What the Versailles Treaty Teaches us about Gun Control

What the Versailles Treaty Teaches us about Gun Control
What the Versailles Treaty Teaches us about Gun Control

U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- This weekend marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War—if we don’t count the Napoleonic Wars as a global conflict, of course. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars, and though it was called the Great War, it turned out to be only the first act of what would be a much greater horror to come. The lessons are many. One that I wish to draw here is what the Versailles Treaty can teach advocates of gun control.

The treaty is reminiscent of today’s advocates to restrict gun rights in several ways. It singled out Germany as responsible for the war, despite there having been multiple participants whose military and diplomatic policies made the conflict inevitable and a terrorist attack by a Serbian nationalist that put everything in motion. But in the same way that gun owners are blamed for violence in our nation, Germany was declared to be the villain and beaten down financially and militarily.

It was legislation passed by the Weimar Republic to satisfy the demands of the Versailles Treaty that disarmed the German people, not the Nazis. That was in keeping with the broader goal to make Germany unable to start a war again. Citizens had to surrender their guns, and the nation’s military was cut down to numbers and equipment that would have been inadequate for defense had France, for example, decided to invade. Submarines and military aircraft were also prohibited.

Unsurprisingly, none of this worked. Paramilitary groups such as the Freikorps and other right-wing precursors to the Nazi Sturmabteilung fought the communists, and both sides killed people who weren’t involved, and the politically motivated violence primed the nation for the rise of an authoritarian leader who promised peace.

As readers of this magazine will know, disarming civilians who refuse to comply is a fool’s errand. But the Allies missed—willfully or otherwise—the more difficult to hide efforts of the German government to maintain skills and technical advancement in the weapons of war, particularly in the development during the intervening decades of submarines and airplanes. The Germans bought interests in maritime design companies in the Netherlands and Spain, developing vessels for several nations, including Turkey and future enemy, Soviet Russia as a cover for thinking through the U-boats that Churchill would later say was the only thing that really frightened him during the Second World War. Willy Messerschmitt and others not only worked with aircraft manufacturers of other countries but also understood that racing planes made the basis of fighters and passenger craft had much in common with bombers, an example of a dual-use technology that has become of such concern today.

In other words, vindictiveness and enforced disarmament failed. It failed because demonizing an entire group of people when the responsibility is much more complex creates resentments that fester. It failed because people who are determined to be armed will find a way. And it failed because it neglected to address the factors that motivated the second round of conflict in Europe. Advocates of gun control would do well to learn this lesson.


About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

  • 31 thoughts on “What the Versailles Treaty Teaches us about Gun Control

    1. Author: Hans BangBang
      Comment:
      “It was legislation passed by the Weimar Republic to satisfy the demands of the Versailles Treaty that disarmed the German people, not the Nazis.”

      Correct. Lots’a guy’s brought back a lot of souvenirs that went bang bang.(non military)

    2. “It was legislation passed by the Weimar Republic to satisfy the demands of the Versailles Treaty that disarmed the German people, not the Nazis.”

      THANK YOU!
      Many far-right idiots on the internet have spread this false claim, that the Nazi-Party took away guns from their citizens.
      That a complete lie; their gun related laws did quite the opposite, from how I understood it.

      Thank you for not spreading this dumb lie any further! It’s niice to see someone clarifiying history.
      Cheers mates!

      1. At Hans, Bang, Bang;
        To quote one author’s article…
        How the Nazis Used Gun Control
        By STEPHEN P. HALBROOK

        December 2, 2013 9:00 AM





        The Weimar Republic’s well-intentioned gun registry became a tool for evil.
        The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did not.
        In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.
        Volume 0%

