he Paris Peace Conference and the Challenge of a New World Order
The Peace Conference held in Paris in the aftermath of the Great War remains among the most important yet also most controversial events in modern history. Although it is often considered to have made a second global war all but inevitable, it has also been praised for providing the basis for an enduring peace that was squandered recklessly by poor international leadership during the 1930s.
A major international conference will take place in Paris in June 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the 1919 Conference from a global perspective. The purpose of this event is to re-examine the history of the Peace Conference through a thematic focus on the different approaches to order in world politics in the aftermath of the First World War. A remarkably wide range of actors in Paris – from political leaders, soldiers and diplomats to colonial nationalist envoys and trade unionists, economists, women’s associations and ordinary citizens – produced a wide array of proposals for a future international and, indeed, global order. These proposals were often based on vastly different understandings of world politics. They went beyond the articulation of specific national security interests to make claims about the construction and maintenance of peace and the need for new norms and new institutions to achieve this aim. To what extent the treaties and their subsequent implementation represented a coherent world order remains a question of debate.
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