|Signed||1 December 1925|
|Location||London, England, UK|
|Paris Peace Conference|
The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland, on 5–16 October 1925 and formally signed in London on 1 December, in which the First World War Western European Allied powers and the new states of Central and Eastern Europe sought to secure the post-war territorial settlement, and return normalizing relations with defeated Germany (the Weimar Republic). It also stated that Germany would never go to war with the other countries. Locarno divided borders in Europe into two categories: western, which were guaranteed by Locarno treaties, and eastern borders of Germany with Poland, which were open for revision.
Locarno is a southern Swiss town and municipality in the district Locarno, located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore at its northeastern tip in the canton of Ticino at the southern foot of the Swiss Alps. It has a population of about 16,000 (proper), and about 56,000 for the agglomeration of the same name including Ascona besides other municipalities.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann made his highest priority the restoration of German prestige and privileges as a leading European nation. French withdrawal from the Occupation of the Ruhr was scheduled for January 1925, but Stresemann sensed that France was very nervous about its security and might cancel the withdrawal. Stresemann realized that France deeply desired a British guarantee of its postwar borders, but that London was reluctant. Stresemann came up with a plan whereby all sides would get what they wanted through a series of guarantees set out in a series of treaties. British Foreign Minister Austen Chamberlain enthusiastically agreed. France realized that its occupation of the Ruhr had caused more financial and diplomatic damage than it was worth. The conference of foreign ministers they convened in the Swiss resort of Locarno on October 1925 agreed on a plan. The first treaty was the most critical one: a mutual guarantee of the frontiers of Belgium, France, and Germany, which was guaranteed by Britain and Italy. The second and third treaties called for arbitration between Germany and Belgium, and Germany and France, regarding future disputes. The fourth and fifth were similar arbitration treaties between Germany and Poland, and Germany and Czechoslovakia. Poland especially, and Czechoslovakia as well, felt threatened by the Locarno agreements and these treaties were an attempt to reassure them. Thanks to the Dawes Plan, Germany was now making regular reparations payments. The success of the Locarno agreements led to the admission of Germany to the League of Nations in September 1926, with a seat on its council as a permanent member.
Gustav Ernst Stresemann was a German statesman who served as Chancellor in 1923 and Foreign Minister 1923–1929, during the Weimar Republic. He was co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926.
The Occupation of the Ruhr was a period of military occupation of the German Ruhr valley by France and Belgium between 11 January 1923 and 25 August 1925. The occupation was a response to the German Weimar Republic widely and regularly defaulting on reparation payments in the early 1920s. The total reparation sum of £6.6 billion had been dictated by the victorious powers in the Treaty of Versailles, and the reparation payments were due to last several decades.
Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, KG was a British statesman, son of Joseph Chamberlain and older half-brother of Neville Chamberlain. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer (twice) and was briefly Conservative Party leader before serving as Foreign Secretary.
For Britain, the main goals were promoting Franco-German reconciliation, and the expectation that reconciliation would lead to France abandoning its Cordon sanitaire , as the French alliance system in Eastern Europe was known between the wars.If France were to abandon its allies in Eastern Europe, the Poles and Czechoslovaks, having no Great Power to protect them from Germany, would be forced to adjust to German demands; in the British viewpoint, they would be expected to peacefully hand over the territories claimed by Germany such as the Sudetenland, the Polish Corridor, and the Free City of Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland). In this way, promoting territorial revisionism in Eastern Europe in Germany’s favor was one of the principal British objects of Locarno.
Cordon sanitaire is a French phrase that, literally translated, means "sanitary cordon". It originally denoted a barrier implemented to stop the spread of infectious diseases. It may be used interchangeably with the term "quarantine", and although the terms are related, cordon sanitaire refers to the restriction of movement of people into or out of a defined geographic area, such as a community. The term is also often used metaphorically, in English, to refer to attempts to prevent the spread of an ideology deemed unwanted or dangerous, such as the containment policy adopted by George F. Kennan against the Soviet Union.
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct". One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and some Ottoman culture influences. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. The majority of historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.
The Sudetenland is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. These German speakers had predominated in the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia from the time of the Austrian Empire.
The principal treaty concluded at Locarno was the Rhineland Pact between Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy. Germany formally recognised its new western borders acted by the Treaty of Versailles. Furthermore, the first three signatories undertook not to attack each other, with the latter two acting as guarantors. In the event of aggression by any of the first three states against another, all other parties were to assist the country under attack.
