I have learned in school that the Treaty of Versailles (after World War I in 1919) contained a clause that forbade unification of Germany and Austria. Presumably it is Article 80:

Germany acknowledges and will respect strictly the independence of Austria, within the frontiers which may be fixed in a Treaty between that State and the Principal Allied and Associated Powers; she agrees that this independence shall be inalienable, except with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations.

What I am wondering is this: do we know about other peace treaties that contain/ed similar provisions (i.e. regulations against unification, not just possible annexions)? If so, which one was signed most recently?


4 Answers 4


I assume you are not interested in fairly common cases of a new country becoming independent and the old country recognising that. An example might be section 2 of the Canada Act 1982 passed by the UK parliament at the request of the Canadian government, which said

No Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the Constitution Act, 1982 comes into force shall extend to Canada as part of its law.

More interesting cases are those where the agreement is with a third country aimed at maintaining a balance of power and preventing an overly powerful state emerging. These are rare as they are clear limitations of future sovereignty. For example, there are rumours that Thatcher and Mitterrand had misgivings over German reunification (they liked Germany so much that they wanted two of them), but there was nothing they could do.

So you may need to go further back for actual examples: one was at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession where the kings of France and Spain renounced any claims to each other then and in future (they were close family so there was a chance one would inherit from the other), and then agreed this with other countries, such as in the France/Great Britain treaty of Utrecht in 1713 which said

Now whereas it is provided and settled by the preceding Renunciation (which is always to have the force of a pragmatic, fundamental, and inviolable Law) that at no time whatever either the Catholic King himself, or any of his lineage, shall seek to obtain the Crown of France, or ascend the Throne thereof; and by reciprocal Renunciations on the part of France and by Settlements of the Hereditary Succession there, tending to the same purpose, the Crowns of France and Spain are so divided and separated from each other, that the aforesaid Renunciations, and the other Transactions relating thereto, remaining in force, and being truly and faithfully observed, they can never be joined in one

and a similar provision in the Spain/Great Britain treaty and then many other treaties that France and Spain signed with the Holy Roman Empire and others.

  • +1 Do you have a link for the full text (or relevant section) of the treaty of Utrecht?
    – Drux
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 8:36
  • 1
    See for example heraldica.org/topics/france/utrecht1a.pdf - my quote appears on page 39 of the pdf i.e. page 377 of the book it is scanned from: Chalmers, George, A collection of treaties between Great Britain and other powers.
    – Henry
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 8:43

The State Treaty for the Re-establishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria (Vienna, 15 May 1955) contains the following articles:

Part I: - Political and Territorial Clauses

Article 3
Recognition by Germany of Austrian Independence The Allied and Associated Powers will incorporate in the German Peace Treaty provisions for securing from Germany the recognition od Austria's sovereignty and independence and the renunciation by Germany of all territorial and political claims in respect of Austria and Austrian territory.

Article 4
Prohibition of Anschluss

  1. The Allied and Associated Powers declare that political and economic union between Austria and Germany is prohibited. Austria gully recognizes its responsibilities in this matter and shall not enter into political or economic union with Germany in any form whatsoever.

  2. In order to prevent such union Austria shall not conclude any agreement with Germany, nor do any act, nor take any measures likely, directly or indirectly, to promote political or economic union with Germany, or to impair its territorial integrity or political or economic independence. Austria further undertakes to prevent within its territory any act likely, directly or indirectly, to promote such union and shall prevent the existence, resurgence and activities of any organization having as their aim political or economic union with Germany, and pan-German propaganda in favour of union with Germany.

Article 5
Frontiers of Austria

The frontiers of Austria shall be those existing on 1st January, 1938.

When Austria was considering, and being considered for, EU entry in 1995 this treaty formed a basis of argument against her entry. However this argument was overcome because of the four enforcing powers of the treaty, to wit France, United Kingdom, United States and the Soviet Union, the three extant powers withdrew their treaty objections. The fourth enforcing power, the Soviet Union, no longer existed and thus no longer could provide objections. A legal quibble perhaps, as Russia still held the former Soviet permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, but a successful one.

A referendum by the Austrian people then voted in favour of entry, and the corresponding diminishment of their permanent neutral status, by about 66%.


Article 37 deals with which additional nations can accede to the Treaty and become an additional Associated Power in regards to the Treaty, but this warrant is limited to countries which were a United Nation on May 8, 1945, by virtue of being at was with Germany. As best I can determine this warrant has not been exercised by any other power.


One answer could be the Pakistan India war of 1971. Bangladesh became Independent. I'm fairly confident that there would have been a clause in the Similar agreement agreeing that Pakistan would not annex Bangladesh in the future, although I realize this would be difficult. This is probably the case whenever a land gains independence.

Other examples might be from world war two ....probably with Germany.

I hope this adds a little to your question.

  • 3
    Nope. Pakistan recognition of Bangladesh happened some years after the Bangladesh Liberation War / Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Neither the terms of surrender nor the (sadly temporary) normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India explicitly prohibited reintegration of Bangladesh - probably because of the geographic remove, it was unlikely in the first place. Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 22:06

Well the famous "scrap of paper" Treaty that Great Britain had with Belgium that brought them into WWI assured the independence and neutrality of Belgium and Luxembourg against all comers.

  • 3
    Can you please cite the specific clause in the "scrap of paper" that forbade unification e.g. of Belgium and X.
    – Drux
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 5:55

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