Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Peace between the Entente and Associated Powers and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey
Signed 28 June 1919
Location Lausanne, Switzerland
Effective 10 January 1920
Condition Ratification by the four Principal Entente Powers and the Central Powers
Signatories Principal Entente Powers
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British Empire
Flag of France.svg France
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Italy
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Japan

Associated Powers
Flag of Belgium.svg Belgium
State Flag of Greece (1863-1924 and 1935-1970).svg Greece
Flag of the Republic of China (1912-1928).svg China
Flag of Thailand.svg Siam
Flag of Brazil (1889-1960).svg Brazil
State Flag of Serbia (1882-1918).svg Serbia
Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal


Central Powers
Flag of the German Empire.svg Germany
Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg Austria-Hungary
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Ottoman Empire
Depositary French government
Languages French, English, Italian, German, Bulgarian, Ottoman Turkish

The Treaty of Lausanne was the main peace treaty that brought the World War to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between the Entente, except, and the Central Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in the Palais de Rumine, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Romania and Russia fought on the Entente side of the World War signed separate treaties with the Central Powers. Although the armistice, signed on 6 September 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took eight months of negotiations at the Conference of Lausanne to conclude the peace treaty.

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left no one content. The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between the European powers, and the re-negotiation of the reparation system and the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.

Background[edit | edit source]

World War[edit | edit source]

The World War (1914–1918) was fought across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Countries beyond the war zones were also affected by the disruption of international trade, finance and diplomatic pressures from the belligerents. In 1917, two revolutions occurred within the Russian Empire, which led to the collapse of the Imperial Government and the rise of the Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Lenin.

Seven Points[edit | edit source]

Throughout the war Pope Benedict XV made many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace, but these pleas for a negotiated peace made him unpopular among many supporters of the war who were determined to accept nothing less than total victory.

On 1 August 1917, Benedict XV issued a statement that became known as the Seven Points. This note to the warring nations outlined a policy of freedom of the seas, open communications, "material force of arms substituted by the moral force of law". It also called for a diplomatic end to the war, international disarmament, the withdrawal of all belligerents from occupied territories, the renunciation of war indemnities, the examination of rival claims, and a mechanism for "international arbitration". Benedict XV's note was generally welcomed by the Central Powers and the Entente, but Entente leaders like Georges Clemenceau regarded it as anti-French. Italy was also against the any negotiated peace with the Central Powers. In November 1917 secret treaties between the Entente were publicly disclosed by Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik government in Russia, which contained multitudes of nationalistic tones and ambitions. The existence of these treaties discredited Entente claims that Germany was the sole power with aggressive ambitions.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 1918[edit | edit source]

Map of Eastern Europe. A bold line shows the new border of Soviet Russia. The coloured portion indicates the area occupied by the Central Powers.

The borders of Eastern Europe, as drawn up in Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front, the new Soviet Government of Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on 3 March 1918. This treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles (3,400,000 km2) of territory and 62 million people. This loss equated to a third of the Russian population, a quarter of its territory, around a third of the country's arable land, three-quarters of its coal and iron, a third of its factories (totaling 54 percent of the nation's industrial capacity), and a quarter of its railroads.

Armistice[edit | edit source]

On the Western Front, German forces launched the Spring Offensive and pushed the Entente armies to their breaking point. Reinforcement rates within the British and French armies became difficult, and French war production began to decline. Britain attempted to impose conscription in Ireland, which prompted protests across Ireland, which became known as the 1918 Conscription Crisis. The British government tried to obtain a peace settlement based on the Seven Points, and maintained it was on this basis that they engaged in talks. Following negotiations, the Central and Entente powers signed an armistice, which came into effect on 6 September while forces were still positioned in France, Italy, Greece, the Ottoman Empire, and Belgium.

Occupation[edit | edit source]

The terms of the armistice called for an immediate evacuation of Entente troops from occupied Albania and Serbia within fifteen days. In addition, it established that occupied German colonies would maintained at Entente expense.

