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The effect of the Treaty of Versailles upon the Weimar Republic

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Jack Greenwood

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of The effect of the Treaty of Versailles upon the Weimar Republic

The effect of the Treaty of Versailles upon the Weimar Republic When the Allies’ peace terms were published in May 1919 they were condemned not only by the extreme right, but by all shades of political opinion in Germany. Scheidemann’s SDP-Centre Party-Democratic Party coalition government even considered restarting the war rather than accept them. However, they were eventually accepted, with the Weimar Republic being branded the 'November Criminals' for signing the armistice that betrayed Germany and signing the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty had territorial, financial and political impacts within Germany, harshly dividing the country. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles could be seen as undermining the Weimar Republic. There were claims that the troops had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by the government, however the right wing elite, which had governed Germany through the war, denied this. Throughout its existence the government would have to answer these charges and pacify those who couldn’t accept that the war had been lost. This shows an unwillingness to support the Government from day one, which clearly shows that it should not have survived for as long as it did. Tensions were also created by the loss of land within Germany, all the territories gained in the war were returned and the German colonies annexed by the allies. Many Germans felt strongly against such concessions and caused even more internal conflict. Furthermore, the Treaty had a huge financial implications, it dictated that the Germany should pay reparations to the allies of £6,600 million a month; this would have crippled the German economy, worsening the living conditions of the German people, therefore making it surprising that the Weimar Republic lasted, as the people could have protested and revolted.
It all resulted in hyperinflation in the German economy. This ultimately resulted in rioting and looting as food became scarce and a wave of strikes occurred in protest against rising prices.
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