Why did the Germans feel that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair and devastating on their country?
It was a dictated peace: the Germans were not allowed into the discussions at Versailles; they were simply presented with the terms and told to sign. Although they were allowed to criticize it in writing, all their protests were ignored except one. Some historians feel that the Germans were justified in objecting, that it would have been reasonable to allow them to join in the discussions which might have toned down some of the harsher terms, and would certainly have deprived the Germans of the argument much used by Hitler that because the peace was a diktat it should not be morally binding.
The War Guilt clause: The Germans objected to being saddled with the entire blame for the outbreak of war. There are some grounds for objection here, because although later research seemed to indicate Germany's guilt, it was hardly possible to arrive at that conclusion in the space of six weeks during 1919, which is what the Special Commission on War Responsibility did. However, the Allies wanted the Germans to admit responsibility so that they would be liable to pay reparations.
The most important reason for the harsh character of the Treaty was the War Guilt Clause. The Germans were made to admit to a crime of which not every German was willing to bear. From then on, the Germans at large were to label their own government as the “November Criminals” for having betrayed their own country’s dignity and integrity. This clause gave the Allies justification for implanting the almost impossible reparations on Germany, fuelling the anger and hatred that the Germans were already feeling. This paved the way for extreme political parties to capitalize upon and the making of a dictator and a new world war was on its way.
Reparations were the final humiliation for the Germans, and though there could be little valid objection to the general principle of reparations, it is...