Treaty of Versailles

Mary Stone | May 18, 2023


The Treaty of Versailles (or the Versailles Peace Dictate) was the treaty that ended the First World War between Germany and the Entente Powers and their allies, as a result of the Paris negotiations in the first half of 1919. The signing of the treaty marked the end of the war in international legal terms, the actual fighting having been brought to an end by the Compiègne Armistice of 11 November 1918. This treaty was also the founding document of the League of Nations.

The German delegation was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, but could only submit written submissions at the end of the negotiations, which allowed them to make minor changes to the treaty. The treaty named the German Empire and its allies as the sole cause of the war and obliged the German state to surrender territory, disarm its armed forces and pay reparations to the victorious powers. Germany refused to accept the role of scapegoat and to accept conditions that were perceived as extremely unfair and unjust. Finally, the victorious powers sent Germany an ultimatum, threatening the invasion of further substantial areas. This, coupled with the tense internal political situation and the hunger strike that continued after the armistice, killing tens of thousands of people, led Germany to sign the treaty in protest in the hall of mirrors at the Palace of Versailles on 28 June 1919, the fifth anniversary to the day of the assassination in Sarajevo. The treaty entered into force on 10 January 1920 after ratification and the reciprocal transfer of documents. Because of its seemingly harsh terms and the circumstances in which it was drawn up, the treaty was regarded by the majority of Germans as an illegitimate and humiliating dictate.

In the series of peace treaties concluded with the countries on the losing side in the war around Paris, the Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed with Germany-Austria on 10 September 1919, the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine with Bulgaria on 27 November 1919, the Treaty of Trianon with Hungary on 4 June 1920, and the Treaty of Sevres with the Ottoman Empire on 10 August 1920.

Place and time

To end the world war, the victorious powers convened a peace conference in Paris, which met from 18 January 1919 to 21 January 1920. The negotiations drew up the points of the peace treaty with Germany, which was signed at the Palace of Versailles on 28 June 1919 – the fifth anniversary of the assassination in Sarajevo. The castle was built by King Louis XIV of France and became the centre of a French foreign policy which, at the end of the 17th century, sought to establish the right to the western territories of the German-Roman Empire through elaborate legal procedures and to legitimise its aggressive policy of conquest, a method which was also considered dubious in France. The war of conquest launched by the French Emperor Napoleon III in 1870 against the North German Confederation ended in swift defeat and on 18 January 1871 the German princes proclaimed the German Empire in the hall of mirrors of this palace. The opening of the conference marked this date and also marked the resurgence of an aggressive French expansionist policy – not supported by American diplomacy and only partially supported by British diplomacy.

Participating States

The peace conference was attended by the victorious Entente powers and the countries that fought on their side in the war. Two of the most important powers at the outbreak of the war no longer existed. Tsarist Russia was replaced by Soviet Russia in the wake of the 1917 revolution, which made a peace with the central powers through the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. (Romania, which had also made a special peace treaty, was allowed to attend.) The capitalist states also feared that the existence of a Soviet state committed to world revolution would threaten the internal political stability of all other states. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had fallen apart at the conclusion of the armistice. At the Peace Conference, Germany-Austria and Hungary were punished instead, while the other states that shared its territory (Poland, Czechoslovakia, the SHS Kingdom) were allowed to participate in the conference on the side of the victors, as the Slavic minorities of the Entente and the Monarchy mutually supported and committed themselves to each other. This prevented a return to the pre-war borders and burdened the new order with the problems that the removal of borders between nation-states inevitably entailed.

The negotiation process

On the German side, US President Woodrow Wilson’s 14-point programme, published on 8 January 1918, was considered the basis for the further settlement of the conflict when the 36-day Compiègne armistice came into force on 11 November 1918. The Germans were excluded from the verbal talks, which were open only to the victorious powers, while only memoranda were exchanged with the German delegation.

