Italy at the Paris Peace Conference

Italy at the Paris Peace Conference

Italy at the Paris Peace Conference

Italy at the Paris Peace Conference

Excerpt

The lapse of two decades has not detracted from the importance of the drama that had its inception at Sarajevo in June, 1914. Rather it tends to confirm the view that the war itself and the peace settlement which followed it will rank among the crucial events of modern history, while at the same time it enables us to obtain a more comprehensive view of those events. A vast literature has grown and is still growing around the subject, in which the element of controversy may be expected steadily to yield to that of historical analysis. The time has come to gather together the elements of the history of that period, to which the present work is intended as a modest contribution.

Not unnaturally, attention has been focused to a large extent on the various phases of the German settlement, but the importance of developments east of the Rhine and south of the Danube should not be underestimated. In that region the position of Italy is of prime importance. In 1919 as well as in 1914--albeit in a different way-- Italy was in a unique position. That fact lies at the root of the wellnigh universal dissatisfaction with which the peace settlement was received in Italy, and it is well worth examining the manner in which the peace negotiations helped to produce this result, which has been one of the important elements in subsequent developments in that country.

The unexpected duration of the war and the unprecedented havoc which it wrought created a widespread desire to prevent the recurrence of a like catastrophe. Circumstances caused the United States, particularly its. chief representative in the person of President Wilson, to become the spokesman for the hope that a new order of things, especially in international relations, might come into being. That hope--widespread though it was in Europe--could not help clash with the forces of tradition that were pushing the nations into an attitude of exclusive, and often short-sighted, concern with their own interests.

Italy, like the other European Powers, had a well-defined national policy, which she hoped to further as the result of victory. The ambitions of the Powers had found expression in a number of secret . . .

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