The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, was the peace treaty that officially ended WWI. The Allies (France, U.S., Italy, and Great Britain) imposed harsh terms on Germany, requiring it to pay reparations for war damages (including $33 billion in cash), reduce its military forces to 100,000 men, and give up land it had taken from France and other countries during the war.
The German public was outraged by the harshness of the treaty. They felt betrayed by their government for signing such a one-sided agreement instead of fighting until total victory. The treaty also led to civil unrest throughout Germany as people tried to find ways to protest their new situation. This attitude led to a wave of nationalism and anti-Semitism that culminated in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933.
The Treaty of Versailles is often considered a major cause of World War II because it set up many conditions that caused tensions between Germany and its neighbors. For example:
Treaty required Germany to take full responsibility for starting WWI even though there was little proof that they were solely responsible for starting it;
It forced Germany to give up land it had taken during WWI;
Treaty required Germany to pay reparations but didn’t provide any means for doing so;