The Treaty of Versailles was a hefty document indeed, weighing in at around two hundred pages and inflicting over four hundred clauses on to the heads of the unfortunate Germans. Clause 231, in particular, has gathered the interest of historians because it is this clause that declares Germany responsible for starting the war. Unlike World War II, when Germany was faced with an ultimatum over Poland, Germany's responsibility for the outbreak of World War I is far more debatable, and most historians reject the notion that Germany was exclusively responsible. Nevertheless, Germany was in no position to negotiate and so accepted the clause.

Once Germany had been forced into accepting the War Guilt Clause, as it is sometimes known, the Allies were free to charge her with all the reperations they saw fit. Showing characteristic lack of restraint, they forced Germany to pay $12 billion dollars in reperations; an enormous sum for the time.