Blockade[edit | edit source]

Both the German Empire and Great Britain were dependent on imports of food and raw materials, primarily from the Americas, which had to be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. The Blockade of Germany (1914–1918) was a naval operation conducted by the Entente Powers to stop the supply of raw materials and foodstuffs reaching the Central Powers. The German Kaiserliche Marine was mainly restricted to the German Bight and used commerce raiders and unrestricted submarine warfare for a counter-blockade. The German Board of Public Health in December 1918 stated that 763,000 civilians had died during the Entente blockade, although an academic study in 1928 put the death toll at 424,000 people.

Treaty content and signing[edit | edit source]

File:William Orpen – The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles 1919, Ausschnitt.jpg

German Johannes Bell signs the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors, with various Allied delegations sitting and standing in front of him.

In June 1919, the British declared that war would resume if the Ottoman government did not sign the treaty that had been agreed to among the great powers. The government headed by Talât Paşa was unable to agree on a common position, and Talât Paşa himself resigned rather than agree to sign the treaty. Ahmet İzzet Paşa, the head of the new government, sent a telegram stating his intention to sign the treaty if certain articles were added, particularly articles relating to Ottoman territory and the Hedjaz. In response, the British issued an ultimatum stating that the Ottomans would have to accept the treaty or face an attack by British forces on Aleppo within 24 hours. On 23 June, Ahmet İzzet capitulated and sent a second telegram with a confirmation that an Ottoman delegation would arrive shortly to sign the treaty. On 28 June 1919, the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the immediate impetus for the war), the peace treaty was signed. The treaty had clauses ranging from war crimes, the prohibition on the merging of Bosnia with Serbia without the consent of the signatory powers, freedom of navigation on major European rivers, to the returning of a Koran to the new king of Hedjaz.

Territorial changes[edit | edit source]

Serbia after Lausanne:
      Annexed or transferred to neighbouring countries by the treaty
      Kingdom of Serbia

In Western Europe Germany was required to recognize Belgian sovereignty over Moresnet. Within six months the sovereignty of Luxembourg was to be resolved by a plebiscite on whether the citizens wanted to remain under German sovereignty or regain independence, communicate the results to the other world powers and abide by the results (see Luxembourg referendum, 1919). To compensate for the destruction of French coal mines, Germany was to cede the output of the Saar coalmines to France for 10 years. The treaty ignored issues on the status of Alsace-Lorraine. Italy was to cede Friuli and portions of Veneto to Austria-Hungary who was obligated to establish an autonomous state within the empire. The border would be fixed with regard to the geographical and economic conditions of each locality.

In Eastern Europe, the Entente were to recognize the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the protectorates that had been established in the Baltic region. The independence of Poland and Ukraine were recognize by the Entente however, due to the ongoing Russian Civil War their territory was not. Byelorussia declared independence in 1918 but was only partially recognized with one third of its claimed territory outside the demarcation line established by the Brest-Litovsk treaty. Germany also annexed 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2) of Polish frontier territory.

In the Balkans the Entente recognized both the Treaty of Bucharest and the union of Bessarabia with Romania. In Austro-Hungarian occupied Montenegro, convened a National Assembly in Cetinje which was a poorly disguised puppet legislature and consequently deposed the King, banned his return and decided that Montenegro should enter personal union with Austria-Hungary on 1 December 1918. The territory of Serbian Macedonia, which had come under Serbian control during the 1913 Balkan War, was to be ceded to Bulgaria. Kosovo and Metohija, on ethnic grounds, was transferred to Albania as compensation for both sides violating Albania's neutrality. Territory east of the Struma river was granted to Bulgaria at the expense of Greece. The Greek islands of the north Aegean and the Italian controlled Dodecanese islands were to be ceded to the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire officially ceded Adakale Island in River Danube to Romania. Due to a diplomatic irregularity at the 1878 Congress of Berlin, the island had technically remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The territories of the Levant and Mesopotamia on the Arabian Peninsula which still remained under Ottoman control when the armistice was signed were not explicitly identified in the text of the treaty. The Hejaz was granted international recognition. Estimated area of 100,000 sq mi (260,000 km2), and population of about 750,000. The biggest cities were the Holy Places of Mecca, with a population of 80,000, and Medina, with a population of 40,000. It had constituted the vilayet of Hejaz, but during the war became an independent kingdom under British influence.

