An Irish Independent book of the year.
Did the Versailles Peace Treaty cause World War II?
The Versailles Peace Treaty - the pact that ended World War I between the German empire and the Allies - has long been regarded as one of the key causes of World War II. Its requirements for massive reparation payments, it is argued, crippled Germany's economy, de-stabilised the country's political life, and paved the way for Hitler.
Here, Jurgen Tampke disputes this commonplace view, suggesting that Germany got away with its responsibility for World War I, that the treaty was nowhere near as punitive as people think, and that the German hyper-inflation of the 1920s was a deliberate policy to minimise the cost of paying reparations.
This is a controversial and important work of revisionist history, which challenges one of the greatest misconceptions of our times.