1st Edition

The Making of a World Order Global Historical Perspectives on the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

Edited By Albert Wu, Stephen W. Sawyer Copyright 2024

    Why does 1919 deserve further study and debate a hundred years later? What lessons for global history may we learn from the world order created at the end of the Great War? Drawing insight from the global turn of the past several decades that has forced us to reconsider the most important world events and processes since the French Revolution and especially the growing interest in World War I as a global conflict that extended far beyond the borders of Europe, this volume explores the global political ramifications of the treaties prepared at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 by focusing on key topics: how the Paris Peace Conference re-shaped the geo-political configurations of the Middle East, the importance of transformations in Asia and particularly China in the immediate postwar period, the shifts in Southeastern Europe, new feminist movements in Central Europe, and the pre-history of neoliberalism.

    Read together, the papers demonstrate how the peace treaties signed in 1919 and 1920 marked a profound transformation on local, national, continental, and global scales.

    Introduction: A World Made and Unmade
    Albert Wu and Stephen W. Sawyer

    Part I: Revisiting the “Peace” in Europe

    1. A Peace Falling Between Two Stools
    George-Henri Soutou

    2. A Century of French Historiography on the Treaty of Versailles
    Alain Chatriot

    3. The Versailles Treaty and the German Imperial Mindscape: The Navy, the Colonial East, and the Impossible Peace in Postwar Germany.
    Erik Grimmer-Solem

    Part II: Peripheries of Peace?

    4. Solving the Schleswig Question: Danish Agitation and International Reception of the Schleswig Plebiscite
    Ryan J. Gesme

    5. International Women in National Politics: The Little Entente of Women and the Role of Self-Determination in East Central Europe in the Wake of 1919.
    Marijana Kardum

    6. Unlikely Internationalists: Ottoman-Turkish Views on the League of Nations During the Paris Peace Conference
    Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş

    Part III: China, A Missing Peace?

    7. Chinese Interpretations of the Great War, the Versailles Peace, and “May Fourth”
    Peter Zarrow

    8. Local Networks with Global Reach: Sichuanese “Citizen-Journalists” Reporting From the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and the Formation of Public Opinion in China
    Sebastian Veg

    9. The Meanings of the 1919 Moment in China: Sovereignty, Connectivity, and National Awakening
    Tze-ki Hon

    Part IV: The Birth of Global Governance

    10. Peace (Re)settlement: The Treaty of Versailles and the Reshaping of Global Migration Governance
    Chris Szabla

    11. World War I, the Paris Peace Conference, and Conflicts Over Global Health Governance
    Albert Wu

    12. Neoliberalism and Peace: Libéralisme Constructif and Global Governance After the First World War
    Martin Beddeleem and Hagen Schulz-Forberg

    Epilogue: The Unsettling Settlement of 1919
    Priya Satia


    Albert Wu is an associate research fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, in Taipei, Taiwan. Trained as a global historian, his work lies at the intersection of the histories of imperialism, religion, and medicine. He is the author of From Christ to Confucius: German Missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Globalization of Christianity, 1860–1950 (2016).

    Stephen W. Sawyer is the Ballantine-Leavitt Professor of History and Director of the Center for Critical Democracy Studies at the American University of Paris. He has published widely on French political and diplomatic history, including two books: Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840–1880 (2018) and Adolphe Thiers: La contingence et le pouvoir (2018).