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The Contender
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The Treaty of Versailles Was Unfair to the Germans

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 912 times Debate No: 90101
Debate Rounds (5)
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I would like to have a debate of a historical nature. The central question here is the fairness of the Treaty of Versailles on Germany after the first World War. I will argue that it was very inordinate and reactionary and created more problems than it solved. I am sure there is someone here in this community who thinks otherwise. Of course, as this is specifically about history, sources must and will be cited, and I would encourage the MLA format. The voting will be open to everyone, and the voting period will last a month. This first round is purely for establishing the setting of the debate and accepting the terms. The next round will be for arguments only, and the one after that will be for rebuttals. The final round will be for conclusions only.


I accept the terms and unlike yourself, I believe that the Treaty of Versailles was a just action which Germany did in fact deserve. I will argue that Germany did cause the war and after this horrific event, countries were terrified that Germany could begin another war. They did deserve these setbacks, in order for the other countries to feel safe.
Debate Round No. 1



I would like to thank Hellohellohello for accepting this very sensitive, complex issue of the Treaty of Versailles and the first World War. Forgive me if my argument is not fully fleshed out. I have been procrastinating a bit, and I think I have too many debates going on right now. But at least I can make a good opening for my stance.

I will organize this argument into three points: a) cause and nature of the war, b) actual provisions of the Treaty itself, and c) how it led to Hitler’s rise and the second World War.


World War One was known was the War to End All Wars. When it broke out and most nations on Earth were more or less involved, with Wilson’s (failed) Fourteen Points and League of Nations, we tried to move on and set the course for world peace. It was supposed to be the last conflict of that size and scope.

WW1 had one immediate cause: On 28 June, 1914, the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austrian-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, duchess of Hohenberg, in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo [1]. This led to the Austrian-Hungarian government seeking to humiliate Serbia and imposing an ultimatum. A war would be prevented if the Serbs were to allow a wide and vigorous investigation.

It had a long-term cause as well: The alliance system. There was the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) [2]. Let me demonstrate this in a neat little cartoon:

Russia backed Serbia, and due to the informal, complex alliance system—soldiers were told who to fight, not why they were fighting—a large regional, and then global, conflict ensued. Let it be clear that the direct cause of the war was not Germany.

Austria-Hungary declared war on the Russians on 5 August, and Serbia declared war against the Germans the day after. “ Montenegro against Austria-Hungary on August 7 and against Germany on August 12; France and Great Britain against Austria-Hungary on August 10 and on August 12, respectively; Japan against Germany on August 23; Austria-Hungary against Japan on August 25 and against Belgium on August 28.Romania had renewed its secret anti-Russian alliance of 1883 with the Central Powers on Feb. 26, 1914, but now chose to remain neutral. Italy had confirmed the Triple Alliance on Dec. 7, 1912 ”

Now, it was the German submarines that violated the freedom of the seas and one particular u-boat which torpedoed and relatively quickly sunk the Lusitania, prompting the U.S. to enter the war. No side is innocent here, but the facts are clear: Germany did not start the war.


The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 7 May, 1919, was specifically devised to punish Germany and Germany alone [3]. Here is more:

The treaty demanded demilitarization and occupation of the Rhineland, and special status for the Saarland under French control. Plebiscites were to determine the future of areas in northern Schleswig on the Danish-German frontier and parts of Upper Silesia on the border with Poland.

Perhaps the most humiliating portion of the treaty for defeated Germany was Article 231, commonly known as the "War Guilt Clause," which forced the German nation to accept complete responsibility for initiating World War I. As such Germany was liable for all material damages, and France's premier Georges Clemenceau particularly insisted on imposing enormous reparation payments. Aware that Germany would probably not be able to pay such a towering debt, Clemenceau and the French nevertheless greatly feared rapid German recovery and the initiation of a new war against France. Hence, the French sought in the postwar treaty to limit Germany's potential to regain its economic superiority and to rearm. The German army was to be limited to 100,000 men, and conscription proscribed; the treaty restricted the Navy to vessels under 10,000 tons, with a ban on the acquisition or maintenance of a submarine fleet.

Moreover, Germany was forbidden to maintain an air force. Finally, Germany was required to conduct war crimes proceedings against the Kaiser and other leaders for waging aggressive war. The subsequent Leipzig Trials, without the Kaiser or other significant national leaders in the dock, resulted largely in acquittals and were widely perceived as a sham, even in Germany.

Might I ask, why did we do nothing to punish the Ottomans for the Armenian genocide, one almost as atrocious and devastating as the Holocaust two decades later?


Had the Treaty had drastically different provisions, do you think the second World War would have happened? It would have given Hitler much less of a reason to be so angry and defiant to the rest of the world. Like Trump is yelling now about our disastrous trade deals, Hitler was screaming about the disastrous Treaty of Versailles, which the German people did not deserve. The economy was down the drain, and the Treaty did more to destabilize the region than bring it back together. Imagine yourself being a German citizen back in the 1920’s. Winning personal prosperity would have been of utmost difficult to you. And why? For the other side broke Wilson’s fourteenth point:






Hellohellohello forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has forfeited the last round, so I am left with nothing to refute. I extend all arguments.


Hellohellohello forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I extend all arguments.


Hellohellohello forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


It appears my opponent has forfeited again, thus leaving me nothing to refute. I will have to extend all arguments for further consideration and will close here.


Hellohellohello forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by jamccartney 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: All points given to Pro for actually arguing his side and not forfeiting like Con.