The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire

Hardcover | May 21, 2015

bySusan Pedersen

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Winner of the 2015 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature.At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire. The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood in their way. France,Belgium, Japan and the British dominions reluctantly agreed to an Anglo-American proposal to hold and administer those allied conquests under "mandate" from the new League of Nations. In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. Against allodds, these disparate and far-flung territories became the site and the vehicle of global transformation.In this masterful history of the mandates system, Susan Pedersen illuminates the role the League of Nations played in creating the modern world. Tracing the system from its creation in 1920 until its demise in 1939, Pedersen examines its workings from the realm of international diplomacy; theviewpoints of the League's experts and officials; and the arena of local struggles within the territories themselves. Featuring a cast of larger-than-life figures, including Lord Lugard, King Faisal, Chaim Weizmann and Ralph Bunche, the narrative sweeps across the globe - from windswept scrublandsalong the Orange River to famine-blighted hilltops in Rwanda to Damascus under French bombardment - but always returns to Switzerland and the sometimes vicious battles over ideas of civilization, independence, economic relations, and sovereignty in the Geneva headquarters. As Pedersen shows,although the architects and officials of the mandates system always sought to uphold imperial authority, colonial nationalists, German revisionists, African-American intellectuals and others were able to use the platform Geneva offered to challenge their claims. Amid this cacophony, imperialstatesmen began exploring new means - client states, economic concessions - of securing Western hegemony. In the end, the mandate system helped to create the world in which we now live.A riveting work of global history, The Guardians enables us to look back at the League with new eyes, and in doing so, appreciate how complex, multivalent, and consequential this first great experiment in internationalism really was.

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From the Publisher

Winner of the 2015 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature.At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire. The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood ...

Susan Pedersen is Professor and James P. Shenton Professor of the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. She specializes in British history, the British Empire, comparative European history, and international history. She is the author of several books, including Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience.

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Kobo ebook|Feb 14 2013

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see all books by Susan Pedersen
Format:HardcoverDimensions:592 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 21, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199730032

ISBN - 13:9780199730032

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Table of Contents

IllustrationsList of Tables and MapsPrincipl PlayersIntroduction: Guardians AssemblePart I. Making the Mandates System1. Of Covenants and Carve-ups2. Rules of the Game3. A Whole World TalkingPart II. Retreat from Self-Determination, 1923-1930Preface: Allies and Rivals4. News from the Orange River5. Bombing Damascus6. A Pacific People Says NoPart III. New Times, New Norms, 1927-1933Preface: Enter the Germans7. The struggle over sovereignty8. Market economies or command economies?9. An independence safe for empirePart IV. Between Empire and Internationalism, 1933-39Preface: Multiple exits10. Legitimation Crisis11. When empire stopped working12. When internationalism stopped workingConclusion. Mandatory Statehood in the MakingAppendix I: Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of NationsAppendix II: Principal administrators of mandated territoriesAcknowledgementsPhoto creditsA Note on SourcesNotesWorks Cited