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Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (2001)

by Margaret MacMillan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,579493,993 (4.09)182
Between January and July 1919, after "the war to end all wars," men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the characters who fill the pages of this book. David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam. For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews. The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.… (more)
  1. 10
    Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam Zamoyski (Scotland)
  2. 10
    The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan (Scotland)
  3. 00
    The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Strong book ends, both by good writers, for the mistakes leading into and resulting from WWI.
  4. 00
    Later Chapters of My Life: The Lost Memoir of Queen Marie of Romania by Diana Mandache (Scotland)
    Scotland: The early chapters of this book are focused on Queen Marie's appearance at the Paris Peace Conference, including descriptions of interviews with all the major players. Very inciteful perspective.
  5. 00
    At the Sharp End by Tim Cook (sushidog)
    sushidog: The micro view of Canadians in the First World War vs. what it all meant.
  6. 00
    Dare Call It Treason by Richard M. Watt (niklin)
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» See also 182 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
MacMillan relates in fascinating detail the origins, debates and outcomes of the negotiations to end the first World War. She first offers introductions to the principal negotiators and relates the various domestic and historical factors that shaped the final results, the borders of central and eastern European nations as well as in the Middle East, East Asia and Africa. I particularly appreciated her character portraits and the attention she pays to places not often covered in depth, like the Shantung area of China which gave Japan a large foothold there. A wonderfully written history of a complex set of negotiations whose outcomes influence international relations one hundred years later. ( )
  nmele | May 2, 2020 |
Excellent read. I would recommend a person having a thorough knowledge of WWI prior to reading this to get maximum enjoyment. ( )
  redbird_fan | Jan 13, 2020 |
A fabulous book. Hard to put down. An important read to understand the Europe of today. Looks at the important treaties after World War I and how the personalities (Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Orlando) shaped them. ( )
  geza.tatrallyay | Apr 10, 2019 |
World War I shaped the history of what followed from the armistice in 1918 through the current day. This masterful and even-handed study of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 is invaluable to understanding the world since the Treaty of Versailles, and the other other agreements that were signed. It is also a very interesting study of diplomacy and how compromises and bargains were made. It is important to remember as MacMillan emphasizes, that the ability of those at Paris to re-shape the world according to their own vision was somewhat limited; not solely by their own conflicting objectives, but also by their exhausted populations and lack of ability (and even will) to use economic or military force. Countries like Yugoslavia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia had already come into being before the conference began. However, as MacMillan points out, as important as the conference was towards shaping the subsequent world, we cannot blame them for the failings of those who came later. The rise of totalitarian regimes in the 1930s, for example, were results of decisions made by politicians and others after 1919 and not caused by the delegates at Paris. ( )
1 vote gregdehler | Dec 20, 2018 |
"For six months in 1919, after the end of 'the war to end all wars,' the Big
Three - President Woodrow Wilson, British prime minister David Lloyd George,
and French premier Georges Clemenceau - met in Paris to shape a lasting peace.
In this landmark work of narrative history, Margaret MacMillan gives a dramatic
and intimate view of those fateful days, which saw new political entities -
Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Palestine, among them - born out of the ruins of bankrupt
empires, and the borders of the modern world redrawn.
  collectionmcc | Mar 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MacMillan, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holbrooke, RichardForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Eluned and Robert MacMillan
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For six months in 1919, Paris was the capital of the world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Richard Holbrook wrote the foreword
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Between January and July 1919, after "the war to end all wars," men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the characters who fill the pages of this book. David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam. For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews. The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.

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Editions: 1461815312, 1449870201

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