Cover Osteuropa 2-4/2014

In Osteuropa 2-4/2014

The Explosive Force of the Right of Self-determination
The First World War as Catalyst in the Formation of Nation-states

Egbert Jahn

Deutsche Fassung


In the First World War, the imperial world order established at the Vienna Congress collapsed. As victorious powers, the British and French empires may have considerably influenced the League of Nations, which the Paris peace treaties had just created. However, the United States and the Soviet Russia, which would soon emerge as world powers, proclaimed the right of self-determination and in doing so laid the essential groundwork for the displacement of empires by nation-states around the world. Initially, only the four defeated empires of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe were affected. But with the mandates of the League of Nations, the seeds were sewn for the break-up of the West European colonial empires, which then followed during and after the Second World War.

(Osteuropa 2-4/2014, pp. 73–90)