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At the conclusion of the First World War, the major concern of the peacemaking powers was that of Germany. Much of Germany's treatment throughout the peacemaking process reflects not only German actions but the peacemakers' perception of the German Question - the question of Germany's imperialistic aims versus the stability and peace of Europe. The war guilt clause (article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles) was one of the most important articles of the Treaty in regards to Germany and its imperialism: the article, which was relatively short, stated that: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies. This article, and the blame laid within it, is the basis for the reasoning that led to the "punishment" that was put upon Germany with the Treaty. These punishments would include extravagant reparations (set at 269 billion gold marks - approximately 100,000 tonnes of gold - in January 1921, as well as a tithing of coal annually to several countries affected by the War) and a dramatic culling of Germany's empire and borders. While in many ways these actions were intended to "set right" the damages Germany had done in the war, they were also intended as a way to break the "German spirit" and ensure that a war of the scale of The Great War never happened again - a situation that they saw as likely to arise, again, from German borders.

Arise it would; the second Great War, or World War II, would begin late 1939, almost twenty years after the conclusion of the first World War. The stretch of time in between the first and second World Wars, governed by the Treaty of Versailles, is generally regarded as a legitimate peace. However, some historians believe that it was instead an armistice stretching over two decades. One such of these historians is Marshall Fochs, who stated after the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years." We can rephrase the assertion: The two most devastating conflicts in the history of both the 20th century and the world were not, in fact, two wars at all but one war over the space of close to three decades. This assertion will be evaluated in the following project.



The 'German problem' was incapable of disintegration because France couldn't administrate any solutions in the long haul all 'alone'. Britain and the United States could communicate effective displeasure by exercising financial pressure on a notably weak French economy. Nonetheless, the reparations from Germany was not just a finacial operation for France. There was more to it. There was the pestering question of whether or not Germany could set aside reparations with impunity, then why not military restrictions and finally the territorial clasues of Versailles as well? Marshal Foch had asserted rooted fears when he called the Treay of Versailles "no more than a twenty-year truce."
10 June 1940, Roosevelt's earlier offer of good offices-declared war on an already weakened France. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill tried many strategies in the efforts of keeping France in the war. The war brought up agonies that resulted in French General
Philippe Pétain replacing Paul Reynaud, as France prime minister. Immediately following that, he began armistice negotiations. 22 June, the French agreed to German term and conditions, and later signed them in the same railway carriage in which Marshal Foch accepted the German capitulation at the close of the First World War. By the end of WWI, the French and German partook in the signing of the Armistice in a railway carriage, 11 November 1918, with the principal signatory being Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

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Constituting the statement
'This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years' Marshal Ferdinand Foch was simply presenting his viewpoint of the solid fact that the Treaty of Versailles was not a peace, ending WWI, but a temporary suspension, soon to be continued in WWII. Reasons why certain persons consider WWI and WWII to be one war, as opposed to two parted ones. Split in four parts, the Armistice was signed in a railway car at Compi ègne, and consisted of the following terms:

  1. General
  2. Military
  3. Monetary
  4. Territorial
Generally, the "War Guilt Clause" stated, Article 231
The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.

Military wise, there were 100,000 army men, cruisers, 6 battleships, no tanks, no air force, and parts of German territories had been demilitarized.
Monetary: A significant blow to Germany's economy, and extreme difficulty in rebuilding efforts of the economy. Reparations were to be of $32 billion.

Territorial: There were vital, noteworthy German Land lose.

Alsace-Lorraine (given to France)
Eupen and Malmedy (given to Belgium)
Northern Schleswig (given to Denmark)
Hultschin (given to Czechoslovakia)
West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (given to Poland)

These four sections of the treaty added up, and spilled over, resulting in world war II. It was a suspended war, that placed itself seamlessly into another, thereby causing the Treaty of Versailles to be an armistice, and not a peace. Foch's statement meant that Germany had not been weakened enough and soon would ascend in about twenty years. This prediction was correct.

