Eastern Europe in the Post-War World

By Hubert Ripka | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
Ambitions and Rivalries of the Great Powers

REVISIONISTS AND ANTI-REVISIONISTS

The formation of the national states in East Central Europe after 1918 produced an international situation that could not fail to influence the relationships (and the policies) of other European Powers. Germany had been weakened by the destruction of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires, for both of them had been her allies and were to a great extent dependent on her. Russia, having been removed from the 'concert of European nations' by revolution and civil war, was being ostracized by the rest of the world because of Bolshevik government, and with the loss of Finland, the Baltic states, Poland and Bessarabia, Russian frontiers were now too far to the east to be included in Europe. Italy had fulfilled her hopes of national unification by gaining southern Tyrol, Istria, Trieste and Fiume, and was strengthened by the disappearance of the Habsburg empire, her traditional enemy, from the European scene. Yet Italy still felt embittered because she had not managed to contrive the annexation of Dalmatia and Valona. France and Britain had the strongest international position after the war, and when, after playing a principal role at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the United States withdrew from Europe into traditional isolation, it was these two Western allies who accepted the leadership of the Europe created by the Treaty of Versailles.

Europe became divided into two camps: the revisionists and the anti-revisionists. Germany and Russia (soon to be joined by Italy) persisted in demanding the reversal of the 'Versailles "Diktat'", which was, in the eyes of Lenin, the work of capitalist, imperialistic bandits. The 'anti-revisionists', with Britain and

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