At France's insistence, Alsace and Lorraine were taken from Germany and given to France at the
Armistice of November 11, 1918. The Saar, Germany's coal producing area, was brought under the
control of the League of Nations for 15 years, with France receiving the profits from the German
coal mines as compensation, the unhappy German miners being no better than slave laborers. In
contrast, when Prussia defeated France in 1871, France lost only 2.6% of its territory and 4.1% of
its population to Germany in areas originally German in the first place!
In Alsace-Lorraine, 87.2 percent of the population was German in 1910. Alsace remained a part of
Germany until the end of the war, when Germany was forced to cede it back to France, even though
Strassburg was by then almost exclusively German speaking. It was not offered the plebiscite granted
to some of the eastern German territories. German stores throughout the region were plundered by
French soldiers and many Germans were forcefully expelled under massive Frankization which
wanted to remove those of "German blood" with the hope of restoring French racial purity; Up to
150,000 German men, women, and children living in Alsace moved to Germany between late 1918
and late 1920, and approximately 100,000 Germans in Lorraine met the same fate.
Those expelled from Stassburg were only allowed to take only a few small handbags and they left
amid jeering, rock-throwing French crying, “death to the boches” while French soldiers stood by and
laughed. An estimated 200,000-250,000 Germans were expelled until the signing of the Treaty of
Versailles, and only about half were allowed to return, and then only after pressure on the French by
the USA. 50 year residents, or Germans who had settled in Elsass since 1871, remained expelled and
strict policies strictly forbade the use of the German language and required the exclusive use of
French. France even refused to extend to Srassburg the same rights as they gave other French cities
in regards to separation of church and state. Some inhabitants of the village of Kehl were also
expelled. The gateway to Strassburg, the German village was first mentioned 1038. In 1678 the city
was taken by France and the village was transformed into a fortress. After several changes of
sovereigns, the city was finally returned to Germany in 1815 and the fortress was dismantled. After
the First World War, according to the Treaty of Versailles, the harbor of Kehl was placed under
French administration for seven years and many Germans here were also expelled.
The dismemberment of the German Empire continued, having repercussions for years to come.
Eupen and Malmedy were ceded to Belgium and North Schleswig was ceded to Denmark.
|World War One German Territorial Losses
Poland, now "recreated" as a state, was also strengthened by the cession of a large part of German
East Prussia and the cession of West Prussia for access to the sea. In Posen, there was a strip of
territory which runs from River Vistula to the sea called the "Polish Corridor." The port of Danzig
and surrounding territory with its predominantly German population was established as a Free City to
be administered by a High Commissioner appointed by the League of Nations.
Another bone of contention was the fact that Germany had the audacity to form colonies abroad.
The short lived German Empire, in the manner of the day, acquired four colonies or "Schutzgebiete"
in Africa in the late 19th century, but comparatively late and on a vastly smaller scale than the other
European nations. These included: German SW Africa (now Namibia), German East Africa (now
Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi), Cameroon and Togo. Before the Great War, 13,500 Germans lived in
German South-West Africa and 4,701 Germans lived in East Africa.
Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points stated that the Allies would not take control of Germany's colonies as
Germany needed its colonies as a source of raw materials and as areas for surplus population. Point
Five promised "a free, generous and impartial resolution of all colonial claims." Germany found
herself hood-winked at Versailles when her colonies were removed without considering her claims.
By accusing Germany of "incompetent administration", the colonies were declared "mandates", an
action which lent a facade of legality to cover up outright theft. Germany also lost all her colonies in
Africa and the Pacific. Most of them were transferred to the League of Nations which allowed the
victorious powers to rule over them as Mandates.
German Sudetenland, an extensive territory with a predominant ethnic German population, had been
part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. The Treaty of Versailles provided that the old frontier as it
existed on August 3, 1914 between the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires would constitute the
frontier between Germany and Czechoslovakia. Thus, the "Sudeten" German lands, including
pockets in the interior of Bohemia and Moravia, passed outright into the waiting hands of the Czechs.
Hultschin, an area of some 350 square kilometers with a German majority population, was ceded
outright to the newly hatched Czechoslovakia.
