Faculty Mentor

David Doellinger




The Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919), signed by the post-war German government and the Allies following the end of the First World War, laid out the conditions of defeat for Germany. The conditions were harsh, highly contentious, and met with near universal opposition by German political parties.[1] The most controversial terms were German disarmament, loss of German colonial holdings and territory gained during the war, reparations payments to the Allies, and accepting full responsibility for starting the war.[2] The shock of losing the war and the strict terms of Versailles delegitimized the new democratic government of Germany. The radical right spread conspiracy theories that Germany’s defeat and the terms of Versailles were the product of internal sabotage and betrayal by the new government. The Nazi Party exploited these theories and the hatred for Versailles in their propaganda to identify and create enemies of Germany, such as the Socialists, the Communists, and the Jews.

[1] Theodore Abel, Why Hitler Came Into Power (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1938), 30.

[2] “The Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919.” In The Nazi Germany Sourcebook. Edited by Roderick Stackelburg and Sally A. Winkle. New York: Routledge, 2002, 54-58.






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