Versailles Treaty

The Paris Peace Conference in 1919 was about bringing a formal end to the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles tidied up the loose ends and decided who got what. It also decided who lost what. The answer to that was Germany. This went down very badly with the Germans. They did lose their colonies which, arguably were more nuisance than they were worth. They lost territory to France and Poland. The whole thing, especially the Stab-in-the-back 'legend' was a major force for the next war. John Maynard Keynes said much the same in his book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The High Cost Of Vengeance argues somewhat thus.

The Blockade of Germany from 1914 to 1919 stopped food imports and starved Germans. It was kept in force until 12 July 1919, the month after they signed the Versailles Treaty. Hunger is a political tool; it killed hundreds of thousands. Various numbers are given by Propagandists. The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 with 50 to 100 million dead worldwide helps to confuse the issue.

Versailles Treaty ex Wiki
Was the result of the meeting of the victors after the First World War that decided what was going to be done to Germany. The verdict was; Rob them blind. The French were particularly vindictive.  Germany lost all of its colonies. Remember Sudwest Afrika which is now called Namibia? It also lost a lot of its own territory. Screwing  them was not entirely a good idea. It helped start the next war.

In January 1923 French and Belgian troops invaded the Ruhr because the Germans had not paid an installment of the reparations demanded by the Treaty


Treaty of Versailles ex Wapedia
3. Reactions
On 29 April the German delegation under the leadership of the Foreign Minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau arrived in Versailles. On 7 May when faced with the conditions dictated by the victors, including the so-called "War Guilt Clause", von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied to Clemenceau, Wilson and Lloyd George: "We know the full brunt of hate that confronts us here. You demand from us to confess we were the only guilty party of war; such a confession in my mouth would be a lie." Because Germany was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the German government issued a protest against what it considered to be unfair demands, and a "violation of honour" and soon afterwards, withdrew from the proceedings of the Treaty of Versailles.

Germans of all political shades denounced the treaty—particularly the provision that blamed Germany for starting the war—as an insult to the nation's honour. They referred to the treaty as "the Diktat" since its terms were presented to Germany on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Germany's first democratically elected Chancellor, Philipp Scheidemann, refused to sign the treaty and resigned. In a passionate speech before the National Assembly on 12 March 1919, he called the treaty a "murderous plan" and exclaimed,

Which hand, trying to put us in chains like these, would not wither? The treaty is unacceptable...............

4. Violations
The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency. citation needed] Nonetheless, even the payment of this small percentage of the original reparations (132 billion gold Reichsmarks) still placed a significant burden on the German economy. Although the causes of the devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and disputed, Germans blamed the near-collapse of their economy on the Treaty, and some economists estimated that the reparations accounted for as much as one third of the hyper-inflation. citation needed]

In March 1921, French and Belgian troops occupied Duisburg, which formed part of the demilitarized Rhineland, according to the Treaty of Versailles. In January 1923 French and Belgian forces occupied [ invaded is the honest word - Editor ] the rest of the Ruhr area as a reprisal after Germany failed to fulfill reparation payments demanded by the Versailles Treaty. The German government answered with "passive resistance," which meant that coal miners and railway workers refused to obey any instructions by the occupation forces. Production and transportation came to a standstill, but the financial consequences contributed to German hyperinflation and completely ruined public finances in Germany. Consequently, passive resistance was called off in late 1923. The end of passive resistance in the Ruhr allowed Germany to undertake a currency reform and to negotiate the Dawes Plan, which led to the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr Area in 1925.