The Jews and Minority Rights (1898-1919)

The Jews and Minority Rights (1898-1919)

The Jews and Minority Rights (1898-1919)

The Jews and Minority Rights (1898-1919)

Excerpt

Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George, the "Big Three" at the Paris Peace Conference, considered the question of minorities on May 1, 1919, when clearing up " small matters." To-day, however, an increasing number of people have come to view the guaranties contained in the Minorities Treaties as a major achievement of the Peace Conference. The disintegration of Austria-Hungary and the rise of national states in central and eastern Europe did not produce national contentment. More than thirty million people have remained as national, racial, or religious minorities more or less at the mercy of majorities, generally hostile. The Minorities Treaties constitute the only international guaranty against cultural oppression and national strife. But international guaranties depend for their enforcement upon an informed and sympathetic public opinion. The question of minorities is deserving of greater attention than it has received in current American literature.

This volume makes no attempt to treat the question of minorities in all its ramifications. I have traced only the origins of the Minorities Treaties and have considered primarily the contributions of one people, the Jews. The latter constituted only one factor in the development of the idea of minority rights, but a reading of the sources has convinced me that they played a decisive part in the enactment by the Paris Peace Conference of provisions for the protection of minorities. I have therefore described at some length the origins of the idea of national minority rights among the Jews, its dissemination among the Jewish masses in eastern . . .

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