ASSOCIAZIONE PER LE RICERCHE DI STORIA POLITICA


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Summary 1998(3)

Summary


International Associationalism: Social and Political Premises of Peacemaking after 1917 and 1945 (Charles S. Maier)

The post-1918 peace settlement was based on Wilsonian assumptions about the impact that the democratic character of domestic regimes has on international stability. It aimed at creating a "universal" civil society through the international recognition and protection of the rights of social and ethnic groups. In the inter-war period, arrangements of a corporatist and associational type were thus relevant both in the national and international context. The Versailles settlement a/so entrusted the management of the international economy to private finance, and upheld orthodox economic principles and financial stability. However, this aspect eventually led to the collapse of the whole settlement. The associational fabric of the international civil society was incapable of counteracting the disruptive political forces which the economic crisis of the inter-war period helped unleash. Post-1945 policy makers did not repeat these mistakes: they chose to protect individual rather than collective rights, and entrusted the management of the international economy to inter-governmental institutions led by the US.


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