In the decade between the signing of the major peace treaties and the onset of the Great Depression, the statesmen of Europe attempted to come to terms with the major changes which had occurred and to reconstruct the economic and political life of the continent on the basis of the new settlement. The outbreak of another major war only ten years later suggests that the statesmen of the 1920s were not successful in laying the basis for a stable lasting peace. Some historians argue that considerable progress had been made in solving disputes and easing tensions and that it was the Great Depression of the early 1930s which produced new economic and political causes of international instability. Others believe that the tensions and disputes of the Great War era were never resolved and that there was a mere ‘illusion of peace’.1 All agree, however, that the difficulties that the statesmen faced were immense. In the aftermath of the war all governments needed to restore national finances, stimulate economic growth and maintain domestic political and social stability. Foreign policy had to respond to and reflect these domestic needs and pressures.
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- The Implementation of the Peace Settlements
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- Chapter 3