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The Rhineland After Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles changed the map of Europe, with territory along the Rhine River being taken away from Germany and awarded as follows:

Demilitarized Zone As a guarantee of Germany's execution of the peace treaty, all German territory west of the Rhine River, along with a strip of territory to the east of the river, was to be permanently demilitarized.

Alsace and Lorraine In order "to redress the wrong done by Germany in 1871 both to the rights of France and to the wishes of the population of Alsace and Lorraine," these two territories were restored to French sovereignty. Both territories were to be occupied by an Inter-Allied force for at least fifteen years.

Saar Basin Germany was allowed to retain political sovereignty over the Saar, but handed over the government of the district to a commission under the League of Nations for fifteen years. In view of the deliberate destruction of French coal mines by the Germans in 1918, the region's coal mines were ceded to France, and the district was placed within the French customs boundary. After fifteen years the people of the Saar Basin were allowed to vote as to their future political status -- reunion with Germany, union with France, or continuance under the League of Nations. In 1935 the Saar voted to return to Germany.

Luxembourg Germany renounced her rights over the railways of Luxembourg, and the Grand Duchy ceased to be part of the German Customs Union.

Belgium Slight changes in the German-Belgian frontier line were made in favor of Belgium, in the vicinity of Moresner, Malmédy, and Eupen. The last two were subject to a sort of plebiscite, which resulted in favor of annexation to Belgium.

the Rhineland After Versailles


F. Lee Benns Europe Since 1914 In Its World Setting New York: F.S. Crofts & Co., 1946

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The Robinson Library >> World War I, 1914-1918

This page was last updated on 08/03/2018.