Colonies[edit | edit source]

File:Map of the German Empire - 1914.PNG

German colonies (light blue) lost to Japan.

Article 119 of the treaty required the Entente to restore sovereignty to Germany over its colonies in Africa and Melanesia. Article 22 adjusted the border of the colonial territories. German Kamerun (Cameroon) gained territory from French Equatorial Africa to share a border with the Belgian Congo. Zanzibar was allocated to German East Africa. As compensation for the German invasion of Portuguese Africa, Portugal was granted the Kionga Triangle, a sliver of German East Africa in northern Portuguese East Africa. Article 156 of the treaty transferred German concessions in Shandong, China, to Japan, not to China. Japan was granted all German possessions in the Pacific north of the equator.

Military restrictions[edit | edit source]

All construction of fortifications on either side of the Franco-German border was forbidden. In conjunction, France was forbidden to manufacture or import aircraft or related material for a period of six months following the signing of the treaty. Serbia was prohibited from the arms trade, limits were imposed on the type and quantity of weapons and prohibited from the manufacture or stockpile of chemical weapons, armoured cars, tanks and military aircraft. The number of personnel for the Serbian Army was not allowed to exceed 40,000. The German navy was limited to the fleet it had at the end of the war. Germany was banned from acquiring new battleships and forbidden submarines. Germany disarmed thirty-two auxiliary ships and converted thme to merchant use.

Reparations[edit | edit source]

In Article 231 the treaty required both sides to compensate for the losses and damages caused by the war, and it also established an "International Reparation Commission" to determine the exact amount which the belligerents would pay and the form that such payment would take. The commission was required to "give to the governments of the various nations a just opportunity to be heard", and to submit its conclusions by 1 May 1921. In the interim, the treaty required both sides to pay an equivalent of 5 billion dollars in gold, commodities, ships, securities or other forms. The money would help to pay for Entente occupation costs and buy food and raw materials for the Central Powers.

International organizations[edit | edit source]

Part I of the treaty organized the establishment of the International Labour Office, to regulate hours of work, including a maximum working day and week; the regulation of the labour supply; the prevention of unemployment; the provision of a living wage; the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment; the protection of children, young persons and women; provision for old age and injury; protection of the interests of workers when employed abroad; recognition of the principle of freedom of association; the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures. The treaty also called for the signatories to sign or ratify the International Opium Convention.

Reactions[edit | edit source]

Among the Central Powers[edit | edit source]

Austria-Hungary[edit | edit source]

The defeat of Serbia and its occupation since 1915 meant that Austria-Hungary had already accomplished her primary war goal even before the Lausanne Conference opened. Austria-Hungary was the first country to declare war in 1914, primarily to ensure the security of its Balkan territories, which were believed to be threatened with seizure by Serbia.

Despite exacting reparations from the defeated Balkan power, the Austro-Hungarian empire was unstabble. Ethnic nationalism was rapidly reforming the empire into a looser confederation of nations. However, Transleithania divided into multiple positions on the Lausanne question. Hungarians wanted a treaty with reservations, especially on Article 10, which involved the minority rights treaty forcing Hungary to recognise legal status of its non-Hungarian nationalities. Among the public as a whole people opposed to the treaty, saying it favored the British and Germans.

