At first it is difficult to understand why Germany would have accepted the Treaty of Versailles.

The armistice had been agreed upon 11 November 1918 and was explicitly based on the terms of Wilson's Fourteen Points and the Germans made it clear that they were ceasing hostilities based on the assumption that those terms would be the basis for a future treaty.

Nevertheless, this did not happen. There was no treaty until 28 June 1919, more than seven months later, and when this treaty was signed it was highly unfavorable to Germany and completely abrogated the Fourteen Points.

Why would Germany ever have agreed to this?

The only explanation I can think of is that England, France and Italy must have maintained a naval blockade on Germany and prevented any imports or exports from that country and essentially tried to economically starve them into signing the Treaty of Versailles. Was this the cause? If so, was Germany blockaded on only the North Sea (Hamburg), or was the Baltic Sea (Kiel and Danzig) blockaded as well? Obviously Germany could have traded with Holland and Denmark. Did England blockade Holland and Denmark, too?

  • Didn't the allies threaten to resume the war in June 1919 if Germany did not sign? Germany was in no position to resist.
    – Mohair
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:03
  • @Mohair No, the armistice, agreed to by Foch, stopped the fighting. As far as I can tell only naval blockades and trade embargoes continued after the armistice (except in Russia which was in the middle of a civil war). Mar 2, 2016 at 14:24
  • Nevertheless, refusal to sign would in the end have led to even more pressure on Germany, unless they would have taken up the war effort again, which of course was out of the question. Germany was defeated, and the biggest mistake the allied made was to allow an armistice. They should have demanded a surrender. Mar 8, 2016 at 19:44
  • Because they lost the bloody war, militarily, economically, socially, and politically.
    – sds
    Aug 15, 2017 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


The armistice severely impeded the German ability to continue to wage war:

  • They lost their submarines so could no longer counter-blockade the UK
  • They lost their battle fleet so could no longer prevent Allied amphibious attacks
  • They lost their frontier being forced to abandon territory West of the Rhine (with Allied bridgeheads on the East bank as well)
  • They lost their logistics system in that they had to surrender a large amount of railway engines and rolling stock

Beyond that they had no allies of their own, were politically unstable after the overthrow of the Hohenzollern monarchy, and as @o.m. noted in his answer the German army had been defeated in the field and the blockade was taking it's toll.


Several issues came together.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.