Locarno Treaty Signed
The agreements made at Locarno through two weeks of October 1924, and rendered official by their signing in London on December 1 1925, represent a rather neat staging post for historians between WWI and WWII .
The intentions of the treaty were to bring Germany back into the Western European diplomatic fold following her defeat in 1918 and the imposed settlement of Versailles the following year; and to incorporate the political realities of the Eastern portion of the continent in the settlement.
The results, however, were perhaps predictably otherwise. The borders of Western Europe were indeed settled, although inevitably not entirely to German satisfaction, and it would be another five years before the German Rhineland was finally evacuated by Allied troops. But Germany’s borders to the east were left as subject to future revision. Poland and Czechoslovakia, though given crumbs of comfort via treaties guaranteeing arbitration and assistance in the event of disputes or conflicts, knew they had been shabbily treated, and that the way was open for future German aggression. The German foreign minister Stresemann admitted the treaty for him meant Germany could look towards regaining territory from Poland.
In spite of the danger signals, the architects of the treaty were rewarded by becoming Nobel Peace Laureates: Austen Chamberlain - whose brother Neville would later reap the whirlwind of Locarno - in 1925; Stresemann and the French delegate Aristide Briand the following year. History would show the rich and tragic irony of these awards.
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