Przegląd Zachodni

Ład wersalski, ład światowy

Ład wersalski, ład światowy
  • Binding: paperback
  • Author: collective work
  • Publisher: Western Affairs in Poznań
  • PL ISSN: 0033-2437
  • Publication date: 29 January 2021
  • Number: 3/2020
  • Number of pages: 260
  • Size: A5

Dear Przegląd Zachodni Readers - the century that has passed since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations brings to mind systems of global cooperation and security, and specifically their history and their long-term impacts on the present world. Although the post-Versailles order failed to prevent another world war and a succession of further conflicts and divisions, the past century has also been a period of cooperation that saw the rise of institutions that united the nations, and a strengthening of the rules of collaboration and responsibility that would guide institutions to protect the international order. The legacy of these solutions, adopted a century ago, largely defines the present day, as evidenced by publications on the politics and position of the United States and on diplomacy and trade. Meanwhile, ethnic problems and tensions between states and their nations run deep in many parts of the world. The experience of historical powers, including those that proved to be destructive to their own societies and to those of the neighboring countries, surprisingly appeal to people who uncritically shrug off the past. As a result, we continue to live in the shadows of the dichotomous Versailles legacy at a time when the abilities to reach agreements, cooperate in peace and provide security are as critical as ever. This very conclusion is supported by the book’s articles which depict the present world order as a patchwork of challenges. This is not to say that the legacy of the post-Versailles century has gone to waste. Efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully, amicably settle territorial disputes, set up an international justice system, engage in regional cooperation with the use of sophisticated institutions of integration, such as those of the European Union, and establish a system of protecting human rights, all of which arose in response to the hardships of the 20th century, are still a work in progress having fallen short of achieving their avowed aims. As such efforts influence domestic politics, international relations and public awareness, their champions become role models. A case in point is the Polish-German agreement that has gained appreciation in Europe and beyond. The post-Versailles century has been as dramatic as it has been grueling. However, we may be underestimating the positive creativity that it inspired. Overwhelmed by a host of old and new problems to the point of helplessness, we are guilty of a similar omission in the face of recent global crises. As we scramble for solutions for building a better new world, we could well benefit from reflection on the lessons from the Versailles order.


the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan

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