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Europe in the International Order


Roman Kuźniar

The subject of this work is the rise and fall of Europe’s aim to rebuild its position in global politics after the Cold War. With success in the unification of Europe and the subsequent deepening and enlargement of its integration, the Union set itself the ambitious task of becoming a global power, even a superpower.
However, starting with the first decade of the XXI century, we have witnessed a rapid erosion of the international position of Europe (the EU). The author carefully analyses the causes of the EU’s failure in pursuing the role of European representative, Europe thereby pretending to the role of one of three world powers. Besides cultural and demographic trends, the author identifies the main factors leading to this failure: the divergent interests of individual European powers, their incapacity to act in a geopolitical context and the rapid erosion of Europe’s civilizational identity.
The rapid decline of Europe’s international position threatens the appearance of a new and bipolar global arrangement together with the further marginalisation of Europe.

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3 Europe Creates a Normative Dimension for International Order

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3 Europe Creates a Normative Dimension for International Order

The politicians promised that the Great War would end in a few weeks, before the winter at the latest. It lasted four bloody years (until 11 November 1918), left huge numbers of casualties and effectively ended the previous international order (as laid down at the Congress of Vienna). The enormity of the war, its direct results and costs, and its long-term geopolitical consequences forced the leaders of the entente countries to think deeply about the framing of the post-war order. Even before the end of the war, there had been many opinions about the conditions and the future foundations of Europe, and beyond – it had been a world war, after all. The Paris Peace Conference faced this subject in the first half of 1919. It not only took on the issue of settling the War’s results – in particular in relation to Germany and its allies (the conditions imposed on them were often severe) – but also attempted to establish, for the first time in history, a normative view of the international order. The aim was not an order set down and regulated according to a mechanism of power relations (a balance of one kind or another), but rather one governed by norms of international relations, with multilateral institutions keeping watch over those norms, enabling the development of international cooperation. Adam Watson noted that this was the third stage of Europe’s creation of an international order, this time through a type of transposition onto the World of its own model.65

1 Inspiration

As is well known, the ideas of American president Woodrow Wilson, put before the US Congress on the 8th of January 1918, gained a wide audience before the beginning of the Paris Conference. The last of his Fourteen Points said that a “general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial ← 49 | 50 → integrity to great and small states alike”.66 A number of other points in that speech also referred to future bases of international relations (the openness of treaties, arms control). Leaders and representatives of France and Great Britain were particularly active in the discussions over the text of the Pact, as were the Italians and the Japanese. In its entirety, the Pact of the League of Nations would draw mostly upon projects of European federation and the plans for eternal peace which had been proposed for many years by various European thinkers and rulers, but which had never before been subject to serious discussion or negotiation. Previously ignored, they were now the point of departure for creation of an audaciously constructed world order.

In support of this thesis, we should point out two main inspirations to be found in the spirit and the letter of the Pact of the League, and in the League’s activities. To begin with, let us consider the relatively well-known “A project for settling an everlasting peace in Europe” [“Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe”], penned by Abbot Charles de Saint-Pierre between 1714 and 1716, following the War of the Spanish Succession and the Treaty of Utrecht. We will find a great majority of its elements in the League of Nations. De Saint-Pierre also postulated that a permanent association of nations be formed, guaranteeing them security and integrity of their borders. A fundamental rule of avoiding the use of force would therefore need to be accepted, along with non-interference in the internal affairs of other states (sovereigns). The project assumed a political status quo. Rule breakers would be required to pay reparations, and aggressors would be disarmed. Prevention of the use of force would consist of peaceful means of resolving conflicts (conciliation, mediation, arbitration). The main organ of the association would be a senate or a congress, whose main task would be to police the fulfilment of obligations and participation in conflict revolution, and imposition of sanctions.67 De Saint-Pierre’s project bears great resemblance to what would be agreed more than 200 years later at the Paris Peace Conference. ← 50 | 51 → It is a wonder that his ideas were not made use of a hundred years before, in Vienna.

In approaching the future international order, Woodrow Wilson (who probably was unaware of de Saint-Pierre’s plan) was inspired more by the key assumptions of Immanuel Kant’s To Perpetual Peace (1795). Seeing wars as immoral, Kant also postulated that they ought to be banned and that international institutions be established charged with protecting that ban. The Königsberg hermit also formulated three main conditions conducive to the preservation of peace: 1) a republican (in practice – democratic) system of state government, 2) federal alliances to promote peace and 3) international law, to which all would be subject. To these he added a ban on expansion into foreign territory, and gradual disarmament.68 This is why Kant and Wilson are considered the precursors of the idealist approach to international relations. With earlier projects for peace in Europe becoming the reference points for work on a global organisation, it is not surprising that it was on the forum of the already established and functioning European organisation that the only governmental project for organisation of Europe was presented. This was the project to establish a European Union, introduced by France’s 1929–1930 foreign minister, Aristide Briand, at the League. Faced with many objections, mainly from London and Berlin, that project never entered the stage of serious discussion. Briand had undoubtedly been influenced by the concepts discussed within the Pan-European Movement, of which he had been the honorary president.69

The project of a normative international order, which became the League of Nations, was inspired not just by plans for a European federation and perpetual peace, but also by earlier attempts at regulating certain aspects of international conduct. Those had come from Europe but had universalist ambitions. The idea of the League of Nations was a response not only to World War I but also to war ← 51 | 52 → in general. As we know, that had become something of a dark “speciality” of Europe, due to her extraordinary technical prowess and superior military strategy and materiel, the destructive power of which had already then begun to be terrifying. A reaction to the cruelty of wars waged by Europeans was the emergence of international law and the Red Cross movement. A beginning had been made in 1864 when sixteen nations accepted the Geneva Convention aimed at improving the lot of the wounded and infirm in the armed forces. It took a young Genevois named Henri Dunant to witness the battlefield at Solferino in 1856, a day after the clash fought as part of the Austro-Italian war. After that, instead of becoming a banker,70 Dunant devoted himself to the cause of creating the Red Cross and the signing of the aforementioned convention. This signing was already incredibly late, given the general scale of civilisational development of Europe and the growing scale of European wars and battles, accompanied by growing numbers of casualties. When it came to warfare, the apparently civilised Europe took a very long time to become civilised. The convention, though limited, was a first attempt at introducing a humanitarian element into international affairs, an element resting on international law. We owe the emergence of the convention not to politicians or military leaders who had been waging wars with gusto, but a representative of what we would today call “civil society”. And it would be civil society that would turn out to be Europe’s contribution to the civilisation of international affairs.

The next, much broader, approach at solving the issue of war and peace from a normative perspective was represented by the Hague conferences from the turn of the XIX century. Although initiated by politicians – the Tsar of All Russia and the Queen of the Netherlands – they were actually inspired by a Polish entrepreneur and philanthropist of Jewish extraction, Jan Bloch. He became interested in the results of a future war in Europe and was convinced that those would be so catastrophic that any such war had to be prevented.71 The Hague Conference of 1899 gathered twenty-six nations – the United States, China and Japan among the non-Europeans adopted several conventions limiting the use of military force during war and also called for further conferences. The participants also stated that, “The Conference is of [sic] opinion that the restriction of military ← 52 | 53 → charges, which are at present a heavy burden on the world, is extremely desirable for the increase of the material and moral welfare of mankind”.72 Self-awareness, it seemed, was in ample supply; actual politics somewhat less so. The second Hague Conference of 1907 had a far broader reach. Forty-four nations took part in it – mostly still European ones but also sixteen from Latin America, plus the United States and a few from Asia and Africa.73 A full thirteen conventions were drawn up, dealing mostly with limiting the means and ways of conducting both land and naval warfare, as well as the customs and laws governing war on land. Most important was the First Hague Convention of 1907, which dealt with peaceful settlement of international disputes. The title of its first section already sounded promising: “The Maintenance of General Peace”. Here, too, the sides agreed to prevent “as far as possible recourse to force in the relations between States” and to use peaceful methods to settle international disputes. As it turned out seven years later, in 1914, the capacity of countries to refrain from the use of force were rather limited. And this was despite the fact that the convention offered an entire spectrum of means of achieving peaceful settlement, from useful assistance through fact-finding to arbitrage. Our point here is not to criticise the actions of the big powers at the time – that is obvious – but to notice those early attempts by Europe to introduce a normative dimension into international relations.

