How The Treaty of Versailles Caused WWII

How it Leads to WWII

War Guilt Clause: The significance of this clause in the path to WWII is mainly that Germany took on paying damages, but there is also the fact that this clause infuriated many Germans. When the time came for a second World War, many people remembered the humiliation that the Allies had put upon them. This made it easier for Hitler to convince the German people that there was a need for more war. When World War I was coming to a close there were antiwar rallies taking place in Germany, but by the time World War II rolled around many Germans remembered this clause of the treaty and it turned them away from the Allies and towards war.

Damages: This is arguably the largest cause of World War II. The Allies demanded 33 billion in damages from the Germans. The 33 billion dollars demanded then amounts to 2.3 trillion dollars. If the 33 billion didn't seem ridiculous to you then 2.3 trillion should. The United States current national debt amounts to somewhere around 14 trillion dollars if that puts things in scale for you. The damages are exactly as they are named, damaging. The damages owed by Germany drove their economy into the ground. At one point the exchange rate between a German mark and a US dollar was 1 trillion marks per 1 US dollar.  The economic devastation drove Germany's government into the ground and that is not the fault of the government, it is the fault of the treaty. The hyperinflation caused by the treaty put the country into a state of anarchy.   
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This German woman is burning German marks as fuel because they are less expensive than buying wood or coal.
Territorial Losses: The loss of almost all of Germany's colonies angered many Germans. As stated above, the damages paid out by Germany had destroyed the German Economy. Many Germans realized that losing their territories had contributed to the crash of the German economy and they resented the Allies for Causing the collapse of the economy. Like the War Guilt Clause, the territorial losses inflicted by the Allies made many in Germany resentful of the Allies.

Military: The military restrictions placed upon Germany caused unrest in Germany. Almost all of Germany feared for its safety after much of their military was disbanded. Towards the end of World War I and during the signing of the treaty Russia's government was overthrown. Russia had suffered heavy casualties during its time in World War I and because of that their government was easily overthrown by a group of Bolshevists (MacMillan). After signing away all of their navy and most of their army, Germany feared that Bolshevism would occur. People in Germany feared that there would be a political uprising and in the end one could argue that there was. People may not have realized it then but looking back it is fairly easy to say that a contributing factor to the rise of the Nazi party was a weak military and government.

Wrapping Up:  The economy collapsed, the government lost power, the military was weak, and the Germans were angry. All of these factors together combined to make a perfect storm in Germany. The horrendous economy led to a weak government, the weak military led to fear in Germany, the weak government and German fear made it possible for Adolf Hitler to be elected, and finally the German anger and Hitler's mindset led to World War II.