"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Paris 1919: Centenary of the Versailles Treaty

I was reminded that yesterday was the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which of course brought the First World War to an end. But unlike other anniversaries connected to this war and others, few people seem to be marking this anniversary, largely because the Treaty has been widely thought too punitive of Germany and thus to have played an overlarge role in the Second World War.

In any event, if you are at all interested in the negotiations that led to that treaty, ending a war in which millions of Eastern Christians were slaughtered (Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Syriac and Assyrian Christians, inter alia, in 1915--to say nothing of the violence done to Greek Christians in the postwar forced migrations after 1923), then permit me again to recommend to you one of my favourite books about the entire war and its aftermath, Margaret MacMillan's Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. It is brilliantly written, hilariously funny in parts, and deeply revealing of the characters of such as Wilson, Lloyd George, Poincaré and others of the second tier, including the leadership of Romania and Greece. It's always an enjoyable re-read.

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