Learn about the beta

Boundaries of Germany (Art. 27 to 30)

[The vertical rule indicates treaty text.]

Notes to Part II, Articles 27 to 30

Quoting from speeches of President Wilson of February 11 and July 4, 1918, the German delegation asserted1 that “no territory may be separated from Germany which by centuries of peaceful union with the German State [Upper Silesia, the Saar] has indisputably proved that it belongs to the nation, or, if this is not the case, the population of which has not declared itself in favour of separation” (Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vi, 822). It therefore demanded plebiscites in each of the areas to be transferred, to be held after the conclusion of peace under fair conditions administered by a neutral state after the removal of all troops. Enclaves were to be mutually exchanged, and no more German subjects were “to be placed under the rule of the acquiring State, than subjects of that State under German rule”. Self-determination, it was contended, must be applied not “solely to the prejudice of Germany” but to “all States alike”.

[Page 123]

Guaranties were demanded for German minorities, “especially by the concession of the right to support and frequent German schools and churches and to publish German newspapers” (ibid., p. 941). If possible, complete “cultural autonomy” should be assured. Germany was determined to treat its foreign minorities “according to the same principles”.

The Allies replied that2 they were prepared to accord guaranties, under the control of the League of Nations, for the educational, religious, and cultural rights of German minorities, and they took note of the German statement that Germany was determined to treat its minorities according to the same principles.

The treaty restoring friendly relations between the United States and Germany, signed at Berlin, August 25, 1921 and in force on November 11, 1921 with retroactive effect to July 2, 1921, stipulates in article II (3) “that the United States assumes no obligations under or with respect to the provisions” of this part. The Senate of the United States in its resolution of October 18, 1921 giving advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty restoring friendly relations stipulated “that the United States shall not be represented or participate in any body, agency or commission, nor shall any person represent the United States as a member of any body, agency or commission in which the United States is authorized to participate by this Treaty, unless and until an Act of the Congress of the United States shall provide for such representation or participation”.

Part II of the treaty was not printed as an annex, technically a schedule, of the treaty restoring friendly relations by the Department of State in Treaty Series 658, nor in 42 Stat. 1939. The entire treaty of peace with Germany, as well as those with Austria and Hungary, was printed as a separate appendix to the treaty restoring friendly relations in the volume compiled under resolution of the Senate of August 19, 1921 and published as Senate Document 348, 67th Congress, 4th session, serial 8167; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–23, iii.

Article 27.

The boundaries of Germany will be determined as follows:

Note to II, 27

Of the eight boundaries stipulated in this article to constitute the frontiers of Germany, three were unchanged; three underwent relatively [Page 124]slight changes, with adjustments dependent upon future decisions; and two—the French and Polish boundaries—involved considerable change.

1. With Belgium:

From the point common to the three frontiers of Belgium, Holland and Germany and in a southerly direction:

the north-eastern boundary of the former territory of neutral Moresnet, then the eastern boundary of the Kreis of Eupen, then the frontier between Belgium and the Kreis of Montjoie, then the north-eastern and eastern boundary of the Kreis of Malmédy to its junction with the frontier of Luxemburg.

Note to II, 27 (1)

In the delimitation proceedings the Conference of Ambassadors approved on July 22, 1920 the cession to Belgium of the Rohrer-Kalterherberg Railroad line and that part of the Kreis (circle) of Montjoie situated west of that line. Modifications of the treaty line near Roetgen were made as compensation.

Decisions concerning the fixation of the Belgo-German boundary according to these specifications, made and in effect November 6, 1922, were published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1924, ii, 1. A German decree of May 18, 1940 incorporated Eupen, Malmédy, and neutral Moresnet in the German Reich, thus reverting to the pre-1919 boundary (ibid., 1940, i, 777). The three have a total area of 366.59 square miles.

See also part III, section I.

An arrangement between Belgium and Germany regulating frontier questions, signed at Aix-la-Chapelle November 7, 1929 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1931, ii, 126), was followed by an additional arrangement concluded on May 10, 1935 and in force November 15 (ibid., 1935, ii, 751).

2. With Luxemburg:

The frontier of August 3, 1914, to its junction with the frontier of France of the 18th July, 1870.

Note to II, 27 (2)

The boundary of Germany with Luxembourg remained that of the treaty respecting the neutralization of Luxembourg signed at London, May 11, 1867, which was severally binding upon Austria, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Prussia, and Russia [Page 125](57 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 52; Hertslet, Map of Europe by Treaty, p. 1801).

