Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World

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Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World

by Margaret Macmillan
Foreword by Richard Holbrooke

Random House Publishing Group | September 9, 2003 | Trade Paperback |

4.7143 out of 5 rating. 7 Reviews
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National Bestseller

New York Times Editors' Choice

Winner of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize

Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize

Silver Medalist for the Arthur Ross Book Award
of the Council on Foreign Relations

Finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award


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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: September 9, 2003

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375760520

ISBN - 13: 9780375760525

Found in: History

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– More About This Product –

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World

by Margaret Macmillan
Foreword by Richard Holbrooke

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: September 9, 2003

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375760520

ISBN - 13: 9780375760525

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Woodrow Wilson Comes to Europe On december 4, 1918, the George Washington sailed out of New York with the American delegation to the Peace Conference on board. Guns fired salutes, crowds along the waterfront cheered, tugboats hooted and Army planes and dirigibles circled overhead. Robert Lansing, the American secretary of state, released carrier pigeons with messages to his relatives about his deep hope for a lasting peace. The ship, a former German passenger liner, slid out past the Statue of Liberty to the Atlantic, where an escort of destroyers and battleships stood by to accompany it and its cargo of heavy expectations to Europe. On board were the best available experts, combed out of the universities and the government; crates of reference materials and special studies; the French and Italian ambassadors to the United States; and Woodrow Wilson. No other American president had ever gone to Europe while in office. His opponents accused him of breaking the Constitution; even his supporters felt he might be unwise. Would he lose his great moral authority by getting down to the hurly-burly of negotiations? Wilson¹s own view was clear: the making of the peace was as important as the winning of the war. He owed it to the peoples of Europe, who were crying out for a better world. He owed it to the American servicemen. "It is now my duty," he told a pensive Congress just before he left, "to play my full part in making good what they gave their life'
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From the Publisher

National Bestseller

New York Times Editors' Choice

Winner of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize

Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize

Silver Medalist for the Arthur Ross Book Award
of the Council on Foreign Relations

Finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award


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.

From the Jacket

"The history of the 1919 Paris peace talks following World War I is a blueprint of the political and social upheavals bedeviling the planet now. . . . A wealth of colorful detail and a concentration on the strange characters many of these statesmen were keep [MacMillan's] narrative lively."
-The New York Times Book Review

"MacMillan's book reminds us of the main lesson learned at such a high cost in Paris in 1919: Peace is not something that can be imposed at the conference table. It can grow only from the hearts of people."
-Los Angeles Times

"Beautifully written, full of judgment and wisdom, Paris 1919 is a pleasure to read and vibrates with the passions of the early twentieth century and of ours."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"MacMillan is a superb writer who can bring history to life."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

"For anyone interested in knowing how historic mistakes can morph into later historic problems, this brilliant book is a must-read."
-Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Margaret MacMillan received her Ph.D. from Oxford University and is provost of Trinity College and professor of history at the University of Toronto. Her previous books include Women of the Raj and Canada and NATO. Published as Peacemakers in England, Paris 1919 was a bestseller chosen by Roy Jenkins as his favorite book of the year. It won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize, and the Duff Cooper Prize and was a finalist for the Westminster Medal in Military Literature. MacMillan, the great-granddaughter of David Lloyd George, lives in Toronto.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"The history of the 1919 Paris peace talks following World War I is a blueprint of the political and social upheavals bedeviling the planet now. . . . A wealth of colorful detail and a concentration on the strange characters many of these statesmen were keep [MacMillan's] narrative lively."
-The New York Times Book Review

"MacMillan's book reminds us of the main lesson learned at such a high cost in Paris in 1919: Peace is not something that can be imposed at the conference table. It can grow only from the hearts of people."
-Los Angeles Times

"Beautifully written, full of judgment and wisdom, Paris 1919 is a pleasure to read and vibrates with the passions of the early twentieth century and of ours."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"MacMillan is a superb writer who can bring history to life."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

"For anyone interested in knowing how historic mistakes can morph into later historic problems, this brilliant book is a must-read."
-Chicago Tribune

Bookclub Guide

1. In 1919, Europe had just been through a devastating war, which left political, social, and economic turmoil in its wake. The war also had a considerable impact on the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa. What were the main issues and concerns facing the peacemakers in 1919?

2. Some historians-Arno Mayer, for example-have argued that the peacemakers of 1919 were determined to prevent the spread of revolution westward from Russia. To what extent did fear of Bolshevism shape the decisions made in Paris?

3. It has often been said that there was a gulf between Woodrow Wilson and his new diplomacy, on one side, and the Europeans and their old diplomacy on the other. Discuss what is meant by the new and the old diplomacy. Was there in fact such a gulf?

4. What did Woodrow Wilson mean by "national self-determination"? Why did some of his colleagues, such as Robert Lansing, worry about it? What impact did the notion of self-determination have? Was it easy to put into effect?

5. Each country in Paris had its own concerns and aims. Evaluate the main interests that each of the major powers-France, Great, Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States-brought to the table.

6. The peace settlements, in particular the resolution with Germany, have often been blamed for the outbreak of World War II. Was the Treaty of Versailles as punitive, unfair, and vindictive as has often been said?

7. Discuss the ways in which decisions made in Paris affected China and Japan. Did the relationship between the two countries grow better or worse as a result?

8. The Paris Peace Conference was the first major international peace conference where the press was present in force. In addition, the leaders of the powers had to pay attention to the views and wishes of their electorates. How important was public opinion in the making of the peace settlements after World War I?

9. A number of countries had designs on the territory of the Ottoman empire after World War I, and the Ottoman empire itself was in no position to fight back. Nevertheless, why did the Treaty of Sèvres remain a dead letter? In what ways was the later Treaty of Lausanne different?

10. During the war, the Allies-the British and the French in particular-made a number of agreements and promises about the Arab parts of the Ottoman empire. To what extent have those agreements and the decisions made by the peacemakers about the Middle East had an impact on developments there since?

11. Although Woodrow Wilson is often seen as the person responsible for the League of Nations, many people, both in Europe and North America, shared his goals. What was the League supposed to accomplish? Why is it often described as a great experiment?

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