Can someone please mark my 16 mark GCSE Edexcel Germany QuestionWatch this thread
This is the question:
How far do you agree with Interpretation 1 about the effects of the Treaty of Versailles on Germany?
I agree with Interpretation 1 to an extent as it suggests that the German people's main issue with the Treaty of Versailles was "the acknowledgement defeat." This was certainly correct as the German people felt Ebert and the Weimar Government had 'stabbed them in the back'. Many felt humiliated by Article 231 - the war guilt clause - and called the Weimar Republic the 'November Criminals'. Therefore I do agree with Interpretation 1, as without article 231, perhaps the German people wouldn't have felt so much anger and disdain towards the Treaty of Versailles. What the interpretation doesn't highlight is all the economical and social issues that were included in the Treaty of Versailles, arguing that it "was not excessively harsh on Germany", therefore, I agree less with this interpretation.
I agree to a larger extent with Interpretation 2, which challenges the view put forward in Interpretation 1. Interpretation 2 argues that the Treaty of Versailles "was on of the most outrageous treaties in history". It really emphasises how Germany was already "bleeding" after the costs of WW1 both economically and socially, with the Treaty of Versailles heightening the problems massively. This argument holds weight as Germany lost 13% of its land resulting in the loss of 48% of coal production. Moreover, they had to "pay reparations to the Entente powers", which included £6.6 billion. Germany's army was reduced to 100,000 soldiers and they were only allowed 6 battleships and no submarines. This reduced support for the Weimar Government at a time when Germany needed stability. Therefore I agree with this interpretation to a large extent as the reduced territory caused Germany to be split up, creating a whole new array of social as well as economical problems. Additionally, this led to the public feeling hatred and bitterness towards their own government and the allies as they felt they were trying to destroy Germany. I agree more with Interpretation 2 than Interpretation 1 because it also emphasises how having to "accept full responsibility" damaged Germany's pride and made them feel insecure.
Overall, I strongly agree with view put forward by the Interpretation 2. This is because it shows how everything in the Treaty of Versailles equally holds importance and created problems in Germany. However, Interpretation 1 does hold some weight too as the people of Germany were clearly enraged at having to accept guilt of WW1 as it created insecurity and presented Germany as a weak nation. Despite this, the Treaty of Versailles caused Germany to be economically unstable for many years after and could be traced as the trigger for problems such as the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 as well as hyperinflation. Therefore the other factors of the Treaty of Versailles hold great significance too, which agrees with Interpretation 2.