The Tragedy of the Treaty of Versailles

Surely the old saying "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" truly applies to the Treaty of Versailles concluded at the end of WW1.

The seeds sown by the Allies as they were determined to extract much more than their due pound of flesh from Germany and her people, turned into a bitter harvest that terminated in thrusting the world into two camps that then became WW2.

Firstly, it was Britain And France against Germany, then Hitler made a huge mistake in invading Russia on June 22 in 1941, with three million troops. The Japanese forced the United States to become a belligerent with their undeclared and cowardly attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

Italy aligned her self with Germany, mistakenly in the longer term picking the wrong partner.

But back to the Treaty of Versailles, the Allies were going to make Germany pay, France in particular, sharing a common frontier, the French were in no mood to be at all magnanimous, they wanted their old enemy stripped bare to the very bone.

The Germans were handed an eighty four thousand word draft of the Treaty document, that set out that their country would admit its guilt, give up territory and the bulk of its Armed Services, and pay a huge sum in reparations.

The German armed forces of three million was to be decimated to a mere rump of 100,000, ships of the Kriegsmarine scuttled, reparations to be be paid to the huge total of 132 billion Gold marks (US$ 30 billion).

In 2011 values this would now total some US$385 billion.

France had initially opted for a payment of 269 billion Gold marks, but the British and United States applied pressure on her to go with the lower figure.

13% of German territory including Alsace-Lorraine, and all her overseas colonies were given up under the treaty of Versailles. The Rhineland was to occupied temporarily, and demilitarised, Saarland placed under a French mandate.

Even worse for the Chemical industry, the Treaty required Germany to surrender 50% of its stocks of dye, pharmaceutical and other chemical products to its former enemies.

In addition, until January 1, 1925, the Allies could buy up to a quarter of the Chemical Industries output of these products at prices well below going market prices.

Quite a shopping list from the Allies, there were to be no meetings between the parties, any negotiations were to be via an exchange of notes, all designed to publicly humiliate Germany to the fullest extent possible.

After Adolf Hitler swept into power, this treaty always stuck in his craw, the dictat was so one sided, and most Germans just hated it, the new Chancellor worked to break the shackles imposed by the Treaty on his country.

Piece by piece, he ignored many of the Treaty clauses, he increased the Armed Forces, trained air crews in Russia, to bring about the birth of the Luftwaffe.

Versailles was the spark for the advent of WW2, its harsh actions and humiliation of Germany and its people proved too much, and so the "Dogs of War" were again unleashed, as nations geared up to fight one another for the second time in but a quarter of a century.


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