In June of 1919, Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (otherwise known as the “War Guilt” clause) forced Germany to accept full responsibility for the Great War. While this fact alone damaged German pride and respectability, far more harm was caused by the financial reparations that they were required to pay in consequence. Alongside massive territorial losses, the combined effect helped to catalyze the rise of the NSDAP.

The treaty itself was a document which was signed by the Allied victors of the Great War at a conference which Germany and the other Central Powers were not allowed to attend. The general lack of agency given to these otherwise sovereign nations by the victors was, in actuality, a part of strategy for the peace terms negotiated by the Allies. For example, the Treaty of Versailles:

  1. Disallowed the German navy and air force[1]
  2. Capped the maximum allowable recruitment within the German army at 100,000 troops[2]
  3. Forbade Austria and Germany from forming a political union [3]


For more information on the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles on the rise of the NSDAP, please view Postwar Political Climate.



German citizens protest the Treaty of Versailles

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[1] Jerry H. Bentley et al. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past (Sixth Edition), Vol. 2: From 1500 to the Present (McGraw Hill Education, 2015), 802

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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