Why did the Treaty of Versailles punish Germany?
It was expected that if a country lost a war it would be punished by the victors. The French had been heavily punished in 1871 by the newly formed Germany and, therefore, Germany could expect similar treatment. Clause 231 had stated that Germany was solely responsible for starting the war and, therefore, should be punished. The 'war guilt' clause was highly controversial. Germany took the first major action of the war by following the Schlieffen Plan and invading Belgium and then invading France. Germany had caused massive damage to the infrastructure of Belgium and France. Even in
retreat, the Germans deliberately destroyed mines, railways, factories and bridges. By the end of 1917, Russia was defeated. In March 1918, Russia's new Bolshevik government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The Germans inflicted severe punishment on Russia by taking Finland, the Baltic States, its Polish provinces and the Ukraine. It is not surprising the Allies wanted to heavily punish Germany similar to Germany's treatment of