2 The League of Nations as a normative dimension of international order

The League of Nations was the first comprehensive project for an international order, whose value lay primarily in its unprecedented normative and institutional aspects. Evidence for this thesis is the fact that the treaty established, firstly, rules and regulations of law and international relations; secondly, universally available membership of the international organisation; and thirdly, an international security system. The latter is important since security is always a key issue in any international order, and it is the first role of a state. In this sense, the League of Nations, its make-up and tasks, reached far beyond what President Wilson had ← 53 | 54 → postulated in his Fourteen Point speech. This is because it was created from within the European tradition of how eternal peace and the organisation of Europe were thought of.

In terms of values, the sense of the League of Nations written in the preamble of the Pact, lay in its care for peace and security, in refraining from warfare, in the transparency of international relations, justice and honour (perhaps the last time the word “honour” would appear in an international treaty) and the respect for binding international law. The League’s structure as an organisation was simple, made up of members states, representing mainly Europe and South America at the time, plus a few countries from beyond those two continents. At the beginning there were thirty-two member states; at its peak there were fifty-eight. (The United Nations [UN] would start with fifty-one states.) All member states sat in the Assembly and the work of the League was to be undertaken by committees in addition to plenary sessions. The League’s Council was to be a continuation of the concert of powers victorious in World War I, that is Great Britain, France, the United States, Japan and Italy. This was to be a representation of the balance of power in the international order of the time. During the almost twenty-year period of the League’s activity, its composition changed all the time, a fact which we will examine, while the Council’s only two permanent members were two European powers – France and Great Britain. Moreover, like any organisation, the League had an international secretariat, headquartered in stable and stately Geneva.

From a normative point of view, the League’s greatest value besides its sheer existence was the acceptance of a set of core rules which were to govern international relations, ensuring peace and security to its members. From this perspective, member states’ undertaking to “respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League” (Article 10). This was unprecedented in the history of diplomacy and international relations. What is more, “in case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression” the Council would “advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled”. This is, of course, the core of the League’s collective security system, and any other such subsequent system. Further, Article 11 states that “any war or threat of war […] is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League […]”. Breaking, by any member of the League, of the ban on war “in disregard of its covenants […]” would be understood as “an act of war against all other Members of the League” (Article 16). The same article then states what sanctions would be levied against an offending state: severance of relations, possibility of military action by the League, possible removal from the League. ← 54 | 55 →

Implementation of obligations stemming from Article 10 was to be assisted by the dispositions of Articles 12–16, which set down a broad spectrum of peaceful means of settlement of disputes. Member states undertook not to resort to war until such peaceful means were exhausted. These included arbitration, an international court and political settlement with the help of the Council. The Covenant foresaw the establishment of the League’s judiciary arm, the Permanent Tribunal of International Justice. This was created, with its seat in The Hague. Article 20 of the Covenant established the primacy of obligations (rules, law) of the League over all other international obligations of member states.

The mandate system created by the League of Nations was primarily a means of stripping of colonies away from countries which had lost a war – mainly Germany – and turning them over for management by other colonial powers. This was therefore, in a sense, acquisition of foreign bounty. Despite this, the aim was to improve the situation of peoples who resided in those territories and offer them a path towards independence. Article 22 refers to “peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world […]” and that “[…] the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust [read: obligation] of civilisation […]”. No international document today could include this wording because of political correctness, but at the time it denoted the universalism of the League’s rules and practices, and the desire to extend those standards to peoples who did not yet have their own states. A special permanent commission of the League was to supervise the enactment of a mandate, that is the treatment by the mandatory (“developed nation”) of the people in its care. Such rules had not existed before and would influence the standards of conduct of the European powers towards their colonies.74

