New European Orders, 1919 and 1991

In This Review

New European Orders, 1919 and 1991

Edited by Samuel F. Wells, Jr. and Paula Bailey Smith
Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1996
121 pp. $32.50
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This fine collection of essays by American scholars and the English historian David Dilks originated in two conferences organized by the East and West European Studies Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington and Prague. We are used to comparisons between the post-World War I and post-World War II European orders. This slim volume forces us to think about "after 1919" and "after 1991." The authors examine postwar structures, public opinion, minority rights, economic vulnerability, collective security, and lessons of the Yugoslav crisis (but only up to 1993). While no sweeping generalizations emerge, and the brevity of most of the essays leaves one a little hungry for more, they are thought-provoking, elegant, and well worth reading. One question hangs over the volume: Will a new European order develop, one less flimsy than the "order" that collapsed so soon after 1919? The answer is pretty cautious, as can be expected from a group of historians and historically minded political scientists.