2. The Treaty of Versailles and the Munich Settlement
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
(from "Anthem for Doomed Youth")
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried: but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now.-
(from "Strange Meeting")
The principle of Peoples Self-determinationThe principle of border demarcation on the basis of national self-determination was introduced by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. He brought it with him to Europe in 1918.
"We are glad - to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples - for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. - We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them." (Woodrow Wilson in speach to the congress, 2 April 1917)
Woodrow Wilson used the principle of national self-determination to to divide the empire of Austria-Hungary, the German empire and the Ottoman Empire into many smaller nations. Many new nations came to exsistence in connection with the conclusion of the war and the peace treaty in Versailles. In Europe it were Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria and Jugoslavia. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania won their independence also in 1918 in connection with the Russian revolution.
Most likely US entered the war to support the weaker part and thereby preserve Europe as a multitude of rivalizing nations, which put the continent out of the game in the struggle for world domination.
On the American contingent there had never been any peoples' self-determination. When the American South in 1861 declared itself as an autonomous federation, Washington responded consistently with military force.
Thanks to the principle of the peoples' self-determination Denmark got Northern Schleswig back in 1920.
The Principle of Respect for Historical BordersWhen the "king of kings", Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, spoke to the assembly at the opening session of the "Organization of African Unity" in Adis Ababa in 1963, he stressed that the African nations necessarily must follow the principle of respect for historical borders. The African borders had been drawn by the colonial powers completely without any account of the people's tribal affiliation. They often follow different longitudes and latitudes. Countless people and tribes have been divided by shared borders. If any African nation puts in question these borders it will trigger an unmanageable chaos. Only by consistently respecting the honored historical borders, peace on the continent could be preserved.
It seems like the assembly took the words of the emperor to their hearts. Only in the dispute over Western Sahara and in connection with Ethiopia's relations with its muslim neighbors, Somalia and Eritrea, the border have been questioned in modern time.
Switzerland is another good example of the principle of respect for historical boundaries. There are no genuine Swiss language. Here are populations that from ancient times have spoken both German, French and Italian. But you have never heard of French speaking Swiss who did demonstrate for a closer connection to France, or German-speaking Swiss who had made riots, because they wanted to belong to Germany. They are all happy to be precisely Swiss.
Se en obituary over A. J. P Taylor at Institute for Historical Review:
The Last Liberal Historian: A. J. P. Taylor , March 25, 1906 - Sept. 7, 1990
Read also his well known "time table theory" about how wars start: A. J. P. Taylor's railroad timetable theory "How Wars Begin".
Some of Wilfred Owen's poems: Poems by Wilfred Owen - With an Introduction by Siegfried Sassoon - Poet's Corner.
On the page of the association "I Farfars Fodspor" one can read all about the South Jutland soldiers in the First World War: Første Verdenskrig - De Sønderjyske krigsdeltagere, among others letter sent home from the soldiers. (danish)
Literature: "The Origins of The Second World War" by A. J. P. Taylor - Penguin Books.
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