The acceptance of the Covenant and the establishment of the League of Nations attested to the most radical transition of how international order was thought of, from si vis pacem para bellum (ius ad bellum which was a sovereign’s “God-given” right) to pax per iustitiam (peace through law). The League of Nations was also the first expression of the existence of the “international community”. From then on, this phrase would enter the parlance of commentary and publications concerned with international relations. Europe would be seen by the rest of the World through the prism of not only colonial conquest and imperial politics but also universal institutions and laws which it was creating for the benefit of the rest of the World. In the times of the League, Europe became the ← 55 | 56 → international centre of diplomatic activity, with its capital in elegant Geneva. As Great Britain had been considered “the World’s factory” during the XIX century, so during the times of the League, Europe was the “factory” which turned out international norms and mechanisms which regulated international relations. Her role vis-à-vis the Rest of the World was not to change – remaining a collective colonial metropolis.

The establishment of the League of Nations with all of its functions activated a mighty diplomatic machinery aimed at consolidating the letter of the Pact in the form of more detailed agreements, setting down more concrete regulations based on its sometimes general and declarative wording. At this stage, therefore, I will point only to three large areas of the League’s norm-producing activity.

The first is anti-war law. Europe’s experience, including the most recent events of World War I, as well as the potential for conflict following the cessation of hostilities, gave this issue highest priority. Most important here was, of course, the Kellogg–Briand Pact (an anti-war treaty), initiated by the French minister Aristide Briand and proposed also by the Head of US diplomacy Frank B. Kellogg. It was signed on 27 August 1928 and the parties to it (including Germany) renounced “war as an instrument of national policy”.75 There had never been such a treaty. Ius ad bellum was delegalised! In addition, within the framework of the League many other agreements were signed, further developing a regime of peaceful resolution of conflicts. Of particular importance was the 1928 General Act concerning the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Act significantly enlarged the scope of possible conciliatory procedures, including arbitrage and legal argument before a court. We can include in this category the 1931 Convention on improving the means of prevention of war, developed by a special commission for investigation of disputes and conflicts.

Disarmament and arms control were a second area. In this realm, the wording of the Pact of the League of Nations turned out to be most idealistic. In its lengthy Article 8, the League’s members agreed that “the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments”. In addition, the Council was to “formulate plans for such reduction” for each state. Thirdly, members of the League undertook to “interchange full and frank information as to the scale ← 56 | 57 → of their armaments”, as well as their plans for arms development and the state of their arms industry. These ideas were initially implemented only in Europe (within the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe [CSCE] and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [OSCE]), and only in the 1990s, that is following the end of the Cold War. To be sure, 1927 saw the establishment of the League’s Expert Committee which was charged with formulating lists of expenditures required for defence – different for each state, while the rest of the expenditures were to be struck off. It is easy to see how the effectiveness of this Committee was nil. The largest and most unprecedented undertaking was the World Disarmament Conference which took place in 1932–1934 after several years of preparations. The United States and the Soviet Union, neither of which was a member of the League at the time, also took part in this Conference. The Conference worked on the definition of aggression (an even narrower one emerged),76 the means to control the implementation of obligations and the development of common security – although the term was not used at the time. Following Hitler’s rise to power and the German armament programme, the Conference was soon suspended and postponed sine die. Naturally, it was a failure for other reasons as well and the other powers did not have completely pure intentions. The carefully prepared disarmament conference, its order of proceedings, or selection of issues to be solved would eventually become a point of reference for other similar undertakings in the future, as part of the UN and beyond.

Human rights were another area of activity of the League. The phrase was not in use at the time, but the beginnings of protection of human rights did emerge within the League, as evidenced by the League’s European genesis and its idealistic, normative profile. Article 23 of the Pact makes this clear, by referring to the rights of (native) populations of earmarked territories. It talks about securing for them humane working conditions, of generally just treatment and of the duty which the League had to address the issue of trade in women and children. In Article 25, members of the League supported the activities of the Red Cross. The League of Nations system also included the International Labour Organization (ILO) (Chapter 13 of the Versailles Treaty) which would be the inception of another mighty branch of human rights – international labour law. Even within the times of the League, the ILO drew up many tens of conventions from that field. Finally, the League of Nations system gained fame with one more area of human ← 57 | 58 → rights, established through national minority treaties. These treaties were signed between the League and new states (of Central and Southern Europe) formed from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and also in part on the territory formerly belonging to imperial Germany. The issue here was the protection of rights of national minorities, whether they be minorities of race, language or religion. The unilateral practice of those treaties got a bad name (favouring Berlin’s revisionist policies) but even the mere identification of these issues and the establishment of grievance procedures would have major, unprecedented influence on the general development of human rights and individual regional systems after World War II. We ought to mention that non-governmental steps towards introducing “classic” human rights through a suitable document, a kind of declaration of human rights, were attempted, but due to the worsening international climate of the 1930s, these steps never reached the level of intergovernmental discussion.

