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Since October 2018 we have been developing a series of Source Collections for Historiana through a crowd-sourcing approach. We have used this approach to collect transnational, multi-perspective sources on the Russian Revolution, the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the impact of the Printing Revolution on the Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation and Enlightenment. Now we are planning a similar crowd-sourcing approach to the concept of Self Determination and the Peace Treaties of 1919-1923.

Historiana has covered the Peace Treaties that followed the First World War in its module on that War (see The Uncertain Peace) and in the section on the Inter-War Years at the beginning of our module on the Second World War. Although we have tried to look at the implications of those Peace Treaties for Europe in particular and the world in general, our historical sources and our approach tend to focus mainly on the broader developments which impacted on international relations. That is, the conflicts that continued after November 1918, the ongoing economic and political instability, the operation of the League of Nations, the rise of independence movements in the Middle East and Asian and African colonies, the emergence of Fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany, the build-up to the Second World War. In this Webinar we would like to invite participants to send us sources on how people in their countries – not just the governments but also opposition parties, the mass media and public opinion – reacted to the decisions taken at Versailles, Saint-Germain, Neuilly, Trianon, Sévres and Lausanne.

While the decisions taken by the Peace Conference delegates have been criticised for their consequences, it is also clear that some of the conflicts and crises were also the result of decisions that were not taken by the Conference.  This is why we have decided to also look at the concept of Self Determination in this Webinar.  Did it raise hopes and expectations amongst nations and minorities that were not fulfilled because they might undermine the interests of the major powers?

How do I contribute?

Again we would like participants in the Online Session (and anyone interested who is not able to join us online) to send us sources that reflect the aspirations for self determination of national, ethnic, religious groups and other minorities whose hopes for greater autonomy or political independence were either ignored or were thwarted by the major powers or by the newly-created nation states who feared that greater autonomy for minorities would threaten their hard-won territorial integrity.

The selective application of Woodrow Wilson’s principle of self determination in 1919-1923 and subsequently by the League of Nations and the United Nations has continued to have an impact not only on the inter-war years, but also during the Cold War, in post-1989 Europe, and, of course, in parts of the Middle East today.  So, in this Online Session and in the Historiana Source Collection that we hope will subsequently emerge we would like to take a longue durée approach that would not only look at the implications of the decisions taken in 1919-1923 for the inter-war years but also for the period right up to recent times.

If you are interested in this topic and would like to contribute to our Source Collection on Self Determination and the Peace Treaties of 1919-1923, we kindly invite you to join our online Historiana Contributors’ Session on 5 December at 17:00 CET.

For more detailed information, please read the Mission Statement of this online event.

You may access all presentations and materials used during the webinar, here.

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December 5, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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