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Paris peace treaty

This page is about the conclusion of World War II. For other Paris peace treaties see: Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris (1856), Treaty of Frankfurt after the preliminary Versailles peace of 1871, or Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

The Paris Peace Conference July 27th to October 15th 1946 resulted in the Parice Peace Treaties signed in February 1947. The victorious USA, United Kingdom, France, China and Soviet Union negotiated the details of treaties of peace for their minor World War II adversaries Italy, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania. (See the List of countries involved in World War II.)

The treaties made it possible for Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Finland to reassume their responsibilities as sovereign states in international affairs and to qualify for membership in the United Nations.

The settlement elaborated in the peace treaties included disarming the defeated nations, payment of war reparations[?], commitment to basic human rights, and territorial settlements including the end of the Italian colonial empire in Africa and adjustments to the Hungarian-Slovak, Rumanian-Hungarian, Bulgarian-Rumanian, and Soviet-Finnish frontiers. Also the establishment of Israel was here bringing further its conclusion.

All peace treaties included clauses on de-nazification, regardless of if the country in question had retained parliamentary democracy (as Finland) or had long fascist traditions (as Italy):

The political clauses stipulated that the country should "take all measures necessary to secure to all persons under (its) jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, of press and publication, of religious worship, of political opinion and of public meeting." No penalties were to be visited on nationals because of wartime partisanship for the Allies. The government undertook to prevent the resurgence of Fascist organizations or any others, "whether political, military or semi-military, whose purpose it is to deprive the people of their democratic rights."

Particularly in Finland, the dictated border adjustment was perceived as a major unjustice and betrayal by the Western Powers, after the articulated sympathy Finland had received from all over the world during the Soviet-initiated Winter War (of which the Continuation War is seen as the unavoidable continuation). The Soviet Union's accessions of territory as a result of the Winter War were confirmed, despite Soviet military forces never having reached that far into pre-war Finland. In addition, Finland was to cede the province of Petsamo and confirm a 50-year Russian lease on a naval base on the Porkkala[?] Peninsula, with additional rights of access. The Finnish Army, which in defence against the Soviet Union had numbered to over 500,000, was to be limited to 34,400 men, the navy to 4,500 men and 10,000 tons, and the air force to 3,000 men and 60 planes.

In the view of the victors, the treaties of peace negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference completed a major step in bringing the horrendous events of World War II to a final conclusion, completing the work started at the end of World War I by replacing "the destructive jumble of rivalries and conflicts in Eastern and Southern Europe that characterized the late 19th and the first half of the 20th century (...) by a more workable basic political structure." (So U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on October 15th, 1996.)

The war reparation problem proved to be one of the most difficult. The Soviet Union felt entitled to the maximum amounts possible, with exception for Bulgaria, while other countries ment the most important thing being to build for a future in which the ex-enemy states would have some prospect of economic recovery. In the cases of Rumania, Hungary, and Finland, the reparation terms as set forth in their armistices were relatively high and not revised. In the case of Bulgaria, where the reparation terms were not fixed in the armistice, the situation was reversed: the Soviet Union arguing for an extremely low reparation obligation, throwing into sharp contrast the burden of reparations placed on Hungary and Finland.

  War reparations at 1938 prices:
  $360,000,000 from Italy
               $125,000,000 to Yugoslavia
               $105,000,000 to Greece
               $100,000,000 to the Soviet Union, 
                $25,000,000 to Ethiopia, 
                 $5,000,000 to Albania.
  $300,000,000 from Finland to the Soviet Union 
  $300,000,000 from Hungary
                $200,000,000 to the Soviet Union
                $100,000,000 to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia 
  $300,000,000 from Rumania to the Soviet Union
   $70,000,000 from Bulgaria
                $45,000,000 to Greece
                $25,000,000 to Yugoslavia

The collapse of the Soviet Union has not led to any fundamental revision of the Paris Peace Treaties, although the wars of former Yugoslavia[?] and the admission of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Rumania to the European Union have actualized these issues.



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