Alternate History

Treaty of Pankow (Central Victory)

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Treaty of Pankow
Treaty of Peace between the Central Powers and France and Belgium
Delegates at the Peace conference in Berlin.
June 28, 1919
Pankow, Prussia, Germany.
January 10, 1920
Ratification by France, Belgium and the Central Powers.
Signatories Allied Powers

Flag of France France

Flag of Belgium Belgium
Central Powers

Flag of the German Empire Germany
Flag of the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria
Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918) Austria-Hungary

Languages Bulgarian ·German ·Hungarian
French ·Ottoman Turkish

The Treaty of Pankow was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between France, Belgium and the Central Powers. It was signed on June 28, 1919 exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Allied Powers on the Entente side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on August 11, 1918 ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Berlin Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.


Negotiations between the Central Powers started on January 18 in the Foreign Office building at the Wilhelmstraße in Berlin. Initially, 70 delegates of 27 nations participated in the negotiations. Russia was excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with the Central Powers in 1918, in which Germany gained a large fraction of Russia's land and resources.

Until March 1919, the most important role for negotiating the extremely complex and difficult terms of the peace fell to the regular meetings of the "Council of Eight", which comprised the heads of government and foreign ministers of the four major victors (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria). After his territorial claims to mainland Greece were rejected, Grand Vizier, Ahmed Tevfik Pasha left the negotiations and only returned to sign in June.

The final conditions were determined by the leaders of the European nations: German Chancellor Prince Maximilian of Baden, Austrian Minister-President Heinrich Lammasch, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Aleksandar Malinov. Even with this smaller group it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another.

German aims

As the only major power sharing a land border with France, Germany was chiefly concerned with weakening France as much as possible. The German Chancellor Max von Baden described Germany's position best by telling Renner: “Austria is protected by the mountains. You are both sheltered; we are not.”  Germany wished to bring the Belgian border to Boulogne-sur-Mer or to make Belgium a vassal state but this demand was not met by the treaty. Instead France partially disarmed by demolishing its northern forts, Germany gained mandate over the steel producing city of Briey and promises of war indemnity of four billion Reichsmarks to prevent French rearmament, but the United States did not ratify the treaty.

Austrian aims

Austria-Hungary had suffered some land devastation during the war and Minister-President Heinrich Lammasch supported reparations to a lesser extent than the Germans. Austria-Hungary began to look on Britain and France as potentially important trading partners and worried about the effect of reparations on the Austro-Hungarian economy.


Impositions on France

Military restrictions

Part V of the treaty begins with the preamble, "In order to render possible the initiation of a general security of Franco-German frontier, France undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow."

  • Conscription will be abolished.
  • The import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Poison gas, armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.

Territorial changes

[[File:German losses after WWI.svg|thumb|Germany after Versailles:

France′s borders in 1919 had been established nearly 50 years earlier, after the war in 1871. Territory and cities in the region had changed hands repeatedly for centuries, including at various times being owned by the Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Poland, and Kingdom of Lithuania. However, Germany laid claim to lands and cities that it viewed as historically "Germanic" centuries before Germany′s establishment as a country in 1871. Other countries disputed Germany′s claim to this territory. In the peace treaty, France agreed to recognize disputed lands and cities.

France was compelled to yield control of its colonies, and would also lose a small but steel rich area in Lorraine. Luxembourg would become a member state of Germany, which Germany had occupied in 1914. 

Impositions on Belgium

Most of Belgium had been occupied by Germany since 1914. King Albert I negotiated with Germany along side France. Although he was in favor of expanding Belgian territory he refused to accept them due to the impact on the Belgian economy to rebuild these areas which had been damaged by the fighting on the Western Front. In exchange for continued Belgian sovereignty Albert I and the government agreed to surrender control of the Congo to Germany.


Article 232 of the treaty noted France would pay "compensation for all damage done to Germany and Associated Powers during the period of the belligerency". Article 233 notes that the level of compensation to be paid would be four billion Reichsmarks.

See also

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