Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/354

This page needs to be proofread.


The flight of the Kaiser was followed by the Politically, Germany recognized the complete inde* abdication or deposition of practically all the rulers pendence and sovereignty of Belgium, likewise of of the sovereign states of Germany, control passing German Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland; and in most cases peaceably into Socialist hands. On denounced the treaties of Brest-Litovsk. Mili- 28 November, 1918, the Kaiser signed at Amerongen tarily, she promised to reduce her army to 100,000 a formal abdication of the crowns of Prussia and men, to raze all forts fifty kilometers east of the the German Empire, and the Crown Prince Fred- Rhine and to abolish conscription; also to demolish erick William at Wieringen in Holland on 1 Decem- fortifications at Heligoland, to open the Kiel Canal ber definitely renounced all claims to the sue- to all nations, to refrain from building forts on cession. The legislative power of the new pro- the Baltic, and to surrender her fourteen submarine visional government was vested in a Soldiers' and cables. She agreed to the trial of the ex-Kaiser Workmen's Council until a constituent Assembly for violation of the laws and customs of war. By should be summoned, and the executive power in way of reparation and economic settlement, she a cabinet with Friedrich Ebert as Prime Minister, accepted full responsibility for all damages caused The cabinet of six was composed chiefly of Majority to the allied governments, agreed to pay shipping and Lidependent Socialists. ' A movement of the damage on a ton-for-ton basis by cession oi her Spartacides headed by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa merchant, coasting and river fleet, and new con- Luxemburg was started to prevent the meeting struction, to aid in the rebuilding of the devastated of the National Assembly (see Spartacus Group) . area, to return the works of art taken from Belgium On* 15 January, 1919, the leaders were killed and and France as well as the manuscripts and prints after desultory fighting, the uprising subsided, equivalent in value to those destroyed at Louvain. Weimar was chosen as the seat of the National Until reparation was fully made the allied troops Assembly which convened 6 February, 1919. A were to occupy the left bank of the Rhine, evacu- provisional constitution was adopted and Ebert was ating the regions gradually, as Germany fulfilled chosen as the first president. A smouldering reac- her obligations.

tionary revolt in Bavaria was fanned into flame by In the negotiations of the Supreme Council which the assassination of Kurt Eisner, Bavarian Premier, followed, Germany assumed a passive attitude, In Saxony the Spartacans launched a movement except in the matter of reparations. The sum to overthrow the bourgeois Government. A Soviet demanded by the allies was too great to be given Republic was even set up in Munich on 6 April, up by Germany in such a brief space of time, but the new government was short-lived. Attempted and to make matters worse, the allies demanded revolts in Baden, Brimswick, Dresden, and other coal by way of reparations, thus crippling the in- centers were crushed. A similar attempt was made dustrial ability of Grermany to pay. in the Rhenish provinces to establish a Rhine In July, 1921, a separate peace treaty was nego- republic under the protection of the French troops, tiated with China, in which Germany renounced Unsupported by the overwhelming German popula- all her treaty rights in that country. On 25 August, tion, tne movement collapsed. 1921, a treaty of peace between Germany and

The Peace Treaty of Versailles, signed by Ger- the United States was signed which was ratified many on 28 June, 1919, and ratified by the German by both countries 11 November, 1921. Assembly on 7 July, 1919, revolutionized the posi- The war losses of Germany were astounding, tion of Germany territorially, economically, and Of the 11,000,000 men mobilized, 1,611,104 were militarily. By the terms Germany ceded Alsace- killed, 3,683,143 were wounded, 772,522 were taken Lorraine to France, Eupen and Malm6dy to Bel- prisoners or missing, the total casualties being gium, Memel to Lithuania, and a large part of 6,066,769. The losses of the German navy were the provinces of Posen and West Prussia to Poland ; very small^ owing to the fact that the greater part to Poland, moreover, she agreed to cede Upper of her fleet remained in port during the war and Silesia, the southern part of East Prussia, and a as she had no mercantile marine at sea the service strip west of Vistula, if in a plebiscite to be con- of scouting vessels and patrol boats to protect her ducted under international auspices, the popula- shipping was unnecessary. The total loss in tons tion of these districts should express the desire was only 350,000.

for incorporation within the Polish Republic; and Govern mbnt. — ^The new constitution of Ger- in order to provide Poland with a convenient ac- many, adopted by the National Assembly at Wei- cess to the Baltic, she consented to the establish- mar on 31 July, 1919, and promulgated on 11 ment of Danzig (q.v.) as an internationalized free August, 1919, declares that the new German Gov- city. Furthermore, she was willing to acquiesce emment is a Republic, and that the power of the in the cession to Denmark of such districts of state is derived from the people. The head of Schleswig as should vote accordingly in a plebiscite, the Government is the President. The legislative and likewise she would submit for fifteen years to branches are the Reichstag and the National Coun- the economic exploitation by France, and the cil, or Reichsrat, The real authority of the state is political control by an international commission of vested, however, in the Reichstag, subject to the the rich Saar Basin, and would abide by the decision direct control of the people. The President is reached by popular plebiscite at the end of fifteen elected by the people for seven years, and appoints years as to whether the Saar region should belong a Chancellor, and at his suggestion, other ministers, to Germany or to France. through whom the Government is administered.

Germany also surrendered all her overseas The President represents the nation in its foreign colonies and protectorates, her lease of Kiao-Chou relations, but his &cts require the approval of the and her Shantimg privileges to Japan, Samoa to Reichstag, and war can be declared and peace made New Zealand, her other Pacific possessions south only by a national law. The Reichstag consists of the Equator to Australia, German Southwest of delegates chosen for four years by tne people Africa to the British Union of South Africa, Ger- on the principle of proportional representation. The man East Africa to Great Britain; Kamerun and National Council {Reichsrat) is a body in which Togoland were partitioned between Great Britain the various German states (Lander) have represen- and France, generally under mandates. Besides, tation according to size. Each has at least one vote Germany renounced all special rights and privileges and the larger ones have one vote for each million in China, Siam, Liberia, Morocco, and Egypt, inhabitants. They are represented through mem-