During the negotiations, meetings were held by a restricted circle of Congress, the so-called Council of Four, which included US President Woodrow Wilson, French President Georges Clemenceau, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. It was this council that decided the main points of the treaty. As a result of the negotiations, the draft treaty was handed over to the German delegation on 7 May 1919, deliberately timed to coincide with the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

The German delegation arrived in Versailles on 29 April 1919, led by Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Confronted with the peace terms dictated by the victors, including the “responsibility for war” article on 7 May, the Count replied to Clemenceau, Wilson and Lloyd George:

As Germany was not allowed to participate in the negotiations, the German government handed over a note of protest against the unfair claims and the defamation, and shortly afterwards left the peace conference. Regardless of party affiliation, the Germans saw the treaty – especially the part that accused Germany of starting the war – as an affront to national honour and often referred to it as ‘das Diktat’. In a speech to the National Assembly on 12 May 1919, Scheidemann called the peace treaty a ‘murderous plan’ and asked the following question, which has become a catchphrase in German:

Although the German delegation did not take part in the oral negotiations, the notes were eventually exchanged between the parties. A few minor modifications to the requests of the covering letter (Mantelnote), which was handed over to the Entente Powers on 16 June, were achieved. A referendum could be held on the status of Upper Silesia, which had originally been awarded to Poland. The victors refused to agree to further amendments and issued an ultimatum demanding the signing of the treaty.

Germany’s first democratically elected head of government, Philipp Scheidemann, resigned on 20 June rather than sign this treaty. The same was done by Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau and Otto Landsberg, who were members of the delegation.

The ultimatum was that the Entente troops would invade Germany if the treaty was not signed. In the event, the commander-in-chief of the Entente’s land forces, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, devised a plan to push eastwards along the river Main from the already occupied Rhine, in order to reach the Czech border as soon as possible and thus separate northern and southern Germany. At the same time, the British navy would have invaded Heligoland and several other German islands in the North Sea.

The circles around East Prussian President Adolf von Batocki, Social Democrat politician August Winning and General Otto von Below planned to surrender the western half of Germany to the invading enemy troops without a fight, rejecting the peace treaty in its entirety, while in the eastern Prussian provinces, where the German army was still relatively strong, a new anti-Anti-German state would be established as an Oststaat (Eastern State), which would serve as a resistance pocket.

After Scheidemann resigned, a new coalition government was formed under the leadership of Gustav Bauer. Reich President Friedrich Ebert was aware that Germany was in an impossible situation and, although he too was averse to the treaty, he considered that the government was in no position to refuse it. Ebert believed that if the treaty was refused, there was no guarantee that the army would be able to hold off the enemy advancing from the west. He therefore asked Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg whether the army would be able to put up any significant resistance if the Entente wanted to continue the war. In the event that the answer was that the army had the slightest chance of success, Ebert would have opposed ratification of the treaty. Hindenburg, encouraged by his chief of staff, Wilhelm Groener, judged that the army could not continue the war even to a limited extent. Rather than informing Ebert himself, Hindenburg informed the government through Greoner that the army would be in an untenable position if hostilities resumed. On receiving this message, the government advised acceptance of the treaty.

In the face of the threat of invasion and the British naval blockade, which was maintained despite the armistice and threatened to dramatically increase food supplies, the National Assembly voted in favour of the peace treaty on 22 June 1919 by 237 votes in favour and 138 against. Of the 421 members present, 5 abstained. Scheidemann’s party colleague and successor, Gustav Bauer, said the following in his speech during the session:

The result of the vote was telegraphed to Clemenceau a few hours before the ultimatum expired. Foreign Minister Hermann Müller and Colonial Affairs Minister Johannes Bell travelled to Versailles to sign the treaty on behalf of Germany. This took place on 28 June 1919 and was ratified by the National Assembly on 9 July by 209 votes to 116.

The signatories to the treaty were Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Kingdom of Italy, the Empire of Japan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Ecuador, the Kingdom of Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hijaz, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Portugal, the Kingdom of Romania, the Kingdom of Shi’a, Siam, Poland, and Uruguay.

China, which had declared war on Germany in 1917, did not sign the treaty because the territories in German hands were not returned to it, but were instead awarded to Japan. Although the representatives of the United States, the most important signatory alongside Britain and France, were the first to sign the treaty after the two German delegates, the US Congress twice refused to ratify it (first on 19 November 1919 and then on 19 March 1920) and refused to join the League of Nations. As a result, the US concluded a special treaty with Germany on 25 August 1921, the Treaty of Berlin.