The victors planned their carving up of central Europe well in advance as well. On January 8, 1918
Wilson gave a significant Fourteen Points propaganda speech where he called for a "readjustment"
of Italy’s frontiers and for the establishment of self-governing states for Poles, Yugoslavs, Serbs and
Romanians who were at the time under Austria-Hungary's rule. This speech immediately inspired the
British propagandists at Crewe House to target Austria-Hungary with separatist propaganda and
foster disintegration of the Dual Monarchy by promoting internal strife and insurrection among the
‘oppressed nationalities’ which, in turn, would weaken Germany’s ability to sustain war. They did
this by printing and distributing 60 million copies of 643 different leaflets in eight languages, together
with 10 million copies of 112 different newspapers in four languages throughout Austria-Hungary
from May to October of 1918. With the Habsburg collapse, Crewe House then concentrated on
eroding German morale at a time when the German Empire was already in trouble.
East Upper Silesia was ceded to Poland by the Supreme Allied Command in September 1921.
Despite the fact that in a March, 1921 plebiscite, 60% of the Upper Silesian population voted to
remain a part of Germany and even though Germans outnumbered the Poles by about five to three in
the area and had built up the economy of the area for centuries, two-fifths of Upper Silesia was taken
away. Germany was left with the larger but economically unimportant West Upper Silesia.
Millions of Austrians lived in the vast territories lost by Austria, 250,000 in Tirol alone. When
Austria was forbidden to unite with Germany, it was a terrible blow to Austria's survival because
Austrian goods had always depended upon the German market. Lastly, Austria had to pay
reparations and had to be disarmed to the lowest limit. All in all, the Austrian portion of the Dual
Monarchy was deprived of 3/4 of her former area and 3/4 of her people and she became an
insignificant, land-locked state with few economic resources. In effect, her future was sealed as a
second rate nation, her glorious past condemned to memory.
Probably the biggest irony is that throughout over half a millennium of Habsburg domination, the
separate ethnic cultures, identities and languages in their realm were protected and flourished. Once
the "world was made safe for democracy", the nationalistic zealots, which the Allies had enabled,
abetted and encouraged, inflicted as much genocide and ethnic oppression as humanly possible.
Instead, millions of ethnic Germans and Hungarians were victimized, harassed, outrageously taxed
and deprived of their civil rights. German and Hungarian property was confiscated by the Czech
government without compensation and distributed among Czech and Slovak colonists and censuses
were rigged to guarantee a false majority. Without plebiscite and despite the protest of the population
on February 4, 1920, for example, Czechoslovakia seized one town and 37 communities with 50,000
inhabitants and 333 square kilometers of fruitful, productive land plus two coal mines! With only two
exceptions, all German language schools were closed and German instruction was only available
through private teaching centers. Czech intolerance under the First Czechoslovak "Republic" made
life a hellish misery for its minorities and added more conflicts which led directly to the next war.
Versailles resulted in a few plebiscites, a few bogus or mock plebiscites, and a few plebiscites which
never came to life to determine the fates of certain areas. Other areas were ceded outright and it
began to change the ethnic face of Europe and also result in new conflicts.
Austria's territorial losses included Trieste, Istria and Deutsch-Südtirol (German South Tyrol) which
were ceded outright to Italy by terms of the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye. Bohemia (including
parts of the German speaking Sudetenland, Moravia and part of Silesia) also went to the newly
established Czechoslovakia, which, with the inclusion of the Slovaks, established Prague as the
capital. Burgenland was ceded to Hungary from Austria. Lower Steiermark, consisting primarily of
ethnic Slovenes, was ceded to the new "Serb-Croat-Slovene State". Bukovina went to Rumania, and
Bosnia, Herzegovina and Dalmatia were given to Yugoslavia and Galicia went to Poland.
This all constituted a traumatic and confusing situation for ethnic German minorities in these new
states. Overnight, they became second class citizens in homelands they had inhabited for generations,
and in some cases centuries. An example is that of the Donau-Schwaben, or "Danube Swabians", a
name given to early German immigrants to regions of Hungary beginning in 1683 when they were
lured there to act as a buffer between Europe and the Ottomans. At a huge price (more than half of
the original settlers died of diseases such as Malaria because of the swampy land they were given),
they eventually thrived. The Danube Germans excelled and helped develop the cities of Hungary: the
stately classical buildings in Budapest such as the former Royal Palace and Parliament Buildings, the
National Theater, the Bourse and the original bridges across the Danube were all mainly the creation
of Danube Swabian architects and engineers. Furthermore, Hungarian achievements in medicine,
science and mathematics were enhanced due to these hard working, intelligent ethnic Germans.
