The Paris Peace Conference (29 July to 15 October 1946) resulted in the Paris Peace Treaties signed on 10 February 1947. The victorious wartime Allied powers (principally the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and France) negotiated the details of treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland (see the List of countries involved in World War II).
The treaties allowed Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland to reassume their responsibilities as sovereign states in international affairs and to qualify for membership in the United Nations. The settlement elaborated in the peace treaties included payment of war reparations, commitment to minority rights and territorial adjustments including the end of the Italian Colonial Empire in Africa, Greece and Albania and changes to the Italian–Yugoslav, Hungarian–Slovak, Romanian–Hungarian, Soviet–Romanian, Bulgarian–Romanian, French–Italian and Soviet–Finnish frontiers. The political clauses stipulated that the signatory should "take all measures necessary to secure to all persons under (its) jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, of press and publication, of religious worship, of political opinion and of public meeting."
No penalties were to be visited on nationals because of wartime partisanship for the Allies. Each government undertook measures to prevent the resurgence of fascist organizations or any others "whether political, military or semi-military, whose purpose it is to deprive the people of their democratic rights".
Particularly in Finland, the reparations and the dictated border adjustment were perceived as a major injustice and a betrayal by the Western Powers, after the sympathy Finland had received from the West during the Soviet-initiated Winter War of 1939–1940. However, this sympathy had been eroded by Finland's cooperation with Nazi Germany during the war years from 1941 to 1944. During this time Finland not only recaptured territory lost in 1940, but continued its offensive deeper into the Soviet Union, occupying a broad strip of Soviet territory. This prompted the United Kingdom to declare war on Finland in December 1941, further weakening political support in the West for the country. The Soviet Union's accessions of Finnish territory were based on the Moscow Armistice signed in Moscow on 19 September 1944 and resulted in an extension of the accessions in the Moscow Peace Treaty (1940) that ended the Winter War.
Border changes[edit | edit source]
- Italy lost its colonies; Italian East Africa (consisting of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland) and Italian Libya in North Africa. In the peace treaty Italy recognized the independence of Albania (in personal union with the Italian monarchy after the Italian invasion of Albania in April 1939). Italy also lost its concession in Tianjin which was turned over to the Republic of China. Italy had to cede most of Istria, including the provinces of Fiume, Zara and most of Gorizia and Pola to Yugoslavia. The rest of the province of Pola, as well as the Trieste was detached to form the Free Territory of Trieste. Italy also had to cede to Yugoslavia all islands in the eastern Adriatic. The Dodecanese Islands were ceded to Greece. The border with France was slightly modified in favor of France, mostly in uninhabited Alpine area, except for the Tende valley and La Brigue. Italian territorial losses included areas that had been part of Italy before World War II, and also areas that had been conquered before the advent of the Fascist regime in 1922 (e.g. Libya, that was conquered in 1912).
- Finland was restored to the borders of 1 January 1941 (thus confirming the territorial losses after the Winter War), except for the former province of Petsamo, which was ceded to the Soviet Union.
- Hungary was restored to its prewar borders, (both Vienna Awards were declared null and void, canceling Hungary's gains from Czechoslovakia and Romania) with the exception of three villages south of Bratislava, which were transferred to Czechoslovakia.
- Romania was restored to the borders of 1 January 1941, with the exception of the border with Hungary, which reverted to its prewar position. This confirmed the 1940 loss of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union and the Craiova Treaty, which returned Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria.
- Bulgaria was restored to the borders of 1 January 1941, leaving Bulgaria as the only former Axis power to gain territory after WWII.
War reparations[edit | edit source]
The war reparation problem proved to be one of the most difficult arising from post-war conditions. The Soviet Union, the country most heavily ravaged by the war, felt entitled to the maximum amounts possible, with the exception of Bulgaria, which was perceived as being the most sympathetic of the former enemy states. In the cases of Romania and Hungary, the reparation terms as set forth in their armistices were relatively high and were not revised.
War reparations at 1938 prices, in United States dollar amounts:
- $360,000,000 from Italy:
- $300,000,000 from Finland to the Soviet Union;
- $300,000,000 from Hungary:
- $200,000,000 to the Soviet Union;
- $100,000,000 to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
- $300,000,000 from Romania to the Soviet Union;
- $70,000,000 from Bulgaria:
- $45,000,000 to Greece;
- $25,000,000 to Yugoslavia.
The collapse of the Soviet Union has not led to any formal revision of the Paris Peace Treaties.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Aftermath of World War II
- Allied Commission
- Potsdam Agreement (1945)
- Moscow Conference (1945)
- Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947
- Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany
- Soviet occupation of Romania
- World War II reparations towards Yugoslavia
[edit | edit source]
- United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States, 1946. Paris Peace Conference Proceedings
- United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States, 1946. Paris Peace Conference Documents
- Australian treaty series 1948 (full text of the treaties).
- "Paris-WWII Peace Conference-1946: Settling Romania's Western Frontiers", at the Honorary Consulate of Romania in Boston, has pictures of the Romanian delegation
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