        In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”
        During the five years of repression that followed, society was “cleansed” by the National Socialist regime. Undesirables were placed in camps where labor made them “free,” and normal rights of citizenship were taken from Jews. The Gestapo banned independent gun clubs and arrested their leaders. Gestapo counsel Werner Best issued a directive to the police forbidding issuance of firearm permits to Jews.
        In 1938, Hitler signed a new Gun Control Act. Now that many “enemies of the state” had been removed from society, some restrictions could be slightly liberalized, especially for Nazi Party members. But Jews were prohibited from working in the firearms industry, and .22 caliber hollow-point ammunition was banned.
        The time had come to launch a decisive blow to the Jewish community, to render it defenseless so that its “ill-gotten” property could be redistributed as an entitlement to the German “Volk.” The German Jews were ordered to surrender all their weapons, and the police had the records on all who had registered them. Even those who gave up their weapons voluntarily were turned over to the Gestapo.
        This took place in the weeks before what became known as the Night of the Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht, occurred in November 1938. That the Jews were disarmed before it, minimizing any risk of resistance, is the strongest evidence that the pogrom was planned. An incident was needed to justify unleashing the attack.
        That incident would be the shooting of a German diplomat in Paris by a teenage Polish Jew. Hitler directed propaganda minister Josef Goebbels to orchestrate the Night of the Broken Glass. This massive operation, allegedly conducted as a search for weapons, entailed the ransacking of homes and businesses, and the arson of synagogues.
        SS chief Heinrich Himmler decreed that 20 years be served in a concentration camp by any Jew possessing a firearm. Rusty revolvers and bayonets from the Great War were confiscated from Jewish veterans who had served with distinction. Twenty thousand Jewish men were thrown into concentration camps and had to pay ransoms to get released.
        The U.S. media covered the above events. And when France fell to Nazi invasion in 1940, the New York Times reported that the French were deprived of rights such as free speech and firearm possession just as the Germans had been. Frenchmen who failed to surrender their firearms within 24 hours were subject to the death penalty.
        No wonder that in 1941, just days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress reaffirmed Second Amendment rights and prohibited gun registration. In 1968, bills to register guns were debated, with opponents recalling the Nazi experience and supporters denying that the Nazis ever used registration records to confiscate guns. The bills were defeated, as every such proposal has been ever since, including recent “universal background check” bills.
        COMMENTS
        As in Weimar Germany, some well-meaning people today advocate severe restrictions, including bans and registration, on gun ownership by law-abiding persons. Such proponents are in no sense “Nazis,” any more than were the Weimar officials who promoted similar restrictions. And it would be a travesty to compare today’s situation to the horrors of Nazi Germany.
        Still, as history teaches, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        STEPHEN P. HALBROOK — Stephen P. Halbrook is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, in Oakland, Calif., and the author of The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” and the forthcoming Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance.
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    3. Author: Tionico
      Comment:
      and it was CHurchill’s govenrment suckered Hitler into turning to invade Russia that brought him back into a two front war….. that was an ingenious plot hatched and run by England’s govenrment at the time, and it worked. Hitler’s forces were all but demolished during one of the harshest Russian winters on record. But, in the time between DUnkirk and the Eastern Front failure, Hitler’s forces brutally and ruthlessly a=pummelled England by air, the so-called “Battle of Britain” where the English nearly were crushed. Churchill’s guys tricked Hitler’s guys into thinking England were ready to have in the towell and make peace with the Nazis, thus not a threat to contend with. Hitle’rs pride led him to take the bait, and send his forces east… t their near destruction. Meanwhile, being distracted and stretched thin, Germany’s defenses in Eirope weakened and we continued destroying as much of their infrasturcture as we were able. Pride goeth befor a fall…. and great was the fall thereof…..

      Rubbish…pure rubbish. I’d like to see the comic book ya got that out’a.

    4. Who runs the banks? Who controls the media by which wars are sold to the public as a necessity? If your answers are anything other than the the international Judaic power construct, you are kidding yourselves.

      Spot on Nick!!!

    5. Please, enough of your cold dead hands. Please plan on prying the guns from their dead hands with your warm hands. We do need some positivity in this conversation.

    6. Now we have the new Hitler youth in Florida yelling ban all guns! And the news media listens to them. Its been reported that some of these characters are paid actors! And they pay teens to wear t shirts and carry signs. Just wait until they are married, in their late 20’s got a wife and kids and ask them what they would like to protect their fsmily with… A gun.. or a hankie! Don’t you just love it having a bunch of 14 or 15 year olds telling adults what they can own and do. Hell they cant even drive a car or get a job.
      Gun control = people control = concentration death camps!

    7. The NAZI’s were socialists, not right-wingers! They hated the communists as much as the communists hated them. Both groups strived for complete domination of the nation’s economy and people. As evil as Hitler was, Stalin and the communists were just as brutal with their own people. Research the various and sundry “pogroms” and other methods Stalin used to murder at least 30 million of his own people, especially in the Ukraine. Stalin killed more Soviet citizens than Hitler did! And they were both socialists, racists, homophobes, anti-Semites and just generally defined evil in the twentieth, or any other, century. Remember, when “antifa” and others of their ilk are shouting down and intimidating any voices other than their own, they are following in the footsteps of their fascist forefathers. The “Sturm-Abteilung,” the SS, the communists and socialists everywhere cannot tolerate any voices than their own, and will, through intimidation, force and even murder, force their ideology upon the world. Look up the definition of the Greek word “anti” and you will discover that the primary meaning is “substitute for” or “in the place of.” It certainly fits “antifa!:” “in the place of fascists.”

    8. Gun control isn’t about guns, it’s about control. Do not be deceived by the rambling bullscat from the socialist leftards in DC and elsewhere.

    9. Tionico, Churchill was a drunken bum. Naked and drunk in the White House too. Thanks to him,in part,Britannia no longer rules the waves. His lust for war reduced England to a insignificant Nation after WW2.
      Dunkirk…the Germans let them escape thanks to Hitler. He foolishly thought the gesture might bring peace.

