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The Guardians – The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire

Susan Pedersen


The First World War threw the imperial order into crisis. The land empires fragmented, while Germany's colonies and the Ottoman Empire's Middle East provinces fell into allied hands. All Allied powers wanted to keep those conquests, but Woodrow Wilson and millions around the globe afire for self-determination thought otherwise. At the Paris Peace conference it was agreed that the new conquests would be governed under ‘mandate’ from the League of Nations as a ‘sacred trust of civilization’. That decision had enormous consequences. The mandates system mattered not because it altered governance, ... More

Keywords: League of Nations, mandates, empire, international, sovereignty, sacred trust, civilization, self-determination, independence, states

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199570485
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Susan Pedersen, author
Professor of History, Columbia University