16 May 1920

In Rome, Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc, born in 1412 in Domrémy, France, claimed to have received visions from saints instructing her to support Charles VII and help drive the English out of France during the Hundred Years’ War. Her role in the Siege of Orléans and her influence on the subsequent coronation of Charles VII were pivotal moments in French history. However, she was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried for heresy, and burned at the stake in 1431.

Rehabilitation Trial (1456): Twenty-five years after her execution, a trial of rehabilitation, initiated by the Catholic Church and supported by Charles VII, overturned her conviction. This trial portrayed Joan as a martyr who had been unjustly executed, clearing her name and setting the stage for future sanctification.

Growing Veneration: Over the centuries, Joan’s legend grew, and she became a symbol of French nationalism and piety. Her veneration as a folk saint increased despite her not being officially recognized by the Church.

Formal Canonization Process: The formal process for her canonization began in 1903 under Pope Pius X. The process involves rigorous scrutiny of Joan’s life, her virtues, and the miracles attributed to her intercession.

Beatification (1909): Joan was beatified in 1909 by Pope Pius X after the Church officially recognized several miracles associated with her.

Canonization (1920): Joan was canonized as a saint by Pope Benedict XV on May 16, 1920. Her canonization was seen as a confirmation of her faith, her nationalistic fervor being interpreted as a divine inspiration, and her martyrdom as a testament to her sanctity.

Joan of Arc’s canonization was a significant event not only for the Catholic Church but also for the French nation, embodying themes of courage, faith, and patriotism. Her life and legacy continue to inspire people around the world and she remains a popular figure in religious, historical, and cultural contexts.

31 August 1920

Polish–Soviet War: A decisive Polish victory in the Battle of Komarów.

The Polish-Soviet War, which took place from 1919 to 1921, resulted in a Polish victory. The war was fought between Poland and Soviet Russia, along with its Bolshevik government. The conflict had multiple phases and was characterized by various military operations and battles. One of the most notable events during the war was the Battle of Warsaw, also known as the “Miracle on the Vistula,” which took place in August 1920. The Polish forces successfully repelled the Soviet offensive and managed to push the Soviet Red Army back.

The war concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Riga in March 1921. This treaty recognized Poland’s territorial gains and established a new eastern border between Poland and Soviet Russia. As a result, Poland retained control over most of the disputed territories and emerged as the victor in the conflict.

4 June 1920

Hungary loses 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon is signed in Paris.

The Treaty of Trianon was a peace agreement signed on June 4, 1920, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary. It was one of the several treaties that followed the Paris Peace Conference and aimed to reorganize Europe after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Treaty of Trianon dealt specifically with Hungary and its borders. It was signed in the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles, France. The main purpose of the treaty was to drastically reduce Hungary’s territory and reconfigure its borders.

Under the terms of the treaty, Hungary lost approximately 72% of its pre-war territory. Large portions of land were transferred to neighboring countries, including Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Austria. These territorial losses significantly affected Hungary’s access to natural resources, industrial centers, and agricultural land.

In addition to territorial changes, the treaty imposed other significant provisions on Hungary. It limited Hungary’s military forces, imposed severe economic reparations, and established new minority rights for ethnic groups residing within Hungary’s new borders.

The Treaty of Trianon had a profound impact on Hungary and its population. It led to a significant reduction in Hungary’s influence and power in the region, while also causing economic and social hardships. The loss of territory and resources fueled nationalist sentiments and grievances, which had long-term consequences for Hungary’s political and social dynamics.

The treaty remained a contentious issue in Hungarian history and had a lasting impact on the country’s national identity. It was seen by many Hungarians as an unfair and punitive settlement, and discussions surrounding the treaty continue to this day.

16 January 1920

The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.

The League of Nations was an international organization founded after World War I in 1920 with the aim of promoting peace, cooperation, and disarmament among its member countries. However, the League failed to prevent the outbreak of World War II and was dissolved in 1946.

The League faced many challenges during its existence. Some of the most significant ones include:

Lack of participation: The League had limited participation, as some major powers like the United States never joined, and other powers like Germany and Japan left the organization in the 1930s.

Limited authority: The League’s authority was limited by the requirement for unanimity among its members, which made it difficult to take action against member states that violated international law.

Weaknesses in the organization: The League lacked the necessary military and economic resources to enforce its decisions.

Failure to prevent aggression: The League was unable to prevent aggression by countries like Italy, Japan, and Germany in the 1930s, which led to the outbreak of World War II.

In the end, the failure of the League of Nations led to the creation of the United Nations, which was founded in 1945 and remains an important international organization today.

16 May 1920

Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc, a peasant girl living in medieval France, believed that God had chosen her to lead France to victory in its long-running war with England. With no military training, Joan convinced the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orléans, where it achieved a momentous victory over the English and their French allies, the Burgundians. After seeing the prince crowned King Charles VII, Joan was captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces, tried for witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431, at the age of 19. By the time she was officially canonized in 1920, the Maid of Orléans had long been considered one of history’s greatest saints, and an enduring symbol of French unity and nationalism.

Born around 1412, Jeanne d’Arc was the daughter of a tenant farmer, Jacques d’Arc, from the village of Domrémy, in northeastern France. She was not taught to read or write, but her pious mother instilled in her a deep love for the Catholic Church and its teachings. At the time, France had long been torn apart by a bitter conflict with England, in which England had gained the upper hand. A peace treaty in 1420 disinherited the French crown prince, Charles of Valois, amid accusations of his illegitimacy, and King Henry V was made ruler of both England and France. His son, Henry VI, succeeded him in 1422. Along with its French allies, England occupied much of northern France, and many in Joan’s village, Domrémy, were forced to abandon their homes under threat of invasion.