What Are the Major Effects of the Treaty of Versailles?

The Treaty of Versailles imposed reparations on Germany and reduced both its land and population, stirring feelings of resentment that contributed to Germany’s instigation of World War II. The treaty placed limits on the German military meant to reduce the possibility of further German aggression. However, the treaty left Germany with sufficient political unity and economic vitality to enable its conquests during the Second World War.

The Treaty of Versailles placed culpability for World War I on Germany. As a result, Germany was required to pay hefty reparations. The German military was limited to 100,000 men, conscription was prohibited, and armored vehicles were banned. Germany’s European possessions and overseas colonies were distributed among the Allied Powers. The German people detested these terms, and the Treaty fueled the sweeping nationalism that propelled the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler to power.

Despite the reductions in Germany’s military and land, the Treaty of Versailles left Germany itself intact. The united Germany experienced significant economic prosperity. Loans from the United States helped to offset the burden of the reparations. Because the treaty did not break Germany apart into smaller, weaker states, it was able to bounce back after a decade of abundance and assemble the military that threatened the entire western world during World War II.