Peace for Southeastern Europe:
St. Germain, Trianon, and Neuilly
When the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the end of June, no settlement had been made with Austria-Hungary. The Hapsburg monarchy had undergone a fragmentation that had been blessed by Wilson's wartime propaganda, and during the first half of 1919 some of the fragments showed propensities that threatened to make warfare among them chronic. Each was jealous of its national identity and, despite admonitions from the Peace Conference, quick to use such military force as it could muster to support its claims to territory. Moreover, barriers appeared against the flow of trade that had been maintained within the imperial establishment.
Spokesmen of the several emancipated nationalities argued that it would be unjust to impose on them the same penalties that were to be put upon Austria and Hungary, which as the ruling states in the Dual Monarchy might be expected to bear full shares of responsibility for the consequences of the war. At the same time Austrian officials pleaded that German Austria was only one of several fragments of the Hapsburg estate and should be treated just as the others. Austrians were not invited to negotiate at Paris, however, until the case against them had been well prepared by delegates of the successor states that had been admitted to the peacemaking councils.
The United States in effect affirmed the dissolution of the old empire by recognizing the governments of Poland, Czechosolvakia, and Yugoslavia. The American delegates wished to give to each of these successor states a population and an economy that would minimize its inclination to go to war, and a frontier that would make it difficult for its neighbors to make war upon it. Wilson could be expected to encourage the forming of a "regional understanding" under the sanction of the League of Nations. In the critical month of April, however, he did not pursue the recommendation of Smuts for military control of the new states and a convening of their delegates in a conference that might bring economic interchanges of mutual benefit. Actually, the successor states themselves, whose peoples exulted in their emancipation from imperial restraints, had shown little interest in reaching a general understanding. The Americans were disappointed. Hoover warned that unless a customs union was maintained among Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, the great powers might find that instead of collecting something by way of reparation they would have to assume the expenses of relief for starving people. 1.
On February 22, House and Lansing had suggested that the Peace Conference "proceed without delay to the consideration of preliminary peace terms with Aus‐____________________