Lecture 20 - Successor States of Eastern Europe

European Civilization, 1648 to 1945

Yale

Contrary to the "Great Illusion" that the end of World War I heralded a new era of peace, the interwar period can be considered to form part of a Thirty Years' War, spanning the period from 1914 to 1945. In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles, Europe was divided both literally and figuratively, with the so-called revisionist powers frustrated over their new borders. One of the most significant and ultimately most pernicious debates at Versailles concerned the identity of states with ethnic majorities. For those nations that resented the new partition of Europe, ethnic minorities, and Jews in particular, furnished convenient scapegoats. The persecution of minority groups in Central and Eastern Europe following the First World War thus set the stage for the atrocities of World War II.

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