The war aims of France, Britain and the United States diverged significantly. The French objectives were often at odds with those of the two Anglo-Saxon powers.


France’s war aim was above all to expand eastwards, as Louis XIV had already done at the end of the 17th century, with the aim of annexing the German-inhabited territories west of the Rhine (the so-called “Reunion policy”). However, the French tried to communicate their aggressive foreign policy in a more subtle way, in keeping with the times, and to support their territorial claims with the slogan of “security” against the German threat. Accordingly, Clemenceau’s colleague André Tardieu summarised France’s aims at the Peace Conference as follows:

The war damage suffered played an important role in the argument. France lost 1.3 million soldiers. A quarter of the male population aged between 18 and 30 lost their lives. Civilian casualties amounted to 400 000. The country’s territory also suffered much more from the fighting than other countries at war. The so-called ‘red zone’ (zone rouge), the industrial region in the north-east of the country, the infrastructure of the iron and coal mines, was badly damaged and in the last days of the war the mines were flooded and the railway network, bridges and factories destroyed by the Germans. Clemenceau sought to ensure France’s security by weakening Germany economically, militarily and territorially, and by making his country the continent’s leading steel producer, ahead of Germany. This approach was seen by the eminent British economist John Maynard Keynes, who attended the conference, as an attempt by the French to “turn back the clock and undo all that Germany had achieved since 1870 through its development.” Clemenceau argued Wilson: “America is far away, sheltered from the oceans. Even Napoleon could not reach England. You are both protected; we are not.” The French, citing the “threat”, wanted to make the Rhine their frontier river, by which they believed their country would be protected, and by this territorial gain they wanted to compensate for their demographic and economic backwardness vis-à-vis Germany.

The American and British delegates rejected French plans for annexation of the Rhineland and after two months of negotiations, the French accepted a British promise to ally themselves immediately in the event of another German attack. Wilson agreed and submitted a similar proposal to the Senate in Washington. Clemenceau told the House of Representatives in December 1918 that his aim was to maintain the alliance with these two countries. The French President accepted the Anglo-Saxon proposal in return for France’s right to occupy the Rhine for fifteen years and Germany’s right to keep the territory unarmed thereafter.

The French negotiators demanded reparations from Germany for the damage suffered during the war and to cover the debts it had accumulated, mainly against the United States. France wanted to make Germany pay for all its war expenses, and the reference to this seemed a way of permanently weakening its dangerous neighbour. The French also wanted to annex the Saar region for its iron and coal mines. They would have accepted a smaller financial indemnity than the Americans would have agreed to, and Clemenceau was willing to discuss Germany’s solvency with the German delegates before finalising reparations. In April and May 1919, the French and Germans held separate discussions on the form of reparation, reconstruction and industrial cooperation acceptable (feasible) to both sides. France, like the British dominions and Belgium, opposed the distribution of mandates and favoured the annexation of the German colonies.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was far less affected by the war than France, but it was heavily indebted to the US government to cover the cost of the war. The British government was keen to avoid a power vacuum in central Europe. In the spirit of its classic Balance of Power strategy, it sought to weaken Germany not too much, so that it could act as a counterweight to France’s ambitions for European dominance and as a deterrent to Bolshevik Russia. At the same time, the British government sought to permanently weaken German overseas positions after the Germans had challenged centuries of British naval dominance with their naval development. The armistice agreement stipulated that the Germans should surrender all their submarines and that the most modern warships in the surface fleet should be interned for the duration of the peace negotiations. The British position is illustrated by a memorandum by Lloyd George in March 1919:

At first, Lloyd George’s financial claim only covered British war expenses. During (and before) the war, the British population was strongly aligned against Germany, and this was reflected in the elections of 14 December 1918 (the so-called ‘coupon elections’), when the British war coalition campaigning to ‘squeeze Germany’ was re-elected. Under strong domestic political pressure, Lloyd George was willing to include in the war reparations to Germany the pensions of many war invalids and war orphans, which increased the amount of the reparations enormously.


