What Really Happened at Paris: The Story of the Peace Conference, 1918-1919

By Edward Mandell House; Charles Seymour | Go to book overview

III
THE NEW BOUNDARIES OF GERMANY

BY CHARLES HOMER HASKINS

The new frontiers of Germany constituted one of the fundamental and one of the most troublesome problems of the peace conference of Paris. About them waged the conflict of ideas between a peace of justice and a peace of violence, and in them are illustrated the chief difficulties which arose in giving effect to the peace of justice which the conference sought to establish. They meant the release of submerged nationalities like the Danes of Schleswig, and the undoing of ancient wrongs like the partition of Poland, or recent acts of force like the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871. They involved the question of the best kind of national boundaries and the meaning and limits of self-determination. Territorial in their nature, they were also tied up with matters of reparation, customs zones, national defense, and guarantees for the future. Though the provisions fixing new frontiers occupy less than one-fourth of the Treaty of Versailles, such matters underlie the whole settlement, and their history would cover a large part of the history of the conference.

Fortunately for our present purpose, all this can be shortened and simplified. Let us take a brief view of the general problem and then go on to a survey of Germany's new boundaries in the west. The eastern or Polish frontier is a topic by itself, and will be discussed in another chapter.1

____________________
1
See Chapter IV.

-37-

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