Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Paris Peace Treaties (10 February 1947)

Following preliminary draft treaties prepared by the deputy foreign ministers of the major Allied powers, the Council of Foreign Ministers met in the faded glory of the Luxembourg Palace in Paris in two sessions of several weeks each from July to October 1946. There were sharp exchanges and disagreements among the former allies but, after further discussions in New York City in November 1946, the peace treaties were signed at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris on 10 February 1947. The main provisions of the five peace treaties with Italy, Finland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria are as follows:

Italy

The most difficult of the territorial discussions centered on Italy. At the end of the war, Yugoslavia had attempted to secure land at the expense of Austria and Italy, and the conferees spent much time discussing the Italo-Yugoslav frontier. Ultimately, they adopted the compromise put forth by the French. The port city of Trieste, which was 80 percent Italian, became a Free Territory under the authority of the United Nations Security Council. Fiume (Rijeka), Istria (to include the Italian city and naval base at Pola), and most of the Julian March were awarded to Yugoslavia, as was Zadar, a partly Italian city in Dalmatia. Yugoslavia and Albania also secured from Italy some islands in the Adriatic. The status of Trieste was not finally resolved until 1954, when improved relations between the two states led to Italy receiving the city and Yugoslavia the area around it.

France secured some strategic territory from Italy along their common frontier in the Tenda-Briga sector, and Greece obtained the Greek-inhabited Dodecanese Islands off southwestern Turkey, which the Italians had gained from Turkey after World War I. Italy did retain control of the Tyrol south of Brenner Pass, claimed by Austria. Ethiopia was recognized as independent, and Italy lost its overseas colonies of Libya, Eritrea, and Somaliland, which were now under British control. There was no immediate agreement on their disposition, with the conferees agreeing that, should there be no resolution within one year, their future fate would be decided by the United Nations. This is indeed what happened, with all three states moving toward independence. Italian reparations were set at $360 million, and the Italian army was limited to 250,000 men.

Finland

Finland was reduced to its 1940 borders following the Finnish-Soviet War of 1939–1940, thereby losing the Karelian isthmus and Vyborg as well as land north and east of Lake Ladoga and some land in Lapland. In addition, Finland was now forced to yield Petsamo, its only Arctic port. The Soviet Union also secured a lease on the Porkkala Peninsula on the Gulf of Finland near Helsinki as a naval base in exchange for the return of Hango.

Hungary

Hungary was obliged to return to Romania that portion of Transylvania that it had occupied. Hungary was again reduced to the post–World War I borders of the 1919 Treaty of Trianon, with the exception that it was also forced to yield a small amount of territory to Czechoslovakia at Bratislava. Czechoslovakia, in turn, had to relinquish to the Soviet Union a portion of sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, which now gave the Soviet Union a direct border with both Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Hungary's reparations were set at $300 million.

Romania

Romania was obliged to recognize as final its 1940 loss of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union. It was also forced to cede the southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria, but it regained the portion of Transylvania that Germany had forced it to cede to Hungary. Romania also had to pay reparations in the sum of $300 million.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria received the southern Dobruja, which Germany and Italy had insisted it give to Romania in 1940. Bulgaria was assessed $70 million in reparations.

All five states also agreed to restore the legal and property rights of the victorious powers, to dissolve fascist organizations, and to guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms. All treaties, save that with Finland, contained provisions that the occupying Allied nations would withdraw their troops, although the Soviet Union retained the right to maintain forces in both Hungary and Romania to safeguard its lines of communication to Austria until it concluded a peace treaty with that nation in 1955.

Because of sharp disagreements between the western Allied powers and the Soviet Union and the coming of the Cold War, no formal peace treaties were agreed to by the former Allies with either Germany or Japan.

Spencer C. Tucker


Further Reading
Black, Cyril E., et al. Rebirth: A History of Europe since World War II. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992.; Council of Foreign Ministers. Treaties of Peace with Italy, Roumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland, Signed at Paris, 10 February 1947. Canberra, Australia: Department of External Affairs, 1948.; Drost, Pieter Nicolaas. Contracts and Peace Treaties: The General Clause on Contracts in the Peace Treaties of Paris 1947 and in the Peace Treaty of Versailles 1919, a Comparison in Outline with Some Suggestions for the Future Peace Treaties. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1948.; Wheeler-Bennett, John, and Anthony J. Nicholls. The Semblance of Peace: The Political Settlement after the Second World War. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.; Williams, David. War and Peace: International Relations, 1914–1945. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1994.
 

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