The Kingdom of Italy went to war against its former allies on the side of the Entente after the conclusion of the secret treaty of London, in the hope of territorial gains. Victory gave the Italians Trentino and Trieste, giving them an easily defensible northern frontier as they expanded to the Brenner Pass. They also gained the Greek-inhabited Dodecanese archipelago, which had been taken from the Turks. Italian claims were thus largely contained in the texts of the peace treaties of Saint-Germain and Sevres.

However, the territories promised in the London Agreement on the eastern Adriatic partially overlapped the territories previously offered to Serbia. The majority of these areas, largely inhabited by Italians, were eventually given to Yugoslavia. Under the secret treaty, Italy was also supposed to share in the distribution of the German colonies in Africa, but received none of these. For this reason, Italy saw its participation in the world war as a ‘mutilated victory’ and the resulting national resentment contributed to the rise of fascism.

United States

In speeches before the United States entered the war, President Wilson called for peace without victory between the belligerents (“peace without victory”). After his country entered the war, however, he changed his position and described the Germans as aggressors with whom no compromise peace could be made. The publicly declared war aim of the United States was to protect the freedom of commercial navigation, which it saw as threatened by the unrestricted submarine warfare announced by Germany. In a speech on 8 January 1918, Wilson published a 14-point programme outlining a corresponding peace plan. It called for the prohibition of all forms of secret diplomacy, the right of peoples to self-determination, general disarmament, the establishment of a League of Nations, the withdrawal of troops of the central powers from all occupied territories and the creation of an independent Poland with a sea exit. The latter was problematic, as there was no Polish-majority town or region in the Baltic Sea area at the time on which the Polish state could claim a sea exit. The Polish corridor, which was later designated in the Treaty of Versailles, violated the right of peoples to self-determination. On the basis of these claims, Wilson (again?) sought a negotiated peace with no winners and losers, but backed out of this proposal after the Brest-Litovsk peace.

Despite his advocacy of the right of peoples to self-determination, Wilson supported the transfer of the German concession of the Santung Peninsula to Japan to secure the island nation’s entry into the League of Nations, rather than calling for its return to China.

Determination of responsibility for war (Article 231)

Article 231 contains the following:

The treaty thus designated only Germany and its allies as aggressors in the war. The Germans generally felt that their country was being made the scapegoat for the wrongdoings of other European states before the war, and for this reason their foreign policy was initially characterised by reticence. The unilateral labelling of the country as the cause of the war provoked sharp debates (Kriegsschulddebatten) on German soil. The treaty was signed by Hermann Müller and Johannes Bell, delegates of the Weimar National Assembly, and gave rise to the ‘dagger thrust’ legend propagated by Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, and later by Adolf Hitler. Today’s historians see the causes of the First World War as more complex than the peace treaty itself. On this basis, Article 231 was not intended to evaluate historical events, but sought to legitimise legally and morally the peace conditions that were unfavourable to the German Reich. On this basis, the German Reich had to make financial reparation for the damage to property and human life caused, mainly on French territory. The Treaty of Versailles thus made the German Empire responsible for reparation for war damage, the amount of which was not yet fixed. The representatives of the German Reich therefore objected to Article 231 not only on grounds of self-justification, but also in order to undermine the moral basis of the enemy’s claims. Reparation was a burden on the new republic and one of the causes of the hyperinflation that lasted until 1923.

Territorial provisions

Germany had to give up a number of territories, including North Schleswig in favour of Denmark, which did not enter the war, the provinces of West Prussia and Posen, the coal-mining district of Upper Silesia and the smaller border areas of Silesia in favour of Poland. In addition, the Hultschiner Ländchen were transferred to the newly created Czechoslovakia. To the west, the imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine was annexed to France, and Belgium was given the Eupen-Malmedy district, which was also predominantly German-speaking. The German Empire lost 13% of its territory (65 000 km2) and 10% of its population (7 million). In addition, all its colonial territories were placed under the League of Nations, which ceded them to the victorious powers in the form of mandated territories. The German Empire had to recognise Austria’s sovereignty. The unification with the Reich, which was advocated by German-Austria, was prohibited by Article 80 of the Treaty of Versailles. The prohibition of unification was also contained in Article 88 of the Treaty of Saint-Germain with the Austro-Germans.

