Treaty Of Versailles Agreement
After four years of devastating fighting, the First World War ended in Versailles in 1919. The treaty, which was a “diktat” for some and a “diktat” for others, also sowed the seeds of the Second World War, which was to break out twenty years later. The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of hard currency repairs were paid. Nevertheless, even the payment of this small percentage of the initial repairs (132 billion gold marks) still weighed heavily on the German economy. Although the causes of devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and controversial, the Germans blamed the near collapse of their treaty economy, and some economists estimated that reparations accounted for up to a third of hyperinflation.  The British historian of modern Germany, Richard J. Evans, wrote that during the war, the German right had embarked on an annexation programme aimed at Germany annexing most of Europe and Africa. Therefore, any peace treaty that did not leave Germany as a conqueror would be unacceptable to them.  Without allowing Germany to retain all the conquests of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Evans argued that nothing could have been done to convince German law to accept Versailles.  Evans also pointed out that the parties of the Weimar coalition, namely the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), the German Social Liberal Democratic Party (DDP) and the Christian Democratic Centrism party, are all opposed to Versailles in the same way, and it is wrong to say that some historians claim that resistance to Versailles is also similar to that of the opposition to the Weimar Republic.  Finally, Evans argued that it was wrong that Versailles caused the premature end of the Republic, claiming instead that it was the Great Depression of the early 1930s that had put an end to German democracy. He also argued that Versailles was not the “main cause” of Nazism and that the German economy was “only marginally influenced by the effects of reparations”.
 Ewa Thompson recalls that the treaty allowed many central and eastern European nations to free themselves from German repressive rule, a fact often overlooked by Western historiography and more interested in understanding the German point of view. In nations that were free by the treaty – such as Poland or the Czechs – it is seen as a symbol of recognition of the injustice committed by their much larger aggressive neighbors against small nations.  In June 1919, the Allies declared that war would resume if the German government did not sign the treaty they had accepted among themselves. Philipp Scheidemann`s government could not agree on a common position and Scheidemann himself resigned instead of declaring himself ready to sign the treaty. Gustav Bauer, the head of the new government, sent a telegram in which he declared his intention to sign the treaty if certain articles were withdrawn, including Articles 227, 230 and 231. (ii) In response, the Allies issued an ultimatum declaring that Germany should accept the treaty or face an Allied invasion of the Rhine within 24 hours. On 23 June, Bauer capitulated and sent a second telegram confirming that a German delegation would arrive shortly to sign the contract.  On 28 June 1919, the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke François-Ferdinand (the immediate start of the war), the peace treaty was signed.  The treaty had clauses ranging from war crimes, from prohibiting the merger of the Republic of Germany with Germany without the agreement of the League of Nations, from freedom of navigation on major European rivers to the return of a Koran to the King of Hejaz.