The Peace Conference, composed of delegates from the allied and associated powers, convened in Paris, Jan. 18, 1919. The treaty was practically completed by April 25, on which date the German envoys were summoned to Versailles. The treaty was handed to them on May 7. Counterproposals by the Germans resulted in some modifications, and the treaty in its amended form was delivered on June 16, the Germans being allowed a week to accept or reject it. They agreed on June 23 to sign the treaty.
Peace Treaty Signed
The Treaty of Peace between Germany and the allied and associated powers was signed at Versailles, France, June 28, 1919. What Germany is compelled to concede under its terms may be briefly summarized as follows:
Relinquishment of Alsace-Lorraine to France, Posen and West Prussia to Poland, of part of Schleswig to Denmark, and of 382 square miles of Rhenish Prussia to Belgium
The Saar coal basin to be internationalized for fifteen years, pending a plebiscite to determine permanent control, the coal mines going to France.
Luxemburg is freed from the German customs union.
Germany recognizes the independence of German Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
Germany loses all colonies and her valuable concessions in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and recognizes the British protectorate of Egypt.
The German Army is to be cut to a temporary total strength of 200,000 men, but ultimately must be 100,000.
The German Navy is limited to six battleships under 10,000 tons each, six light cruisers, and twelve torpedo boats, surrendering or destroying all other war vessels. She is to have no more submarines. The navy personnel is limited to 25,000.
Military and naval air forces are abolished.
Munitions factories are to be operated only by permission of the Allies, and import or export of war materials is forbidden.
Heligoland defenses will be dismantled. Fortifications aiming at control of the Baltic are forbidden.
The Rhine and the Moselle are put under the control of an international commission, on which Germany will be represented. The French, Belgian, and other nations may run canals from the Rhine, but Germany is forbidden to do so. German forts within thirty-three miles of the river will be dismantled.
Other great rivers hitherto German will be under international control, the Czechoslovaks and Poles having free access to the Elbe, Oder, and other streams, and the Poles to the Niemen.
The Danube will be controlled by an international commission. The Kiel Canal will be open to all nations, and the Czechs get harbor rights at the mouth of the Elbe.
German railroads must be of standard gauge, and rights are granted to other powers to use them.
Traffic discriminations against outsiders are forbidden.
Offenders against the rules of warfare and humanity are to be delivered up to the Allies. An international high court is provided for the trial of the Kaiser, whose surrender will be asked of Holland.
Germany's indemnity payment is to be fixed by an interallied commission. An initial payment of $5,000,000,000 must be made within two years. Bonds running thirty years will be issued for later payments. Occupation of the Rhine country will continue until the Allies are assured of Germany's good faith.
Germany must help build ships to replace those she sank, help rebuild devastated regions, surrender her fourteen submarine cables, and cede all German ships over 1,000 tons and many smaller ones.
She accepts the League of Nations principle, but is barred from membership for the present.
Her peace treaties with Russia and Rumania are abrogated, and she recognizes the independence of States formerly Russian.
Excerpted from The War of the Nations: Portfolio of Rotogravure Etchings, 528.