After WWI, the treaty of Versailles became the rallying cry for more extreme political forces in Germany, as it's terms were blamed for the countries hardships, and as an insult to the country itself. Are the terms of treaties imposed upon Germany after their defeat in WWII felt to be as insulting as the ones that were imposed with Versailles to the German people of the second half of the 20th century?

  • so are there many other ones?
    – user202
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 21:17
  • until now this is all
    – md nth
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 21:26
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    The terms were certainly harsher - I mean Germany had to surrender unconditionally (instead of having the chance to negotiate terms), was divided into 2, lost substantial territory in the East to Poland, had debilitating restrictions placed on it for a period of 2 years after the war (Morgentheau plan), was forced to pay bigger war reparations than after WWI, was subject to a lengthy post-war occupation, etc. What did go differently was that West Germany experienced the German economic miracle in the 50s which meant the democratic system put in place had a chance to stabilize.
    – Opt
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 22:30
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    @sid If you can cite sources, this should probably be an answer Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 1:52
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    While I cannot speak for Germans as a whole, I'm pretty sure that the treaties imposed upon Germany after defeat in WWII were not felt to be (as) insulting: e.g. the Marshall Plan played a role, and so did Hitler's devastating regime, obviously.
    – Drux
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 19:24

3 Answers 3


Short answer: No

Long answer: No. There were no treaties imposed on Germany in the way that the Treaty of Versailles was thrust upon Germany after WWI. As Drux mentioned in his answer Germany was divided among the quadripartite nations (United States, Russia, Great Britain, France) each governed a portion of Germany.

The Potsdam Conference was where the fate of Germany was largely decided in the most analogous manner to the Treaty of Versailles. The US, UK, and France, did not want to impose harsh war reparations against Germany, but the USSR was very keen on the idea. So in an effort to preserve the agreement reparations were allowed to be exacted by choice of the occupying nation in their zone of influence. However, German industrial capabilities were demilitarized, and war criminals were rounded up, which was similar to Versailles.

If it were not for the Marshall Plan then perhaps Germany would have taken a similar path to the one it followed after WWI. The strong commitment to rebuild western Europe economically averted any sort of worldwide depression that was borne in part out of the WWI reparations payments Germany was required to pay. At least if you believe what John Maynard Keynes wrote in The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

Interestingly, there was a treaty that concluded the post-WWII period for Germany: Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany. The treaty united East and West Germany, transferred sovereignty over German lands to the newly reunified nation, and other logistical matters related to Soviet withdrawal from East Germany. A curious inclusion in the treaty is Article 2 which declared that the new German nation would never engage in aggressive war, and would only use its troops in relation to United Nations authorized military actions.

  • informative answer!!!!!
    – md nth
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 21:21
  • "and would only use its troops in relation to United Nations authorized military actions." - which was infringed upon in the Yugoslavian war.
    – Anixx
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 16:31
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    @Anixx Want to back that up with any sort of details? If you're referring to UNPROFOR that would be a UN authorized military action.
    – Schwern
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:04
  • It may be worth noting that the "Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany" or "Two-Plus-Four Agreement" was in 1990, and only had six signatory countries (two Germanies and four Allies/Occupying Powers); for example, the German–Polish Border Treaty came later
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 14:36
  • @Henry: Better late than never, eh? ;-)
    – tonysdg
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 19:23

Contrary to what other answerers wrote, the actual situation was much stricter to Germany than after WWI.

The basic fact is that post-WWII German government had no continuity with the pre-defeat one. Actually German state was completely demolished, and after a while, two new states were re-instituted.

The founders of the new states were the occupying powers who gave German people only partial sovereignty over the territory. They installed the political systems they wished, putting the new governments under strict control and installing reliable people at the key positions. All hostile political forces were either prohibited or marginalized. The new army forces were re-created anew following the US and the USSR's model. The new states were forced into the pro-US and pro-Soviet military alliances, their militaries became dependent on the equipment and spare parts, produced in the host powers.

In addition the occupying countries kept their armed forces stationed in Germany for many tens of years (and the US still keeps its military in Germany).

There was just no possibility that Germany could spin out of control after WWII.

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    The western occupying powers gave the (democratically elected) German prime ministers / mayors of the western zones of occupation a set of guidelines -- the "Frankfurt Documents" -- and asked them to create a federal state. They did reserve veto rights for themselves, but what they did not do was "installing the political systems they whished, putting the new governments under strict control and installing reliable people at the key positions". Also, West Germany was not "forced" into the NATO. Downvoted as severely misleading.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 13:53
  • You mean three states- America and UK were split West Germany for a short time with USSR controlling East Germany. Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 3:51

The following quote is in support of the answer No, i.e. the terms of treaties imposed upon Germany after their defeat in WWII were not felt to be as insulting as the ones that were imposed with Versailles?

The unification of the Allied sectors and the visible commitment to reconstruction cheered Germans, as did what were widely regarded as heroic measures to deliver aid to Berlin during the June 1948 Soviet blockade of the city. For many Germans, this commitment to reform was a long-awaited congruence of rhetoric, expectations, and behavior. Rapid improvement in the standard of living in the Allied sectors accelerated progress toward political goals.

The containing document The Road Ahead: Lessons in Nation Building from Japan, Germany, and Afghanistan for Postwar Iraq by Ray Salvatore Jennings is also quoted by the Wikipedia article on the Aftermath of World War II (footnotes #22, #23). Both articles also make clear that any final answer would depend on when and where the observation of the "German people" is made (e.g. prior to 1947 and Morgenthau Plan, or post 1948 and Berlin Blockade and Marshall Plan, or in East Germany prior to Reunification).

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