For more than half a century, it has been widely recognized that the Treaty of Versailles, founded on retribution against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, created the circumstances that led inevitably to World War II. Less acknowledged and understood is the treaty’s profound impact on many other parts of the world―an impact that echoes to this day across Asia, the Balkans, and throughout the Middle East.
In A Shattered Peace, veteran foreign correspondent David A. Andelman takes a fresh new look at the Treaty of Versailles as the point of origin for many of today’s most critical international issues. This revealing history exposes the powerful lessons that a six-month period in a long ago era has for us today.
Andelman turns the spotlight on the many errors committed by the peacemakers that directly led to crises and bloodshed from Algeria to Kosovo and wars from Israel to Vietnam. Focusing on the small nations and minor players at the negotiations, including figures such as Ho Chi Minh and Charles de Gaulle who would later become major names, he traces the outcome of the deliberations through the history of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. His conclusion is ominous: not only did the paternalism, ignorance, and self-serving approach of the Great Powers who sculpted the treaty lead to disastrous consequences that were predicted at the time, but current policies of the world’s developed nations continue to repeat and reaffirm these same mistakes.
Andelman also paints a vivid picture of the glittering and often chaotic social whirl that accompanied the negotiations. Elsa Maxwell threw her first party; young Franklin Delano Roosevelt flirted with Parisian widows to the humiliation of his wife, Eleanor; princesses and young gentlemen in formal attire danced gaily to the hot new sound of American jazz―all this as prime ministers Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George ogled huge maps, dividing up territories and cementing their nations’ positions as leading world powers for decades to come.
Complete with a new preface by Sir Harold Evans, a new introduction from the author, and a never-before-published chapter on establishing a global economy, as well as insightful quotations from the diaries and correspondence of participants and previously unpublished photographs of the proceedings and their surroundings, A Shattered Peace will change the way you think about twentieth-century history, its influence on current events, and where we should go from here.