Given the scale of World War I, the prospects of the Treaty of Versailles achieving any durable resolution were remote. The impact on eastern Europe was especially drastic. The Treaty massively reduced the spheres of influence of two empires, German and Russian, and effected the dissolution of two more, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans. In the resultant Great Power vacuum, a welter of new nation states sprang into being. Equally rapidly, the embryo states sparked conflicts aimed at changing ‘facts on the ground’. Between 1918–20, Poland alone was involved in separate wars with Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and Russia, and ethnic Poles in Silesia staged three uprisings aimed at seceding from Germany to Poland. The newly formed League of Nations brokered a series of innovative Minority Treaties in the 1920s designed to protect the rights of minority populations in the newly formed states and so remove the casus belli behind many of these disputes.
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