Treaty of Topkapi
Treaty of Peace between the Central Powers, Belgium, and France
507px-Gate of Salutation Topkapi Istanbul 2007 Pano


28 June 1919

Topkapi, France



10 January 1920

Ratification by France and the Central Powers.


Flag of the German Empire German Reich

Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918) Austria-Hungary

Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria

Flag of Poland Lithuania

Flag of Latvia Latvia

Flag of Estonia Estonia

Flag of Ukraine Ukraine

Flag of Belarus (1918, 1991-1995) Belarus

Flag of Poland Poland

Flag of Belgium Belgium

Flag of France France

Depositary German Government
Languages French, German, Bulgarian, Spabish

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

Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required France to accept sole responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231–248 (later known as the War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Centrals powers. The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (then $31.4 billion, £6.6 billion) in 1921. This was a sum that many economists deemed to be excessive because it would have taken France until 1988 to pay.

After this France economy depended only on Germany's One and broke relations with the British Empire, France was so crushed by Germany, that they declare war to Germany in WW2.

Impositions on France

Legal restrictions

  • Article 227 charges former France First Minister, Georges Clemenceau, with supreme offense against international morality. He is to be tried as a war criminal.
  • Articles 228–230 tried many other French as war criminals.
  • Article 231 (the "War Guilt Clause") lays sole responsibility for the war on France, which is to be accountable for all damage to civilian populations of the Central Powers.

Military restrictions

Part V of the treaty begins with the preamble, "In order to render possible the initiation of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, France undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow."

  • French armed forces will number no more than 100,000 troops, and conscription will be abolished.
  • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
  • French naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, 6 battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each), 6 cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each), 6 destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each) and 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each). No submarines are to be included.
  • The manufacture, import, and export of weapons and poison gas is prohibited.
  • Armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.
  • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
  • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns and rifles.

Territorial changes

  • French Congo must be given to Germany
  • Belgium annexed to Germany
  • Belgian Congo to Germany
  • The Northern Equatorial Africa to Austria-Hungary
  • Dahomey to Lithuania
  • Senegal to Latvia
  • French Guinea to Austria-Hungary as Austrian Guinea
  • Upper Senegal and Niger to Bulgaria
  • Upper Volta to Estonia
  • French Morocco to Belarus as Belarusian Morocco
  • Tunis to Ukraine
  • Mauritania in French West Africa to Poland
  • The ceding of some of France northern territory such as steel producing Briey, and a coastal strip running from Dunkirk to Boulogne-sur-Mer.
  • Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands to Finland


  • France was forced to provide Germany with millions of tons of coal for ten years.

The creation of international organizations

Part I of the treaty was the Covenant of the League of Nations which provided for the creation of the League of Nations, an organization intended to arbitrate international disputes and thereby avoid future wars.

Part XIII organized the establishment of the International Labour Organization, to promote "the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week; the regulation of the labour supply; the prevention of unemployment; the provision of an adequate living wage; the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment; the protection of children, young persons and women; provision for old age and injury; protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own; recognition of the principle of freedom of association; the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures"


The Treaty contained many other provisions (economic issues, transportation, etc.).

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