From the World War I Centennial News Podcast
Making Peace: Harder Than Making War? A Roundtable Discussion
In June 21st's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 128, we convened an expert panel of historians and subject matter experts for a lively discussion of the complicated and consequential peace process that followed the war. The participants come from three countries and have different academic, literary, and professional credentials. Read on for a fascinating look at an extraordinary time in world history, as told by the people who study it. The following is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity:
Theo Mayer: Welcome to the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 128. The podcast is about then, what was happening 100 years ago in the aftermath of World War I, and it's also about now: how World War I is being remembered, commemorated, discussed, taught, and learned. But most importantly, the podcast is about why and how we'll never let those events fall back into the mists of obscurity. So, join us as we explore the many facets of World War I, both then and now.
As we come up on the centennial of one of the most significant and consequential events, World War I, we've put together this special edition of World War I Centennial News. Instead of a series of segments and stories, this week, we've dedicated the entire episode to reviewing, exploring, and discussing the Paris Peace Conference and the resultant Treaty of Versailles. To do this, we've gathered a special group of experts, noted historians, authors, and to represent the listeners, a citizen historian to explore this very significant process and treaty. What happened? Why? Is what we learned in schools what happened 100 years ago? And what are some of the consequences? It's going to be a very informative experience this week on World War I Centennial News, the Doughboy Podcast, brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the Starr Foundation, and the Doughboy Foundation. I'm Theo Mayer, the chief technologist for the commission and your host. Welcome to our Treaty of Versailles special.
Since this past February, a century after a global peace conference was convened in Paris, we've been presenting, exploring, and discussing the events that transpired. This has been especially true with a series of reports presented by Mike Shuster, former NPR correspondent and the curator for the Great War Project blog. Mike's exploration of these past weeks has been fascinating, horrifying, confusing, and generally, pretty amazing. His reports have inspired us to put together today's show to explore, summarize, and maybe clarify what happened 100 years ago. As the host of this show and not a historian, just a guy who's had the privilege of exploring World War I with some of the smartest subject matter experts in the world for a nonstop 127 weeks, seeing the process of making peace has been more befuddling than following the process of making war. Granted, the war was total madness and insanity, but what is inconceivable to me is that the process of making peace seems even stranger. So, let me set this up.