The Long Road To Peace

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Enter the Peace Broker20170403

The First World War broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914. But America did not enter the War until nearly three years later, in April 1917. America's President Woodrow Wilson, a former Professor of Politics at Princeton, was a committed advocate of peace and wanted to use his country's status as the leading neutral power to broker a peace between the belligerents.

Throughout the First World War, statesmen and diplomats were seeking ways to end hostilities. But it was not until December 1916 that the serious push for peace began. By then the fighting on the Western Front had revealed the full horror of modern industrial warfare.

But Wilson's peace initiative of 1916 did not succeed and he came to realise that America would have to join the war if it wished to shape the peace. Military historian Hew Strachan on Woodrow Wilson's personal journey from peace broker to belligerent.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

01Enter The Peace Broker20170403

The First World War broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914. But America did not enter the War until nearly three years later, in April 1917. America's President Woodrow Wilson, a former Professor of Politics at Princeton, was a committed advocate of peace and wanted to use his country's status as the leading neutral power to broker a peace between the belligerents.

Throughout the First World War, statesmen and diplomats were seeking ways to end hostilities. But it was not until December 1916 that the serious push for peace began. By then the fighting on the Western Front had revealed the full horror of modern industrial warfare.

But Wilson's peace initiative of 1916 did not succeed and he came to realise that America would have to join the war if it wished to shape the peace. Military historian Hew Strachan on Woodrow Wilson's personal journey from peace broker to belligerent.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

02Peace in the Land of the Soviets20170404

On 8 March 1917, striking workers took to the streets of Petrograd, today's St Petersburg. 'Give us bread', they shouted. Public outcry at the food shortages became a clamour for revolution, combined with a call for peace.

The Russian revolution raised questions across Europe about the people's commitment to the First World War. States now faced a very real threat of revolution from within as well as the War from without.

On 7 November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd and the following day, Lenin demanded an immediate armistice. Peace would enable the Bolsheviks to deliver on their promise of bread. But Germany was to impose crippling peace terms. Military historian Hew Strachan reflects on how a people's revolution led to a victor's peace.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

02Peace In The Land Of The Soviets20170404

On 8 March 1917, striking workers took to the streets of Petrograd, today's St Petersburg. 'Give us bread', they shouted. Public outcry at the food shortages became a clamour for revolution, combined with a call for peace.

The Russian revolution raised questions across Europe about the people's commitment to the First World War. States now faced a very real threat of revolution from within as well as the War from without.

On 7 November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd and the following day, Lenin demanded an immediate armistice. Peace would enable the Bolsheviks to deliver on their promise of bread. But Germany was to impose crippling peace terms. Military historian Hew Strachan reflects on how a people's revolution led to a victor's peace.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

03Armistice20170405

By the summer of 1918, the territory controlled by the German Empire stretched from France to Russia, and anticipated the reach of Hitler's Germany in 1941. Nobody looking at the map of Europe that July could have imagined that by mid-November 1918 Germany would be defeated.

But peace with Russia in the East in March 1918 had fragmented the alliance of Central Powers, led by Germany. Germany's partners - Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire - were not involved in the fighting on the Western Front and so had no reason to carry on hostilities, unless they wished to fight with each other over the division of the spoils. The war in the West was now Germany's alone.

In the autumn of 1918, armistice followed armistice as, one after another, the Central Powers sought peace. Military historian Hew Strachan explores how a series of independently brokered agreements gradually achieved a fragile pause in hostilities.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

04The World Comes to Paris20170406

In 1919, delegations from across the world gathered in Paris to negotiate an end to the First World War. Only an hour or two's drive away lay the shattered villages, devastated landscapes and multiple cemeteries of northern France. Many of those attending the Paris Peace Conference drove out to witness the destruction for themselves, as eventually did the American President Woodrow Wilson.

For President Wilson, bringing the War to an end with the right kind of peace had become a personal crusade. It was Wilson's principles for peace - many of which had, in fact, originated in Britain - that were to be influential in shaping the terms of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany.

Military historian Hew Strachan considers how Wilson's thinking shaped the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and disputes the notion that its treatment of Germany led directly to the Second World War.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.

05Peace in the Levant20170407

The First World War did not end with the German Armistice in 1918, nor with the Treaty of Versailles with Germany in 1919. In fact, peace negotiations would not be finalised until 1923 when the Treaty of Lausanne with Turkey finally brought the War to a close.

The peacemakers of 1919 had to deal with the fall-out from the collapse of four vast empires - German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman. This made the peace process particularly complex. Not only did the peacemakers have to redraw the national borders of countries that had fought in the War; they also had to create new states to accommodate the peoples of the empires that had collapsed. Aligning ethnicity with state frontiers was to prove an impossible task.

Military historian Hew Strachan reflects on the long road to peace with the peoples of the former Ottoman Empire and the legacy of that peace settlement today.

Sir Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 3.