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Treaty of Versailles

Treaty of Versailles

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The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a peace treaty signed by the European powers that officially ended World War I.

After six months of negotiations in Paris, the treaty was signed as a continuation of the November 1918 armistice in Compiègne, which had put an end to the clashes. The main point of the treaty required Germany to accept all responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231-247, to make reparations to a number of nations of the Triple Entente.

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The terms imposed on Germany included the loss of part of its territory to a number of border nations, all the colonies over the oceans and the African continent, a restriction on army size, and compensation for wartime damage.

The Weimar Republic also agreed to recognize the independence of Austria. German Foreign Minister Hermann Muller signed the treaty on 28 June 1919. The treaty was ratified by the League of Nations on 10 January 1920. In Germany the treaty caused shock and humiliation in the population, which contributed to the fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933 and the rise of Nazism.

In the treaty a commission was created to determine the precise extent of the reparations that Germany had to pay. In 1921, this figure was officially set at $ 33 million. Burdens on this payment are often cited as the main cause of the end of the Weimar Republic and Adolf Hitler's rise to power, which inevitably led to the outbreak of World War II only 20 years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Some provisions of the Treaty of Versailles

Art. 45 - determined that Germany would cede the coal-mining Saarland for a period of 15 years to France.

Art. 51 - established that Alsace and Lorraine would be returned to the French.

Art. 102 - determined that the city of Dantzig was considered a free city and administered by the League of Nations.

Art.119 - determined that all German colonies would pass into the hands of the Allies.

Art. 160 - set the maximum number of troops that Germany could maintain. Overall, it could only have 100,000 volunteer soldiers.

Art. 168 - Any armaments manufacture should have Allied approval.

Art. 198 - determined that Germany could not have aviation or military navy.

Art. 231 - established recognition of the Germans' guilt for the war and all the losses and damage of the Allies.

(Adapted from MATTOSO, Kátia M. Queirós. Texts and documents for the study of contemporary history. Sao Paulo: Hucitec / Edusp, 1977, p. 166-170.