Countries That Took Possession of German Land

France took away from Germany:
  • Provinces of Alsace, Provinces of Lorraine
  • Coal mines in the Saar Region for 15 years

Belgium took away small areas of:
  • Eupen
  • Malmèdy
  • Mores'et
  • St. Vith

Czechoslovakia took away:
  • Small border area near Troppau (now Opava)

Denmark took away:
  • Northern Schelswig

Poland took away:
  • Most of West Prussia
  • Much of the Posen (now Poznan) province

The Allies took away:
  • Germany’s Rhineland for 15 years

The League of Nations took away:
  • Danzig, (now Gdansk, Poland)


external image 250px-Foch.jpgexternal image 27923%7EPortrait-of-Marshal-Ferdinand-Foch-1851-1929-1920-Posters.jpg
Born: Born in Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
(2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929),
Death: Paris, France
Allegiance: France
Service to: French Army (1871-1923) French soldier.

Official Name: Marshall Ferdinand Foch (pronounced "Fosh")

In the early 20th century, Marshall was considered a military philosopher, and writer deemed "the most original and subtle mind in the French army.” Foch served as a general in the French army during World War I and he was later on made Marshal of France in its final year of 1918.
Promptly after the start-off of the Spring Offensive, Germany’s final endeavor to try winning the war, Foch was chosen as the supreme commander of the Allied armies. He held this position until November 11 1918, when he accepted the German request for an armistice. 1923, Foch was made Marshal of Poland.
He supported the idea of peace terms that would cause Germany to be incapable of posing any sort of threat to France for not only a long time, but ever again. Marshal Foch stated after the Treaty of Versailles, that “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” This statement documented itself prescient in World War II, which happened to start a little over twenty years later.







1, 400,000




Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were first outlined in a speech Wilson gave to the American Congress in January 1918. Wilson's Fourteen Points became the basis for a peace programme and it was on the back of the Fourteen Points that Germany and her allies agreed to an armistice in November 1918.'
1. No more secret agreements ("Open covenants openly arrived at").
2. Free navigation of all seas.
3. An end to all economic barriers between countries.
4. Countries to reduce weapon numbers.
5. All decisions regarding the colonies should be impartial
6. The German Army is to be removed from Russia. Russia should be left to develop
her own political set-up.

7. Belgium should be independent like before the war.
8. France should be fully liberated and allowed to recover Alsace-Lorraine
9. All Italians are to be allowed to live in Italy. Italy's borders are to "along
clearly recognisable lines of nationality."

10. Self-determination should be allowed for all those living in Austria-Hungary.
11. Self-determination and guarantees of independence should be allowed for
the Balkan states.

12. The Turkish people should be governed by the Turkish government. Non-Turks in
the old Turkish Empire should govern themselves.

13. An independent Poland should be created which should have access to the sea.
14. A League of Nations should be set up to guarantee the political and territorial
independence of all states.


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When Germany was presented the bill of its war-debt reparations in 1921, it could not afford to pay the price of approximately 269 gold marks, and defaulted on its payments in the months bridging 1922 and 1923. These actions would in turn, lead to internal havoc, occupation by the French of the Ruhr (described in some sources as Germany's "economic heartland"), and close to total German economic collapse as prices soared.

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Gustav Stresemann was appointed to the position of Chancellor of Germany during this conflict. While he was in power, Stresemann worked to repair the damage Germany had done, using methods similar to those espoused by Bismark's Realpolitik in the years previous to the first World War. The main brunt of Stresemann's policy focused on the avoidance of war at all costs, while he still strove to restore Germany to its former position - that is, that of a great power of Europe (Grenville 215). This new, Realpolitik-esque policy would soon be overturned with Hitler's rise to power.

The impetus for the second World War was, much like the first, contingent upon Germany's "world position". The Diktat, as the Treaty of Versailles became known as throughout Germany, restricted Germany's power and opportunities for nigh-on twenty years. Indeed, Hitler himself railed against the Treaty, reminiscing on his lectures on the topic in Mein Kampf:

As a result of the persistency with which this falsehood was repeated again and again before the masses of the people, millions of Germans saw in the Treaty of Versailles a just castigation for the crime we had committed at Brest-Litowsk. Thus they considered all opposition to Versailles as unjust and in many cases there was an honest moral dislike to such a proceeding. And this was also the reason why the shameless and monstrous word 'Reparations' came into common use in Germany. This hypocritical falsehood appeared to millions of our exasperated fellow countrymen as the fulfillment of a higher justice. It is a terrible thought, but the fact was so. The best proof of this was the propaganda which I initiated against Versailles by explaining the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk. I compared the two treaties with one another, point by point, and showed how in truth the one treaty was immensely humane, in contradistinction to the inhuman barbarity of the other. The effect was very striking. Then I spoke on this theme before an assembly of two thousand persons, during which I often saw three thousand six hundred hostile eyes fixed on me. And three hours later I had in front of me a swaying mass of righteous indignation and fury. A great lie had been uprooted from the hearts and brains of a crowd composed of thousands of individuals and a truth had been implanted in its place. ()

