The Paris Peace Conference, Part I

Norman Bentwich recalls the official meetings in Paris of 1946, which were concerned with the future of Germany’s former allies in Europe. At these protracted sessions the conflict between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers gradually came into the open.

The peace conference in paris 1946 is almost forgotten. It cannot compare in importance with the Peace Conference of 1919 in the French capital which refolded the map of Europe. Yet it has historical significance, because, during its protracted sessions, the conflict between the Allied Great Powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, Great Britain and France, came into the open, and the Cold War, if not proclaimed, was none the less being waged. This article, which is based on the record made at the time by an observer at the Conference, indicates the origin of that conflict in the discussion of the terms of peace with the minor enemies.

The Conference was convened by the Foreign Ministers of the Big Powers for the purpose of examining draft Treaties with Italy, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Finland, and getting agreements that could be recommended to the Council of the Big Four. The Allies were not yet ready to negotiate a Peace Treaty with Germany, though, in retrospect, they were more ready then than now. But they were hopeful of solving the acute problems of the government of Trieste, of the disposal of Eritrea and Italian Somalia, of the frontiers in Central and Eastern Europe, and of the measure of reparation to be paid by the satellite states.

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