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Germany and theTreaty of Versailles

German flag at the time of world war one


On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian-Serb student, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, This began a period of diplomatic manoeuvring among Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain called the July Crisis. Austria-Hungary then delivered the July Ultimatum to Serbia. it was a series of unacceptable demands that were made to intending provoke Serbia into war.Serbia agreed to eight of the ten demands. As a resolute Austria-Hungary declared war on 28 July 1914. Austria-Hungary was a close ally of Germany, and knew that when Russian joined the war to defend its ally Serbia, Germany would have no choice but join the war as well. the German Empire began to mobilise on 30 July 1914. Many other country's join the war because of the allegiances and some like the United States were provoked in to joining. fourteen different countrys fought in the war and and by the time the fighting ended on November 11, 1918, the death toll was over 15 million, with the alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria defeated. The treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.Although the armistice signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. One of the important and controversial parts of the treaty required Germany to accept responsibility for causing the war (later known as the War Guilt clauses) Article 231. Foreign Minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzausaid "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." at the peace conference. The signing of the treaty resulted in Germany losing territory to allied countries and having to pay harsh reparations as well. These reparations lead to hyperinflation in Germany, which left the German people with bitter feelings towards the allied countries. This later attributed to the rise in power of the NAZI party in Germany. The treaty also affected the political reputation of Germany and made it much harder for them to find foreign trade partners.


  • June 22nd 1914. Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, leading to Germany backing Austria-Hungary incase they went to war against Serbia who had an alliance with Russia.
  • July 30th 1914. Germany military leader Moltke announces a "state of imminent danger of war".
  • August 3rd 1914. Germany declares war on France, World War One begins.
German Military restrictions:
  • German armed forces limited to 100,000 troops.
  • no conscription.
  • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
  • German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men.
  • six battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each).
  • six cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each).
  • 12 destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each).
  • 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each).
  • The import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Poison gas, armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.
  • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
  • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns.

  • Germany agreed to return disputed lands and cities to various countries
  • Germany was compelled to yield control of its colonies, and would also lose a number of European territories.
  • Return Alsace-lorraine to france
  • cession of territory to Belgium,Lithuania, and hultschin district to Czechoslovakia


France was awarded full possession of Germany′s coal-bearing Saar basin for a period. Germany was forced to provide France, Belgium, and Italy with millions of tons of coal for 10 years. However, under the control of Adolf Hitler, Germany stopped deliveries of coal within a few years, violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks, which is roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2012
The final payments ended up being made on 4 October 2010
casualties (approximate):

  • 2,000,000 Military deaths
  • 435,000 Civilian deaths
  • 4,247,000 Military wounded