Educational Resources: History - Germany


The Treaty of Versailles

...and its devastating impact on Germany.

A cartoon depicting Germany being force fed the terms of the Treaty of VersaillesHaving to wrongfully accept full responsibility for causing a devastating world war would have been bad enough, however this was only one of the many implications that Germany had to deal with after it, and the Allied Powers, after months of arguments and negotiations as to what it shall contain, signed the Treaty of Versailles on the 28th of June, 1919. In normal circumstances, Germany would have blatantly refused to sign such a treaty. However, towards the end of WW1, Germany’s military had all but disintegrated, leaving them in no position to continue the war, so she simply had no choice but to sign the treaty; or otherwise be invaded by The Allies. This treaty was designed to keep Germany quiet, by basically forcing her into isolation and making her weak so her once great power was now diminished. The treaty accomplished this quite successfully, however some countries such as France would have liked Germany destroyed, with the terms seriously damaging her economically, politically, socially, geographically and by putting great restraints on her military power. “To the German people they were being ruthlessly punished for a war not only were not responsible for but had to fight”

NAZISM affected the State and its people.

In particular, it saw an attack on the Jewish Community unprecedented until the Holocaust.

A woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked "Only for Jews." Throughout the Nazi dictatorship, the German State and its people experienced significant changes politically, socially and economically. One of the most apparent of these changes being the countries newly found negative attitudes, and actions, towards the Jewish Community. Hitler and the Nazi party had previously spoken publicly, and proudly, about their anti-Semitism, however it wasn’t until a time of great need that the German people were actually willing to listen to such drivel; and even then they didn’t necessarily agree. With his and his party’s advancement to dictatorship, Hitler took with him his unethical and barbaric anti-Semitic views, and from then on prepared and pursued his parties attack on the innocent community he had come to hate. This attack came in many different forms, and was fierce enough to force hundreds of thousands of fearful Jewish civilians to flee their home country. For those that remained, a bleak and daunting life was to lie ahead. They were to suffer a life of great misfortune, with what seemed to be a whole community working against them. Through the use of carefully organised boycotts, the forbidding of Jewish political representation, public facility banning, anti-Jewish propaganda, the Nuremburg Laws, the banning of professional jobs and the constant threat of physical attack, Hitler and the Nazi’s made sure such a life occurred for these people. The once normal German citizen had now been successfully outcasted from mainstream society as a result of the actions by the Nazi Dictatorship. Read more...

The Holocaust - A direct result of Nazi Foreign Policy.

A Nazi soldier stands ready to shoot a parent holding their small child.Following the Nazi’s rise to power, the party conducted a number of exorbitant events which solely aimed to incorporate foreign Germans into the new and powerful Reich, attempt German domination of Europe, acquire more “living space” and resources for the German people and lastly, revise the hazardous Treaty of Versailles; all these events of which are categorized under the infamous title of “Foreign Policy”. However, unpredictable to the leading party, it would turn out that these assumably well thought out policies, rather than benefiting her substantially, would actually lead to Germany’s downfall, in more ways than one. As we already know, the Foreign policy did have some contributing factor to the cause of WW2, however what is seemingly less obvious is the fact that if it wasn’t for the existence of the Nazi’s foreign policy, then Hitler and his party would have never pursued with the mass extermination of the Jewish community throughout Europe. These mass exterminations would see to not only severely tarnish the Nazi parties internationally recognized image forever, but also that of the German country and to some extent even its people. These events are collectively known as the “Holocaust”, and although as unpleasant and disturbing as it truly was, even its image has been somewhat fabricated by historians and everyday members of our society. It is common belief that the Nazi’s killed each and every Jew out of pure malicious spite; however the true situation was much less sinister. Whilst carrying out their Foreign Policy, in particular the invasion of Russia, the Nazi’s were forced to make an unforseen change to their plans for the Jewish community in order to keep pursuing with their party’s ideologies and beliefs, which came in the form of the Holocaust. However previous to this change, and despite popular belief, NO Jews or other undesirables were ever systematically killed by the Nazi’s, which is clearly supported by the fact that even in the bleakest of ghettos or concentration camps, these undesirables were kept alive. The Nazi’s were never faced with such a significant reason to pursue with mass extermination until this time, and therefore it is relatively safe to say that the Holocaust would have never occurred without the presence of such Foreign Policy. Read more...

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