They were already under attack by 1905 when, under Magyarization, the German language was
replaced by Hungarian throughout the realm and no one without a Hungarian name could get
employment in any government, railways, or other national positions or even take part in Olympic
Games. After Versailles, the partitioning of Hungary split the Danube Swabian settlements among
three mutually antagonistic states: 700,000 remained in Hungary, 350,000 became Romanian and
the remaining 550,000 became the doomed German national minority in Yugoslavia.
The dismemberment of the thousand-year-old Hungarian Kingdom resulted in Hungary losing 71.5%
of its territory and 63.6% of its population at peace treaty of Trianon in 1920. Under the treaty, three
and a half million Hungarians were forced, without a right of self-determination, to live with Serbs,
Croats, Slovenians and Romanians and in the new Czechoslovakia who, despite promising to
guarantee the rights of national minorities under the protection of the League of Nations in 1918,
never did during its first twenty years.
The Treaty of St.Germaine was the national disintegration of Austria-Hungary:
1. Galicia to the new Polish nation.
2. Bohemia, and Moravia are joined with Slovakia to become "Czecho-Slovakia".
3. Ruthenia goes to Ukraine.
4. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina incorporated into the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia.
5. South Tyrol, Alto-Adige and Trentino to Italy in accordance with the Treaty of London
6. German-Austria forbidden Anschluss (annexation) to Germany.
The Treaty of Trianon: Hungary lost 3/4 territory and 2/3 of its population to Rumania,
Czecho-Slovakia and Yugoslavia
In 1918, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania became independent states. Dorpat University was strictly
German, and most of the faculty of all large schools were ethnic Germans. Germans owned 42% of
Estonia's arable land, 90% of large estates in Estonia and 90% of businesses in the capital of Riga, a
port city designed and built by Baltic Germans. The wealthy Baltic Germans who had dominated the
entire coastline for over 700 years gave way to petty, nationalistic new Allied sponsored dictatorships
in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who immediately set about eroding German influence, banning
German-language schools, institutions, and newspapers. They also began confiscating German owned
land and businesses. German Memelland was ceded to the Principal Allied and Associated Powers
and the disposition of the territory was left to the discretion of the Allies which undertook occupation
and administration. In 1923, Lithuania seized the territory and the League of Nations approved.
|Alsace-Lorraine, the territories, although actually annexed by France in 1681, which were ceded to
Germany in accordance with the Preliminaries of Peace signed at Versailles on February 26, 1871,
and the Treaty of Frankfurt of May 10, 1871, were restored to French sovereignty without a
plebiscite as a precondition to armistice with effect from the date of the Armistice (November 11,
1918). (1,815,000 inhabitants (1905))
(Although Denmark had not participated in the War) Northern Schleswig including the German-
dominated towns of Tondern (Tønder), Apenrade (Aabenraa), Sonderburg (Sønderborg),
Hadersleben (Haderslev) and Lügum in Schleswig-Holstein, after the Schleswig Plebiscite, to
Denmark (163,600 inhabitants (1920))
The Prussian provinces Posen and West Prussia, which Prussia had annexed in Partitions of
Poland (1772-1795), were returned to the "reborn" Poland (4,224,000 inhabitants (1931), including
26,000 inhabitants from Upper Silesia)
West Prussia was given to Poland to provide free access to the sea, along with a sizeable German
minority, creating the Polish corridor
The Hlučínsko Hulczyn area of Upper Silesia to Czechoslovakia (49,000 inhabitants), and
the east part of Upper Silesia, to Poland (965,000 inhabitants), although during the Upper Silesia
plebiscite 60 % voted in favour of remaining inside Germany
The area of German cities Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium
The northern part of East Prussia as Memelland under control of France, later transferred to
Lithuania without plebiscite
The area of Soldau in East Prussia (railway station on the Warsaw-Danzig route) to Poland
From the eastern part of West Prussia and the southern part of East Prussia,
Warmia and Masuria to Poland
The province of Saarland to be under the control of the League of Nations for 15 years, after that
a plebiscite between France and Germany, to decide to which country it would belong.
The port of Danzig with the delta of Vistula river at the Baltic Sea was made the Freie Stadt
Danzig (Free City of Danzig) under the League of Nations. (408,000 inhabitants (1929))
That Germany acknowledge and respect strictly the independence of Austria
The colonies abroad