Europe after the First World War 1919–22


Map Code: Ax02504

The end of the First World War brought a radical redrawing of European borders, with the death of empires giving birth to a host of nation states. From the collapse of the Russian and German empires emerged Finland, the Baltic states, and Poland, most of whom had to fight against the Soviets to win statehood. Russia itself, after the 1917 Revolution, had become the world’s first socialist republic, consolidated by 1920 after a brutal civil war. Germany, meanwhile, had transitioned from empire to democratic nation-state, and had been forced to cede much of its territory, largely to Poland, France, and Denmark; the UK, similarly, was diminished by secession of the Irish Republic. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire led to the establishment of Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, as well as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in the Balkans and the expansion of Romanian territory. And from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire emerged a secular Turkish nation state after a brief post-war occupation, with remaining Ottoman lands divided between British and French control. Most present-day European nations were established in this period, with only Yugoslavia (as it was soon called) bucking the trend toward mono-ethnic nation state – though not, of course, for very long.

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