Academic journal article The Historian

The Consequences of Peace: The Versailles Settlement: Aftermath and Legacy 1919-2015

Academic journal article The Historian

The Consequences of Peace: The Versailles Settlement: Aftermath and Legacy 1919-2015

Article excerpt

The Consequences of Peace: The Versailles Settlement: Aftermath and Legacy 1919-2015. By Alan Sharp. (London, United Kingdom: Haus Publishing, 2015. Pp. xix, 311. $49.95.)

The author of this book recently edited Haus Publishing's definitive set of biographies of the national leaders who participated in the 1919-1920 Paris Peace Conference, under the series title The Makers of the Modern World. A leading authority on the international diplomacy of the post-First World War era, Alan Sharp contributed the biography of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George to the same series before picking up here on the "makers" theme to explore how and why the consequences of Versailles have proven to be so profound and long lasting.

Sharp's wide-ranging and engaging account begins with a succinct overview of the peace settlements themselves before going on to identify their longer-term consequences. He discusses the challenge of accommodating a latently powerful Germany within a peaceable European order, whether in 1919 or after Hitler's war, and then turns to the role and performance of the League of Nations, which US President Woodrow Wilson hoped would replace traditional great power diplomacy as the arbiter of international relations. The League fell short during the interwar era, not least because the US Congress refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty of which the League Covenant formed a part. However, as Sharp demonstrates, it chalked up substantive achievements in areas as diverse as world health, women's rights, labor rights, and disarmament before contributing significantly to the structure and function of the contemporary United Nations. …

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