Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/

After the treaty of Versailles was signed the League of Nations was created. The Secretariat of the League of Nations registered the treaty on 21st October 1919. It was after the signing of the treaty of Versailles that the map of Europe was redrawn, which gave rise to a number of conflicts, especially in the Balkan region. The conflicts exist to this day. The Germans felt humiliated and it was said to have caused the second World War.

"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". By

Response to the War Guilt Clause

The Foreign Minister at that time Herr. Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff Rantzau

Reactions to the Treaty of Versailles

Germany lost 13% of its land, 12% of its people, 48% of its iron resources, 15% of it agricultural production and 10% of it coal. Perhaps understandably, German public opinion soon swung against this ‘Diktat’, while the Germans who signed it were called the ‘November Criminals’. Britain and France felt the treaty was fair – they actually wanted harsher terms imposed on the Germans – but the United States refused to ratify it because they didn’t want to be part of the League of Nations.

A Peace Built on Quicksand

The Treaty of Versailles was the official ending of WW1 and it set the stage for WW2. It was signed by all of Europe on June 28th,1919. (Five years after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.)

This treaty created feelings of bitterness and betrayal among the victors and the defeated. Germany, got the bad end of the deal altogether and Japan and Italy gained less than they wanted. Nobody was truly satisfied. It was simply the treaty to start another war.

Fun Fact

The Versailles Treaty itself is very long and extensive document, made up of 440 Articles (plus Annexes) which have been divided into 15 parts. The first part of the Versailles Treaty established the League of Nations. Other parts included the terms of military limitations, prisoners of war, finances, access to ports and waterways, and reparations.

Military Restrictions on Germany

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, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow.”

  • German armed forces will number no more than 100,000 troops, and conscription will be abolished.
  • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
  • German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, six battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each), six cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each), 12destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each) and 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each). No submarines are to be included.
  • The import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Poison gas, armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.
  • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
  • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns and rifles 
  • German armed forces were prohibited from entering or fortifying any part of German territory west of the Rhine or within 50 kilometres east of the Rhine.