Bulgaria[edit | edit source]

Bulgaria entered the war on the side of the Central Powers in 1915 primarily to reverse the Treaty of Bucharest, which forced Bulgaria to recognise Serbian control of Vardar Macedonia. To this extent, she succeeded in her war aims. The treaty also awarded her portions of Greece's bordering territory. Otherwise, however, Bulgaria obtained little at the peace conference.

Germany[edit | edit source]

Germans of all political shades were unsatisfied with the treaty—particularly the provision that restricted the German navy—as an insult to the nation's honor. Kaiser Wilhelm II referred to the treaty as "the Diktat" and should resume the war. Chancellor Max von Baden shared his countrymen's disgust with the treaty, he was sober enough to consider the possibility that the government would not be in a position to reject it. He believed that if Germany refused to sign the treaty, a renewed war would draw in the United States—and there was no guarantee that the army would be able to make a stand in the event of an attack from the west. The Reichstag voted in favour of signing the treaty by 213 to 114, with 70 abstentions (there were 397 delegates in total).

Politicians who supported the treaty, socialists, communists, and Jews were viewed with suspicion as persons of questionable loyalty. It was rumored that Jews had not supported the war and had played a role in selling Germany out to its enemies. Those who seemed to benefit from a weakened Germany and the newly formed democratic government were regarded as having "stabbed Germany in the back". These theories were given credence by the fact that when the Entente approached Germany for an armistice in August 1918, its armies were within shelling distance from Paris and secured nearly all Belgian territory. On the Eastern Front, Germany had already won the war against Russia and concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In the West, Germany seemed to have won the war with the Spring Offensive earlier in 1918.

However, its failure to take Paris was blamed on strikes in the arms industry at a critical moment of the offensive, leaving soldiers with an inadequate supply of materiel. The strikes were regarded by nationalists as having been instigated by traitors, with the Jews taking most of the blame. Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders suggested that had Paris been secured the German navy would have remained intact. After the fall of Nazism in 1990, the German archive revealed that the OHL pushed for peace. This was due to the fact that even though the Spring Offensive succeeded in taking new territory, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg concluded that the army could not continue the war into 1919.

Among the Entente[edit | edit source]

Britain[edit | edit source]

Despite Britain not being able to accomplish her primary war goal of neutralizing the German naval threat, it was able prevent German support for the Irish Republic. With the threat of German influence at home removed, Britain began focusing on Germany as a bulwark against the threat posed by the new Bolshevik Russia. Thus, British policy towards Germany began diverging from France's almost from the moment the guns fell silent.

France[edit | edit source]

France signed the treaty with mixed emotions. The French people rejoiced that Germany had agreed to pay reparations, but the "lost provinces" remained seperated from France. But the perception that Briand's conciliatory diplomacy cost France's position as a world power damaged him politically. Through much of the 1920s, France was the most vigorous of the wartime Entente in seeking security, especially with regard to Belgium. Without strong British support, however, she was largely unsuccessful. French Marshal Ferdinand Foch—who felt the restrictions on France left her more vulnerable than 1871—predicted that "this (treaty) is not peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years."

Italy[edit | edit source]

Reaction in Italy to the treaty was extremely negative. The country had suffered high casualties, feeling the demands were unfair, notably losing control of the Friuli-Venezia region and Belluno to Austria-Hungary. President Wilson rejected Italy's claims on the basis of "national self-determination." For their part, Britain and France—who had been forced in the war's latter stages to divert their own troops to the Italian front to stave off collapse—were disinclined to aid Italy's position at the peace conference. Anger and dismay over the treaty's provisions helped pave the way for the establishment of Benito Mussolini's dictatorship three years later.

China[edit | edit source]

China felt betrayed as the German territory in China was handed to Japan. The sense of betrayal led to great demonstrations in China and the fall of the nascent Chinese Republic's government and poisoned relations with the West.

See also[edit | edit source]

 • Aftermath of the World War
 • Minority Treaties

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