Secondary Sources

Bailey, Thomas. Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1944).

  • “Germany, say the Germans, was not beaten but betrayed.  The truth is that in a very real sense she was beaten and then betrayed.  Her armies were reeling when the High Command sought a truce, though they were reeling on foreign soil.  But the circumstances surrounding the Fourteen Points, the pre-Armistice contract, and the renewals of the Armistice gave all too valid a basis to the charges of betrayal, which tended to obscure the fact of the beating.” pp. 52
  • “Germany failed to learn the one lesson that she most needed to learn: war does not pay.” pp. 54

The Germans did not believe they lost the Great War, but that they were betrayed, which was a chief idea that Hitler utilized in his rise to power.  However, this source suggests that the severe terms placed on the Germans in the Versailles Treaty could have been looked at as a form of betrayal.  By focusing on this betrayal, the Germans did not grasp the fact that they lost the war without betrayal and subsequently believed Hitler when he later spoke about the great betrayal of the First World War.

Birdsall, Paul. Versailles Twenty Years After. (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941).

  • “It [the Treaty of Versailles] developed a positive hostility to the institutions which had betrayed them.  It became a productive recruiting ground for Hitler’s Nazi movement.  The very foundations for republican and democratic institutions in Germany were thus permanently impaired as a consequence of the Reparation Settlement.” pp. 301-02.
  • “With the world-wide economic collapse, Germans increasingly accepted Hitler’s thesis that the victors of 1919 would yield only to force and never to reason, and the policy of ‘appeasement’ adopted by Britain and France fortified their faith.” pp. 302

In Versailles Twenty Years After, author Paul Birdsall refers to the ill climate in Germany following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.  He describes how this treaty helped fuel Adolf Hitler’s Nazi movement and gave the Germans reason to distrust the Allies and the need for a strong leader to pull them out of turmoil.

Caplan, Jane Nazi Germany. (Oxford University Press: Oxford, NY, 2008.)

Nazi Germany is a brief history of Germany during the Nazi years. Starting with the Great War and moving through the ages to the fall of World War II, this book describes in great detail the trials that the German people, economy, and society had to go through, deal with and endure on a day-to-day basis throughout this moment in history. The book begins with The Great War and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and how both affected the people of Germany. These effects would in turn created a false sense of hope within most of the population for the Nazi Party, believing they would help get Germany out of debt and into a prosperous country yet again. Written by Jane Caplan with supporting evidence, statistics, and graphs, this book portrays not only historical facts but also adds a sense of personal attitudes towards the Nazi party, World War I and World War II.

This book will help support our argument as to why The Treaty of Versailles (such as the terms) affected the German country in such a way that the people were looking for any way out, which

Dawson, William.  Germany Under the Treaty. (London: George Allen & Unwin, LTD., 1933).

“The formal signature of the Treaty of Versailles took place on June 28.  It was formal because there was no escape from acceptance, since Germans had been told that the alternative was the immediate resumption of the starvation blockade.  This had been cruelly prolonged for five months after Germany’s surrender and four months after the signing of the armistice.” pp. 81

This source describes at length how the Treaty of Versailles effected Germany and the German people.  This excerpt illustrates that Germany was essentially forced into signing the treaty without the option to alter any of the terms.  By threatening another starvation blockade, the Allies ultimately required Germany to comply with all their demands, no matter how harsh.

Macmillan, Margaret. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. Forward by Richard Holbrooke. (New York: Random House Trade, 2003).

  • “Punishment, payment, prevention—all were interconnected.  A smaller Germany, and a poorer Germany, would be less of a threat to its neighbors.” pp.162
  • “Reparations helped to poison relations between Germany and the Allies, and among the Allies themselves, for much of the 1920s and 1930s.” pp. 180

In the book Paris 1919 MacMillan describes the events of the Paris Peace Conference and how the terms that were established may have created a reason for German retaliation decades later.  The first excerpt illustrates the general belief held by the Allies at the time of the conference that Germany was at fault for the Great War.  The second excerpt is very important in that it provides reasoning behind why Germany may eventually attack the Allies.  The reparations gave Hitler grounds for blaming the hectic economic climate in Germany on the Allies, which fueled his movement.

McDougall, Walter A.. Political Economy versus National Sovereignty: French Structures for German Economic Integration after Versailles.The Journal of Modern History , Vol. 51, No. 1 (Mar., 1979), pp. 4-23 The University of Chicago Press

The conditions surrounding the end of World War One and the signing of the treaty of Versailles, left he world with a difficult question of how to treat Germany. Walter McDougall asks, “How could Germany’s indispensable economic power be reintegrated into postwar Europe without Germany being granted in peace the hegemony she had sought in war?” Germany had sought control of Europe during WWI and the treaty of Versailles effectively removed German sovereignty by limiting their economy and military. This article explains why the world powers, and specifically the French government, felt it was necessary that France control aspects of the German economy as a way of ensuring that Germany would not be able to rebuild a war machine. By France having power over German capital, it infringed on German sovereignty and encouraged nationalistic attitudes within the German population. This article highlights the importance of the “political economy” during the post WWI period in Europe.


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