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2.7

A world re-ordered: infographic

Lasting territorial legacies of Paris 1919

Key Examples

The following maps indicate some of the changes made to the world map at the end of the World War 1. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it hopefully conveys a sense of the impact of decisions taken in 1919.

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Europe 1923

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Relevant territorial decisions:

(Please note that the following bullet points deliberately provide ‘broad brush’ information. There have been many small border changes, while during 1938-1945, the Axis powers sought to reverse many of the decisions taken at Paris 1919.)

  • Austria-Hungary dissolved;
  • Poland: Resurrected from territory previously occupied by Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Poland continues to exist today, but its borders were re-drawn in significant measure after 1945;
  • Czechoslovakia: Created from territory previously occupied by Austria-Hungary. Leaving aside the period of 1938-45, the borders of the new State would remain largely intact until 1993, when it split into the Czech and Slovak Republics;
  • Yugoslavia: Created from territory previously occupied by Austria-Hungary. Largely remained intact (again, with the exception of World War 2) until the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s;
  • Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia created from territory previously occupied by Russia. The Baltic States were annexed by the Soviet Union during World War 2, but regained independence in 1991;
  • Alsace-Lorraine: returned to France from Germany – which had annexed it in 1871 (and again would annex it in 1940-45). Alsace-Lorraine has remained part of France since 1919;
  • South Tyrol: transferred to Italy from what was Austria-Hungary – and remains part of Italy to this date. After much controversy, South Tyrol now enjoys considerable autonomy within Italy.

Middle East 1923

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Relevant territorial changes:

  • Ottoman Empire: Dissolved and contours of the modern Middle East shaped;
  • Creation of mandates for Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Mesopotamia/Iraq;
  • Over time Syria, Iraq and Jordan gained independence on the territory of the former mandate territories;
  • Israel was created on parts of the Palestinian mandate territory in 1948; the statehood of Palestine remains disputed.

German colonies and concessions

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Relevant territorial changes:

  • Namibia (formerly German South West Africa) became a South African mandate. After World War 2, South Africa refused to relinquish the mandate (despite massive international opposition). Namibia became independent in 1990, on the territory of the former mandate;
  • The former German concession of Qingdao/Tsingtao in Shandong Peninsula was not returned to China, but transferred to Japan. Please note that the map depicts the whole of the Shandong peninsula; Quingdao/Tsingtao is situated on the southern coast.) This was one of the few short-lived territorial decisions: Shandong reverted to China in 1922, following a US mediation effort;
  • Nauru became a mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. After World War 2, Nauru became a UN trusteeship, and gained independence in 1968.

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This article is from the free online course:

World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order?

University of Glasgow