Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required Germany to accept responsibility for causing the war and to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay heavy reparations. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks (then $31.4 billion or £6.6 billion, roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2012), a sum that many economists at the time, notably John Maynard Keynes deemed to be excessive and counterproductive. The argument by Keynes that the terms were too harsh—too "Carthaginian"—convinced many British and American leaders, but left the French unmoved.
The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was compromise that left none contented: Germany was not pacified or conciliated, nor permanently weakened. This would prove to be a factor leading to World War II.