Symposium on the centennial anniversary of the Peace of Versailles: verdicts and revisitations

Dino Kritsiotis, Thérèse O'Donnell

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One momentous day in June 1919 is often remembered, contrastingly, in the technicolour of its ambition and attempted modernity, or the foreboding monochrome of its destructive, self-delusion. However, the chromatic spectrum of the treaty's reality, both in its own time but also in its enduring legacy, highlights the peace project's formidable complexity. Just as the haze of the summer of 1914 is so compellingly captured in the tragic remembrances of pre-war tennis matches in Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, so the vision of 1919 bathes in seasonal shimmers and phosphorescent flashbacks that cannot help but be the product of emotion rather than cool dissection. However, the peace process born of the Great War remains an exercise in revelation, as public international lawyers continue to interact with it well into the 21st century. Yet, there is (as perhaps there has always been) a distinct unsettling at how the peace settlement’s suffocating old-world tropes jostle with the first pangs of a new, scarcely recognisable, international society in the livery of the League of Nations. Like Mrs Dalloway, our various disorientating encounters with these events—these past, these living events—force us to reckon with the roles of time, faith and doubt in our discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-5
Number of pages2
JournalLondon Review of International Law
Issue number1
Early online date23 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020


  • Treaty of Versailles
  • peace settlement
  • rembrances


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