As World War I wound down, some big changes took place within the participating countries, especially in Germany.
Germany was the biggest country on the losing side of this war, so Germany was going to take the hardest hit as things were changing.
Next Lesson: The Great Depression
The transcript is for your convenience
A disgruntled German populace ousted the emperor and installed a moderate socialist government. So, the German populace, the people, were unhappy that Germany had gotten dragged into this war, and now Germany had lost, and now they were going to be punished because of the political decisions. So, they got rid of the emperor who had been in charge during this time, and they installed a moderate socialist government in its place.
This government, known as the Weimar Republic, lasted until 1933. At the Paris Peace Conference, the victors of the war – and that would be the United States, Britain, France, and Italy – exacted some revenge on Germany. The victors had all lost troops and used supplies to fight Germany and the other countries that had joined with Germany. So, they were exacting some revenge on Germany since they had lost people because of Germany and their side of the war.
In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles penalized Germany economically and territorially. And this came about in the form of Alsace-Lorraine becoming independent, and this had been a big source of conflict. Prussia, which was part of Germany, really wanted Alsace-Lorraine, but Alsace-Lorraine wanted to become independent. In the end, the Treaty of Versailles said Alsace-Lorraine will be independent. It will no longer belong to Germany. And then, the German military was dismantled. So, this was also going to help keep Germany from being able to rise back up and fight the victors anytime soon. It would take a while before Germany would be able to reestablish the military and be able to even try to fight if they try to do so in the future.
The Treaty of Versailles would need to be modified by two subsequent agreements. So, these were two of the biggest punishments for Germany, but there were other parts of the Treaty of Versailles that also penalized Germany. And the Treaty of Versailles needing to be modified by two subsequent agreements because it wasn’t very fair to Germany. Yes, they wanted to exact some revenge, but they didn’t want Germany to forever be struggling. They wanted Germany to become a powerful nation again, just not one that would rise up against them.
So, in 1925, the Treaties of Locarno outlined a more reasonable reparations plan for Germany. So, a more reasonable plan for them to pay back for what they had taken away from the victors, and also to rebuild within their country. And then, in 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact asserted that diplomacy rather than force would be used to resolve any future international conflicts. So, this was kind of an upgrade from the balance of power that was struck before World War I, where all of the European nations said, “Okay, I won’t try to attack any of my neighbors, so my neighbors won’t try to attack any of me.” And so, each country was supposed to just be happy with the territory that it was already taking over. It wasn’t supposed to try to invade any of the neighboring countries, or take over them, or form all of Europe into an empire, and that balance of power was struck for a while and kept things peaceful.
But with World War I breaking out, that set different alliances fighting, and it was going to align some of the borders. And that Alsace-Lorraine became independent, and Germany was also going to lose some other territory that it had previously claimed. So, in the future, even if there is some kind of conflict, diplomacy is supposed to be used rather than force, according to the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
And so, that was something that all of the countries were supposed to be agreeing to, not just Germany, but that was also going to apply to Germany. So, this was a later agreement that kind of modified with the Treaty of Versailles had said. So, outcomes of World War I, all the countries had lost a lot of people. All the countries had lost a lot of their supplies, used a lot of food to power the troops, used a lot of ammunition. Germany was definitely punished after World War I, and they changed their government from having an emperor to installing a moderate socialist government. They also lost Alsace-Lorraine, and their military was dismantled. So, Germany was punished. It was having to pay for its war crimes, basically. And the Treaty of Versailles was what struck a peace between everyone, but also outlined how Germany would be penalized. There were two later amendments that gave Germany a more reasonable reparations plan, and then, a second agreement that applied to all European nations that was saying that the countries would use diplomacy rather than force to resolve any future conflicts.
Next Lesson: The Great Depression