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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Europe After the War

"EUROPE AFTER THE WAR Under the heading of World War, the diplomatic history of the war period itself is separately dealt with. European history was mixed up in this period with world history. remains here to speak of the new Europe resulting from the war.

The changes produced in the political system of Europe by the war and the peace settlement were in their magnitude and importance comparable only to those embodied in the similar settlements made by the treaties of Westphalia, the Peace of Utrecht and the Congress of Vienna. The territorial settlement (see accompanying map) affected directly or indirectly every nation on the continent except Spain and Portugal. It was made partly by the treaties signed at Versailles, St. Germain, Trianon, Neuilly and Sevres, but these left several matters undecided which have been dealt with by subsequent agreements. In the summer of 1921 the principal districts left undetermined were Upper Silesia, East Galicia, the eastern frontiers of Poland and the boundaries of Albania.

1 Western Europe

2 Central Europe

3 North-Eastern Europe

4 The Balkans

Western Europe

In western Europe the most important result has been the increase in the territory and influence of France, who has recovered the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which are now again incorporated in France. Her hope was permanently to detach the left bank of the Rhine from Germany, and, by joining this territory with Belgium and Luxemburg into a French sphere of influence, to secure herself against the danger of a fresh German invasion. This object was only partially attained. By a provisional arrangement, which normally would not last more than 15 years, the principal Allied and Associated Powers, among whom in all matters of western Europe France naturally took the leading place, had the right to occupy the Rhine with the bridgeheads and virtually control all German territory on the left bank of the river; inter-Allied control was exercised by a civil commission which sat at Coblenz under French chairmanship. Clauses of the Treaty of Versailles gave the control and navigation of the Rhine to an international commission, and France had for a period of 15 years acquired certain rights over the port of Kehl on the right bank of the river. The territory of the Saar valley had also for a period of 15 years been separated from Germany and placed under the control of a commission appointed by and responsible to the League of Nations, the full ownership of the mines being given to France. The chairman of the commission was French, and French influence was dominant; French troops continued to be maintained there, a contingency not contemplated by the Treaty. The final decision as to the fate of this district was reserved for a plebiscite in 1935; under this the inhabitants would have the right to opt either for restoration to Germany, incorporation with France, or a continuance of the existing system.

The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg retained its independence and status as a sovereign State, but the close connexion with Germany was severed, and in May 1921 a treaty for economic union with Belgium was signed, under which there would be a customs union between the two countries, and the railways would be jointly managed. In addition to this, Belgium, under the Treaty of Versailles, acquired a small increase of territory at the expense of Germany in Eupen and Malmedy, and was also freed from the limitations on her full sovereignty imposed by the settlement of 1839; she henceforward took her place among the other European States without the restrictions of permanent and guaranteed neutrality. This was the end of a system which in one form or another had played an important part in European politics for some 200 years. Belgium also entered into a military convention with France.

Central Europe

It was in the centre and the east of Europe that the greatest changes took place. The three great monarchies, which since the days of Catherine, Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa had dominated so large a portion of the continent, disappeared. In Petrograd, Berlin and Vienna, the old centres of authority, the court made way for Republican Government, and the great armies by which Europe was overawed ceased to exist. But the character of the change in each case was very different. Germany came out of the war a united State; all projects for disruption, for instance, in the Rhine Provinces or Bavaria, failed, and she still was in population the largest country, except Russia, on the continent of Europe, and in area second only to Russia and France.. She had ceded Alsace-Lorraine to France, to Denmark the northern portion of Schleswig, to Poland the greater part of the provinces of Posen and West Prussia; the city of Danzig, which commands the mouth of the Vistula, was created a sovereign State under the guarantee of the League of Nations, but by a treaty was incorporated within the Polish customs frontier, the control of railways, port and foreign relations being given to Poland. Memel and the surrounding district were ceded to the principal Allied and Associated Powers, ultimately, no doubt, to be transferred to Lithuania.

A large slice of Upper Silesia was transferred to Poland. In addition to this, for a maximum period of 15 years the left bank of the Rhine was subject to inter-Allied occupation and control, and Germany was forbidden to maintain any troops or fortifications within this area or within 50 m. of the right bank of the river, and for the same period was deprived of the Saar valley.

Even more important than the loss of territory were the economic and financial disabilities imposed on Germany by the peace settlement, and the state of internal instability caused by the Revolution. The general effect was that, for the present, Germany was unable to take any active part in European politics; she had become a passive element in the continental system and the utmost that she could do was to concentrate on the slow and arduous task of internal reconstruction, which at the best must take many years. The prime occupation of France was to secure the safeguards which would be necessary when the process of recovery had been completed.

