These blogs are written by the librarians of the Peace Palace Library. All blogs are dealing with subjects on International Law. Every blog contains links and references to the collection of the Peace Palace Library.
Ah, the summer! It’s time to relax a little. Yes, that’s even possible for international lawyers working in the field of Peace and Justice. For a lot of people, that might mean actually kicking back and reading a book. What’s at the top of your reading list this summer?
Please, tell us your favorite. If not on the list, send us your suggestions!Read more
The Spitzenkandidaten-contest is a game, which both the European Parliament and the European Council still have to learn. The difficulty both players are facing is that the rules of the game are unclear, if not contradictory. As each player of board games knows, disputable rules are a recipe for controversy and disappointment. No wonder, then, that the political emotions about the decision of the European Council to propose a non-playing candidate for the presidency of the European Commission are running high.Read more
The evolution of the European Union offers a fine example of the law of the handicap of the head start. The example in point has been accentuated by the jump forward in the evolution of European democracy, which the 2019 elections for the European Parliament brought about. In my previous blog I argued that, thanks to the 2019 EP-elections, European democracy has come of age. Many observers believe that the so-called Spitzenkandidaten practice has played a major role in the outcome. The lead candidate procedure was introduced at the 2014 EP-elections and implies that each party will be represented at Union level by one candidate.Read more
Today, 28 june 2019, is the Centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Signed on 28 June 1919 in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles Palace, the Treaty was the most important of the peace treaties that brought an end to World War I. To mark this anniversary, the Peace Palace Library has put together a collection of books exploring the background and aftermath of the Versailles Treaty. This collection will be published on the website and social media.Read more
The mandate system was created in the aftermath of World War I to resolve the question of jurisdiction over the colonial territories detached from Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Article 119 of the Versailles required Germany to renounce sovereignty over former colonies and Article 22 converted the territories into League of Nations mandates under the control of Allied states. Togoland and German Kamerun (Cameroon) were transferred to France. Ruanda and Urundi were allocated to Belgium, whereas German South-West Africa went to South Africa and the United Kingdom obtained German East Africa.Read more
The Versailles Treaty stripped Germany of 65,000 km2 of territory and circa 7 million people. It also required Germany to give up the gains made in the East. In Western Europe Germany was required to recognize Belgian sovereignty over Moresnet and cede control of the Eupen-Malmedy area. To compensate for the destruction of French coal mines, Germany was to cede the output of the Saar coalmines to France and control of the Saar to the League of Nations for 15 years; a plebiscite would then be held to decide sovereignty. The treaty “restored” the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine to France. The sovereignty of Schleswig-Holstein was to be resolved by a plebiscite to be held at a future time.Read more
Wilson’s Fourteen Points had helped win the hearts and minds of many as the war ended; these included Americans and Europeans generally, as well as Germany, its allies and the former subjects of the Ottoman Empire specifically. Wilson felt it was his duty and obligation to the people of the world to be a prominent figure at the peace negotiations. High hopes and expectations were placed on him to deliver what he had promised for the post-war era. In doing so, Wilson ultimately began to lead the foreign policy of the United States toward interventionism, a move strongly resisted in some domestic circles.Read more
During the Paris Peace Conference and for the most of the period after 1919, the aims, interests, and policies of Britain differed fundamentally from those of France. Neither of the two countries was able to pursue unhampered the course it laid out for itself. Great Britain had suffered huge casualties but little land devastation during the war. However, the British wartime coalition was re-elected at the end of 1918, with a policy of squeezing the German “’til the pips squeak”. Public opinion favoured a “just peace”, which would force Germany to pay reparations and be unable to repeat the aggression of 1914, although those of a “liberal and advanced opinion” shared Wilson’s ideal of a peace of reconciliation.Read more
What war aims did the French have during World War I and how did they negotiate the treaties that ended this war? In 1917 the Comité d’études was created by Aristide Briand to assist the French Government in formulating these aims. The work of this Comité resulted in an impressive report of around 1500 pages: maps, statistics, tracing the borders of the Alsace, the Saar Region, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, etc. At the Paris Peace Conference, the French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, controlled his delegation and his chief goal was to weaken Germany militarily, strategically and economically.Read more
This year is the Centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Signed on 28 June 1919 in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles Palace, the Treaty was the most important of the peace treaties that brought an end to World War I. To mark this anniversary, the Peace Palace Library has put together a collection of books exploring the background and aftermath of the Versailles Treaty. This collection will be published on the website and social media.Read more