Fox News is my favorite TV news channel and Megan Kelly is one of my favorite Fox reporters. Today I was startled to hear Trace Gallagher, another Fox News reporter say, on Megan’s show, that World War I is finally over and this is cause for celebration in Germany. He went on to say that the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, and later he added that it was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of November, the 11th month. NO, NO, NO! That was the Armistice that was signed on November 11, 1918 to end World War I.
According to Fox News, World War I is now over because the Germans have finally paid off the reparations that they were required to pay, after Germany TOOK THE BLAME for World War I. NO, NO, NO! Germany did not TAKE the blame. This clause of the Treaty of Versailles was forced upon the Germans after the British blockaded German ports to starve the Germans into submission.
Fox News then reported that the original amount of reparations was 226 billion, but this was later reduced to 132 billion. It was mentioned that, in 1928, Hitler proposed that Germany should refuse to continue paying the reparations and it was even explained that Hitler did not pay reparations after he came to power in 1933 because Germany was broke. You can hear the Fox News report here.
What was not explained by Fox News is that the reparations money was paid to American bankers who had financed the war for the British and the French, and the bankers insisted on being paid in gold. Germany had sent all of its gold to these American bankers by 1933 and was then forced to issue paper money that was not backed by gold.
Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919; the Treaty, which was dictated by the Allies, had provided for an indeterminate amount of money to be paid by Germany in reparations to France, Great Britain and Belgium. This was a violation of the Armistice which both sides signed to end World War I. When Germany signed the Armistice, it specified reparations to be paid by Germany to Belgium, but no reparation payments to France or Great Britain were specified.
Great Britain and France had borrowed money from American bankers to continue the war after Germany was clearly winning the war in 1916. If not for these loans, Germany would have won World War I. This was one of the reasons that Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany’s loss of World War I, since the bankers, who made the loans, were Jewish.
World War I had been fought on French and Belgian territory, causing a lot of destruction, whereas Germany, except for East Prussia, was never invaded and remained almost completely untouched during the war. The amount necessary to pay for the war damage suffered by the Allies was finally settled on by the Allies only after the Treaty of Versailles was signed; it was 6,600 million British pounds sterling to be paid in regular payments that Germany would have been forced to make until 1984. As it turned out, it took even longer than that because Hitler refused to make payments.
Hitler claimed that the way World War I ended was by “Der Dolchstoss” which means “the stab in the back.” The photograph above shows a copy of a popular poster which hung in the Dachau Museum when I visited it in 1997. It depicts a German soldier who has been “stabbed in the back.” This is a reference to Hitler’s claim that Germany did not lose World War I in the field. After the war, the Germans wore buttons, like political buttons, which said (in German) “never defeated in the field.” Hitler called the claim that Germany had lost on the battlefield “the Big Lie.”
The reason that Hitler called the end of World War I “the stab in the back,” was because the Armistice that ended the war was signed by the Social Democrats who overthrew Germany’s imperial government on November 9, 1918 in a “bloodless revolution.” The Nazis referred to the Social Democrats who signed the Armistice as the “November criminals.”