Article 84 of the treaty of peace with Austria and article 68 of the treaty of peace with Hungary accept this as one of the arrangements concluded by the Allied and Associated Powers relating to Luxembourg. The Netherlands and Russia, other parties to the treaty of 1867, were not parties to the treaty of peace with Germany.

See also part III, section II.

3. With France:

The frontier of July 18, 1870, from Luxemburg to Switzerland with the reservations made in Article 48 of Section IV (Saar Basin) of Part III.

Note to II, 27 (3)

This was the frontier of 1815, imposed on France after the “Hundred Days” of Napoleon. At Paris the French Government asked for the frontier of 1814, which would have included in France the territory west of the Saar district and the city of Landau.

The treaty between France and Germany regarding the delimitation of the frontier made pursuant to this provision was signed at Paris on August 14, 1925. The exchange of ratifications was not effected until May 15, 1928 (75 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 103). In its technical aspects, the treaty was an excellent example of modern frontier delimitation. Its main text ran to 53 articles, and 8 extensive annexes took into account the many special factors which insured the establishment of definitive boundary lines and smooth operation of a frontier-zone regime. For purposes of the treaty, the frontier between France and Germany was divided into three sections:

(1)
The Prussian sector from Luxembourg to the territory of the Saar Basin;
(2)
The Bavarian sector from the territory of the Saar Basin to the State of Baden;
(3)
The Baden sector extending along the Rhine as far as Switzerland.

Modifications in the frontier as compared with that before 1871 were minor, consisting of one cession by each party in the first section, and in the second section five cessions by France to Germany and four by Germany to France. All these, however, resulted in the transfer of only .76 hectare by France to Germany and of .77 hectare [Page 126]by Germany to France along a border 265 kilometers in length. The boundary marks were verified by a joint inspection every 5 years. The administration of the frontier zone, which extended 5 kilometers each side of the line, was remitted to the local authorities, whose regulations and usages were made applicable both to roads and waterways intersecting or running along the frontier. No occasion arose for either party to exercise its right of bringing any dispute regarding the interpretation or application of the treaty before the Permanent Court of International Justice.

An unusual feature of the treaty was an annex describing in full detail the course of the boundary line and indicating its local characteristics even to the extent of identifying buildings intersected by the line which should not be rebuilt if they were razed or fell into disuse. The principle of visibility between delimitation marks was aimed at. The Rhine was divided by the axis of the thalweg, defined as “the continuous line of deepest soundings”.

4. With Switzerland:

The present frontier.

5. With Austria:

The frontier of August 3, 1914, from Switzerland to Czechoslovakia as hereinafter defined.

6. With Czecho-Slovakia:

The frontier of August 3, 1914, between Germany and Austria from its junction with the old administrative boundary separating Bohemia and the province of Upper Austria to the point north of the salient of the old province of Austrian Silesia situated at about 8 kilometres east of Neustadt.

Note to II, 27 (5, 6)

The German frontier to the south remained unchanged with the difference that, whereas Germany formerly abutted upon the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, later it was conterminous with Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The German frontier with Czechoslovakia followed the line of the old German-Austrian frontier, and Czechoslovakia received only 122 square miles of former German territory in Upper Silesia. In addition to direct contact with Germany, the Czechoslovak boundary eastward toward Poland involved small areas of former German territory.

See further part III, section VI and section VII, article 83.

[Page 127]

7. With Poland:

From the point defined above to a point to be fixed on the ground about 2 kilometres east of Lorzendorf:

the frontier as it will be fixed in accordance with Article 88 of the present Treaty;

thence in a northerly direction to the point where the administrative boundary of Posnania crosses the river Bartsch:

a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places in Poland: Skorischau, Reichthal, Trembatschau, Kunzendorf, Schleise, Gross Kosel, Schreibersdorf, Rippin, Fiirstlich-Niefken, Pawelau, Tscheschen, Konradau, Johannisdorf, Modzenowe, Bogdaj, and in Germany: Lorzendorf, Kaulwitz, Glausche, Dalbers-dorf, Reesewitz, Stradam, Gross Wartenberg, Kraschen, Neu Mittelwalde, Domaslawitz, Wedelsdorf, Tscheschen Hammer;

