On June 28, 1919, Treaty of Versailles brought WWI to an end. With its fifteen parts and 440 articles, written by Allies with no input from Germans, it served the purpose of reassigning the Germany’s boundaries. After five years of strict enforcement, France expressed agreement to change some provisions. Though Germany had agreed to the treaty, Hitler’s rise to power rendered moot this treaty.
Just as he was coming into power, Hitler was capable to highlight the mechanism by which “foreigners” were destroying Germany. This identification and highlighting of this critical issue played a pivotal role in Hitler’s power drive and bringing him to power. Hitler was very firm on his opinion that the Germany has been the victim to the conspiracies of the forces from outside of Germany. He also believed that these forces aimed nothing but to reduce a great nation to ruins. Hitler was also very much convinced that the Treaty of Versailles was the most prominent evidence of such conspiracies. It was being done through a lot of provisions in the treaty which aimed at weakening the Germany not only by phasing out the peace but also by vengeful reassignment of borders. Hitler made the point that the land’s appropriation, forbiddance to ownership to business and arms, massive retributions and the forceful acts by which the treaty was imposed on the German people revealed the hostile approach to so called peace. This type of reaction was very important for the Hitler’s success.
The resentment and frustration of the German people against the treaty was the biggest asset on which Hitler capitalized to gain power in the Germany. Hitler, very successfully, made himself the franchise of the anger and frustration of the German people, and was very vocal at expressing the discontent of German people on the Treaty of Versailles. Just as the Allied forces had started to negotiate with the Hitler via the appeasement’s policy, it became evident to people of Germany that Hitler had been right in so many of his claims, and it increased Hitler’s popularity and claim to the power. It was all possible because of his aggressive opposition of the Treaty of Versailles.
During 1920’s, the aggressive stance of Hitler against the Treaty and his expressive attitude towards it, according to some historians, played just as much role in worsening economic conditions of Germany’s Weimar Republic as much the terms of surrender. While Great Depression is stated as the worst time in the American and World’s economic history, the Germany had been through a similar phase due to the treaty. Germany, as a result of provision of the treaty, had considerable amount of territory of both the eastern Prussian regions. It had also surrendered the Alsace-Lorraine region in favor of France. Germany was owing a staggering amount of over 130 billion gold Deutsch-marks in lieu of the war reparations. It was the highest ever recorded in the world history. The Great Depression in the Germany was a result of the huge war debt and loss of the industries due to loss of control on the surrendered regions, which in turn initiated the severe shortage of the basic necessities. Germany also had to significantly reduce its paramilitary forces and its operational capabilities were also barred by limiting the access to war assets like airplanes, machine guns and warships.
To conclude, the Treaty of Versailles eventually turned to be the foundation of the darkest chapter of Europe’s history. Ironically, the treaty which was aimed at ending the wars proved to be the stage setting for an even drastic war. Throughout 1920s, unemployment and hunger were the most pressing issue for Germany. Hitler’s bold remarks against the treaty followed by his commitment of providing work and better economic conditions certainly captivated the masses.