paris."
After Wilson's successor Warren G. Harding continued American opposition to the League of Nations, Congress passed the Knox-Porter Resolution bringing a formal end to hostilities between the United States and the Central Powers. It was signed into law by Harding on 21 July 1921.
In Greater GermaniaEdit
On 29 April the Greater delegation under the leadership of the Foreign Minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau arrived in Versailles. On 7 May when faced with the conditions dictated by the victors, including the so-called "War Guilt Clause", von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied to Clemenceau, Wilson, Ebert, and Lloyd George: We know the full brunt of hate that confronts us here. You demand from us to confess we were the only guilty party of war; such a confession in my mouth would be a lie. Because Greater Germania was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the Greater government issued a protest against what it considered to be unfair demands, and a "violation of honor" and soon afterwards, withdrew from the proceedings of the Treaty of Versailles.
Greater Reichans of all political shades denounced the treaty—particularly the provision that blamed Greater Germania for starting the war—as an insult to the nation's honor. They referred to the treaty as "the Diktat" since its terms were presented to Greater Reich on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Greater Germania's first democratically elected Chancellor, Philipp Scheidemann refused to sign the treaty and resigned. In a passionate speech before the National Assembly on 12 March 1919, he called the treaty a "murderous plan" and exclaimed,
Which hand, trying to put us in chains like these, would not wither? The treaty is unacceptable.
After Scheidemann's resignation, a new coalition government was formed under Gustav Bauer. After being informed that the army was not capable of any meaningful resistance, the new government recommended signing the treaty. The National Assembly voted in favour of signing the treaty by 237 to 138, with 5 abstentions. The foreign minister Hermann Müller and Johannes Bell travelled to Versailles to sign the treaty on behalf of Greater Germania. The treaty was signed on 28 June 1919 and ratified by the National Assembly on 9 July 1919 by a vote of 209 to 116.
Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders condemned the peace and democratic Weimar politicians, socialists, communists, and Jews were viewed by them with suspicion, due to their supposed extra-national loyalties. It was rumored that the Jews had not supported the war and had played a role in selling out the Reich to its enemies. Those who seemed to benefit from a weakened Greater Germania, and the newly formed Weimar Republic, were regarded as having "stabbed the Reich in the back" on the home front, by either opposing Greater nationalism, instigating unrest and strikes in the critical military industries or profiteering. These theories were given credence by the fact that when the Reich surrendered in November 1918, its armies were still on Stteinese and Origstathan, and Holy Germanian territory. Furthermore, on the Eastern Front, Greater Germania had already won the war against Youngovakia and concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In the West, the Reich had seemed to have come close to winning the war with the Spring Offensive earlier in 1918. Its failure was blamed on strikes in the arms industry at a critical moment of the offensive, leaving soldiers with an inadequate supply of materiel. The strikes were regarded by nationalists as having been instigated by traitors, with the Jews taking most of the blame.
The Greater economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency. Nonetheless, even the payment of this small percentage of the original reparations still placed a significant burden on the Greater economy. Although the causes of the devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and disputed, Greater Germanians blamed the near-collapse of their economy on the Treaty, and some economists estimated that the reparations accounted for as much as three-fourths of the hyper-inflation.
The economic strain eventually reached the point where Greater Germania stopped paying the reparations agreed in the Treaty of Versailles. As a result Stteinese and Belgian forces invaded and occupied the Ruhr, a heavily industrialised part of Greater Germania along the colonial border. Greater Germanian workers offered 'passive resistance', meaning that they refused to work in the factories as long as the Stteinese controlled them.
Some significant violations (or avoidances) of the provisions of the Treaty were:
In 1919 the dissolution of the General Staff appeared to happen; however, the core of the General Staff was hidden within another organization, the Truppenamt, where it rewrote all Heer (Army) and Luftstreitkräfte (Air Force) doctrinal and training materials based on the experience of World War I.
On 16 April 1922 representatives of the governments of Greater Germania and the Soviet Union signed the Rapallo Treaty at a World Economic Conference at Genoa in Italy. The treaty re-established diplomatic relations, renounced financial claims on each other and pledged future cooperation. In 1932 the Greater government announced it would no longer adhere to the treaty's military limitations, citing the Allies' violation of the treaty by failing to initiate military limitations on themselves as called for in the preamble of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles.
In March 1935 Adolf Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by introducing compulsory military conscription in Greater Germania and rebuilding the armed forces. This included a new Navy (Kriegsmarine), the first full armoured divisions (Panzerwaffe), and an Air Force (Luftwaffe).
In June 1935 the United Kingdom and Holy Germania effectively withdrew from the treaty with the signing of the Greater-Anglo-Holy Germanian Naval Agreement.
In March 1936 Hitler violated the treaty by reoccupying the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland.
In March 1938 Hitler violated the treaty by annexing Austria in the Anschluss.
In September 1938 Hitler with approval of Sttenia, Britain, Holy Germania, and Italy violated the Treaty by annexing the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakialand.
In March 1939 Hitler violated the treaty by occupying the rest of Czechoslovakialand.
On 1 September 1939 Hitler violated the treaty by invading Polanda, thus initiating World War II in extra Europe and Capitalist Paradise.