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What is the definition of the War Guilt Clause?

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Quick Answer

The War Guilt Clause is another name for Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, the beginning of the reparations section that stated Germany was to assume all responsibility for the damage caused during World War II. The Treaty of Versailles marked the end of the war, with countries on both sides of the war, the Allied and Axis powers, signing where appropriate.

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Full Answer

Article 231 is known as the War Guilt Clause because it places full blame on the Germans. Many German citizens have felt this explicit statement added unnecessary humiliation. It was included as a way to reduce the reparations Germany would have to pay towards Belgium and France for the extensive damage caused.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What was the purpose of the Treaty of Versailles?

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    The purpose of the Treaty of Versailles, outside of establishing guidelines for continued peace, was to put strict treaty obligations on Germany in hopes of preventing further war and make the country pay reparations for the damages caused during the war. One of the key points of the treaty was the War Guilt Clause, making Germany accept that they held complete responsibility for initiating World War I.

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  • Q:

    Why did the United States Senate reject the Treaty of Versailles?

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    Resistance to a United States Senate ratification of the Treaty of Versailles was based on several arguments, but the greatest degree of opposition concerned the Treaty's League of Nations Covenant Article 10. This article gave the League of Nations the power to pursue war as a remedial action without the need for a prior vote of consent by the U.S. Congress. The leader of the Senate opposition to ratification, Henry Cabot Lodge, viewed Article 10 as an infringement upon American sovereignty because it would allow foreign powers in the League of Nations to hold the U.S. to a defense of the Collective Security Agreement without a prior congressional vote on a declaration of war.

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    How did the Treaty of Versailles change the world map?

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    The Treaty of Versailles radically reorganized the map of Europe, to the detriment of the German Empire, and restructured many of Germany's former overseas colonies. In every case, Central Power nations lost territory, and Allied nations gained territory, although some colonies were transferred to international control, and a number of European countries became independent.

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    Why was the Kellogg-Briand Pact useless ?

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    The Kellogg-Briand Pact was useless because its failure to define "self-defense" led to many loopholes, and the pact, which was designed to prevent further world wars, did not prevent World War II. The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed on August 27, 1928 by 15 nations, with 47 more following suit.

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