chapter  5
13 Pages

From the Peace Treaty to the Young Plan: International Relations and Foreign Policy, 1919-30

There is scarcely any other peace congress or peace settlement in respect of which opinions have changed so much in the course of a few decades as they have - not least in Germany herself - in regard to the Paris conference and the Treaty of Versailles. In Germany between the wars the peace treaty, the Versailles 'dictat', was the great national trauma. Both the genesis and the provisions of the treaty were the object of passionate criticism, often expressed with the greatest vehemence. On no political question were the parties and groups so unanimous as in condemning the peace treaty, particularly the so-called 'war guilt' article, which Germans rejected almost with one voice. Politicians of the left and centre saw the treaty and its effects as one of the main reasons for the desperate state of the German republic. Those of the right, for their part, strove to undermine the democratic republic with their unbridled agitation against the 'dictat' and the 'policy of fulfilment'. In National Socialist propaganda against the republic, the 'shameful peace' played a major role along with the 'stab in the back' and the 'November criminals'.