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Sovereignty at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919$
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Leonard V. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199677177.001.0001

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The Agents and Structures of Peacemaking

The Agents and Structures of Peacemaking

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 The Agents and Structures of Peacemaking
Source:
Sovereignty at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919
Author(s):

Leonard V. Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199677177.003.0002

This chapter provides a chronological overview of peacemaking after the Great War according to a constructivist interpretation of the “agent-structure problem.” Agents are simply the characters of the story; structures, that which determines the plot. Peacemaking began with the armistices of 1918, as recognizably realist states sought a new realist structure for security. However, Wilsonianism provided a radically new discursive structure which the allies and Germans accepted at the time of the armistice. Accepting Wilsonianism as the ideological foundation of the peace had real consequences, whatever the intentions of the statesmen who had done so. Wilsonianism legitimized the successor state, a new ethno-national agent that would seek to unify ethnic and national boundaries. Great Powers guided by Wilsonianism had created an identity they could not control. Successor states would do much to demarcate the authority of the conference in Europe and in the domains of the defeated empires.

Keywords:   agent-structure problem, constructivism, Fourteen Points, armistice, successor states, German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Imperial Russia, Ottoman Empire, Allied and Associated Powers

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