thence the administrative boundary of Posnania north-westwards to the point where it cuts the Rawitsch-Herrnstadt railway;

thence to the point where the administrative boundary of Posnania cuts the Reisen Tschimau road:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing west of Triebusch and Gabel and east of Saborwitz;

thence the administrative boundary of Posnania to its junction with the eastern administrative boundary of the Kreis of Fraustadt;

thence in a north-westerly direction to a point to be chosen on the road between the villages of Unruhstadt and Kopnitz:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing west of Geyersdorf, Brenno, Fehlen, Altkloster, Klebel, and east of Ulbersdorf, Buch-wald, Ilgen, Weine, Lupitze, Schwenten;

thence in a northerly direction to the northernmost point of Lake Chlop:

a line to be fixed on the ground following the median line of the lakes; the town and the station of Bentschen however (including the junction of the lines Schwiebus-Bentschen and Züllichau-Bentschen) remaining in Polish territory;

thence in a north-easterly direction to the point of junction of the boundaries of the Kreise of Schwerin, Birnbaum and Meseritz:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing east of Betsche;

thence in a northerly direction the boundary separating the Kreise of Schwerin and Birnbaum, then in an easterly direction the northern boundary of Posnania to the point where it cuts the river Netze;

thence upstream to its confluence with the Kücldow:

the course of the Netze;

[Page 128]

thence upstream to a point to be chosen about 6 kilometres southeast of Schneidemühl:

the course of the Küddow;

thence north-eastwards to the most southern point of the reentrant of the northern boundary of Posnania about 5 kilometres west of Stahren:

a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the Schneidemühl-Konitz railway in this area entirely in German territory;

thence the boundary of Posnania north-eastwards to the point of the salient it makes about 15 kilometres east of Flatow;

thence north-eastwards to the point where the river Kamionka meets the southern boundary of the Kreis of Konitz about 3 kilometres north-east of Grunau:

a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places to Poland: Jasdrowo, Gr. Lutau, Kl. Lutau, Wittkau, and to Germany: Gr. Butzig, Cziskowo, Battrow, Böck, Grunau;

thence in a northerly direction the boundary between the Kreise of Konitz and Schlochau to the point where this boundary cuts the river Brahe;

thence to a point on the boundary of Pomerania 15 kilometres east of Rummelsburg:

a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places in Poland: Konarzin, Kelpin, Adl. Briesen, and in Germany: Sampohl, Neuguth, Steinfort, Gr. Peterkau;

then the boundary of Pomerania in an easterly direction to its junction with the boundary between the Kreise of Konitz and Schlochau;

thence northwards the boundary between Pomerania and West Prussia to the point on the river Rheda about 3 kilometres northwest of Gohra where that river is joined by a tributary from the north-west;

thence to a point to be selected in the bend of the Piasnitz river about 1½ kilometres north-west of Warschkau:

a line to be fixed on the ground;

thence this river downstream, then the median line of Lake Zarnowitz, then the old boundary of West Prussia to the Baltic Sea.

Text of May 7:

From the point defined above in a northerly direction to the point of the salient of the eastern boundary of the Kreis of Falkenberg, which is about 3 kilometres east of Puschine:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing east of Zülz;

[Page 129]

thence the eastern boundary of the Kreis of Falkenberg, then the boundary between Upper and Middle Silesia, then the western boundary of Posnania to the Bartsch, then the course of this river downstream, then the boundary between the Kreise of Guhrau and of Glogau in a northerly direction, then the boundary of Posnania in a north-easterly direction to its junction with the boundary between the Kreise of Lissa and Fraustadt;

thence in a north-westerly direction to a point to be chosen on the road between the villages of Unruhstadt and Kopnitz:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing west of Geyersdorf, Brenno, Fehlen, Altkloster, Klebel, and east of Ulbersdorf, Buchwald, Ilgen, Weine, Lupitze, Schwenten;

thence in a northerly direction to the northernmost point of Lake Chlop:

a line to be fixed on the ground following the median line of the lakes; the town and the station of Bentschen however (including the junction of the lines Schwiebus-Bentschen and Züllichau-Bentschen) remaining in Polish territory;

thence in a north-north-easterly direction to the point of junction of the boundaries of the Kreise of Schwerin, Birnbaum and Meseritz:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing east of Betsche;

