The German Reply Essay
The impact of total war on the continent of Europe was very broad. Governments began to take control of everything in their countries. Governments to control by rationing goods, setting up price controls, taking over transportation, taking over the press and eventually the free market system was gone. During a total war all the citizens in the country were involved in some way in the war effort. You didn't need to live close to a battlefield to be impacted. The government expanded all of its powers to appoint where they controlled everything.
The Paris Peace Conference included France Britain and the United States. Each country had their own agenda. Georges Clemenceau the premiere of France wanted revenge and security against Germany. France wanted Germany stripped of weapons and wanted them to pay reparations to cover the cost of the war. France also wanted a new country called Rhineland as a buffer state between them and Germany. David Lloyd George the Prime Minister of Great Britain wanted to make the Germans pay for the war. Woodrow Wilson had a more idealistic desire. He thought World War I was a war against militarism and he wanted a United Nations with political independence so big and small nations could have international cooperation.
The Treaty of Versailles was five separate peace settlements with Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The treaty with Germany was the most important. Article 231, the war guilt clause, said that Germany and Austria were responsible for starting the war. Article 231 said that Germany had to pay reparations for all damages that the Allied governments had sustained as a result of the war. As you can imagine Germany did not like any part of this treaty that article 231 was particularly harsh. The Germans also did not like the territorial provisions. Germany had to reduce its army to 100,000 men. Germany had to cut back its Navy and eliminate the Air Force completely. Alsace and Lorraine were given back to France. Sections of Eastern Germany were awarded to a new Polish state. There was a demilitarized zone stripped of weapons along the Rhine River. The Austro-Hungarian empire disappeared.
Nation states carved out of what used to be other countries include Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Hungary. On May 15, 1919 the Germans sent a reply to tell their version of what will happen because of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany's response was clear if this treaty goes through millions of Germans will die of starvation in their country will collapse. Germany said that it has transformed from an agricultural to an industrial state and now could not feed 40 million inhabitants if it has to give up its merchant marine vessels. Germany says if it loses its territory in the East that they will lose 21% of their wheat and potato production. They need raw materials and coal as well they fear they will lose a third of the production of the coalfields and that what little coal they do get they have to give to the allies. With the loss of the colonies and merchant fleet there will no longer be a position to import raw materials from abroad. Germany believes that it industries would be extinct. They will not be able to feed their people. Germany feels that many of their citizens will move away. 1,750,000 people were killed in 1 million were killed as a result of the blockade that made their people starve. Germany feels that this will happen again and millions more will die.
I agree with Germany that their country will probably collapse. But as the saying goes to the victor goes the spoils! Germany should suffer. I don't believe they should necessarily suffer with mass casualties from starvation but I do feel that they should suffer. The best thing the allies could do would be to simply take over Germany. The allies could move in and run Germany like a colony. Because United States is so far away France and Great Britain can take over the daily workings of the government of Germany. After Germany has paid a percentage of profits from their industries over time when Germany and France feel that they are strong enough to hold elections they can elect a new leader and go on their way. It probably sounds harsh but if France and Great Britain had taken over Germany maybe World War II would've never happened.