3 The fall of the system of the League

This wonderful, innovative, breakthrough project that aimed to civilise the international order fell apart less than twenty years after its inception.77 It was destroyed by states which deemed themselves victims of the Versailles system, and the destruction of the League was completed thoughtlessly, though consciously, by the powers that had created that system – Great Britain, France and the United States. The United States, as we know, never became a member of the League as, in the autumn of 1919, the US Senate had rejected ratification of the Pact. The United States had refused in particular to be limited in its actions (the “right to intervene”) in Latin America, as per the Monroe Doctrine. The US also wanted to avoid having to submit to the rigours of the League in terms of arming itself. The diversionary tactics employed against President Wilson during the time of the Paris conference and the commission to establish the League are very well described by Elmer Bendiner in the well-known work A Time of Angels.78 ← 58 | 59 →

Germany and the Soviet Union had felt themselves the victims of the Versailles system. They did, after all, have to agree to a loss of some of their pre-war territories to the benefit of states which had been reborn in Central and Eastern Europe. Further, Moscow and Berlin did not wish to be bound by the League’s rules and the demands of multilateral diplomacy, depending as it did on dialogue and compromise. Due to geopolitical or ideological reasons, they openly strove towards a revision of the system or its annulment. Following Locarno, Germany entered the League as a tactical measure for a few years (1926–1933) but left it as soon as Hitler came to power, beginning preparations for the destruction of the European order and imposition of its own, murderous hegemony. Soviet Russia entered the League “for a moment” (1934–1939) when it seemed that it had come to terms with Versailles (that, too, was a tactical measure) but ceased to be a member after the invasion of Finland in 1939. Italy, with its theatrical Fascism, had little to say within the League, and left following the invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Japan’s story was similar – due to the distance it had not made its presence in the League felt particularly strongly, and finally left in 1933, to enact its aggressive plans in East Asia, joining the Anti-Comintern Pact.79

So, of the five powers that were permanent members of the Council of the League (or seven, counting the long-term membership of Germany and Soviet Russia), only two had continuous membership, France and Great Britain. And they were the two states, France in particular, that understood the sense of the League as a project of an international order. They, too, however, began to treat the League as either an instrument, or a barrier to the realisation of their own national or imperial interests. Pre-war thinking and practice quickly took over in Europe, with political and diplomatic manoeuvres contrary to the spirit and the letter of the League of Nations. The Locarno Pact (1925) was the beginning of this end, with Western states and global powers guaranteeing that Germany would respect the integrity of their borders. The Pact did not include Germany’s ← 59 | 60 → neighbours to the East, offering them arbitration conventions instead. This was, of course, against the logic of the Pact of the League of Nations, and its underlying system of collective security. The path from Locarno to Munich turned out to be a short one – a mere thirteen years in fact. The steps which followed, kept in the general logic of Locarno, saw the European powers adopt unilateral actions which were as myopic as they were selfish: the Pact of the Four, the Stresa Front and the Munich Conference – perhaps the most heinous diplomatic event of the time. An exception to this trend was the project of an Eastern Pact, an attempt by Paris to right the wrongs of Locarno, though that one also ended before it began. The openly expansionistic policies of Nazi Germany were greeted with an astonishingly lax attitude. Its 1936 annexation of Rhineland, until then a buffer for France, precipitated an arms race but, at the same time, the Western powers, in particular Great Britain, did everything to direct Germany’s attention eastwards. The infamous term “appeasement”, which comes from British politics of the time, would forever enter the vocabulary of – not just European – diplomacy.80 The evaporation of the spirit of self-preservation from the democratic powers of Europe, from France and Britain – be it out of convenience, fear or selfishness – returned only a short time before German’s attack on Poland.81 Which was, alas, too late. The war which in 1934 could have been averted through concerted action, was inevitable by the late summer of 1939.82 Europe had allowed itself to be set on fire. The League of Nations was destroyed by a central European power which in a short time had become the mighty, destructive antithesis of European civilisation.