Germany also agreed to sign arbitration conventions with France and Belgium and arbitration treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, undertaking to refer future disputes to an arbitration tribunal or to the Permanent Court of International Justice.
The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, existed from 1922 to 1946. It was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1920, the Court was initially well-received from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of operation. With the heightened international tension of the 1930s, the Court became less used. By a resolution from the League of Nations on 18 April 1946, the Court and the League both ceased to exist and were replaced by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations.
France signed further treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, pledging mutual assistance in the event of conflict with Germany. These essentially reaffirmed existing treaties of alliance concluded by France with Poland on 19 February 1921 and with Czechoslovakia on 25 January 1924. These treaties also showed that relations between France and Germany had not improved to a large extent.
The Locarno Treaties marked a dramatic improvement in the political climate of western Europe in 1924–1930. They promoted expectations for continued peaceful settlements, often called the "spirit of Locarno". This spirit was made concrete when Germany joined the League in 1926, and the withdrawal of Allied troops occupying Germany's Rhineland.The Nobel Peace Prize was given to the lead negotiators of the treaty, going to Sir Austen Chamberlain in 1925 and jointly to Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann in 1926.
The Rhineland is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly its middle section.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".
Aristide Briand was a French statesman who served eleven terms as Prime Minister of France during the French Third Republic. He is mainly remembered for his focus on international issues and reconciliation politics during the interwar period (1918–1939).
Historian Sally Marks says:
Henceforth the spirit of Locarno would reign, substituting conciliation for enforcement as the basis for peace. Yet for some peace remained a desperate hope rather than an actuality. A few men knew that the spirit of Locarno was a fragile foundation on which to build a lasting peace.
Hitler repudiated Locarno by sending troops into the demilitarized Rhineland on 7 March 1936.
In Poland, the public humiliation received by Polish diplomats was one of the contributing factors to the fall of the Grabski cabinet. Locarno contributed to the worsening of the atmosphere between Poland and France, weakening the French-Polish alliance. Józef Beck ridiculed the treaties saying, "Germany was officially asked to attack the east, in return for peace in the west."Józef Piłsudski would say that "every honest Pole spits when he hears this word [Locarno]". Proposals in 1934 for an "eastern Locarno" pact securing Germany's eastern frontiers foundered on German opposition and on Poland's insistence that its eastern borders should be covered by a western guarantee of her borders. The Locarno treaty was heavily undermined by the Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance on 2 May 1935, which the German government claimed was a violation of its "spirit".
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The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
The history of interwar Poland comprises the period from the re-recreation of the independent Polish state in 1918, until the joint Invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of World War II. The two decades of Poland's sovereignty between the world wars are known as the Interbellum.
The Dawes Plan was a plan in 1924 to resolve the World War I reparations that Germany had to pay, that had strained diplomacy following World War I and the Treaty of Versailles.
The relations between France and Germany, since 1871, according to Ulrich Krotz, has three grand periods: 'hereditary enmity', 'reconciliation' (1945–63) and since 1963 the 'special relationship' embodied in a cooperation called Franco-German Friendship.
Among the causes of World War II were, to a greater extent, the political takeover in 1933 of Germany by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party and its aggressive foreign policy, and to a lesser extent, Italian Fascism in the 1920s, and Japanese militarism preceding an invasion of China in the 1930s. The immediate cause was Germany invading Poland on September 1, 1939, and Britain and France declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
The Franco-Polish alliance was the military alliance between Poland and France that was active between 1921 and 1940. During the interwar period the alliance with Poland was one of the cornerstones of French foreign policy. Near the end of that period, along with the Franco-British Alliance, it was the basis for the creation of the Allies of World War II.
The German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact was an international treaty between Nazi Germany and the Second Polish Republic, signed on January 26, 1934. Both countries pledged to resolve their problems by bilateral negotiations and to forgo armed conflict for a period of ten years. It effectively normalized relations between Poland and Germany, which were previously strained by border disputes arising from the territorial settlement in the Treaty of Versailles. Germany effectively recognized Poland's borders and moved to end an economically damaging customs war between the two countries that had taken place over the previous decade. Before 1933 Poland had worried that some sort of alliance would take place between Germany and the Soviet Union, to the detriment of Poland. Therefore, Poland had a military alliance with France. The Nazis and the Communists were bitter enemies of each other, so when Hitler came to power in 1933 the likelihood of hostile alliance seemed remote.
