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p. 473. Ideals versus interestslocked

  • Michael S. Neiberg


“Ideals versus interests” considers the workings of the Paris Peace Conference by examining four different rationales for the shifting of post-imperial borders in Europe. Unfortunately, they often stood at cross purposes to one another. The most obvious, and most traditional, rationale would award the winners pieces of territory taken away from the losers. A second rationale, supported by Woodrow Wilson, was national self-determination, which proved maddeningly difficult to administer. The third rationale was strategic: the new states needed to have borders that they could defend and had to be able to play a role in stabilizing and balancing the postwar order. The fourth rationale was economic: the new states needed to feed themselves.

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