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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Victorious Allied governments legitimized wartime sacrifice with promises of domestic prosperity and a peaceful international order. An American-sponsored League of Nations would mediate relations between liberal-democratic nation states. However, although parliamentary government was consolidated across north-western Europe, the peace fell short, failing to accommodate Bolshevik Russia or reach a legitimate settlement with a new and fragile German democracy. Paris deemed the settlement inadequate; the US Congress refused to ratify the German treaty and remained outwith the League; China and Japan were estranged by blatant European racialism and colonialism. All of Europe struggled to restore economic life and eastern Europe experienced famine. Rather than parliamentary democracy, militarist and oligarchic regimes eventually took power across this region, where societies remained largely pre-industrial and ethnically unstable. In Italy, a new authoritarian, militaristic mass movement, fascism, took power, providing an early model of sorts for Hitler’s National Socialists. However, the League of Nations survived and, generations later, liberal democracy has consolidated across Europe.

Keywords: Bolshevism, democracy, fascism, imperialism, international relations, League of Nations, liberalism, militarism, nationhood, peacemaking

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