This clause was simple but was seen by the Germans as extremely harsh. Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war.
The major powers agreed, without consulting Germany, that Germany had to pay reparations to the Allies for the damage caused by the war. The exact figure was not agreed until 1921 when it was set at £6600 million - an enormous figure. If the term of the payments had not been later changed under the Young Plan of 1929, Germany would not have finished paying this bill until 1984.
German territories and colonies
Germany's overseas empire was taken away. It had been one of the causes of bad relations between Britain and Germany before the war. Former German colonies became mandates controlled by the League of Nations, which effectively meant that France and Britain controlled them.
The treaty also forbode Germany to join together with its former ally Austria.
Germany was to lose:
- 10% of its land
- all of its overseas colonies
- 12.5% of its population
- 16% of its coalfield and almost half of its iron and steel industry
Germany's Armed Forces
The size and power of the German army was a major concern of all the powers, especially France. The Treaty therefore restricted German armed forces to a level well below what they had been before the war.
- The army was limited to 100,000 men.
- Conscription was banned - soldiers had to be volunteers.
- Germany was not allowed armoured vehicles, submarines or aircraft.
- The navy could build only six battleships.
- The Rhineland became a demilitarised zone. This meant that no German troops were allowed into that area. The Rhineland was important because it was the border area between Germany and France.
League of Nations
Previous methods of keeping peace had failed and so the League was set up as an international 'police force'. Germany was not invited to join the League until it had shown it was a peace-loving country.