By far the most striking of the changes was the disappearance from the map of Europe of the great Habsburg Monarchy, which since the days of Charles V. had played so important a part. This is an event to which there is no parallel in European history. It is the first time that one of the Great Powers of Europe has, not by slow and prolonged process, but by a sudden collapse, ceased to exist. As an immediate result there was added to the European system one new State (the new Austrian Republic), and three others were so changed that they might equally well be considered as new members of the family of nations.

1. The ancient kingdom of Bohemia, which since 1526 had been merged in the Habsburg possessions, reappeared under the title of Czechoslovakia. To quote the preamble to one of the treaties signed at St. Germain: " The union which formerly existed between the old Kingdom of Bohemia, the Margravate of Moravia and the Duchy of Silesia on the one hand, and the other territories of the former AustroHungarian Monarchy on the other, has definitely ceased to exist, and the peoples of Bohemia, of Moravia and of part of Silesia, as well as the peoples of Slovakia, have decided of their own free will to unite, and have in fact united, in a permanent union for the purpose of forming a single sovereign independent State under the title of the Czecho-Slovak Republic." What this means is that to the old territories of the Bohemian Crown was added a large portion of the ancient Hungarian kingdom, which was inhabited by the Slovaks, a race closely akin to the Czechs. It was strongly urged by some that the German-speaking portions of Bohemia and Moravia should be allowed, if they so desired, to unite themselves with the new Austria or with Germany. This was wisely and inevitably refused by the Peace Conference, but, on the other hand, by a special treaty signed at Paris on July 28 1920, that portion of the small duchy of Teschen, the population of which was predominantly Polish, was separated from the rest and united with the new Poland. In addition to these territories, that portion of the kingdom of Hungary which was inhabited by the Ruthenians was also incorporated with Czechoslovakia, but the Treaty of St. Germain gave to it the right of autonomy.

2. On the south there was achieved the union in one State of nearly all the South Sla y s; the small kingdom of Serbia, which a few years before the war numbered only some three million inhabitants, was increased to an important State with a pop. of 14 millions, including Croatia, part of the Banat, and portions of the former Austrian provinces of Dalmatia, Carniola and Istria. As a symbol of the changed condition, the kingdom of Serbia took the title of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but it is often spoken of as Yugoslavia.

3. The settlement of the frontiers between this State and the kingdom of Italy was the subject of long, arduous and often critical negotiations, which were settled finally by the Treaty of Rapallo of Nov. 1920. By this Italy acquired nearly the whole of Istria; the town of Fiume, which was the special subject of controversy, became a self-governing community, closely attached to Italy. Italy on the other hand surrendered the claims she had under the Treaty of London to other portions of the Dalmatian coast, retaining only Zara and a few islands. To the problems of Europe was added that of the Adriatic, which seems destined to become the object of rivalry between Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece. In the north, Italy acquired the most generous settlement of her claims to all Italian lands, not only Trieste and Gorizia and the Trentino, but also the whole of Tirol up to the Brenner Pass and the main chain of the Alps, and for the first time thereby extended to her natural geographical frontier; as a result of this, 700,000 German-speaking Tirolese and a large numberibf Slavonic race in Istria came under the Italian Crown.

4. On the east, Rumania acquired part of the Banat and the whole of Transylvania, in addition to Bessarabia, her population thereby being about doubled. Here again it was impossible to draw a line by which all the Rumanians of Hungary should be assigned to Rumania without at the same time transferring the allegiance of a large non-Rumanian population, chiefly Magyars and Czechlers (a branch of Hungarians), who also include the German colony of Siebenbürgen.

