The Treaty of Saint Germain

The Central Powers faced a crushing defeat in World War I. Like many other treaties signed this treaty was made between Allied Powers and the German-Austria Republic. The treaty of Saint Germain was signed at Chateau Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris on September 10, 1919 and the treaty came into force on July 16, 1920.

A Brief Background

Even before the official end of the war in November, the Germans of Austria-Hungary convened a German-Austrian National Assembly on October 21st 1918. With the collapse of the Austria-Hungary, Karl Renner was elected as the State Chancellor on 30th October 1918. The end of World War I also put an end to the Austria- Hungary monarchy. Charles I, the Emperor of Austria relinquished his powers of an emperor and his participation in the administration on 11th November 1919. The very next day German- Austria democratic republic was declared which was a part of the German Republic. The Treaty of Saint Germain was signed between this newly formed democratic republic and the Allied powers.

Features Of The Treaty

The main feature of this treaty was the division of land. The most important declaration was that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved.

  • The Austrian side had to accept the responsibility of causing World War I along with other countries with the Central Powers.
  • The independence of Hungary was recognised.
  • The treaty also recognized the independence of Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Kingdom of Serbs, Slovenes and Croats.
  • The Bohemian and Moravia crownlands were the core of the newly created state of Czechoslovakia.
  • Italy got Trentino, Trieste, South Tyrol and Istria along with some Dalmatian Islands from Austria.
  • The self-chosen name German- Austria was changed to Austria.
  • The sole land received by Austria was from Hungary. Burgenland from Hungary was given to the Austrians.
  • Along with the land penalties, came a clause that Austria should not have any economical or political tie-up with Germany without the permission of the League of Nations.
  • Like others in the Central Powers, Austria had to pay war damages. However they had to start payment from May 1921 and it had to go on for thirty years.
  • Supply of farm animals was one of the payments in the treaty and that started with immediate effect.
  • There were many changes in the provisions regarding water ways and railways as the state had been divided into many smaller states based on the ethnicity.
  • There was a great reduction in the number of volunteers in the Austrian army due to the division of empire.

Austria existed as a country for over 700 years but it was not as strong as Hungary and was always allied to it. Now with the new clauses Austria’s economy was ransacked. Vienna, which was the most notable place in Austria, was the most affected. Austria was hit from all sides by the Treaty of Saint Germain. Austria lost its territories, its people were divided, the number in army reduced drastically, transport avenues changed and the worst, the treaty took a big toll on the economy of the country.

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