"Nous ne pouvons acquérir de connaissance que par la voie de la comparaison" -- Buffon.
THOUGH much yet remains to be done, gradually the pattern of peacemaking is emerging from the cloud of conferences. To appreciate the value of the processes being pursued and the results obtained is not easy. Some sense of proportion may be achieved, however, by a comparison with the past, especially with what happened in the other two periods of comprehensive peacemaking, 1814-15 and 1918-1921. Our estimate of the Congress of Vienna was drastically revised by the experience of the Paris Conference of 1919. The verdict on the peace treaties that ended the First World War is already in process of being changed by our recent experiences. Let us hope that the present settlement will never have to be reviewed in the light of another series of peace treaties.
Each of these three settlements was the result of a world-wide war. The whole of Europe was involved in the Napoleonic wars, nearly the whole of it in the other two. The Middle East and Africa were an arena of conflict in all three wars, the area much increasing with each succeeding war. India and the Dutch East Indies were included in the Napoleonic wars but not the rest of the Far East and the Pacific, which at that time had only occasional contacts with the rest of the world. The war of 1914-1918 affected the Far East deeply, even though it hardly touched China, Malaya and India. In the last war, the Far East was one of the main centers of contest. The outcome of the war in each case depended more than anything else on the defeat of the most powerful enemy in Europe. It is significant, however, that the last war really began outside of Europe and that the course of military events in Europe was much more influenced by what happened in other continents than had ever been the case before.
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