Despite international conventions forbidding the extension of European wars to the colonies, the Entente attacked the poorly defended German colonies early in the conflict and, although there was fighting in Africa until the end of the war, their territory was soon occupied.

Article 119 of the treaty obliged Germany to renounce her colonies (or more precisely the territories under her protection), and Article 22 made them mandated territories under the control of the League of Nations, which the victorious powers could control. The result of the partition was as follows:

According to Article 91 of the Peace Treaty, the inhabitants of the German Reich who resided in the territory of the newly created Polish state became Polish citizens by law and lost their German citizenship. In the two years following the entry into force of the treaty, residents over 18 years of age who were German citizens had the right to choose German citizenship. Any person who exercised this option was free to transfer his or her place of residence to the country of which he or she had chosen to become a citizen within twelve months. In doing so, they could take all their belongings with them duty-free. They could keep the property they had owned in the other country before their election.

The transposition of these provisions into domestic law led to considerable migration between Poland and the German Reich in the following years. Many Germans, who did not want to lose their citizenship and wanted to remain part of the Reich, felt compelled to leave their homeland and sell their land in order to rebuild their livelihoods in the territory of the German Reich. In the turbulent post-war period, Poland took those who had temporarily emigrated as tacit voters, even if these Germans had not yet decided for or against German citizenship. The resulting emigration caused prices on the Polish real estate market to fall, so that those who sold their territories suffered property losses.

As a result of the Vienna Agreement, 26 000 Germans left the Polish state between 1924 and the summer of 1926, partly voluntarily and partly under duress. The German Reich was ill prepared to receive these people. Most of them were placed in a camp near Schneidemühl.

Military restrictions

The preamble to the fifth part of the peace treaty, entitled “Provisions on land forces, naval power and air transport” (Articles 159-213), stated that Germany, “allowing for a general moderation of the armaments of all nations”, undertook to observe the following provisions to the letter:

Article 177 of the treaty included the obligation to transfer a number of military equipment and to declare those in civilian ownership. On 5 August 1920, the Reichstag therefore decided by a majority in favour of the Entwaffnungsgesetz (Disarmament Act).

From Article 203 to Article 210, the treaty describes the establishment of the Interalliierten Überwachungsausschüsse (Interalliierten Monitoring Committees) and its work. These were to supervise the enforcement of the provisions of the treaty.

Economic provisions and reparations

Germany was ordered to make reparations in money and assets, the final amount of which was later to be determined by the Reparation Commission. The first instalment of 20 billion gold marks was to be paid by April 1921. In 1921, the German reparations were set at 132 billion marks, equivalent to 31.4 billion US dollars or 6.6 billion British pounds ($442 billion, £284 billion at 2019 exchange rates). Some economists, including John Maynard Keyes, found the treaty excessive and considered the draft, which he called the “Carthage Peace”, counterproductive.

In addition, a reduction in the size of the German merchant fleet was imposed. The major German inland waterways, namely the Elbe, Oder, Danube and Memel rivers, were declared international waterways. For five years, Germany had to unilaterally apply the principle of most-favoured-nation treatment to the victorious powers. The so-called ‘Champagne paragraph’ (Champagnenparagraph) 274 stipulated that the names of products referring to the victorious countries could only be used if they were actually from that region. Cognac and champagne could then only be marketed under their established French designations of origin (Cognac and Champagne respectively) if they were actually from France (otherwise they could be designated by the words Branntwein and Schaumwein).

League of Nations

The treaty provided for the establishment of the League of Nations, which was one of the stated aims of US President Wilson. This federation was the predecessor of the United Nations (UN), which was created after the Second World War. Germany was not a member of this organisation until 1926.

The establishment of the International Labour Organisation

Chapter XIII of the Treaty of Versailles created the International Labour Organisation, which still exists today. This organisation is also mentioned in other peace treaties around Paris. It was the first time that labour problems were brought to the level of international law. The Treaty of Versailles thus goes beyond the rules of the classical peace treaties.

Guarantee provisions

To enforce its terms, the treaty provided for the occupation of the left bank of the Rhine, and for the construction of bridgeheads on the right bank of the river at Cologne, Koblenz and Mainz. These were to be removed 5, 10 and 15 years after the ratification of the treaty (Articles 428-430).

