After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles controlled and restricted various aspects of German social, economic, and political life. France, Great Britain, America and other allied powers were determined that the defeated Germany ôwould not soon be in a position to move aggressively against her neighborsö (Darendorf, p. 17). France, in particular, was determined to make Germany pay for the war. The Treaty of Versailles was designed to achieve this goal. Robbing Germany of her former colonies and large tracts of land throughout central Europe and placing harsh restrictions on German military forces, the Treaty of Versailles also established occupation of Germany by the allies for fifteen years. The German people, egged on by an ambitious and opportunistic Adolf Hitler, blamed the Treaty of Versailles for its negative impact on GermanyÆs economy, politics, military and social life.
Germany was also forced to make economic reparations for World War I. The price exacted for the war was increased by the requirement that Germany had to hand over its most lucrative industrial region, the Saar district, to the French. When the international effects of the Great Depression hit Europe, Germany suffered hyperinflation. The value of the German mark fell to a low 215 trillinn marks to the dollar; a total collapse of the Germany currency system and of the national economy was inevitable (Read and Fisher, p. 11).
The Treaty of Versailles and the impact of the Great Depression helped Hitler march toward World War II, but their impact was heightened by two other events that paved the path to war for Germany. The foreign policy of appeasement and the resulting Munich Agreement of 1938 were also responsible for enabling GermanyÆs route to war. In Great Britain, despite the protests of the then retired Winston Churchill, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain embarked on a policy of ôappeasementö that he declared was certain