William Orpen – The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles 1919, Ausschnitt-1-

The signing of the treaty.

The Treaty of Versailles, signed in the French town on 28 June 1919, ended the state of war between Germany and the Entente (with the notable exception of Russia, which had signed a separate peace treaty in 1918).

Among many controversial clauses, the treaty declared Germany and her allies to take full responsibility for the outbreak of World War I despite the fact that Germany did not start the war, Kaiser Wilhelm II and many other German officers to be tried as war criminals, the abolition of conscription and reduction of German army personnel to 100,000 men, a limited navy of 32 ships and 15,000 men, prohibition to import or export weapons and prohibition to own or produce submarines, armed planes, tanks, armoured cars and poison gas altogether, plus restrictions in the manufacture of rifles and machine guns. The treaty also forced Germany to renounce control over her African and Pacific colonies and a number of European territories, including West Prussia and Alsace-Lorraine, while forbidding her to unite with Austria and the Sudetenland in the future. Finally, Germany would also pay 226 billion Reichsmarks and allow Franco-Belgian troops to occupy the Rhineland for 15 years.

The resentment caused in Germany by this treaty was one of the main rallying points that favoured the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in the later years, who would then vulnerate it repeatedly through the 1930s, while the now divided Allies failed to respond for a number of reasons. The final breach came in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, leading to the breakout of World War II.

Literary commentEdit

The Treaty of Versailles was enacted in all Harry Turtledove works with a POD after 1919, but is germane only to a few of them.

Treaty of Versailles in The War That Came EarlyEdit

The Treaty of Versailles was resented by, not only Germany, but several countries in Eastern Europe. When Germany attacked Czechoslovakia in October 1938, Poland and Hungary also participated in Czechoslovakia's dismemberment.

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