St. Germain, Treaty of
- Named after the Parisian suburban palace where it was signed on 10 September 1919, the treaty set the territorial and military conditions for the First Austrian Republic that emerged from the wreckage of the Habsburg Empire at the end of World War I. Like the companion settlements of Versailles and Trianon, which dealt with Germany and Hungary, respectively, the provisions of St. Germain were part of the general European order established by the victorious Allies during that year. Austria acknowledged the independence of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and a Hungary stripped of almost all of its historic principalities and crown lands such as Transylvania and Croatia. To the south, the Trentino, the South Tyrol, and Trieste were ceded to Italy. To the southeast, a part of Styria with its chief city of Maribor (Germ.: Marburg) went to the new Slavic kingdom that was to become Yugoslavia. Eastern Galicia was turned over to Poland, though the final disposition of that question did not come until 1923. The new Austrian army was limited to 30,000. Austria was forbidden to relinquish its independence by joining Germany or any other central European state. Like Germany, Austria had to pay reparations over 30 years for damage allegedly done during the conflict.The treaty was not wholly unfavorable to Austrian interests. The plebiscitary procedure set up by the Paris Peace Conference to adjudicate territorial disputes helped Austria to beat back Yugoslav efforts to incorporate parts of Carinthia into its new kingdom in 1920. The accord also paved the way for the Austrian acquisition of the largely German-speaking region of western Hungary, the Burgenland, in 1921. This area was largely agricultural and crucial in keeping the city of Vienna fed. Austria was enjoined to protect the rights of the minorities living within its new borders, the Slovenians of Carinthia being the most notable; the new states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and a much-expanded Romania were obligated to do the same for the German-speaking peoples within their borders.Among the 381 articles of the treaty were many economic provisions, some of which bound not only Austria but also new states such as Czechoslovakia and Poland to continue the exchange of goods and services with one another. Nevertheless, the arrangement as a whole was regarded in Austria as punitive, since at the outset of the negotiations the Austrian delegation had asked that the country be treated as a successor state like Czechoslovakia—a new political entity that was not responsible for the policies of the Habsburg Empire. Although arguable, the Austrian position lacked something in sincerity because the fledgling republic’s representatives took it upon themselves to speak for the German-speaking minorities of the former Habsburg lands throughout central eastern, southern, and southeastern Europe. The victorious Allies in Paris—Great Britain, France, the United States, and Italy—dismissed this contention. France, in particular, was especially concerned to maintain the independence of the new Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia as buffers against any future Germanspeaking bloc in central Europe.See also Foreign Policy.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.
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