The only portion of the old monarchy which in the summer of 1921 had not been definitely assigned was the province of Galicia. It was a matter of course that the western part, purely Polish in population, should go to Poland, and in fact the incorporation was effected immediately after the conclusion of the Armistice. On the other hand East Galicia, which comprises a pop. of over 4,500,000 and an area of some 17,000 sq. m., is inhabited by a population Russian in origin and speech, to which the name of Ruthenian or Ukrainian is generally applied. The Poles, however, claimed this, partly on historical grounds and partly because of the great interests in the country of the Polish aristocracy who owned large portions of the land. No decision was arrived at by the Peace Conference, but in July 1919 the Polish army was permitted to occupy the territory; proposals for assigning it with guaranteed autonomy to Poland broke down, and the Polish Government was in 1919-21 in practically undisturbed control. In the Treaty of Sevres of Aug. 10 1920, in which many minor frontier questions were settled, clauses were included assigning West Galicia to Poland, but the Poles refused to sign this treaty, presumably on the ground that by doing so they would appear to acquiesce in a differentiation between eastern and western Galicia; no Polish Government could afford to give up its claim to East Galicia. The result was that technically the whole of the province still belonged, in the middle of 1921, to the principal Allied and Associated Powers, to whom it was ceded by the Treaty of St. Germain on Sept. 10 1919. West Galicia must, doubtless, remain an integral part of Poland. The future of East Galicia, however, remained a source of anxiety. Poland would be satisfied with nothing less than complete and unconditional sovereignty; the British Government was morally pledged by the support which it gave to the Ruthenians during 1919 not to surrender them, without stringent safeguards, to the rule of a nation whom they professed to regard as their hereditary enemy, and a restored Russia or an independent Ukraine would probably try to establish a claim to this district.

5. Of the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy little remained when all these cessions had taken place. On the one hand we have the ancient crown lands of the Habsburgs, Upper and Lower Austria, Salzkammergut, Tirol and Vorarlberg. The Conference having refused to permit the union with Germany which was desired by large portions of the population, these were constituted as the Republic of Austria (the title of German Austria, which was at first taken, did not receive the approval of the Paris Conference), with a pop. of about 6,000,000. It is, except for the great city of Vienna and its suburbs, a predominantly mountainous and agricultural district. The problem of the future of Austria had a dual side, that of the country and that of Vienna. No city had suffered so much by the war and the peace; cut off from former trade connexions, left with a pop. of two millions of whom so many earned their livelihood from the presence of the court and the administration, the population would have been condemned to a slow process of starvation but for the assistance provided chiefly from America and Great Britain. The future of Austria remained one of the problems of Europe. France was unalterably opposed to the union of Austria with Germany, for this would, quite apart from the serious increase to German population, produce a Germany which extended from the Alps to the Baltic, and cut off western from eastern Europe. Such a Germany would be a grave menace to the other States and would compromise both Switzerland and Czechoslovakia.

6. The proud and ancient Magyar Monarchy, which had existed for over r,000 years, and which, by the sway it exercised over the subject Sla y s and Rumans, and by the influence it wielded in the Dual Monarchy, had attained a position in Europe beyond what the numbers of the ruling race warranted, was now reduced to a small State of about seven millions. Surrounded by jealous neighbours which had grown by its fall, with frontiers equally unfavourable for defence or trade, and still suffering from the effects of the revolution, the Magyars could only watch and wait for an opportunity to retrieve something of their lost power and territory. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1919, power came into the hands of the reactionary parties, supported by the peasants; the State was still in theory a monarchy, but a monarchy without a king. The Emperor Charles was still the crowned king of Hungary; he made two visits to the country in a vain attempt to recover his crown, but the return of a Habsburg was vetoed both by the Allies and by the other successor States, for in view of the former history and great pretensions of the House this could not be regarded as a merely domestic Hungarian matter.

The substitution of this complex of States, each with its own problems and ambitions, for the great military monarchy completely altered the whole balance of the continent. During the period immediately succeeding the Peace, they were chiefly occupied with internal matters, especially the framing of new constitutions; Czechoslovakia and Rumania were confronted with the serious problem of incorporating in the new system large numbers of unwilling citizens. The severance of old-established commercial ties necessarily caused grave dislocation of trade; all suggestions for the reestablishment of some kind of commercial union broke down, chiefly owing to the very strong opposition to anything which might lead to the restoration of the financial and commercial supremacy of Vienna. On the other hand close relations were set up between Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Yugoslavia; these States entered into a system, to which the name of " Little Entente " was applied, which had for its first object their mutual protection against any proposal to restore the Habsburgs in Hungary, but showed also a tendency for common action even against the Western Powers.

North-Eastern Europe

The Paris Conference was not in a position to determine the territorial settlement so far as it dealt with the former possessions of the Russian Empire, for the final decision on these matters required the assent of Russia, and there was at the time no recognized Russian Government and no official representative of Russia at Paris. The settlement, so far as it went, was therefore the result of local action for which the Allies had no direct responsibility. All that they could do was to insert in the Treaty of Versailles a clause that the determination of the eastern frontiers of Poland must be submitted to the principal Allied and Associated Powers.