thence in a northerly direction the boundary separating the Kreise of Schwerin and Birnbaum, then in an easterly direction the northern boundary of the Regierungsbezirk of Posen, then in a north-easterly direction the boundary between the Kreise of Filehne and Czarnikau, then the course of the Netze upstream, then in a northerly direction the eastern boundary of the Kreis of Czarnikau to its junction with the northern boundary of Posnania;

thence in a north-easterly direction to a paint on the frontier of Posnania situated at the extremity of the salient at about 5 kilometres west-north-west of Schneidemühl:

a line to be fixed on the ground;

thence the frontier of Posnania to its junction with the boundary between the Kreise of Flatow and of Deutschkrone;

thence in a north-easterly direction to point 205 (abotit 5 kilometres west-north-west of Konitz):

a line to be fixed on the ground approximately parallel to the railway Schneidemühl-Konitz and about 8 kilometres west of it and passing to the west of Annafeld, Gresonse, Friedland, Steinborn, Jenznik, Niesewanz and east of Sakollno, Wengerz, Gursen, Radawnitz, Lanken, Damnitz, Schlochau (leaving in German territory the Hammerstein-Schlochau-Prechlau railway), Lichtenhagen, Richnau;

thence in a northerly direction to the boundary between the Kreise of Konitz and Schlochau, then the boundary of West Prussia to the northern extremity of the salient about 8 kilometres south-east of Lauenburg;

thence in a northerly direction to the Baltic Sea:

[Page 130]

a line to be fixed on the ground, passing east of the villages of Hohenfelde, Saulin, Chottschow, following the median line of the lakes situated east of those places, and through point 32 about 5 kilometres north-north-west of Ossecken.

Note to II, 27 (7)

The boundary here described defines the eastern frontier of Germany proper as left by the treaty of peace. It is also the western boundary of Poland and of the so-called “Corridor”, consisting of parts of Posen, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The Corridor enclosed the Free City of Danzig (part III, sec. XI) on the land side and separated the part of East Prussia remaining to Germany from Germany proper. Article 28 describes the Polish boundary with East Prussia, to the east of the Corridor and to the north of Poland, territory which toward the east had formerly been under Russian jurisdiction. The plebiscite area of Upper Silesia, part of which was allocated to Poland, is described in article 88. Altogether, Poland received 17,816 square miles of German territory having a population of 3,854,961 in 1910. Plebiscites by communes (Gemeinde) in the Kreise of Stukm and Rosenberg comprised within the Bezirk of Allenstein and in a portion of the Kreis Marienburg did not result in their transfer to Poland; see part III, section IX. The German-Polish Delimitation Commission officially ended its work on October 18, 1924.

The transfer of territory to Poland called for a number of preparatory steps which were provided for in separate instruments, among which were:

  • German - Polish treaty concerning the temporary regulation of questions relating to officials, Berlin, November 9, 1919; and additional protocol and convention. Paris, January 8 and 9, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied provisions concerning the functioning of inter-Allied commissions in Upper Silesia, Allenstein, and Marienwerder. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied provisions concerning the evacuation of Upper Silesia by German troops and its occupation by Allied troops. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied agreement concerning the transfer of the territories of Memel and Danzig. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied provisions concerning the evacuation of the territories of Allenstein and Marienwerder, Danzig, Memel, and Slesvig by German troops and their occupation by Allied troops. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • Czechoslovak-German procès-verbal relating to the transfer of Hultschin (art. 83, par. 1, of the treaty of peace). Paris, January 12, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied arrangement for passage of German military trains through the territories of Marienwerder and Allenstein. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German - inter-Allied instruction to the railroad service concerning the passage of Allied troops through Germany. Paris, January 7, 1920.
  • Provisions setting forth the general conditions for transport of troops and supply with regard to Allied contingents occupying the territories of Danzig, Memel, Allenstein, Marienwerder, Teschen, Slesvig, and Upper Silesia. Paris, January 8, 1920.
  • German-Polish arrangement concerning the evacuation of ceded territory and the transfer of the civil authority, Berlin, November 25, 1919, and additional protocols. Paris, January 8 and 9, 1920.
  • German-Polish agreements relative to putting the Treaty of Versailles into force. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German-Polish arrangement concerning the organization of provisional military traffic by railroad between Eastern Prussia and Germany in either direction. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German-Polish additional protocol submitting all German-Polish agreements to the jurisdiction of the Reparation Commission. Paris, January 9, 1920.
  • German-Polish arrangement relative to the evacuation and provisional occupation of the frontier zone. Paris, January 11, 1920.

