Negotiating Table of the Locarno Treaties


The Locarno Conference of October 1925, named for the small city in southern Switzerland where it was held, is remembered for the agreement known as the Locarno Pact. Signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy, the treaty guaranteed Germany’s western frontier, which the bordering states of France, Germany, and Belgium pledged to treat as inviolable. Britain and Italy promised to help in repelling any armed aggression across the frontier. The Rhineland, a part of Germany occupied by the victorious Allied Powers after World War I, was permanently demilitarized and occupying forces withdrawn. The agreement was to come into force only when Germany was admitted to the League of Nations with a seat on the Council, which occurred in 1926. Six other treaties were concluded at Locarno, including arbitration agreements between Germany and Poland and Germany and Czechoslovakia and agreements by which France and Poland and France and Czechoslovakia promised military assistance to each other in case of attack by a third power. This photograph of the negotiators at work was taken on October 5, the first day of the conference. Locarno marked the end of the war period and the beginning of a hopeful new era of peace and cooperation in Europe, but one that did not survive the economic and political crisis of the 1930s. In 1936, Adolf Hitler denounced the Locarno Pact and sent German troops back into the Rhineland. The photograph shown here is in the archives of the League of Nations, which were transferred to the United Nations in 1946 and are housed at the UN office in Geneva. They were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.

Last updated: August 5, 2016