The Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement signed after World War One had ended in 1918. The treaty was signed at the vast Versailles Palace near Paris between Germany and the Allies. The three most important politicians there were David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson.
Italy ended World War 1 on the winning side, but they were not satisfied by the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty did not allow them to gain "unredeemed" lands and the new nations of Yugoslavia. To add to this, their economy was experiencing inflation, unemployment, and high budget deficits. This time of chaos and disorder was perfect for Mussolini to gain support and power.
Under the Treaty of Versailles Germany was forced to pay 6.6 billion marks in reparations to countries like France and Britain. When they missed a payment the French invaded the Ruhr, the workers went on strike and the government printed off paper money which later caused hyperinflation.
In 1923, the Weimar republic found themselves in a crisis after they missed a payment towards their reparations set out for them in the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler took advantage of the discontent and chaos in Germany as he attempted to seize power by force.
The Treaty of Versailles had imposed huge reparation payments on Weimar Germany to pay for the damage caused by World War One. It soon became clear that Weimar Germany was simply incapable of paying out the instalments required by Versailles.The Dawes Plan of 1924 was created to take Weimar Germany out of hyperinflation and to return Weimar’s economy to stability.
The Dawes Plan, a restructuring of Germany's repararations debt, involved American banks making loans to Germany, which then used the money to pay Britain and France, which then used the money to repay the United State. Thus, it drew the American financial system further into Europes problems, and when Germany couldn't pay either its loans or its reparations, American banks suffered the default of German, French and British loans simultaneously.The Dawes Plan was a result of Germany's inability to pay the reparations set out by the Treaty of Versailles
The League of Nations was founded as a result of the Paris peace conference and the Treaty of Versailles. It dealt with international disputes globally, one example of this included what was known as the Manchuria Crisis.
The Treaty of Versailles left Germany with 6.6 billion marks to pay in reparations. The treaty took territory from Germany and left the country facing harsh compensation claims. The limitations it placed on Germany's armed forces, and especially the War Guilt Clause that blamed Germany and her allies for starting the war, left many Germans feeling humiliated. For these reasons it was deeply unpopular. Many German people were angry and frustrated with the Weimar Republic which was associated with failure in WWI since it had signed the Treaty of Versailles that had ended the war. Because of it's failing many Germans turned to more extreme political forces, both fascists and communists were receiving more support. although many rich people who were worried about what they might lose if communists ruled Germany supported and donated money to Hitler who viciously opposed communists.
The Treaty of Versailles imposed harsh military terms onto Germany. The German army restricted to 100,000 men. The German navy restricted to six battleships and no submarines. Germany not allowed to have an air force. Hitler openly despised these rules and in the process of trying to restore Germany to power he broke the terms and re-asserted Germany’s right to control its own military.
Italians felt that they didn’t get their fair share of territory after World War I when the Treaty of Versailles made peace and decided who would rule Germany’s former colonies. The invasion of Abyssinia would make up for these losses. Abyssinia and the territories Italy already held in East Africa would join together to make a new Italian empire in the region. Abyssinia had the support of the League of Nations, but did not have an army to match the Italians.
For many years the Rhineland area had been a key industrial region of Germany, producing coal, steel and iron.
One of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was that the Germans would not be able to keep military forces in the Rhineland. Hitler resented this term as it made Germany vulnerable to invasion. He was determined to enlarge his military capability and strengthen his borders.
In 1936 Hitler marched 22,000 German troops into the Rhineland, directly breaking the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler had significantly improved his status. Over the next two years the Germans built defences and within 18 months their rate of rearmament was larger than Britain and France.
The main terms of the Treaty of Versailles were:
War Guilt Clause - Germany should accept the blame for starting World War One
Reparations - Germany had to pay 6,600 million for the damage caused by the war
Disarmament - Germany was only allowed to have a small army and six naval ships. No tanks, no airforce and no submarines were allowed. The Rhineland area was to be de-militarised.
Territorial Clauses - Land was taken away from Germany and given to other countries. Anschluss (union with Austria) was forbidden.
The German people were very unhappy about the treaty and thought that it was too harsh. Germany could not afford to pay the money and during the 1920s the people in Germany were very poor. There were not many jobs and the price of food and basic goods was high. People were dissatisfied with the government and voted to power Adolf Hitler who promised to abolish the Treaty of Versailles and restore Gemany's honour.