GCSE History Revision: First World War: Peace-Making
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Everything you need to know about: First World Ward: Peace-Making!
The Treaty of Versailles was a peace settlement signed in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles on June 28th 1919, exactly five years after the assassination in Sarajevo. It outlined Germany’s punishment for the war, article 231 in particular blamed Germany for the outbreak of war and made them admit to ‘War Guilt’. The 440 articles were split into three broad categories: the military; territorial; financial and economical.
To limit the power of the military and any threat of future attack, the army was reduced to 100,000 men and the navy down to 6 battleships. Germany were also asked to give up more submarines than they actually had, leaving them with none, no air force and no tanks. They lost around 5,000 artillery pieces, 30,000 machine guns, 3,000 minenwerfer, 5,000 locomotives, 150,000 railway wagons and 5,000 trucks. As well as the demilitarisation of Germany’s army, they were forbidden to form alliances, especially with Austria-Hungry.
Much of the world map changed following World War One. Germany had to revert back to how it existed pre-war. Land Germany had occupied such as Turkey and was re-claimed and new countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia formed. The people of Danzig were allowed to choose whether to remain with Germany or re-join Poland. France was given the coal mines in the Saar to compensate for loss of their mine’s and given back Alsace-Lorraine, which was key to France’s iron industry. The Rhineland was also demilitarized. Sudetenland was given to Czechoslovakia and the Polish Corridor was created to prevent Poland being landlocked and separate East Prussia from Germany.
Financial and Economical
This crippled the German economy and its citizens for many years, and was especially difficult in immediate years after the war. German people were angry that government had signed and agreed to such harsh terms and felt it was a way of starving and punishing their children and future generations who were innocent. The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226billion Reichsmarks but it was reduced to 132billion. In sterling at the time this was the equivalent of some £22billion, which was finally paid off in 2010.
Other treaties were made and all involved a reduction in military strength and the re-organisation of land.
SUMMARY: The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty signed on June 28th 1919. It outlined Germany’s punishment for their war crimes and article 231 made them accept full responsibility for the outbreak of war. There were 440 articles split into three broad categories: Military (weakening and disbandment); territorial (re—destruction of land and others re-claimed); financial and economical (huge reparations to be paid and industry controlled). The German citizens were angry that their government had agreed to the harsh terms of the treaty. They saw it as a way of punishing future generations of innocent children. Austria, Hungry. Bulgaria and Turkey were also made to sign treaties of peace.
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