How Did the Treaty of Versailles Punish Germany?

The Treaty of Versailles punished Germany by taking away territories and overseas colonies, reducing the size of the nation’s army and forcing Germany to pay reparations. Essentially, Germany was forced to take the blame for World War I.

Under the treaty, Germany had to give up land to France, Belgium, Czechoslavakia, Denmark and Poland, including West Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine, Northern Schleswig, Eupen and Malmedy. Germany’s overseas colonies, furthermore, were surrendered to the control of the League of Nations.

The “War Guilt Clause,” or Article 231, placed blame for the war on Germany. Thus, Germany had to take responsibility for reparation payments, especially to France and Belgium. The German Army was limited to 100,000 men, submarines and the Air Force were banned and the German Navy could not consist of vessels weighing over 100,000 tons. Germany was also forced to hold war crime trials.