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(East) Central Europe before and after the Paris Peace Treaties


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students. Basic knowledge of German is helpful, but not required.


After the collapse of several monarchies (November 1918) and before the Paris Peace Negotiations (January 1919–January 1920) (East) Central Europe changed dramatically within a year: national borders replaced regional borders, economic relations disrupted, infrastructures broke up, families were separated, aristocracy was stripped of its privileges, and the sense of belonging to a certain nationality/culture/language (majority vs minority) became the key to the creation of nation states. Especially on the territory of the former Habsburg monarchy negotiations for a peaceful coexistence were more than necessary.

Selected examples will be used to research whether and how a peace treaty after a war could promote and secure the coexistence of people, and how political, cultural, economic, and social changes as aftermath of the Great War had already manifested themselves before the peace negotiations. Through selected sources we will study how the Paris Peace Treaties attempted to overcome (mental) boundaries, and how its outcomes affected the lives of the population of (East) Central Europe. The key reading for this course will be Margaret MacMillian’s Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (Introduction and selected chapters), which will be “the script” for the final unit where a simulation of the peace conference of Saint Germain-en-Laye will take place.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

The student has acquired:

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;

  • in the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities: international comparison and transfer; the analysis of the specific perspectives of secondary studies; a cultural-historical approach of politics and a political-historical approach of culture.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) has acquired basic knowledge and understanding of the history (i.e. boundary issues/demarcations, ethnic majorities vs minorities; elite change) of (East) Central Europe after 1918

  • 14) has acquired a thorough understanding of peace making and peace makers on peace treaties

  • 15) has acquired in depth knowledge of one particular case study

  • 16) (ResMA only) – The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the disciple.


The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Lectures: 20 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature and small assignments: 90 hours

  • Prepare and write research paper: 170 hours

Assessment method


  • Written paper (6500 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8, 11-16

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 3-7, 15

  • Assignment 1 (class participation and literature review)
    measured learning objectives: 4, 13-14

  • Assignment 2 (simulation of a peace conference)
    measured learning objectives: 13-15


  • Written paper: 70 %

  • Oral presentation: 10 %

  • Assignment 1: class participation and literature review 10 %

  • Assignment 2: simulation of the peace conference of Saint-Germain-en-Laye 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficent.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Blackboard.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • publication course outline

  • communication of deadlines

Reading list

To be announced on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Marija Wakounig