Germany also lost much of its economic strength through territorial losses. Its heavy industry in particular suffered heavy losses. It lost 80% of its iron ore deposits, 63% of its zinc deposits, 28% of its coal production and 40% of its blast furnaces. The loss of West Prussia and Poznan meant a 15% reduction in arable land, a 17% reduction in grain production and a 12% reduction in livestock. German agriculture found it difficult to recover from this loss. Germany lost 7 million inhabitants, 11% of its former population. Of these, about a million had migrated to the Reich, mainly from Alsace-Lorraine and the territories annexed to Poland. The loss of 90% of the merchant fleet and all foreign assets severely restricted German foreign trade.

Since the armed forces were capped at 115,000 under Article 159 (100,000 for the land army and 15,000 for the navy), the country would not have been able to resist an Entente invasion.

Already in the London ultimatum of 1921, the Entente threatened to occupy the Ruhr, and in 1923 French and Belgian troops actually invaded the area. The basic problem with the treaty, many historians have argued, was that it sought to achieve two goals: the right of peoples to self-determination, as Wilson had advocated, and the desire of the victorious powers, especially France, to weaken Germany for good.

After the Second World War, the British-German journalist Sebastian Haffner wrote that the German Empire, still the strongest European power and essential for the stability of the continent because of its central location, was “neither permanently deprived of its power nor permanently integrated”.

The Treaty of Versailles, also known as the “Peace of Carthage”, was too harsh for Germany to accept on a sustained basis as a country that remained a political entity and an economic power. However, it was powerful enough for the German government to incorporate the idea of retaliation into its policy 20 years later, and thereby lead Europe into the disaster of the Second World War. Marshal Foch said at the time the treaty was signed. It is an armistice for twenty years.” – Foch wanted the German Empire to be destroyed.

John Maynard Keynes, as a member of the British financial delegation, withdrew before the end of the negotiations in protest at the peace terms imposed on Germany. In his view, the economic consequences of peace would destabilise international economic relations and could create dangerous social tensions in Germany.

The peace terms in Germany were seen as surprising and extremely tough. For a long time, German society believed that the fourteen points of Wilson would allow for a peace on mild terms, essentially restoring the pre-war status quo ante. The cultural philosopher Ernst Troeltsch wrote that Germany had found itself in a ‘dreamland of the ceasefire period’, from which it had been awakened by the publication of the peace terms. This was compounded by the fact that the victorious powers excluded Germany from the negotiations and only allowed it to submit written petitions at the end. As a result, the treaty increasingly came to be known as the ‘Versailles Dictate’. These two factors contributed, as Hans-Ulrich Wehler puts it, to the fact that the government’s opposition to the treaty led to ‘almost total agreement throughout the country’.

In the years that followed, the revision of the treaty was a stated objective of German foreign policy. Neither the ‘legitimacy of peace’ nor the fact that Germany had lost the war militarily were accepted. All the governments of the Weimar Republic tried to ‘free themselves from the shackles of Versailles’ in some way, which is why one can speak of a regular ‘Weimar revision syndrome’. The revisionism that arose from the nature and content of its creation, and especially the annexation of territories with a German population, had a long-lasting effect on the democratic Western powers and the new German democracy at home.

Some historians see the treaty as an important reason for the rise to power of National Socialism. In his 1932 book Hitlers Weg (Hitler’s Way), Theodor Heuss, then a liberal member of parliament, succinctly stated that ‘the starting point of the National Socialist movement is not Munich but Versailles’.

In his lecture “König und Prophet in Israel” (King and Prophet in Israel), delivered on 18 January 1924 at the University of Greifswald, the Old Testament historian Otto Procksch said, in words typical of the view of the professoriate at the time:

In response to the high reparation demands and the dismantling of industrial facilities in the Ruhr, the imperial government attempted to call a general strike, which it tried to support with a steady printing of money. This fuelled inflation into hyperinflation, which pushed a large part of the population into poverty. This was caused by the fact that the war loans with which the Empire financed the war effort had no underlying substance because of the military defeat. During and after the inflation, Germany became increasingly dependent on foreign loans, especially from the United States. The Great Depression, which originated in the United States, hit Germany extremely hard, as its economy was more intertwined with that of the United States than that of other states.

