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

History of War - - THE AFTERMATH -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.