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International Concepts and Practices of Borders. Experts, Ethnicity and the Paris System in the Early Interwar Period

Dates:
  • Thu 13 Jun 2013 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2013-06-13 10:00 2013-06-13 12:00 Europe/Paris International Concepts and Practices of Borders. Experts, Ethnicity and the Paris System in the Early Interwar Period

The interwar period is key to the course international history took in the twentieth century.
This thesis examines the conditions under which the new international order instituted after
World War One led to violent local reactions. It traces American, British, and French
expertise and policies from the peace planning processes begun just before the end of the First World War right up to the Paris peace talks in 1919. Furthermore, it addresses attempts by the League of Nations to stabilise the peace architecture in the 1920s and 1930s.
The level of international politics is linked to two prominent ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’
European case studies: the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France in 1918-19 and the Greco-
Turkish conflict between 1919 and 1923. In both cases, border changes caused ethnic
violence, albeit with very diverse outcomes. While France managed to contain the onset of
ethnic cleansing, the Greek-Turkish conflict degenerated, resulting in a fully-fledged war that
ended in the forced exchange of roughly 1.6 million civilians across the Aegean Sea.
The study demonstrates that the use of ethnicity, as a concept and a political instrument,
significantly shaped the course that conflict-prone local settings took. As a shorthand form of
national self-determination, ethnicity informed expertise and political decisions on where to
alter territorial borders. As a political instrument, it was a powerful tool for nationalist
mobilisation. The dissertation concludes that one of the primary structural factors that
contributed to the breakdown of the international order in the 1930s was the failure of the
international community to provide an alternative to or to successfully contain ethnic and
state-sponsored violence as the most effective means to ‘correct’ the perceived shortcomings
of the Paris peace treaties.

Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca - V. MALAFRASCA DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca - V. MALAFRASCA

The interwar period is key to the course international history took in the twentieth century.
This thesis examines the conditions under which the new international order instituted after
World War One led to violent local reactions. It traces American, British, and French
expertise and policies from the peace planning processes begun just before the end of the First World War right up to the Paris peace talks in 1919. Furthermore, it addresses attempts by the League of Nations to stabilise the peace architecture in the 1920s and 1930s.
The level of international politics is linked to two prominent ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’
European case studies: the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France in 1918-19 and the Greco-
Turkish conflict between 1919 and 1923. In both cases, border changes caused ethnic
violence, albeit with very diverse outcomes. While France managed to contain the onset of
ethnic cleansing, the Greek-Turkish conflict degenerated, resulting in a fully-fledged war that
ended in the forced exchange of roughly 1.6 million civilians across the Aegean Sea.
The study demonstrates that the use of ethnicity, as a concept and a political instrument,
significantly shaped the course that conflict-prone local settings took. As a shorthand form of
national self-determination, ethnicity informed expertise and political decisions on where to
alter territorial borders. As a political instrument, it was a powerful tool for nationalist
mobilisation. The dissertation concludes that one of the primary structural factors that
contributed to the breakdown of the international order in the 1930s was the failure of the
international community to provide an alternative to or to successfully contain ethnic and
state-sponsored violence as the most effective means to ‘correct’ the perceived shortcomings
of the Paris peace treaties.


Location:
Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca - V. MALAFRASCA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Supervisor:
Prof. Heinz-Gerhard Haupt

Examiner:
Prof. Dirk Moses
Dr. Struck Bernhard (University of St Andrews)
Prof. Donald Bloxham (University of Edinburgh)

Defendant:
Volker Prott (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

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