The fall of the first normative international order, created in Europe by Europe, came about not so much through it being contested but through geopolitical actions of big powers, whose nationalist ambitions led to the outbreak of another great war. The international order of the League of Nations was destroyed by two totalitarian systems of Europe, “Europe” being taken in the sense of geography, not of civilisation: Fascism and Communism. It has to be said that, although culturally the enemies of Europe, both of those were nourished at their inception by entirely European and, initially, innocent ideas. The democratic West attempted to halt Communism, that is the expansion of the Soviet Union, ← 60 | 61 → and actually succeeded. The Soviet leaders decided that they would have to wait for their next opportunity, for instance the one described by Lenin – the next intra-imperialist war. The Third Reich did not obscure its intentions from the beginning, but those intentions were initially ignored, perhaps precisely because Hitler was so open about them. The belief existed that it may be enough to offer him the “East-European sacrificial lambs”. The genocidal traits of this project were also ignored for a long time. Characteristically, two powers (Germany and Soviet Russia), although ideologically opposed, cooperated for a long time to destroy the Versailles order in its geopolitical dimension. European democracies, which ought to have been interested in retaining the League of Nations, tolerated the growing threats for a long time while – as in Munich – betraying the fundamental rules and ideals which had led to the League’s formation.

The punishment for not coming to the defence of the order of the League of Nations and the basic values of their own civilisation, for cowardice and deals with Hitler, for the degeneration of European politics was monstrous. Europe allowed itself to be set on fire. Writers called this European suicide, a European auto da fé, and the defeat was twofold – both in real terms and in terms of ideals. Europe ceased to be the centre of the World, the political and economic hub, the place where the fates of the geopolitical shaping of the World and its balance of powers were decided. Europe also ceased to establish the normative dimension of geopolitics. Highly symbolically, the headquarters of global normative authority moved from Geneva (the League of Nations’ headquarters) to New York (UN).

Still, the normative patterns of an international order would survive the fall of Europe and of the League of Nations itself, which finally dissolved in January of 1946. Although the League was subsequently mainly discussed in political pamphlets, the international community did not come up with anything new or different, only a modified and improved version of the League – the UN – forged in the experiences of the inter-war period. So, although Europe could not defend its own normative international order, she gave the World a certain paradigm, towards the end of her reign as the “centre of the World” (according to Wallerstein). This paradigm was accepted by the World, and since 1945 has been protected more effectively than the European League of Nations ever was in Europe. That, however, is a separate issue. Characteristically, Norman Davies, the author of a monumental history of Europe, titled the chapter dealing with the period 1914–1945 “Tenebrae: Europe in Eclipse”.83 We could take that to mean that this exceptional historian wished to comment on the eclipse of the minds ← 61 | 62 → of European politicians. The inter-war period was the time of the culmination of Europe’s position in the World, in imperial terms as well as normative and cultural ones. The eclipse, the “invisibility”, of Europe in the international order occurred after 1945.

65 For Watson, the first stage was overseas exploration, in parallel with the shaping of the order. The second stage was the extension of power over the World thanks to the means afforded by the industrial revolution. The third stage was the imposition onto the World of rules and institutions. A. Watson, European International Society and Its Expansion, in: H. Bull, A. Watson (eds.), The Expansion of International Society, OUP, New York, 1984.

66 Text of the speech, English original: A Polish edition is found in: K. Kocot, K. Wolfke (eds.), Wybór dokumentów do nauki prawa międzynarodowego [A Selection of Documents for the Study of International Law], Państwowe Wyd. Naukowe, Wrocław–Warsaw, 1976, pp. 45–47. We should mention that Wilson’s ideas stemmed largely from projects discussed by various organisations made up of international lawyers of the day.

