Alternate History

Treaty of Ravenna (Twilight of a New Era)

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Treaty of Ravenna


June 1920


Ravenna, Italy


December 1920


Ratification by Austria-Hungary, Serbia and Italy


Serbia, and

Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, and United Kingdom


Italian government


French (primary), English and German

On May 1920 the World War I ends with the unconditional surrender of Germany. On June 1920 it started the Paris Peace Conference that settled the peace terms with the German Empire by the Treaty of Versailles. During the Conference the Federal State of Austria-Hungary started a diplomatic offensive to settle issues with Serbia and the Balkans in general. It was agreed by the main Allied powers to hold a round table in Ravenna (Italy) to settle this matters.

France and United Kingdom participate with a clear agenda of maintaining the Austria-Hungary has state in central Europe and settle a peace with Serbia. Underneath was also the policy to block any entry or influence of communist Russian in the Balkans, Anatolia and Western Asia. For the United Kingdom an important premise was to keep its sphere of influence on Greece and the status quo of the eastern Mediterranean territories (Malta and Cyprus).

Although the fragile situation of the Ottoman Empire was not directly addressed it was ratified the wish of France and the United Kingdom to act in the future has arbitrators and power brokers of all Ottoman territories. This under assumption that the Treaty of Lucerne wouldn't be the final settlement of the Eastern Question and given the evident breakdown of the established government in the Ottoman Empire.

In Austria-Hungary there was a serious conflict between revanchism and peaceful settlement. The main arguments focused on the status of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the solutions were either complete integration in Austria-Hungary, creation of a satellite or buffer state or referendum to decide its future. Also in debate was the nature of the war reparations, with some voices demanding to cripple economically and military Serbia and breaking it up in at least four states (North and South Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, the last one possible annexed by Greece).

On September the delegations of Italy, Serbia, Austria-Hungary, France and United Kingdom meet in Ravenna. In the last days of the Conference patriotic and nationalist movements organized manifestations demanding the annexation of lands occupied by Italians in Austria-Hungary. For Italy the conference was a failure because it could no fulfill its territorial ambitions (Tyrol, Trieste and Fiume) and it would come has a major domestic issue in the future.

The main points of the Treaty of Ravenna were the following:

  • Italy renounces to its territorial claims on Tyrol, Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia
  • Italy and Austria-Hungary agree on the free access and movement of people and goods to the regions of Tyrol and Trieste. A telephone and telegraph network will be built by both parts. Along train and road improvements between Trieste-Venice and Trento-Veronna. A partial customs union is established between Italy and Austria-Hungary.
  • The Italians speakers living in Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia will have minorities rights.
  • Serbia renounces to any territorial claim on Austria-Hungary (namely the territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Dalmatia and the former province of Banat) and frontier will the be one of 1915.
  • It is recognize the integration of Montenegro into the Kingdom of Serbia.
  • Serbia gains the city and port of Kotor (Cattaro in Italian). The Italians living in the Kotor and its neighboring territory will have the necessary help to emigrate to Italy or Austria-Hungary. This point of the treaty promoted a debate in the Provisional Federal Assembly that almost lead to its defeat in the vote. The main argument given by the Federal Minister of Defense for its approval was the difficulty in defending and capturing Kotor during the war (Serbia keep the port until the armistice). In real terms the Serbian government promoted and organized a mass deportation of Kotor of all persons that wouldn't or didn't qualified has future loyal citizens.
  • Serbia will pay war reparations to Austria-Hungary. The amount and form of payment will be agreed on a future conference celebrated between Serbia, Austria-Hungary, France and the United Kingdom.
  • Albania receives guarantees of its independence by France and the United Kingdom.
  • Any revision of the Treaty of Lucerne or new arrangement with the Ottoman Empire or the recognize government that controls the majority of Anatolia, will be negotiated on a joint conference called jointly by France and the United Kingdom. This conference must include Greece has a party.
  • The signatories reaffirm the neutrality of the Turkish Straits and the Suez Canal as international shipping lanes.
  • The signatories reaffirm the Danube river as an international shipping lane and promote the re-establishment of the Commission of the Danube River and revision of its Treaty.

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