8. With Denmark:

The frontier as it will be fixed in accordance with Articles 109 to 111 of Part III, Section XII (Schleswig).

Text of May 7:

The frontier as it will be fixed in accordance with Articles 109 and 110 of Part III, Section XII (Schleswig).

Note to II, 27 (8)

The frontier with Denmark depended upon the result of the Slesvig plebiscite, for which see article 109.

[Page 132]

Article 28.

The boundaries of East Prussia, with the reservations made in Section IX (East Prussia) of Part III, will be determined as follows:

Text of May 7:

The boundaries of East Prussia, with the reservations made in Articles 94 and 96 of Section IX (East Prussia) of Part III will be determined as follows:

from a point on the coast of the Baltic Sea about 1½ kilometres north of Pröbbernau church in a direction of about 159° East from true North:

a line to be fixed on the ground for about 2 kilometres;

thence in a straight line to the light at the bend of the Elbing Channel in approximately latitude 54° 19′ ½ North, longitude 19° 26′ East of Greenwich;

thence to the easternmost mouth of the Nogat River at a bearing of approximately 209° East from true North;

thence up the course of the Nogat River to the point where the latter leaves the Vistula (Weichsel);

thence up the principal channel of navigation of the Vistula, then the southern boundary of the Kreis of Marienwerder, then that of the Kreis of Rosenberg eastwards to the point where it meets the old boundary of East Prussia;

thence the old boundary between East and West Prussia, then the boundary between the Kreise of Osterode and Neidenburg, then the course of the river Skottau downstream, then the course of the Neide upstream to a point situated about 5 kilometres west of Bialutten being the nearest point to the old frontier of Russia;

thence in an easterly direction to a point immediately south of the intersection of the road Neicienburg-Mlava with the old frontier of Russia:

a line to be fixed on the ground passing north of Bialutten;

thence the old frontier of Russia to a point east of Schmal-leningken, then the principal channel of navigation of the Niemen (Memel) downstream, then the Skierwieth arm of the delta to the Kurisches Haff;

thence a straight line to the point where the eastern shore of the Kurische Nehrung meets the administrative boundary about 4 kilometres south-west of Nidden;

thence this administrative boundary to the western shore of the Kurische Nehrung.

[Page 133]

Note to II, 28

The so-called “Polish Corridor” was 42,928 square kilometers in area and came from former German provinces as follows:

Sq. km. 1910 Census
East Prussia 501 24,700
West Prussia 15,864 964,700
Posen 26,042 1,946,400
Pomerania and Brandenburg 10 200
Lower Silesia 511 26,200
42,928 2,962,200

Article 29.

The boundaries as described above are drawn in red on a one-in-a-million map which is annexed to the present Treaty (Map N° 1.) [Map not reproduced.]

In the case of any discrepancies between the text of the Treaty and this map or any other map which may be annexed, the text will be final.

Article 30.

In the case of boundaries which are defined by a waterway, the terms “course” and “channel” used in the present Treaty signify; in the case of non-navigable rivers, the median line of the waterway or of its principal arm, and, in the case of navigable rivers, the median line of the principal channel of navigation. It will rest with the Boundary Commissions provided by the present Treaty to specify in each case whether the frontier line shall follow any changes of the course or channel which may take place or whether it shall be definitely fixed by the position of the course or channel at the time when the present Treaty comes into force.

Note to II, 30

The instructions relative to boundary commissions, first issued on October 6, 1919, were approved in an amended form by the Conference of Ambassadors on July 22, 1920 (file 763.72119/10348). The commissions were empowered to modify the attribution of localities in unimportant respects by unanimous decisions. The text of the treaty overruled the maps of the treaty in case of any discrepancy, taking into account “administrative boundaries and local economic interests to the exclusion of any national, linguistic or religious reason”. The protocols they drew up concerned the settlement [Page 134]of juridical questions and became definitive after approval by the interested states.

The Japanese Government withdrew its representatives on all commissions of delimitation as of the end of February 1923 (file 763.72119/11951).

  1. Unless otherwise indicated, the date of the German declaration, protest, or proposal was May 29, 1919.
  2. Unless otherwise indicated, the date of the Allied reply was June 16, 1919.