To alleviate the significant economic consequences of the Treaty of Versailles and Germany’s isolation in foreign policy, Chancellor Walther Rathenau sought to conclude the Treaty of Rapallo. In it, relations with the Soviet Union were normalised and mutual claims against each other were renounced.

The problems caused by the treaty led to the Locarno Accords, which improved relations between Germany and the European powers. The renegotiation of the reparations system led to the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, and then to the suspension of reparations payments at the Lausanne Conference in 1932.

In the first years after his rise to power, Hitler gained great domestic prestige by repealing the last points of the Treaty of Versailles, including rearmament and the invasion of the Rhineland. The United States subsequently distanced itself from European politics, leading Britain and France to opt for a policy of appeasement.

In addition to the Treaty of Versailles described here, there is another, lesser-known treaty of the same name (in German: der kleine Vertrag von Versailles), which is also the name of the Polish Minority Treaty (polnische Minderheitenvertrag), also concluded on the same date (28 June 1919), the first international treaty to contain specific points for the protection of national minorities.

German language Wikipedia resources

English Wikipedia resources


  1. Versailles-i békeszerződés
  2. Treaty of Versailles
  3. Habár a konferenciát gyakran versailles-i konferenciaként említik, csak a szerződés aláírása történt a palotában. A tárgyalások jórészt Párizsban zajlottak, ahol a „négy nagy” a francia külügyminisztérium Quai d’Orsay-n lévő épületében az üléseit tartotta.
  4. A 17. századi francia külpolitika a Rajna bal parti területeinek megszerzéséhez az okirat-hamisítással eszközével is élt („reuniós politika”). A biztonság szlogenje révén nem kellett ilyen hamis indokokat keresni.
  5. A szócikk itt a propaganda indoklását hozza. Az amerikai hadbalépés valódi oka az volt, hogy a tőle jelentős kölcsönöket felvevő Nagy-Britannia és Franciaország vereségét megakadályozza és ezáltal biztosítsa azok fizetőképességét. Ennek megfelelően kivárták az utolsó hónapot, mikor Nagy-Britannia még törleszteni tudta az esedékes összeget. Megfelelő forrás alapján javítandó. (a szerk.); A háború elején az antant által meghírdetett sokszorosan törvénysértő tengeri blokádok ellen az Egyesült Államok tiltakozott ugyan, de azok ellen nem lépett fel.
  6. Az Oroszország által elszenvedett károk jelentősen nagyobbak lehetnek a Franciaország által elszenvedetteknél. Habár Oroszországgal a szerződés nem foglalkozott, ez a szócikkben szereplő tényszerű közlés téves lehet. Megfelelő forrás alapján javítandó. (a szerk.)
  7. A szócikk nem tér ki arra, miért kívánták megakadályozni – a népek önrendelkezési jogát itt is megsértve – az antanthatalmak a két német ajkú ország egyesülését. Megfelelő forrás alapján kifejtendő. (a szerk.)
  8. The Senate and the League of Nations. In: Archiviert vom Original am 20. April 2022; abgerufen am 13. November 2018 (englisch): „Reservations with Regard to the Treaty“ .
  9. 100 Jahre Friedensvertrag – Die Bürde von Versailles. Abgerufen am 28. Juni 2019.
  10. Signé le 10 septembre 1919, concerne le démantèlement de l’Empire austro-hongrois.
  11. Signé le 27 novembre 1919, fixe les nouvelles frontières de la Bulgarie.
  12. Signé le 4 juin 1920, apporte des précisions au précédent traité de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, notamment sur les frontières de la Hongrie.
  13. Signé le 10 août 1920, à propos de l’Empire ottoman.
  14. Στάλιν, το μεγάλο σχέδιο – Πως ο Στάλιν σχεδίασε την έναρξη του ΒΠΠ, Βίκτορ Σουβόροφ, εκδόσεις eurobooks
  15. Στάλιν, το μεγάλο σχέδιο – Πως ο Στάλιν σχεδίασε την έναρξη του ΒΠΠ, Βίκτορ Σουβόροφ, εκδόσεις eurobooks, σελ. 49,50
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