Germany eventually signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, because she faced death by starvation and invasion if she refused. With the naval blockade still in force and her merchant ships and even Baltic fishing boats sequestered, Germany could not feed her people. Germany’s request to buy 2.5 million tons of food was denied by the Allies. U.S. warships now supported the blockade. With German families starving, Bolshevik uprisings in several German cities, Trotsky’s Red Army driving into Europe, Czechs and Poles ready to strike from the east, and Allied forces prepared to march on Berlin, Germany was forced to capitulate.
Francesco Nitti, prime minister of Italy, said of the Versailles Treaty: “It will remain forever a terrible precedent in modern history that against all pledges, all precedents and all traditions, the representatives of Germany were never even heard; nothing was left to them but to sign a treaty at a moment when famine and exhaustion and threat of revolution made it impossible not to sign it….”
It is estimated that approximately 800,000 Germans perished because of the Allied naval blockade. The blockade’s architect and chief advocate had been the first lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill. His confessed aim had been to starve the whole German population into submission. One commentator noted the effects of the blockade: “Nations can take philosophically the hardships of war. But when they lay down their arms and surrender on assurances that they may have food for their women and children, and then find that this worst instrument of attack on them is maintained—then hate never dies.”
Herbert Hoover said of the Allied blockade in Germany: “The blockade should be taken off…these people should be allowed to return to production not only to save themselves from starvation and misery but that there should be awakened in them some resolution for continued national life…the people are simply in a state of moral collapse….We have for the last month held that it is now too late to save the situation.”
When Hoover was in Brussels in 1919, a British admiral arrogantly said to him, “Young man, I don’t see why you Americans want to feed these Germans.” Hoover impudently replied, “Old man, I don’t understand why you British want to starve women and children after they are licked.”
George E.R. Gedye was sent to Germany in February 1919 on an inspection tour. Gedye described the impact of the blockade upon the German people:
Hospital conditions were appalling. A steady average of 10% of the patients had died during the war years from lack of fats, milk and good flour. Camphor, glycerine and cod-liver oil were unprocurable. This resulted in high infant mortality….We saw some terrible sights in the children’s hospital, such as the “starvation babies” with ugly, swollen heads….Such were the conditions in Unoccupied Territory. Our report naturally urged the immediate opening of the frontiers for fats, milk and flour…but the terrible blockade was maintained as a result of French insistence…until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June, 1919….No severity of punishment could restrain the Anglo-American divisions of the Rhine from sharing their rations with their starving German fellow-creatures.
 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 77, 83.
 Hoover, Herbert, Memoirs, Vol. 1, Years of Adventure, New York: MacMillan, 1951-1952, p. 341.
 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 96.
 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, p. 79.
 Tansill, Charles C., Back Door to War: The Roosevelt Foreign Policy 1933-1941, Chicago: Regnery, 1952, p. 24.
 O’Brien, Francis William (ed.), Two Peacemakers in Paris: The Hoover-Wilson Post-Armistice Letters, 1918-1920, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1978, p. 129.
 Hoover, Herbert, Memoirs, Vol. 1, Years of Adventure, New York: MacMillan, 1951-1952, p. 345.
 Gedye, George E. R., The Revolver Republic; France’s Bid for the Rhine, London: J. W. Arrowsmith, Ltd., 1930, pp. 29-31.