The Polish–Romanian Alliance was a series of treaties signed in the interwar period by the Second Polish Republic and the Kingdom of Romania. The first of them was signed in 1921 and, together, the treaties formed a basis for good foreign relations between the two countries that lasted until World War II began in 1939.
The remilitarization of the Rhineland by the German Army began on 7 March 1936 when German military forces entered the Rhineland. This was significant because it violated the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties, marking the first time since the end of World War I that German troops had been in this region. The remilitarization changed the balance of power in Europe from France and its allies towards Germany, making it possible for Germany to pursue a policy of aggression in Western Europe that the demilitarized status of the Rhineland had blocked until then.
The Conference of Ambassadors of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers was an inter-allied organization of the Entente in the period following the end of World War I. Formed in Paris in January 1920 it became a successor of the Supreme War Council and was later on de facto incorporated into the League of Nations as one of its governing bodies. It became less active after the Locarno Treaties of 1925 and formally ceased to exist in 1931 or 1935.
René Massigli was a French diplomat who played a leading role as a senior official at the Quai d'Orsay, and was regarded as one of the leading French experts on Germany, which he greatly distrusted.
British–Polish relations are the foreign relations between the United Kingdom and Poland.
Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, is a book by Patrick J. Buchanan, published in May 2008. Buchanan argues that both world wars were unnecessary and that the British Empire's decision to fight in them was disastrous for the world. One of Buchanan's express purposes is to undermine what he describes as a "Churchill cult" in America's élite and so he focuses particularly on how Winston Churchill helped Britain get into wars with Germany in 1914 and again in 1939.
The German–Polish customs war was a political and economic conflict between the Second Polish Republic and the Weimar Republic, which began in June 1925 and ended officially in March 1934. The conflict began when Poland's status expired as one of the Entente's most favoured nations in trade with Germany. Berlin then decided to raise customs duty, which primarily affected the Polish coal industry, Poland's main export to Germany. In return, Warsaw also raised duty on German goods. Germany's purpose in the war was to cause a breakdown of Poland's economy and gain political concessions. They included revanchist claims to Polish territories.
The Eastern Pact was a proposed mutual-aid treaty, intended to bring the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania together in opposition to Nazi Germany.
The George Louis Beer Prize is a book prize awarded by the American Historical Association for the best book in European international history from 1895 to the present written by a United States citizen or permanent resident. The prize was created in 1923 to honor the memory of George Beer, a prominent historian, member of the U.S. delegation at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and senior League of Nations official. Described by Jeffrey Herf, the 1998 laureate, as "the Academy Award" of book prizes for modern European historians. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious historical prizes offered in the United States, and it is usually awarded to senior scholars in the profession. This in contrary to the American Historical Association's other distinguished European history award, the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, which is restricted to young authors publishing their first substantial work. Only four historians, Edward W. Bennett, Carole Fink, Piotr S. Wandycz and Gerhard Weinberg, have won the Beer Prize more than once in its ninety-year history.
The First Luther cabinet was the 12th democratically elected Reichsregierung of the German Reich, during the period in which it is now usually referred to as the Weimar Republic. The cabinet was named after Reichskanzler (chancellor) Hans Luther and was in office for only a year. On 15 January 1925 it replaced the Second Marx cabinet which had resigned on 15 December 1924. Luther resigned with his cabinet on 5 December 1925 following the signature of the Locarno treaties but remained in office as caretaker. He formed another government on 20 January 1926.
International relations (1919–1939) covers the main interactions shaping world history in this era, with emphasis on diplomacy and economic relations. The coverage here follows Diplomatic history of World War I and precedes Diplomatic history of World War II. The important stages of interwar diplomacy and international relations included resolutions of wartime issues, such as reparations owed by Germany and boundaries; American involvement in European finances and disarmament projects; the expectations and failures of the League of Nations; the relationships of the new countries to the old; the distrustful relations of the Soviet Union to the capitalist world; peace and disarmament efforts; responses to the Great Depression starting in 1929; the collapse of world trade; the collapse of democratic regimes one by one; the growth of economic autarky; Japanese aggressiveness toward China; Fascist diplomacy, including the aggressive moves by Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany; the Spanish Civil War; the appeasement of Germany's expansionist moves toward the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and the last, desperate stages of rearmament as another world war increasingly loomed.