A Precarious Peace
The Treaty of Versailles and the World, 1918–1923
Diplomats and political leaders from all over the world came to Versailles in the spring of 1919 to agree on a peace settlement for the biggest war the world had seen so far. However, the treaty did not bring stable peace. This volume traces how the First World War came to an end, why the size of the task completely overwhelmed the participants and what their decisions meant for the rest of the 20th century and beyond.
The First World War was an industrialized mass war. The longer it lasted, the more it changed the societies that were involved and the faster it confounded the knowledge of politicians and diplomats. How to demobilize a whole society without risking an economic collapse? How to justify the horrendous sacrifices? And how to ensure that this disaster doesn’t happen again? With an eye toward the global context, Jörn Leonhard shows how the world slipped from war into peace. He describes the soaring plans as well as overwhelming problems and shaky compromises that were difficult to reconcile with the ambitious expectations. The war did finally come to an end. But the way it ended left the world with a difficult legacy – one that we have to deal with untill today.
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