The pen with which the peace treaty with Austria was signed, 1919 : Senator the Honourable G F Pearce, Minister for Defence

Accession Number RELAWM01108.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Ink, Metal
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1919
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918

Brown fountain pen with gold nib.

History / Summary

This pen was used by Senator the Honourable George Foster Pearce, Australian Minister of Defence to sign the peace treaty with Austria at St. Germain, France on September 10 1919. Foster was the representative of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Treaty of St Germain Versailles was one of five treaties formulated at the Paris Peace Conference as part of the peace negotiations at the end of the First World War. The Treaty of St. Germain related to establishing the conditions of peace with Austria. This treaty was signed by Austria and twenty-seven Allied and associated countries in the Château Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, southwest of Paris, on 10 September 1919. It formally dissolved the Austro-Hungarian Empire and recognised the independence of Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. A separate treaty, the Treaty of Trianon, was signed with Hungary the following year.

The peace treaty of Saint-Germain contained 381 articles, which included a ban on Austria introducing compulsory military service, and set an upper limit for their professional army of 30,000 men in service. Arms factories were also banned, and the Austro-Hungarian navy was broken up and distributed among the Allies. Austria was also obligated to pay reparations for war damage, which was to be determined by a special commission of the Allied states. However no monetary payments were ever made.

The treaty also included regulations on the international diplomatic group, the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations which was developed as a way to solve disputes between countries before they erupted into open warfare. Austria joined the League of Nations in December 1920 however Germany was forbidden to join until 1926. The union of Austria with Germany was also expressly forbidden without the consent of the League.