To what extent was Germany weakened through loss of territory militarily and economically?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th gradeA, June 2004

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The Treaty of Versailles of 1919-20, aside from setting up a kind of international police force - the League of Nations, mainly set terms for dealing with Germany. These included taking blame for initiating World War I, restrictions on military, loss of territory, and reparations. The losses of territory militarily would be a lesser extent than the losses on Germany economically.

Germany's military losses included restricting its armed forces. The army was limited to 100,000 men, conscription was banned, no submarines or aero planes were allowed, the navy was limited to six ships, and the Rhineland became a demilitarized area. Yet military losses were not especially significant. The war had shown that air superiority had become of great importance.

Britain may have wanted to dominate the seas, but international conflict had turned into an air war - ruling the seas was not of great consequence ; hence Germany's restrictions on submarines and its navy would not be of significant effect in terms of weakening the country.

Germany was forced to disarm and limit its army, but rather than weakening the country, it caused outrage of the people, who viewed the army as a symbol of pride.

Clemenceau wanted to cripple Germany to prevent a third invasion, to keep Germany weakened. But the truth is, Germany was already weakened after the war, its economy strained, its people with little food - and reparations only added to the hardship. £6.6 billion in reparations was a tremendous amount to pay, and soon Germany had fallen behind in payments. This was unacceptable to France, and only after the Dawes Plan of 1924 was drawn up did France withdraw its troops from the Ruhr area of the Rhineland. To realize the further toll that reparations had on Germany, we can look at the Young Plan,