With the First World War over, the new Weimar Government not only had to struggle to impose its authority in Germany, it also had to face the consequences of the peace treaty that was being worked out by the victorious Allies. It is therefore important to build up detailed knowledge of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the motives and concerns of the men who created the Treaty, the reactions in Germany to the terms of the Treaty, and the consequences for the Weimar Government of accepting the Treaty. The war had not been fought on German soil and only months earlier German forces had ended Russia’s part in the war and advanced west as far as the River Marne. It is not surprising that defeat was difficult to accept.
Notes will be required on the following dimensions:
The historian A J Nicholls states that the Versailles Treaty ‘still left the Germans considerably more territory than united Germany has today.’ How justified was German hostility to the Treaty of Versailles?
How far is it fair to argue that ‘The only treaty acceptable to the Germans was one drawn up as if they had won the war’?
The historian William Carr argues
‘What the German Nationalists could not do ….was bring themselves to accept the fact of Gemany’s military defeat.’
This part of the course deals with the years 1919-22, a time when the new Republic struggled to become established and faced threats to its stability from both the left and right wings. The Treaty of Versailles was signed by two ministers of the Weimar Government on 28th June 1919; reactions to this Treaty therefore form a factor in the problems of this period. Some historians believe the kind of political system that was created by the new Weimar Constitution of 1919 was itself partly to blame for the troubles that developed in the following years.
Notes will be needed on the following: