PARIS PEACE conference
Representatives from 32 different powers, great & small, gathered in paris in 1919 to decide the fate of the world. their success & failure is still debated
the Paris Peace conference was the primary means by which politicians sought to reshape the world after the end of World War i. it was a chance for powers that felt they had been marginalised to assert their independence, and an opportunity for imperial powers to further extend their global influence. this fundamental contraction caused significant problems for many of the key geographical areas the diplomats in Paris needed to address. While many could agree to the basic justice of United states President Woodrow Wilson’s call for ‘national self-determination’, the actual implementation of this ideal – the creation of a bunch of new nationstates – was enormously complex. How would one determine new national borders? Was it to be based on where ethnic or linguistic populations happened to currently be living?
this was enormously fraught due to the highly heterogeneous nature of places like eastern europe. these regions were far more ethnically heterogeneous in 1919 than in the modern day – a result of multiple rounds of ethnic cleansing after World War i, again during World War ii, and finally yet again in the aftermath of World War ii. should borders be based on historical analogue states? if so the borders of empires like Poland-lithuania and other eastern european states and empires were bound to overlap, forcing people on the ground to determine where borders should lie by force of arms. this ambiguity set the stage for the widespread violence after World War i officially ended.