67 A project for settling an everlasting peace in Europe. Gale ECCO, Andover, Hampshire, 2010. Polish edition: Leksykon pokoju [A Lexicon of Peace], KAW, Warsaw, 1987, pp. 186–187.

68 I. Kant, (tr.) Ted Humphrey, To Perpetual Peace. A Philosophical Sketch, Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, 2003.

69 The Pan-European Movement was initiated by Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1924. He was an Austrian aristocrat with international roots, essentially a textbook example of a cosmopolitan. His main inspiration came from his experience of the “soft” Habsburg Empire. Original and frequently controversial, his ideas were concerned primarily with European unity, but because the Movement included many intellectuals, politicians and diplomats, many of those ideas were carried onto the forum of the League of Nations. Expanded in: J. Łukaszewski, Cel: Europa. Dziewięć esejów o budowniczych jedności europejskiej [Goal: Europe. Nine Essays on Building European Unity], Noir sur Blanc, Warsaw, 2002, pp. 17–47.

70 Henri Dunant was the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

71 J. Bloch, The Future of War in Its Technical, Economic and Political Relations, Hansebooks, Norderstedt, 2017 (reprint of 1899 edition). This work was created in stages during the last decade of the XIX century. Tsar Nikolai II became interested in it and extended his personal invitation to Bloch to take part in the first Hague Conference in 1899.

72 Point A.2 in:; 1907 Conference: Polish edition: Text of the Final Act of the Hague Conference, K. Kocot, K. Wolfke (eds.), op. cit., p. 282.

73 The second Hague Conference was convened by the Queen of the Netherlands, the Tsar of Russia and the President of the United States.

74 Text of the Covenant of the League of Nations: Polish edition: K. Kocot, K. Wolfke (eds.), op. cit., pp. 47–58.

75 Text of the Pact: Aristide Briand wanted to include the United States in issues of Europe’s balance of power and security through a bilateral treaty. This could not be accomplished at the time. Instead, the treaty banning the use of force was signed in Paris – a historic achievement in the context of international relations. Fifteen states comprised the initial signatories; by 1939 that number had reached sixty-three.

76 The USSR initiated the 1933 creation of an agreement on the definition of aggression. This covered more than ten of the Soviet Union’s neighbours and was something of a repeat of Litvinov’s protocol, who had extended the decisions of the Kellogg–Briand Pact over those countries.

77 The most highly regarded Polish work on the state of diplomacy in international relations during the era of the League of Nations is H. Batowski, Między dwiema wojnami 1919–1939. Zarys historii dyplomatycznej [Between Two Wars 1919–1939. A Sketch of Diplomatic History], Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków, 1988.

78 A Democratic senator, in criticism of the Covenant, stated that America would “never renounce its rights” and “the Sermon on the Mount, the Decalogue and the Monroe Doctrine are absolutely sufficient”. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (R, Conn.), as the main opponent of the League of Nations, said that, “under this draft of the constitution of the league of nations American questions and European questions and Asia and African questions are all alike put within the control and jurisdiction of the league. Europe will have the right to take part in the settlement of all American questions… We are asked, therefore, in a large and important degree to substitute internationalism for nationalism and an international state for pure Americanism…”. Henry Cabot Lodge, Constitution of the League of Nations, February 28, 1919, See also E. Bendiner, A Time for Angels: The Tragicomic History of the League of Nations, Littlehampton Book Service, Worthing, 1975.

79 This was an agreement between Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan, which was readying itself for military expansion. It was formally directed against the Comintern, the Communist International, formed by Moscow in 1919.

80 This process of Europe’s slide towards war through myopic manoeuvring by the European powers is eloquently described in: B. Simms, op. cit., pp. 362–404.

81 J. Karski, Wielkie mocarstwa wobec Polski 1919–1945. Od Wersalu do Jałty [Great Powers and Poland 1919–1945. From Versailles to Yalta], Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Poznań, 2014.

82 For example, Józef Piłsudski suggested that France ought to take preventative measures in arming herself following Hitler’s rise to power. Paris rejected that idea.

83 N. Davies, op. cit.