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Was the Treaty Of Versailles Fair or Justifiable?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/1/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,983 times Debate No: 62484
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




First round will be on what side you are on. Second round is all about the reasons behind the claim. The last round will be left for whatever is left to be said and/or final thoughts.

I believe the Treaty Of Versailles was completely unfair and unjust to the German Nation.


I would be against your claim, as I believe that Germany was right to get hit by the Treaty of Versailles.

I look forward to having a good debate with you about this topic.
Debate Round No. 1


Very well and I too look forward to this debate.

The Treaty of Versailles was completely unfair and unjust and here some of the parts of the treaty that I found to be unfair.

German Military Restrictions: It makes sense that the losers of the war would have limitations on their military but the ones placed upon the German nation is too far. Upon the treaty , Germany was stripped of it's military. Their military was limited to 100 thousand troops and were basically prohibited to have an air force and navy. In the time before the great war, Germany and Britain were having an arms race of navy superiority so it seemed like an act of revenge for the Britain nation. No nation would want a limited and week military while all the other nations are advancing their own military.

Article 231: Under this article, it declares that the German Nation was responsible for starting the great war when in reality they were NOT the ones who did. There are many possible reasons/events that started the war and here are some of them.
Racial Nationalism-Each country had a very deep sense of pride for their country and race. There was a massive sense of superiority over the rest and this can be found at any nation at that time.
Military/Arms Race- Every major nation was stockpiling their military equipment and supplies. As mentioned before, the nation of Britain were having an navy arms race with the German nation and neither of the two wanted to be "2nd" in navy firepower. Every major nation was preparing for war but all they needed was a spark.
Inflexible Alliances- Alliances between nations were very unstable and inflexible, causing one country to defend another country if they were attacked and all this caused a domino like effect that ultimately had many nations joining the war due to "agreements" and alliances.
Assassination of the Archduke- The assassination of the Archduke on June 28th was the spark that Europe needed to go to war. Everyone was preparing and getting ready and the assassination triggered the war.

Germany had no relation to the assassination yet under article 231, Blame for starting the war was pressed on German's shoulder. The Victors were angry and wanted revenge so they needed a scapegoat so they chose Germany .This is why the treaty was unfair to the German nation. They weren't the ones who started the war yet they were the ones who are blamed and given a huge bill of debt for their actions. This debt caused massive inflation to Germany's economy that would effect them for many years after the Great War. Some would say that this lead to WWII and that's why I find the treaty of Versailles unfair because it placed blame to a nation that didn't start the war and left them to rot that ultimately lead the world to another world war.


I would like to thank my esteemed opponent for the well organized and thought out response to explain his reasons on why he thinks the Treaty of Versailes is unfair and unjust. Now I shall present my case on how and why I think that the Treaty of Versailes is totally necessary and fair to Germany.

1.) Brest-Litvosk Treaty
Why should the Germans be angry at the treaty when they themselves make unfair and unjust treaties to other defeated countries? This treaty was signed by the Russians and the Germans when Germany successfully defeated Russia during the Great War. This treaty made Russia lose a great deal of land. The land lost included today's Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and parts of Romania, Poland and Belarus. Also, Russia lost a quarter of the Russian Empire's population, a quarter of its industry and nine-tenths of its coal mines. A follow-up agreement in August committed the country to pay six billion marks in reparations. Thankfully, the Treaty of Versailes required Germany to give up the gains made from the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and grant independence to the protectorates that had been established. As you can see, Russia suffered way worse of than Germany in terms of defeat treaties. It is a contradiction for Germany to protest against an unfair treaty when they themselves imposed one on Russia.

2.) Limit on Germany's military
By limiting Germany's military they are trying to cripple Germany in order to prevent another war. By the end of the war, everyone had suffered great amount of losses and do not want any more possible acts of aggression from the defeated countries. This was to minimize the risk of a possible revenge attack against any of the Allied countries while they themselves were working on repairing their own countries. Also, please note that even though Germany was not really responsible for the war (refer to opponents argument), they were the ones with the strongest army and had caused the most damage inflicted from the Axis powers during this war. The reason why this failed to stop Hitler from starting WW2 was because the Allied powers did not take the immediate action required to enforce the rules of the treaty. Instead, they tried to pacify him by giving him more land and advantages. As you can see, Germany, given enough power, will have the ability to start another war, which is what the Allied forces were so desperate to avoid. People had suffered enough.

I apologize to my opponent for the relatively short argument as schoolwork is catching up with me, and I am looking forward to hear a response from my esteemed opponent. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


I too would like to thank my well educated opponent for his debate etiquette and well organized argument. This round will be left for my counter argument against the points that were stated and my final thoughts/opinions.

Counter-argument on the Brest-Litvosk Treaty
I do agree with very much of what has been said in that statement. When Russia did surrender to the Germans, the Germans did impose quiet a harsh treaty between them. They did gain 90% of Russia's coal, they did gain a good amount of land, and overall, that treaty was a huge blow to the Russian Nation and that is a statement I do agree with. So it is understandable of having the mentality of "well Germany did a hurtful treaty to Russia so Germany deserves the same" although understandable it isn't justifiable. It would have been good enough if the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to give back the resources to Russia but it didn't. Pointing fingers and taking away resources from another Nation ( Just like what Germany did with the Litvosk Treaty) doesn't solve anything.

