War and Conflict

World War I

How were Europe’s lines redrawn as a result of World War I?

The treaties that came out of the Paris Peace Conference (1919–20) redrew Europe’s boundaries, carving new nations out of the defeated powers. The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to give up territory to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, and Poland. Germany also forfeited all of its overseas colonies and turned over coal fields to France for the next 15 years. The treaties of St. Germain and Trianon toppled the former empire of Austria-Hungary (whose archduke had been assassinated in 1914, triggering the war) so that the separate nations of Austria and Hungary were formed, each occupying less than a third of their former area. Their former territory was divided among Italy, Romania, and the countries newly recognized by the treaties: Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the kingdom that later became Yugoslavia. The Treaty of Sevres took Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), Palestine, and Syria away from the Ottoman Empire, which three years later became the Republic of Turkey. Finally, Bulgaria lost territory to Greece and Romania. However, these new borders would serve to heighten tensions between some countries, as the territorial claims of the newly redrawn nations overlapped with each other.


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