“Crime of the Century”/What are some of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles that angered Germans?

Cartoon Analysis

wwi blame cartoon

“The Crime of the Ages. Who did It?”

  1.  This is a political cartoon about World War I. Besides all of the soldiers in the middle, who are the other two characters?
  2. The title of the cartoon is, “The Crime of the Ages—Who Did It?” What crime was committed?
  3. Each soldier in the middle represents a country. Who is getting most of the blame? __________________________________________________________________________
  4. The final character we don’t see except the accusing finger. What country do you think it represents?
  5. The countries all blame someone else what does each have his hand on? __________________________________________________________________________________
  6. Which country  is the only one that doesn’t seem to have an opinion or placing blame? __________________________________________________________________________
  7. What do you think is the point of this cartoon?__________________________________________________________________________________


The Treaty of Versailles

Class Starter The Treaty of Versailles ended World War 1 in 1919. What are the 5 main provisions of the peace treaty?

Use the G-A-R-G-LE formula to remember the 5 provisions.

Treaty of Versailles (write ALL the Provisions) 
The treaty that ended WWI. 
(G) The War Guilt Clause: Forced Germany to take full blame for starting the War, 
(A) Army/ REDUCED Size of Germany’s military (less 100,000 soldiers) was greatly reduced, 
(R) Reparations- Germany had to pay reparations.huge amounts $$ (33 billion in US money) to the Allied countries that won WWI.
(G) German Land.Created a demilitarized zone, the Rhineland, along the Rhine River in western Germany.
(LE) League of Nations


WW2 Treaty of Versailles

WW1 Weimar Republic Depression Germany

After WW1 German money was worthless. Picture shows children using blocks of money as building blocks/toys.

ww1 woman burning money

German woman burning money. Cheaper to burn their currency than buy fire wood.

Every single German hated the Treaty of Versailles with a burning passion calling the politicians that had signed the treaty criminals. This destabilized the Weimar Government and made it unpopular, and ultimately led to Hitler’s rise and the fall of the Weimar Government.

In total Germany had to pay 132 billion gold marks (US 33 billion). The Germans were outraged. The  Weimar Government tried to solve this by printing more paper money, which caused hyper-inflation.

Germans were already suffering from the devastated economy from the war.  Before the war middle class families that could have bought a house with their savings could not even buy a loaf of bread. People were  carrying around wheelbarrows of worthless money. This made Germany extremely angry, and blamed the Treaty of Versailles for their busted economy.

WW1 Treaty of Versailles Reparations

WW1 Germany's Reaction to the Treaty of Versailles


Treaty of Versailles Bitter Pill to Swallow Thinglink 1919 Cartoon

The Big Four is also known as the Council of Four. It was composed of Woodrow Wilson of the United States, David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, and Georges Clemenceau of France

Cartoon depicting Germany being spoon-fed peace-terms (treaty of Versailles) by the Council of Four. The caption states “You’ve got to swallow it (the pill) whether you like it or not”. The Big Four is also known as the Council of Four. It was composed of Woodrow Wilson of the United States, David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, and Georges Clemenceau of France

WW1 14 Points

Woodrow Wilson’s 14 “Points” – US  President Woodrow Wilson’s  proposal to end the war in a way that would create global peace and cooperation

  • No secret treaties; all international agreements should be open.
  • The seas were to be free to all countries at all times.
  • Every country should reduce its number of Armaments (weapons).
  • The people of a colony should have a say in their territories in the future.
  • Belgium should be independent.
  • Alsace-Lorraine should be returned to France (Germany took it)
  • People in the countries of Eastern Europe should be able to create their own countries based on “nationalities” (known as “self-determination)
  • Poland should be independent
  • An International organization should be created to deal with international incidents and disputes (this will prevent wars from starting) – The League of Nations.



WW1 League of Nations

1. Who/what symbolizes the US? Describe the character’s posture/attitude.

2. What does the bridge represent? What is missing?

3. What does the sign say?

4. What is the message of the cartoon?

Treaty of Versailles Another Learning Formula B.A.R.T.

  • Blame:  Germany had to accept full responsibility for the war
  • Army:  They were forbidden to have any tanks, warplanes or artillery, and could only have an army of just 100,000 men and 6 battleships.
  • Reparations:  They had to pay 6.6 Billion pounds for damages.
  • Territory:  They lost 13% of their land resulting in 6 million Germans living in foreign lands.  This include 15% of their farming land and 10% of their industries (economic impact).  They also lost all of their colonial possession (New Guinea was given to Australia)



About victoriaruss

I teach World History, Civics, AP Psychology, and AP Government at West Bladen High School.
This entry was posted in Chapter 23 WWI, Chapter 24 Between the Wars 1919-1939 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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