The governing factor was the terrible fate of Russia, which far surpassed the disasters that the war had brought upon central Europe. The defeats sustained by the Russian armies had during the war brought about the occupation by German forces of Poland and of the Baltic provinces. The overthrow of the autocracy in March 1917 was followed by a complete dissolution of the Russian army; in Oct. of the same year there was established the Communist Government under Lenin and Trotsky.

By the treaties of Brest Litovsk the Bolshevik Government was forced to accept the separation from Russia not only of Poland but of the Baltic provinces and of the Ukraine, which was occupied by German forces, while at the same time the Allies supported the attempts which were being made by Kolchak and Yudenitch to overthrow the Bolsheviks. Further calamities followed. In accordance with the avowed principles of their party the first step of the new Government was to eliminate those classes - the court, the aristocracy, the bureaucracy and the middle classes - by whom hitherto the country had been administered. Large numbers, including the Tsar and Tsarina and their children, were put to death. Others fled the country, and those who remained were condemned to a life of obscurity and penury. Many doubtless succumbed to the hardships and starvation they had to endure. This action naturally brought about a state of civil war, for the representatives of the old regime desired to overthrow the Government which was being built up by their destruction. The condition of civil war continued for another two years. It was conducted with great ferocity on both sides, but after the failure of Denikin in South Russia in 1920 the Bolsheviks succeeded in establishing their rule over all those territories which were of Russian race and language. The long continuance of the civil war had, however, the effect for the time of preventing the Bolsheviks from a military advance towards the west, and it left the country greatly impoverished. Meanwhile, as could have been anticipated, the attempt to govern 'Russia in accordance with Communist doctrines failed. In particular the peasants, who were now in occupation of the land, refused to provide food for the inhabitants of the towns; the whole system of transport and production broke down, and to add to the other calamities there was a serious failure of crops both in 1920 and 1921. The Bolshevik Government was ostracized by the rest of Europe, and all attempts to extend their authority over the separated western provinces failed. After the Armistice, Poland within undefined limits was recognized by the Allies as a sovereign State, the nucleus of which was " Congress Poland "; to this were added the Polish territories taken from Germany and Austria. On the east, the new Polish State was at war with the Bolsheviks. The causes of enmity were, first, the avowed intention of the latter to impose their form of government upon Poland, and secondly the delimitation of the frontier. The Poles claimed almost the whole of the territories which had belonged to the ancient kingdom, including as they did large portions of White Russia and the Ukraine, the population of which was almost exclusively Russian. The Polish Government, however, who were also at variance with Denikin, refused to give him that assistance which might possibly have led to the success of his arms. After his collapse in the spring of 1920, the Poles, disregarding advice given them by the British Government, took the offensive, invaded the Ukraine and advanced as far as Kiev; they were unable to maintain their position; during the month of July they were rapidly driven back by the Bolshevik armies, who entered Congress Poland and nearly reached Warsaw. Negotiations for an armistice were begun at Minsk, but, owing to the excessive demands of the Bolsheviks, no agreement could be reached. Helped by French military advice and by supplies from western Europe, the Poles quickly recovered courage, and during the month of Aug., with little fighting, drove out the invading Bolshevik army and again advanced into White Russia and the Ukraine. As a result of these events negotiations were begun for an armistice, and in the early months of 1921 a series of treaties was arranged by which the whole of the western frontier of Russia was determined. This was followed by an agreement between Great Britain and Russia, by which trade relations were resumed (March 19 1921), a policy to which France was strongly opposed.

The result of these events was that there were temporarily separated from Russia all those territories included in the empire, the population of which was of non-Russian race, and five new States were added to the European system.

1. Finland had already severed herself from Russia before the end of the war, to a large extent owing to the support given to the White Government by Gen. von der Goltz and a small detachment of German troops. As soon as the war was over the Government was recognized by the Allies, and by the Treaty of Dorpat of Oct. 14 1920 the Bolsheviks also recognized the independence of the country and the boundaries were fixed. By this the connexion between Finland and Russia, which had existed since it was conquered from Sweden in 1809, ceased. Reminiscences of the older Swedish connexion were revived by a dispute which arose as to the Aland Is., which stretch across the mouth of the Gulf of Finland; the population was entirely Swedish and had expressed a desire for union with Sweden. Owing to the intervention of the Allies, this matter, which threatened to lead to war, was referred for settlement to the League of Nations, who in May 1921 issued their award: they were to remain a part of Finland, with local autonomy.

