Treaty of Versailles - key terms

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919 and consisted of 440 articles setting out the terms for Germany's punishment. The treaty was greeted with shock and disbelief in Germany.

The terms of the Treaty can be classified into four groups:

  • territorial - provisions that took land away from Germany
  • military - provisions that limited Germany's armed forces
  • financial and economic
  • punishment
The clauses of the Treaty of VersaillesTerms of the Treaty of VersaillesTIMOTHY W. GUINNANE, VERGANGENHEITSBEWÄLTIGUNG (COMING TO TERMS WITH THE PAST), YALE, 2004

The most important articles of the Treaty are listed below.

Article numberDescription
1-26The Covenant of the League of Nations - Germany was not allowed to join.
42The Rhineland was demilitarised - the German army was not allowed to go there.
45The Saar, with its rich coalfields, given to France for 15 years.
51Alsace-Lorraine returned to France.
80Germany forbidden to unite with Austria.
87Lands in eastern Germany - the rich farmlands of Posen and the Polish corridor between Germany and East Prussia - given to Poland.
100Danzig made a free city under League of Nations control.
119All Germany's colonies taken and given to France and Britain as 'mandates'.
160The German army restricted to 100,000 men.
181The German navy restricted to six battleships and no submarines.
198Germany not allowed to have an air force.
231Germany was responsible for causing all the loss and damage caused by the war.
232Germany would have to pay reparations, to be decided later - eventually set at 132 billion gold marks.