How Successful Was the Paris Peace Settlement in Satisfying the Demands of France

The historian Zara Steiner’s view of the Treaty is that France was given a considerable amount of protection through the drastic cuts in Germany’s military power and its territorial, financial, and commercial losses . She believes that the Treaty was in fact successful in fulfilling French security but much “would depend on the manner of its enforcement” ; It was not the terms of the Treaty that were flawed, it was how it was enforced. She also argues that France deliberately set high demands whilst “not actually believing that the Germans could raise the sums being discussed in Paris” . In the knowledge that the Reparations committee would make the necessary adjustments , by setting high demands France would guarantee a more favorable figure was realized.

Germany had cost France vast amounts of both money and loss of life through World War One and so naturally France was “firmly in favor of making Germany pay” . Clemenceau, “obsessed with guaranteeing French security” , pushed for punitive reparations in an attempt to economically cripple Germany.   Their bid to place an indemnity upon Germany however was disregarded by President Wilson. Even with the indemnity dropped, further concessions were made for Germany as they complained they were not able to fully pay the reparations and so the final amount was reduced to £6,600 million. France had not been successful in crippling Germany economically as Germany were more than capable of paying the reparations without destroying their economy; they were still a threat to France.

In terms of Germany’s military strength, the number of soldiers was halved from the initial proposal. Germany was not allowed an air force or navy and was restricted on most other aspects of warfare. In terms of militarily weakening Germany, France had been successful as Germany’s military strength, at least theoretically, had been reduced to a minute proportion of its initial size; an army limited to 100,000 soldiers did not pose a threat...