International concepts and practices of borders : experts, ethnicity, and the Paris system in the early interwar period
Title: International concepts and practices of borders : experts, ethnicity, and the Paris system in the early interwar period
Author: PROTT, Volker
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
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.
LC Subject Heading: Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920); World War, 1914-1918 -- Territorial questions; Europe -- Boundaries -- History -- 20th century
Examining Board: Professor Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, EUI (Supervisor) Professor A. Dirk Moses, EUI (Second Reader) Doctor Bernhard Struck, University of St Andrews (External Examiner) Professor Donald Bloxham, University of Edinburgh (External Examiner).; Defence date: 13 June 2013
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