2. The former Baltic provinces, after their separation from Russia during the war, organized themselves into three States, Latvia, Esthonia and Lithuania, with republican institutions; with the help first of the Germans and afterwards of the Allies, they succeeded after severe fighting in repelling several Bolshevik attacks, and at the beginning of 1921 Latvia and Esthonia were formally recognized by the Allies. The relations to Russia were determined by treaties signed at Reval in April 1921. Formal recognition of the Government of Lithuania by the Allies was still delayed during 1921, chiefly owing to the fact that the Poles were desirous of bringing about some kind of union between Lithuania and Poland. The boundaries of the two States remained at issue, both of them claiming the city of Vilna. After the repulse of the Bolsheviks in 1920, it was in Oct. of the same year seized by a lawless act of force on the part of the Polish Gen. Zeligowski, with the scarcely veiled connivance of the Polish Government. It was agreed that the dispute should be referred to the League of Nations.

3. The most important change was the reconstitution of an independent Poland, a natural result of the fall of the three military monarchies responsible for the partitions. The frontiers of the State created great difficulties and serious differences between the Allies, and it was only late in 1921 that, after reference to the League of Nations, a decision was arrived at regarding Upper Silesia (see Silesia).

The future of this part of Europe depended on Russia and Poland. It had been the ambition of Poland, in which she was supported by France, to succeed to the position which in older days the Polish Monarchy had held, and with very extensive territory which, had all her claims been granted, would have contained a pop. of nearly 40 millions, to be a permanent barrier between Germany and Russia. But ambitions of this nature require great administrative capacity as well as extended possessions. The Poles, largely owing to the continuous warfare in which they were involved, found little time for dealing with the administrative problems; the finances fell into a state of disorder, the Polish mark being quoted in 1921 at 8,000 to the pound sterling. The amalgamation of Russian, Austrian and Prussian Poland presented grave difficulties, and there was danger lest Poland might become a source of weakness rather than of strength. The permanent peace of Europe in the east could not be secured until a friendly and pacific Government was established in Russia, and it was unlikely that any settled Russian Government would acquiesce in the complete separation of the Baltic provinces, which intervene between Russia and the sea, or in the permanent cession of large portions of White Russia and the Ukraine to Poland, inhabited as they are by a population Russian in origin and speech.

The Balkans

The result of the war in the Balkans was, first, the completion of the process by which the Turkish Empire in Europe ceased to exist, and secondly a continuation of the work of the Treaty of Bucharest by which Bulgarian ambitions were sacrificed to the rival States of Serbia and Greece. By the Treaty of Sevres the Sultan was deprived of all his European possessions except Constantinople, where he enjoyed only the shadow of authority, the Straits, so long the centre of international rivalry, being transferred to international control. The decision of the Treaty of Bucharest, by which Macedonia was divided between Serbia and Greece, was maintained; but in addition, by the Treaty of Neuilly, Greece came into the possession of the whole of the north coast of the Aegean (thereby cutting off Bulgaria from this sea) as well as Thrace, including the city of Adrianople. On the north the whole of the Dobrudja was assigned to Rumania; Bulgaria therefore came out of the war with a territory of about 71,000 sq. m. and pop. of five millions, much the smallest of the Balkan States - a great disappointment in view of the high ambitions which had been entertained such a short time before. Another new State was permanently added to Europe in Albania, which at the Assembly of 1920 was admitted as a member of the League of Nations. The final decision as to the frontiers had not yet been arrived at in 1921, owing to the difficulty of reconciling the rival ambitions of Greece and Italy. There were many other causes of unrest. The Balkan settlement had been markedly favourable to Greece, chiefly owing to the confidence given by the Allies to M. Venizelos. The Greek elections of 1920, which brought about the fall of that statesman and (after the early death of King Alexander) the restoration of Constantine, had therefore more than local importance. It seemed for the moment as though the whole basis of the settlement had been destroyed. The Treaty of Sevres was not ratified. The Turkish National party under Kemal Pasha, which had established itself in Anatolia, with its capital at Angora, claimed for Turkey not only the whole of Asia Minor, but large parts of Thrace, including Adrianople, while the extremists went so far as to demand the restoration of the whole Turkish Empire, including Mesopotamia and Palestine. There was some evidence of serious discord between the Allies; both Italy and France entered into separate negotiations with the Kemalists. At the Conference of London, March 1921, which was attended by representatives both of the recognized Government in Constantinople and of the Kemalists, an attempt was made to find some basis of agreement between the Greeks and the Turks; this failed; a state of war followed, and though the Greeks started their campaign in Asia Minor successfully, their effort was brought to a standstill in the autumn.

