Where is the Treaty of Paris located

The border drafters of 1919

Dozens, if not hundreds, of cartographers provided maps for the Paris meetings. Because the task was difficult: after the war with more than 17 million dead, everyone wanted compensation for their losses. Officially, a stable Europe was important to the diplomats, but just as important were national interests that they wanted to enforce. The cartographers had to take all of this into account. In the end, parts of the Arab world and Asia were virtually redesigned - but above all Europe was hit.

The Habsburg Empire Austria-Hungary, the German Empire and the Russian Empire collapsed. As a result, eleven new states emerged, in Central Europe for example Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and in the east Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gained independence. And in the south a new Yugoslav multi-ethnic state was born. The reorganization was sealed by the five treaties signed between June 1919 and August 1920 in the Paris suburbs of Versailles, Saint-Germain, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Trianon and Sevres.

Those who wanted more had to argue

The victorious powers USA, Great Britain, Italy and France together with their nearly two dozen allies laid the foundation stone for the negotiations. From January 1919 they formulated the peace conditions in an “inter-allied pre-conference”, which from May onwards were communicated to the “losers” and “guilty parties” of the First World War. However, the old and future states prepared in advance for Paris. Because if you wanted to get bigger or prevent yourself from being torn apart, you had to be able to argue that well and conclusively.

"Anyone who sent or brought cards to the negotiations in Paris certainly had advantages," said Petra Svatek, cartography historian, in an interview with ORF.at. The scientist is currently writing her book on cartography in Austria from 1918 to 1945. "The focus is on the connection between politics and cartography," said Svatek, who has also dealt with the peace negotiations. In Austria, arrangements for Paris were made in mid-November 1918, shortly after Emperor Charles I renounced the affairs of state.

Where are German speakers located?

The then State Office for Foreign Affairs commissioned the Military Geography Institute, which was responsible for all land surveys at the time of the monarchy, with the production of new maps. "It had to be done quickly because you knew that the talks about the borders would start soon," explained Svatek. A whole series of maps was produced in a few months, and then in winter an ethnographic work was published that consisted of 92 individual sheets and was taken to Paris.

The general map, an ordinary topographical map on a scale of 1: 200,000, came from the monarchy. But that was not enough for the negotiations in Paris, where the sovereignty of the peoples was negotiated alongside natural borders. “They wanted to show that outside of 'German Austria' there are also German speakers who have a right to be heard,” says Svatek. Cartographers and statisticians therefore got down to work and used the 1910 census to visualize where the ethnic groups are in "German Austria" and in the area of ​​the monarchy.

The German-speaking islands, which were particularly located in the south and east of Europe, were usually colored red. “Red stood out particularly. We knew: red means German-speaking, ”explained Svatek. With the color-visualized maps, politicians hoped that the victorious powers would meet their territorial claims. In addition to the “German disunity”, attention was also drawn to the new multiethnic state in the south, where there were also German speakers. “At that time, some of the maps and data were used for propaganda,” explained Svatek.

Germany renounced cartographers

But in the end, the victorious powers decided where the cartographers should start. "The demarcation was pretty complicated," said the historian. The Allies brought tens of cards with them to the Paris negotiations. The US delegation alone comprised 17 cartographers. Interestingly, however, the German delegation had not come with geographers, nor had they sent maps to Paris as evidence and demonstration.

Historian Svatek on cartography during the Paris peace negotiations

Maps were important for the peace negotiations in Paris, says historian Petra Svatek. Anyone who claimed territories for themselves after the First World War had to be able to justify that well.

"The representatives from Germany did not consider the prepared cards to be expedient," said Svatek. Two renowned geographers from Berlin, Albrecht Penck and Ernst Tiessen, had created maps of East Germany and Poland on their own. But they were not used by the German delegation either in preparation or during the peace negotiations. “The situation was assessed very wrongly. The Germans thought that not so much could change at their borders, ”says the cartography expert. Germany lost a tenth to a seventh of its territory, depending on the bill.

Five contracts with the vanquished

For Hungary, which had to cede almost two thirds of the kingdom to its neighboring and successor states - including Burgenland - the geographers Zsigmond Batky and Karoly Kogutowicz made an ethnographic map. With Jovan Cvijic, the Serbian delegation sent a well-known researcher to Paris who had already produced solutions for a Yugoslav state during the First World War. The emerging state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes claimed southern Carinthia for itself. In the referendum in 1920, the majority decided to remain with Austria.

The card hype after the negotiations

Most of the maps produced for the negotiations were secret. The maps of the Austrian delegation were published after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain in September 1919. "The population should get an idea of ​​which areas are being lost," said Svatek. And after Austria signed the peace conditions in Saint-Germain in September 1919, more ethnographic works were produced for sale.

"During the negotiations, the initiative to draw maps came from politicians, after which it was scientists who used the maps as a means of propaganda," said the expert. The great hype about cartography only broke out in the 1920s and lasted until the Nazi era. "In 1925, for example, a magazine called Grenzland was founded in Austria," says Svatek. Maps were shown that made no secret of the fact that the forbidden reunification with Germany and the lost territories was sought.

A year earlier, the Graz geographer Georg Alois Lukas published a book to which the card “Heim ins Reich! Peace treaties are only the work of man! ”Was enclosed. Austria and Germany were colored red, the white color showed the lost areas. "The cards were tolerated as propaganda works by the politicians," said Svatek. Because they rated the result of the negotiations as a defeat. The treaties could not seal the hoped-for stable Europe. Instead, remeasuring the world sowed new violence, and the 1919 borders were erased from 1939 onwards.

Jürgen Klatzer (text), Peter Pfeiffer (photo, video)