Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 April 2022
Chapter 14 presents a new interpretation of the peacemaking and reordering process that unfolded at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. It argues that it was not only the most complex process of its kind in history but also, at the core, a process that was dominated by the struggle to negotiate the underpinnings and ground-rules of a new Atlantic order – which in turn had far-reaching global repercussions. Taking into account the unprecedented multiplicity of governmental and non-governmental actors who tried to influence this process in and beyond Paris it sheds new light on how the peace negotiations ultimately came to be shaped by the interests, concepts and strategies of those who led and represented the most powerful states after the war: Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau – and their main advisers. And it opens up new perspectives on why the first truly modern peacemaking process remained in crucial respects incomplete. It shows that while the principal “peacemakers” began to learn how to forge complex compromises under the challenging conditions of 1919 what they ultimately managed to negotiate could not lay firm and legitimate foundations for a sustainable Atlantic, and global, peace order.