First World War (1914-1918) = The Great War = The War to End all Wars = Total War Long Term Causes: [animal]

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The Geo-Political Impacts of the Treaties

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Western Europe = only a few territorial changes were made

  • Central and Eastern Europe where changed to a great extent. Before the First World War these regions where made up of large multinational empires. (Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Turks) 

  • Some of the states that where created: Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Yugoslavia 

  • Self-determination was taken into account in most cases however it was sometimes difficult as different nationalities, racial groups and linguistic groups were scattered across many different areas

    • Self-determination enabled common ethnic back rounds and languages to decide the nature of the state however in some cases this was ignored such as South Tyrol, Sudetenland and the Polish Corridor. A major problem at the time was to create states which were capable of working successfully in terms of communication, economics and security.  

    • In some cases the ethnic groups were so intermixed that it was impossible to separate them. There was no point in creating an ethnically homogenous state which then could not survive due to lack of trade routes, natural resources, oceans and rivers. Therefore choices had to be made by the allies about whether self-determination was more important or if it was the economic stability of each state. 

    • Each state needed to survive and needed access to natural resources, trade routes, oceans and rivers. This could be complicated as borders sometimes had to be extended which would unite another ethnic group and in doing so it would go against self-determination 

  • An independent Polish state was created

  • The Polish Corridor was created to give Poland access to the Baltic Sea. 

  • Danzig became a free city to maximize trade opportunities

  • Some states contained minorities which could be vulnerable and so the allies asked the new nations to protect the rights of the minorities that resided in their borders

  • Also minorities could appeal to the League of Nations which provided a Minorities Commission

  • Many problems started to arise straight away with the division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Before the war, it had been one big economic unit. After the war this no longer existed. Instead there were lots of small states all struggling to survive. There were now trade barriers which beforehand had not existed and this was a serious issue for these states. It also went against the Fourteen Points which stated the removal of trade barriers. 

  • With the creation of many small states Europe became less stable as it created vulnerable countries that lacked political and economic stability

  • Internal tension started to build up within the states and between these states. So many factors were taken into account in the design of these states which could make things complicated. The states were created in a way that where possible they would include same ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups. However this was not the case for many states. 

  • Poland and Czechoslovakia fought over the Teschen area as it had important rail connections and coal resources

  • The tension between these states led to a lack of economic co-operation which made these states weak and vulnerable to Germany and Russia in the future

  • Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia realized their vulnerability and so decided to form the Little Entente in 1921

    • Originally the Little Entente was created to protect these countries from Hungary which was angry over its territorial losses and wanted to recover some of it. The Little Entente formed economic and military co-operation between these countries. 

    • The Little Entente could have become a strong area if it had expanded and in the process made all the small states less vulnerable to Russia and Germany. However this never happened due to the tension between these small states. Poland which would have been a good addition to the Little Entente refused to join due to its disagreements with Czechoslovakia over the Teschen area. 


  • The Germans where very unhappy about the fact that they were denied self-determination and wanted the treaty revoked

  • There were many German  minorities outside of Germany that where now part of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Austria

  • Germany lost 12% of its population and 13% of its territory

  • Alsace-Lorraine which was taken back by France was one of the biggest losses

  • Germany was split into two with the creation of the Polish Corridor which gave Poland access to the Baltic sea

  • However, Germany was actually stronger now than it was before the war. The creation of many small states eliminated one big empire and since these small states where weak, once Germany regained its strength it could easily take over these 


  • Bolshevik regime 

  • Russia was very weak after the war as it had suffered civil war and political revolution

  • It had lost in the war against Poland and so had also lost significant territory to Poland 

  • Therefore it did not represent an immediate threat to the small newly founded nations but like Germany could do so in the future

The Treaty of Rapallo

  • Treaty between the USSR and Germany in 1922

  • Germany and the USSR who both where denied to join the League of Nations got together

  • They decided to financially co-operate and trade with each other

  • Form a union against Poland as they both had lost territory to it

  • Secret military agreements, Germany could test its military equipment on the Russian territory and in doing so it avoided the restrictions placed upon it in the Treaty of Versailles
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