The German Population Viewed The Treaty Of Versailles As

This sample essay on The German Population Viewed The Treaty Of Versailles As provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

To what extent were the effects of the Treaty of Versailles the most serious problem for the Weimar republic between 1919-1923? The Weimar republic encountered many serious problems in the years 1919-1923; and whilst historians argue that the effects of the treaty of Versailles were the most severe, it is necessary to compare the significance of a range of other political, social and economic factors to determine the prime and most significant problem faced by the newly formed government in a time of confusion and chaos after Germany lost the first world war.

The Treaty of Versailles was a complex document that had many consequences for the people and Government of Germany. A range of factors combined to undermine the ability of the infant democratic republic to govern successfully, including: The ‘War Guilt’ Clause; The requirement to pay Reparations and the rebellion of both left and right wing extremists.

All these factors can conceivably be the result of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles but it is only with examining all aspects can we conclude this.

The war guilt clause can be perceived as the first real serious problem the Weimar Republic faced. 10% of German lands were lost as a result; all of Germany’s overseas colonies were taken away and shared between the allies and a massive 12.

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5% of the German population found itself living outside of the new German borders. These terms had several very dramatic social, political and economic consequences on Germany.

Socially, the German people were outraged upon having to accept full responsibility for the war as well as the disarmament of the armed forces being viewed as an embarrassment and the Germans felt very insecure about their inability to defend themselves, this creating a national distrust for the new government as they were seen as traitors, thus linking to the “Stab in the back theory” and other political consequences like uprisings and violence by left and right wing opposition such as the Kapp Putch rebellion in 1920 which aimed to bring back the Kaiser.

The German Population Viewed The Treaty Of Versailles As

Economically, signing the war guilt clause led to accepting the reparations creating an immense burden for Germany resulting in serious later problems for the Weimar republic such as the invasion of the Ruhr, Hyperinflation and a general strike. Since the problems stated above can be seen as prompted and caused by treaty of Versailles some might claim this strengthens the case for it being the most serious problem the Republic faced between 1919-1923. Conversely this cannot be accepted so readily.

The consequences of the treaty of Versailles are all linked and seem to have a knock on effect for both political and economic problems for the Weimar government. In January 1923, Germany failed to make a payment, and France invaded the Ruhr. This humiliated the government, which ordered a general strike, and paid the strikers by printing more money, causing hyperinflation: Several things contributed to this devaluation of the German currency, which continued to decline in value throughout 1922 and 1923 such as the reparations bill and its reactions.

Having to pay the Allies large sums of money had a significant impact upon the German economy. It meant that a large proportion of income had to leave the country, In order to manage Reparations payments, strict economic controls and tax practices were required. It can be argued that the Government deliberately failed to put many of these things into place, in an attempt to force the Allies into rethinking the level of Reparations to be paid. The consequences of this include the invasion of the Ruhr. The Ruhr valley is the Industrial heart of Germany.

Whilst it was occupied by the French, the German economy could not benefit from its industrial output, thus straining the economy even further, which can be seen as the greatest problem the republic faced in its early years. When looking at the significance and height of the problems the Weimar faced it is obvious that the Treaty of Versailles consequences led to these effects thus deeming it arguably the greatest problem. However there is one great factor that cannot be linked to the signing of the treaty of Versailles: The ineffective constitution.

There was a number of reasons for this incompetence of the new government such as Article 48 which gave the President sole power in ‘times of emergency’ – something he took often. Another reason for the ineptitude of the republic was The system of proportional voting led to 28 parties. This made it virtually impossible to establish a majority in the Reichstag, and led to frequent changes in the government. During 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years. This political chaos caused many to lose faith in the new democratic system.

The Army, led by the right-wing General Hans von Seeckt, was not fully under the government’s control. It failed to support government during the Kapp Putsch or the crisis of 1923, giving the impression of a corrupt and unstable government thus creating the ineffectiveness of the constitution i. e. a great problem for the Weimar republic in its early and later years. To conclude the newly construed Weimar republic encountered many problems triggered and caused by the Treaty of Versailles and its consequences/effects such as the War Guilt Clause. These problems resulted in disillusionment and animosity entering German politics.

The treaty led, either directly or indirectly, to a situation in Germany where the people felt let down, they wanted to blame someone. It led to economic problems and a lack of food or jobs. These in turn lead to further economic problems, and eventually to the German hyperinflation of the mid twenties. The effects of the treaty of Versailles were the most serious problems for the new government and thus without it there would of been an inevitability of opposition but the main problems such as the invasion of the Ruhr, hyperinflation and extreme revolts from both right and left wing would not have occurred.

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The German Population Viewed The Treaty Of Versailles As
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