Why were countries founded after the First World War


Lars Lüdicke

To person

M.A., born 1977; Lecturer at the Historical Institute of the University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam.
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The effects of the World War weighed heavily on the post-war European order. He had produced tendencies that would make the Second World War possible in the first place.


This is not a peace. That is an armistice for twenty years ", [1] was the gloomy prognosis of the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Entente had accepted the German surrender on November 11, 1918 and who now, six months later, predicted that the In fact, Foch's premonition came true with a peculiar accuracy: 20 years later, with the German attack on Poland, a new war began, which even exceeded the horrors and destruction of the world war that had just ended.

The Second World War was certainly not an inevitable, inevitable consequence of the First, and yet its effects weighed heavily on the peace order established in 1919. The war had strengthened some lines of development in the 19th century, broke off some, developed others as new forms and brought about a continuity of structures and systems as well as a break with the past that were of immense importance for the entire century. This applied initially to the peace treaties, which were a product of the war-influenced traditions of thought and which created a contradicting post-war order that sparked calls for revision all over Europe.

Still under the influence of the war, the peace congress of the Allied and Associated Powers met from January 1919 in Versailles on the main question of how a lasting peace could be achieved. At the end of October 1918, shortly before the end of the fighting, the French Foreign Ministry had demanded that "the work of Bismarck be destroyed" "in order to secure a lasting peace for Europe". [2] For a long time, Georges Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister, stuck to the goal of achieving absolute security against Germany by means of a hard peace treaty that gave hope for the collapse of the empire and the gaining of the Rhine border. For him, who remained stuck in traditional national-state thinking, the drastic limitation of the German power potential in territorial, military and economic terms was an indispensable requirement for France's security.

This brought the seemingly escalating French security interests into inextricable contradiction to the Anglo-Saxon security premises. Woodrow Wilson, the President of the USA, had already set up the model of world peace during the World War, which was based on the right of peoples to self-determination and international cooperation in a "League of Nations". His plan to make the world safe for democracy should make repeating such a terrible war impossible. At the same time, his idea of ​​a peace of justice, which he presented on January 8, 1918 in a fourteen-point program, also marks a reaction to the October Revolution in Russia. The goal pursued by Lenin of the world proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat should, according to Wilson's resolution, be countered with a democratically constituted Europe. Germany, which at the end of the war and during the revolution had changed from an empire to a parliamentary democracy modeled on the west, was of particular importance in Wilson's view: as still the economically strongest country on the continent and as the most populous power west of the Russian Soviet republic Germany, which has changed from a military state to a western-oriented civil society, will in future be involved in maintaining peace. At the same time, Wilson's idealistic aim had a practical implication: to stabilize Germany as a democratic state against Bolshevism, at the same time followed the calculation of maintaining it as a prosperous national economy integrated into the world economy as a producer and market, if only to be able to skim off reparations.