Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles


Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) reads in full::"The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies."

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) is commonly known as the “Guilt Clause” or the "War Guilt Clause", in which Germany was forced to take complete responsibility for starting World War I. The United Kingdom and France played the primary role in the article, while the United States played a lesser role, mostly due to President Woodrow Wilson's principle of "peace without victory" [ [http://encarta.msn.com/sidebar_1741501339/wilson_%E2%80%9Cpeace_without_victory%E2%80%9D.html Wilson: "Peace Without Victory"] ] .

Article 231 is the first article in Part VIII, "Reparations", and serves as a justification for the obligations put upon Germany in the remainder (Articles 233 through 247) of Part VIII.

Apart from "Article 231", there is no title for this article in the treaty itself. The names "Guilt Clause” and "War Guilt Clause" were assigned in later commentaries.

The Weimar government was forced to sign this in 1919. The signing of this later led them to be called the 'November Criminals'.

By blaming only Germany for causing the war, Article 231 has been cited as one of the causes that lead to the rise of national socialism in Germany [Coffin, Judith G. and Robert C. Stacey. "The Second World War." Western Civilizations: From the Age of Exploration to the Present 15th ed. Vol. 2, 930-967] . At least one historian, Margaret McMillan, has outlined that this long held notion is fundamentally erroneous [Margaret MacMillan. Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World. ] .

References

*Margaret MacMillan (2001), "Peacemakers: Six months that changed the world", John Murray (Publishers) Ltd.. ISBN 0-7195-6237-6 (Also released as "Paris 1919: Six months that changed the world".)

See also

[http://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/versa/versa7.html Peace Treaty of Versailles Articles 231-247 and Annexes Reparations]

External links

* [http://www.nv.cc.va.us/home/cevans/Versailles/Index.html Charles T. Evans NVCC|Info]
* [http://www.bookbrowse.com/index.cfm?page=title&titleID=1135&view=excerpt Excerpt and reviews of "Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World" by Margaret MacMillan] ISBN 0-375-76052-0 (softcover), ISBN 0-375-50826-0 (hardcover)

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