As to the duties of the vanquished, besides evacuating the occupied territories, they were to reconstruct Belgium, to restore to France the territories taken in 1871; to restore all the territories belonging to Rumania, Serbia and Montenegro, giving Serbia a free and secure access to the sea; to constitute a free Poland with territories undoubtedly Polish to which there might be granted a free and secure access to the sea. Poland, founded on secure ethnical bases, far from being a military State, was to be an element of peace, and her political and economic independence and territorial integrity were to have been guaranteed by an international agreement.
After the rectification of the Italian frontier according to the principles of nationality, the peoples of Austria-Hungary were to agree on the free opportunity of their autonomous development. In other terms, each people could freely choose autonomy or throw in its lot with some other State. After giving a certain sovereignty to the Turkish populations of the Ottoman Empire the other nationalities were to be allowed to develop autonomously, and the free navigation of the Dardanelles was to be internationally guaranteed.
These principles announced by President Wilson, and already proclaimed in part by the Entente Powers when they stoutly affirmed that they were fighting for right, for democracy and for peace, did not constitute a concession but a duty towards the enemy. In each of the losing countries, in Germany as in Austria-Hungary, the democratic groups contrary to the War, and those even more numerous which had accepted the War as in a momentary intoxication, when they exerted themselves for the triumph of peace, had counted on the statements, or rather on the solemn promises which American democracy had made not only in the name of the United States but in that of all the Entente Powers.
Let us now try to sum up the terms imposed on Germany and the other losing countries by the treaty of June 28, 1919. The treaty, it is true, was concluded between the allied and associated countries and Germany, but it also concerns the very existence of other countries such as Austria-Hungary, Russia, etc.:
Until the payment of an indemnity the amount of which is as yet not definitely stated, Germany loses the fundamental characters of a sovereign state. Not only part of her territory remains under the occupation of the ex-enemy troops for a period of fifteen years but a whole series of controls is established, military, administrative, on transports, etc. The Commission for Reparations is empowered to effect all the changes it thinks fit in the laws and regulations of the German State, besides applying sanctions of a military and economic nature in the event of violations of the clauses placed under its control (Art. 240, 241).