The Treaty of Versailles

The German Government agreed to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, to make peace. This action was very unpopular in Germany and was used by enemies of the Government to claim that it had ‘stabbed Germany in the back’ by ending the war.

The video below describes the contents of the Treaty of Versailles.

The terms of the Treaty were very damaging to Germany for a number of reasons:

  • Territory was taken from Germany, depriving it of valuable industrial income.
  • Germany had to accept responsibility for starting the war, leading to feelings of humiliation and anger. This was the War Guilt Clause, which left many Germans feeling humiliated.
  • Germany had to pay reparations of £6.6 billion, which would ensure that the economy would not recover.
  • Germany’s armed forces were severely reduced. For example, there was no air force, a maximum 100,000 soldiers and a reduced navy.

The link to the armistice and Treaty of Versailles had serious repercussions for the Weimar Government.

The accusations surrounding the ‘November Criminals’ and the ‘Stab in the Back’ claims, were used in many of Hitler's speeches in order to discredit the Government.