The result of the Paris Peace Conference was a series of peace treaties and massive territorial changes. Most famous or infamous is the Versailles Peace Treaty, which is often incorrectly used to describe the entire peace making process. The Treaty of Versailles was with Germany and became the most controversial of the treaties largely because of Article 231. The so-called “war guilt clause” made Germany solely responsible for causing the war and required the country to pay damages, which were not yet set. In the treaty, France received access to the coal and iron ore rich Saar Valley. A plebiscite in 15 years would determine which country would receive it permanently. French troops were also allowed to occupy the left bank of Rhine for 15 years. To avoid another attack, a demilitarized zone was established 30 miles east of river. The Versailles treaty reestablishment Poland and gave the country some German territory (not all by plebiscite) and the Polish corridor with Danzig as a free city. The German army was reduced to 100,000 volunteer soldiers and the navy reduced to 12 ships. The German merchant navy was turned over to allies and divided among them. Unsurprisingly, the Germans were outraged by the treaty terms. The Versailles Peace became know as a Diktat. The German chancellor Scheidemann resigned instead of bowing to allied demand and signing the treaty. However, Germany had no choice but to sign the treaty. On June 23, 1919 two hours before the end of the armistice, Germany agreed to sign the treaty. On July 28, the allies and Germans sign the peace treaty in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. France returned humiliation of 1871 with a new humiliation.

Among the other treaties was the Treaty of Neuilly with Bulgaria. The Balkan country lost territory to Greece, Rumania, and Serbia/Yugoslavia. In the Treaty of St. Germain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled into the German speaking Alps republic of the Habsburg Empire. The allies also denied the new Austria the possibility to join with Germany. In the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory and three-fifth of its population. The country still did not contain a homogeneous Magyar population. In the Treaty of Sevres, the Ottoman Empire was dismembered and the treaty became the most sever. The Turkey lost Smyrna to Greece, Rhodes to Italy, Syria/Lebanon to France, Palastine, TransJordan and Iraq to Great Britain.

By Dr. Niels Eichhorn