          1. and it was CHurchill’s govenrment suckered Hitler into turning to invade Russia that brought him back into a two front war….. that was an ingenious plot hatched and run by England’s govenrment at the time, and it worked. Hitler’s forces were all but demolished during one of the harshest Russian winters on record. But, in the time between DUnkirk and the Eastern Front failure, Hitler’s forces brutally and ruthlessly a=pummelled England by air, the so-called “Battle of Britain” where the English nearly were crushed. Churchill’s guys tricked Hitler’s guys into thinking England were ready to have in the towell and make peace with the Nazis, thus not a threat to contend with. Hitle’rs pride led him to take the bait, and send his forces east… t their near destruction. Meanwhile, being distracted and stretched thin, Germany’s defenses in Eirope weakened and we continued destroying as much of their infrasturcture as we were able. Pride goeth befor a fall…. and great was the fall thereof…..

    10. We have to stand together and stop it in it’s tracks we are going to do one of two things give up our rights or fight for them our government won’t to control us and getting our gun is the first step so we have know why to fight back we are at some point going to have to stand together and say no if you want our guns and our rights to quote the NRA you will have to pry them from my cold dead hands the government will put so many restrictions on our guns to make it all most impossible to own a gun it’s a sad day for American gun owners

      1. @BW, Va, That was Charlton Heston that said that. We do have to make a fight of it. Trump arrived just in time. Who would have ever envisioned a land developer with the manners of a NY cabbie would lead a revolution against the elitist, globalist establishment.

    11. Years ago I was quite involved in the recreational sailplane world. One of our folks owned a VERY interesting aircraft.. I had opportunity to chat him up at one of our competitioin meets on the California coast. His plane was quite different in design, shape, construction, then all the others.

      Turns out it was built in Germany, his in 1936. The story was that the then-arming up quietly and stealthily German government called for the design and construction of a fleet of these craft. they were a two place tandem flight trainer, constructed almost entirely of.. WOOD. VERY agile and capable flyers, they could be lauched by a ground-based cable winch, and if one worked the thermals one could fly for hours and not burn a drop of fuel. Thousands of pilots were thus given fligiht skills, not one ever having flown a powered aircraft. Who would object to sport glider flying? It was suffientely “under the radar” ithe programme never aroused any suspicion. How this one craft of my friend’s was preserved I never learned. Most were, of course, destroyed during the war. The olanes were not visible to radar, under development in that time. I was able to get a frontseat ride in this craft, and it was amazing. The design, if memory serves, was perfected in 1931.

      This was only ONE way Germany was gearing up for war, in stealth mode. The free world, not wanting to even consider the prospects of anotherr conflict, jogged onward, wilfully oblivious to the threat.

      I wonder.. can anyone else today view what we see in the news daily and think we are all jogging along famously, and think there is not a threat anywhere on the horizon we do see?

    12. Having read CHurchill’s series on that Second German War, I always found his first one in the series “The Gathering Storm” to be the most fascinating.. AND dusturbing. As early as 1920 he was aware of signs that Germany was indeed working toward rearmament. He tried to warn, presenting hard documentatioin of various advances, projects, etc, but no one wanted to remove their swelled heads from the comfortable, dark, warm sand. Having presented aerial photographs w=of what was almost certainly (turns out it WAS true….) a submarine constructioin project and base, Parliament declined to take even those seriously. Aircraft development was also proceeding apace. Again, ignored. Soon enough, the British government, having wearied of his peristence, essentially exiled him to Scotland, making him the exchequer of the British Royal Navy on some forsaken and windy firth ‘up north”. “There, he’ll be quiet up there so we’ll have naught to worrk ourselves over”.
      Funny enough, when Head in the Sand politcs failed and British troops barely escaped Dunkirk by miraculous intervention of the Almighty, they finally called for him to come and fix the mess in which they then found themselves. Being a great man, he did not hold their former rejection of him to their account, but rose to the challenge and led them to a reluctant victory. Few remembered his decades of warnings, he never said “I tried to warn you”, just soldiered onward.

      1. Don’t forget the Lend-Lease policy. Brittain had no defensive weapons but the US loaned them enough until we actually wound up in the war.

    13. The Treaty of Versailles guaranteed WW2. I’m sure international diplomatic forces are working to come up with somethig to guarantee WW3. Envy, distrust, and hatred– of countries, peoples, elected officials, etc.– have always been great motivators. Ask Israel.

      1. Pete, I assume you mean because Israel was founded by refugees from Europe and Russia, as well as other parts of the world, and besieged on all sides? Then there was the open threat from the Iranian leader to destroy them and push them into the sea.

    14. The Nazis rebuilt and re armed themselves right under the noses of the entire world. Goes to show that gun control doesn’t work on entire nations, much less individuals.

      1. Well, to be fair, if you rule a totalitarian country, it’s a lot easier to get guns than if you were just some individual, since you access factories and such. Lol

        This reminds me of how North Korea always promises to get rid of its nukes.

    15. Some very good points. The ‘Versailles Treaty’ was a disgrace and a sham. It was about par with the disgusting ‘Nuremberg Trials’. Which was another sham. What the victors impose on a people can sometimes come back and bite them. Plus there are a lot of weapons in the good old US of A floating around.

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