1918: A peace to end all peace?


This course commemorates the 100th anniversary of the First World War’s end by considering the politics and diplomacy of the Paris Peace conference. As the idealism of democratic principles interact with unsentimental power-struggles for power and territory, policies of ethnic cleansing resulted. Now that a century has passed, what lessons can be drawn from this disastrous peace?

Target audience:
This course will appeal to anyone who enjoys history, particularly the history of World War I.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will:

  • Appreciate the politics of the Great Powers in the aftermath of the First World War. 
  • Understand the ideology of ‘national self-determination’ in its historical context, and why it led to ethnic cleansing.
  • Understand politics of peace-making as it affected a series of European countries, specifically Ukraine, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey, and Greece.

Course outline:
Each session includes two one-hour lecture presentations and time for questions and discussion.

Session 1:

  • Lenin and “national self-determination”.
  • Ukraine and the “Bread Peace.”

Session 2:

  • From the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to the armistice.
  • The Czechoslovak achievement.

Session 3:

  • Poland and its Jewish question.
  • Germany’s humiliation: The Treaty of Versailles.

Session 4:

  • Austria’s dissolution: The Treaty of Neuilly.
  • Hungary’s partition: The Treaty of Trianon.

Session 5:

  • Bulgaria and Macedonia.
  • Italy and Fiume.

Session 6:

  • From the Armenian Tragedy to the Treaty of Sevres.
  • Greek Hubris and the Treaty of Lausanne.

There is a short break halfway through each session, and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Alexander Maxwell teaches history at Victoria University of Wellington. He specialises in national movements in the Habsburg Monarchy and teaches courses on the history of Russia, Germany, and the Middle East.

Relevant links:
School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: conted@vuw.ac.nz

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.