Elliot Fernandez

The new territorial map of interwar Europe

The new world configuration after World War I was decided by the Allied Powers. Once the war was over, there were several events of great relevance to interwar Europe.
Elliot Fernandez
Elliot Fernandez
He has a degree in History from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2009) and a Master's in World History from Pompeu Fabra University (2011).
Post on 2019-06-20 | Updated on 2022-09-14

The new map of the interwar Europe configuration after the First World War was decided by the Allied Powers during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Everything that was decided there marked post-war Europe. However, despite the intentions of the defenders of the treaty, the end of the war did not mark the beginning of a period of peace.

The war triggered the outbreak of several events of great relevance to interwar Europe: the Russian Revolution of November 1917, the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany, the Hungarian Revolution of March 1919, the Turkish War of Independence (1919-23), and the advent of fascism to power in Italy in 1922.

These events only confirmed the failure of the intention to establish a period of peace and stability after the “Great War”, although the creation of the League of Nations was intended to prevent the outbreak of new conflicts.

Europe's new territorial map

This map shows the changes that occurred at the borders of Europe after the First World War
This map shows the changes that took place at the borders of Europe after the First World War. It shows the disappearance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the territorial losses of Germany and Russia, and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

Germany's territorial losses

The Second German Empire (in November 1918 it turned into the Weimar Republic) was defeated in the First World War, and was forced to surrender 13% of its territory, much of which belonged to Western Prussia. This was equivalent to losing 10% of its total population. And it lost 15% of its productive capacity, equivalent to the loss of 48% of iron production and 24% of lead.

In addition, the Treaty of Versailles imposed the loss of 90% of its merchant fleet, 100% of the submarine wiring and all its colonies.

Map of the territories lost by Germany after the First World War
Map of the territories lost by Germany after the First World War. Source: Wikipedia.org

The territories lost by Germany were:

To all this must be added the territorial losses in the western part of Prussia, where a safety belt had to be created with Russia. So Germany lost:

Germany saw its territorial unity shattered. To go to East Prussia, it was necessary to pass through Poland. Considering that Germany was responsible for the war, it was imposed a drastic reduction of its army, to only 100,000 individuals. It would be an army of internal intervention. He was forbidden to organize a general staff and was ordered to dissolve military schools.

Germany could not have a single fighter plane. The navy was limited to defending the coasts.

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Austria-Hungary disappears from the map. Its territory was distributed among several nations.
Austria-Hungary disappears from the map. Its territory was divided among several nations.

Austria-Hungary disappeared from the map. The Peace of Versailles imposed the dissolution of the Empire and the creation of a small Austria, limited only to the German-speaking territories of 80,000 km², with 6 million inhabitants and Vienna as its capital. The first Austrian government assured that this state was not viable and proposed union with Germany, an option forbidden by France.

Hungary remained for the Magyar population, but lost Transylvania (Hungarian population) in favour of Romania. There were 90,000 km² of territory and 8 million inhabitants.

The territories that formerly depended on Austria and Hungary were constituted as new states and other territories were distributed among the existing states:

Italian territorial claims

Italy won territories at the cost of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Italy gained territories at the cost of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Treaty of London of 1915 was a secret pact by which Italy went to war with the Allied Powers. Initially, Italy was allied with the central powers: Austria and Germany. According to this treaty, Italy had to declare war on Austria.

According to this secret pact, Italy would receive the following territorial annexations once the war was over:

At the moment of truth, after the war, the Treaty of Versailles denied most of the territories claimed by Italy. Only the territories of South Tyrol and Friuli-Venezia Giulia were assigned to it. This was a mutilated victory and the feeling that Italy went from victorious to defeated. The Italians rejected the Peace of Versailles.

In September 1919 Gabriele D'Annunzio (Italian poet and nationalist) occupied Fiume and gave an ultimatum to the Italian government to annex this territory. The Italian government did not support D'Annunzio, and he had to withdraw, arriving at the 1920 Rapallo Treaty where Fiume was declared free territory in the hands of the League of Nations. In exchange, Italy refused to annex Albania. Italy was also not rewarded on the colonial question.