Looking at Europe as a whole, it is seen that in 1921 the political system which had existed for so long, depending on the mutual rivalries and cooperation of some five or six great States, approximately equal in power, had for the time ceased to exist. Of them there remained only Great Britain, France and Italy; Germany, though she had retained her unity, was prevented from asserting her place as an independent European Power by the very stringent disarmament conditions which had been imposed upon her, and also by the economic difficulties involved in the reparation clauses of the Treaty. The immediate result therefore was the ascendancy of France, who had, at any rate for the time, regained the position as the leading continental State, which in earlier days had come to be regarded as her permanent prerogative. This position France was aiming at making permanent, first by cementing her control over all countries on the left bank of the Rhine, and secondly by the establishment of a powerful Poland, the policy of which should be subservient to that of France. The interests of Italy were concentrated on the south-east of Europe, the Mediterranean and western Asia.

As a result of the war and the peace, the immediate general control, at any rate over all matters springing out of the treaties, was vested in the " Principal Allied and Associated Powers "- Great Britain, France, Italy, the United States and Japan; as the United States did not ratify the treaties, and Japan took little part in European affairs, the group practically consisted, up to the autumn of 1921, of the three other Powers, with whom for certain purposes Belgium was associated. The organs through which they worked were the Ambassadorial Conference sitting at Paris, and the Council of Prime Ministers, which met from time to time to deal with larger political matters. It followed from this that the peace and order of the continent, which was so essential in order to give an opportunity to repair the ravages of the war and meet the grave economic difficulties under which Europe was labouring, ultimately depended upon the friendly cooperation of these three Powers. This cooperation was not maintained without difficulty. In particular there were serious differences between Great Britain and France with regard to the treatment of Germany, the execution of the reparation clauses of the Treaty, and as to Polish affairs. These reached a crisis when in March 1920 the French, without consulting their Allies, occupied Frankfurt and other towns on the right bank of the Rhine, and again in July - Aug. 1921, when there was a grave difference of opinion as to Upper Silesia. There were also open disagreements as to the Near East. The unity of aims which alone could give efficiency to their joint action was wanting.

Side by side with the Supreme Council was the League of Nations, but the relation of the two organs had not been clearly differentiated. The League had not the power and resources to deal with matters in which larger political issues were involved, and its activities were chiefly confined to those specific matters referred to it by the treaties of peace, or to other matters of minor importance in which its help was invoked, as, for instance, the Aland Is. and Vilna. In 1921 it included all European States with the exception of Germany and Russia, but these two together represented a potential force equal to that of almost the whole of the rest of the continent, and the League was not yet able to take the position, which its advocates anticipated, of a final Court of Appeal whose decisions would be, if necessary, enforced. So far indeed the hopes of a new era in international relations had not been fulfilled. Disarmament had been imposed upon Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, and there had been a great reduction of armaments in Holland and Scandinavia; but France and Italy maintained the older system, and the new States, intent on their independence and integrity, were determined to rely on their own strength. In particular, Poland, occupied as she had been in the war with Russia, and with the enforcement of her territorial claims on her other frontiers, maintained an army of some six or seven hundred thousand men, an army which was a heavy burden on the finances and the resources of the country.

After the Napoleonic War, the Great Affiance, supported as it was by large armies, was in fact able to impose its will upon the continent. In a not dissimilar situation France, Great Britain and Italy together had neither the resources nor the unity of will which would have been requisite even if they desired to imitate their predecessors; in particular, England, occupied with urgent difficulties of finance, and burdened with great responsibilities in other parts of the world, was intent, so far as possible, on avoiding new continental entanglements. The task of supervising the execution of the treaties of peace was in itself more than sufficient to occupy the Allies, and in consequence the smaller States were enabled to show an independence, the attainment of which was one of the avowed objects of the Allies in the war. Europe had been freed from the danger of one European predominance; it showed no disposition to accept that of the victors in the war. In this state of affairs the smaller States were tending to associate themselves in local groups - e.g. in Scandinavia, the Baltic States, the successor States of Austria-Hungary - and the political problems by which the continent was still distracted more and more assumed a local rather than a general character. It might be hoped that, though slowly, the animosities excited by the war would subside, and that these local groups would be able to concentrate their attention on the very urgent economic problems, the settlement of which was so essential to the future welfare of the continent.

See A History of the Peace Conference of Paris, edited by H. W. V. Temperley, 1920.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Europe After the War'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/e/europe-after-the-war.html. 1910.

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