Counter-argument on limit on Germany's military
Once again, I do agree with some of the points that you brought up. I do understand that their military was limited to minimize the risk of a possible revenge attack from Germany. I also agree that Germany had one of the strongest army's between all the nations and that's the reason for their military restriction but even though they didn't start the War they were still the ones held responsible mostly because they inflicted massive damage and that is something I do agree with. Germany should have not been held responsible for starting the war even though they had a powerful military and caused much damage.

Final thoughts
It is true that Hitler was able to bring WWII due to the Restraint of the United Nations, that I agree with. Overall there are some points in the Treaty of Versailles that seem reasonable such as military restrictions (but not to the extent that was done) but many more are unjustifiable and seem to be done out of smite. Germany had no role with Initiating the war yet because they did the most damage, Britain and France felt vengeful so they placed the blame on Germany and even so Germany had no choice because if they didn't sign the Treaty then the likely hood of an invasion of Germany was extremely high. The War Bill was also unjustifiable, this left the German nation in ruins. Massive unemployment and decline in their economy leaving many German citizens to be homeless and starving. Overall, the Treaty was overdone and Unfair to the German nation for this Treaty had major negative effects on Germany.

I would like to thank my opponent for his/her patients and well thought out arguments. I did gain some more insight on the topic looking at it from a different perspective but currently I still stand my case.
well done.


Once again, I would like to thank my well esteemed opponent for another very well thought and planned out argument.
I really agree to most of my opponent's arguments against my claim. I am now going to counter some of his points, then give my final thoughts.

1.) Brest-Litvosk Treaty
I mostly agree with the points my opponent put forward during his counter-argument against my claims. However, I would like to state the reason why Germany was not forced to give what they took back to Russia. During that time, Russia had been taken over by communists, and they willingly signed the treaty to admit defeat to Germany. Part of the reason why Russia lost was because the people themselves mutinied against the tsar before siding with the communists and admitting defeat themselves to Germany. Because of this Britain, France and the USA felt that the land and resources lost was because of the Russian people's own doing and they did not deserve to get their resources back. Also, Britain, France and the USA were badly affected after the war and really needed resources. They took the resources for reparations and gave all states that were taken by Germany their independence.

2.) Germany's limit on army
I agree that Germany should not have been blamed for starting the war. However, as I said, they are the ones who inflicted most damage to the Allies. In post war Britain, chances are that 99/100 of all families had lost somebody in the war either due to fighting in the front line, bombing, or starvation. That is why I still stand my ground on the decision that Germany be penalized in terms of military numbers, so that such a thing will not happen again.

Final thoughts:
It is absolutely true that Germany should not take the blame for starting the war as each country had a part in starting it (and the cost of reparations should be reduced). In the Treaty Of Versailes there are certain terms that are a little bit unfair to Germany in terms on how it treated the innocent general population. But most of the Treaty Of Versailes conditions were to prevent another war with Germany that caused so much suffering and losses.

Again, I apologize for the extremely short and not-that-well thought out argument (as I was on a day trip with my family)
And I thank DebatesDebate for the really enjoyable and knowledgeable debate which let me see the other point of view on this topic. I hope I could have another enjoyable and interesting debate with you in the near future. Thank you and good luck.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by 18Karl 2 years ago
btw 20 billion GM is equivalent to around 5 billion USD right now, so your point, emilrose, is in its entirety invalidated.
Posted by 18Karl 2 years ago
@Emilrose: Oh no, not at all.

I have never seen a harsher, more reckless, and perhaps more ignorant treaty, than that of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty of Frankfurt, in 1871, provided for the recognizing of "Germany" as an independent and sovereign state, and the secession of Alsance-Lorraine, which by right of gain (at least at those times), was a valid right. Apart from this, the Treaty of Frankfurt (the treaty in which you cited) regulated the payment of only 5 million francs (5 million USD), whilst the Treaty of Versailles demanded the reparation of 20 billion Goldmarks. The creation of Estonia was not part of the Treaty of Versailles, but rather of a result of the Russian Revolution, and so was Finland and many of the "countries created by the Treaty of Versailles" This also gives no justification for the treaty of Versailles, which stripped Germany of almost 25% of its territory.

Regarding your points on starting a prolonged war, Germany was, via alliance, obliged to help any Austro-Hungary if they were attacked. Compare the assassination of the Archduke to 9/11; America was said to have been just in its attacks on Afghanistan after 9/11, so why was Austro-Hungary not "just" in its attacks against Serbia. Russia, the main imperialist aggressor here, had NO LEGAL obligation to come and assist Serbia, except by right of the need of gain. Since Austro-Hungary was attacked by Russia, who first declared war, Germany was, via legal right, obliged to intervene. This is simply a victor's revenge upon the defeated.
Posted by Emilrose 2 years ago
Germany itself had implemented even harsher treaties on other countries. An example being France in 1871. Nine countries (Poland, Estonia, Etc.) were able to restored or created as a result of the Versailles treaty.

Any country should expect repercussions in inciting and then prolonging a world war.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm not scoring this debate, because in the end I'm frankly not sure if Con did fulfill their BoP. What is fair, in the context of an armistice treaty? Con says that Germany didn't start the war, but concedes that Germany did the most damage--so *in what way* is it unfair to impose the most burdens on them, as the losing party? I don't think either side *really* addressed this...I'm tempted to award to Pro on BoP grounds, but Pro should have challenged it. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.