Proposed Partition of the German-Speaking Peoples

A French economist was ahead of his time and proposed to split Germany after the First, not the Second, World War.

Yves Guyot's proposal for the partition of Germany, published in the British Dominions Year Book 1918
Yves Guyot’s proposal for the partition of Germany, published in the British Dominions Year Book 1918 (University of Texas Libraries)

As World War I drew to a close, French strategists argued for the dismantling of the German-speaking empires to prevent them from being able to wage war in Europe again.

Yves Guyot, a former cabinet minister and editor of the Journal des √©conomistes, shared such views, although he did caution against treating Germany too harshly for fear of inspiring revanchism — which, of course, would happen anyway and lead to World War II.

Guyot’s proposal for the dismantling of Austria and Germany was published in the British Dominions Year Book 1918 and is shown here.

His plan called for the creation of a Central German Federation in the north, composed of Hanover, Hesse, Nassau, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and a Federation of the Rhine in the west and south, encompassing the predominantly Catholic parts of Germany. Prussia would have been reduced to more or less the size it was before the Napoleonic Wars.

Austria and Hungary were to be separated with the Czech and Slovak lands turned into “Bohemia”. Unlike Guyot’s proposal for Germany, this one happened in the real world, except Bohemia was called Czechoslovakia.

To see post-World War II partition plans, click here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a reply