A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today

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A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today

By David A. Andelman
Wiley, 2007
336 pp. $25.95
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The failures of the peacemakers of 1919 have long been blamed for the breakdown of international order in subsequent decades. In this engaging account of the Paris peace conference, Andelman argues that the diplomatic missteps and lost opportunities of that postwar moment echo all the way forward to the anger of peoples in today's non-Western world who are still seeking a seat at the table. His story focuses on the dashed hopes of the weak postcolonial nations that came to Paris inspired by Woodrow Wilson's talk of self-determination and a new era of moral responsibility in the management of international affairs but were ultimately push aside by the old thinking of Allied leaders. "The seeds of today's terrorist wars," he writes, "were planted in the halls of the Paris talks -- by those who were there and those who were not." Readers, however, are mostly left to draw inferences themselves about how the "seeds" planted in Paris made possible the violence and hatred of later generations. Also largely absent from the book are the events that set the stage for 1919: the collapse of empire, the end of European mastery, the rise of the United States, the spread of mass democracy.