The Germans were given two choices in order for them to get the treaty. 1. Sign the treaty, 2. Get Invaded.
In the fear of an unavoidable invasion, the Germans sign the treaty, yet protesting that the terms of the treaty were 'dictated' to them. The treaty was signed June 28, 1919.
In Article 231, it called for Kaiser Wilhelm II to be called/brought to trial,
Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, the chancellor of Germany refused to release him.
Those who signed the treaty of Versailles were known as the 'November Criminals.' They were accused of betraying Germany (Dolchtoss). This paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler.



The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.

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  • The treaty asserted the blame, or ‘’ on Germany and Austria-Hungary, and moved to punish them for their ‘responsibility’ instead of working out an agreement that would insure peace in the long run.

  • The treaty resulted in tough monetary , , , mass ethnic resettlements and hyperinflation of the German economy-i.e. .

  • The treaty generated extremely bitter animosity towards the victorious parties of World War I. They had promised the people of Germany that United States’ President 's would be the principle guideline for peace. This was not the case.

  • President Woodrow Wilson was not able to convince the Allies to agree to adopt the 14 points, or could he convince the U.S.Congress to join the League of Nations.

  • The was not charitable enough to satisfy Germany, or tough enough to stop it from being the primary worldwide power once again.

  • The borrowed a lot of money form the U.S in order to pay off its debts, and to pay war reparations to Britain and France. Britain and France still carried war debt from World War I.

The extremity of the reparations demanded of Germany was condemned by more than just Germans. John Maynard Keynes, who was one of the financial experts involved with the creation of the Treaty of Versailles, would later denounce the reparations; even David Lloyd George saw that the reparations would hinder European prosperity. (Grenville 127) Germany would see a period of hyperinflation over three years. From July 1923 to November 1923, a period of just five short months at the end of the depression, For Germany, from expenditures accumulated during the course of the first World War, this was nothing short of catastrophic. The economic collapse, along with the famous “war guilt” article of the Treaty of Versailles and the dramatic stripping of German territory, would serve to cement the sure unrighteousness of the Treaty and Germany’s treatment post-WWI in the minds of the German people - and, in counterpoint, confirm the righteousness of the German cause.

The one overarching goal of Hitler and, by extension, the war he started was, in fact, the war itself - "a war, or several wars, which would enable Germany to conquer the continent of Europe" (Grenville, 215). This forms a direct parallel to the German political ideology of Weltpolitik that led to the first World War, when German politicians first began to argue that Germany “...could not be content with her position on the European continent alone but must become a ‘world power’…” (Grenville, 19). In both instances, the focal point of the war was the ultimate supremacy of Germany over all other nations. While the Treaty of Versailles was intended as a pact to break Germany's 'war spirit' by crippling it both physically (in terms of borders) and economically, in reality it kept that very same 'spirit', the spirit of Weltpolitik, burning throughout the twenty years in between the two World Wars. Though the Treaty of Versailles may have dictated a peace, it was in reality no more than an armistice, a pause between two parts of the same war.


Primary Documents - Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919


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1939, By. Signing of the Versailles Treaty. UCSB Department of History. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/CarlosTreaty??.htm>.

1997, Robert Schenk. German HyperInflation?. Font of CyberEconomics?. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://ingrimayne.com/econ/EconomicCatastrophe?/HyperInflation?.html>.

Avalon Project - President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/wilson14.asp>.

First World War.com - Primary Documents - German Delegates' Protest Against Proposed Peace Terms at the Paris Peace Conference, May 1919. First World War.com - A Multimedia History of World War One. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/parispeaceconf_germanprotest1.htm>.

First World War.com - Primary Documents - Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919. First World War.com - A Multimedia History of World War One. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/versailles.htm>.

Grenville, J. A. S. A History of the World in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 1994. Print.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Hitler Historical Museum. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf?/index.html>.

The Seeds of Evil: Germany 1919-1933. AS/A2 History. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. <http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/ASLevel_History?/>.

Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. History Learning Site. Web. 17 Dec. 2010.