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Title: The devil's paradise : the Vilnius conflict in European diplomacy, 1919-1923
Author: Kupciunas, Donatas
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 7166
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is a history of the international settlement of the Lithuanian-Polish dispute over Vilnius, focusing on the involvement of Britain, France, Soviet Russia and the League of Nations. As its theoretical point of departure, the thesis considers that alongside motivations of the balance of power and the national interest in international relations, there exist more salient and less visible unspoken assumptions and mentalités that lay down the intellectual framework in which those realist considerations take place, and that can sway judgments and shape concrete policy decisions. The thesis traces the emergence of 'didactic' and 'romantic' traditions of historiography on the fall of 'Poland' in the eighteenth century and shows how they shaped the way in which Poland's claim to Vilnius, as well as its geopolitical role in general, was imagined in the making of the new Europe after the Great War. The thesis also demonstrates how assumptions about Lithuanian backwardness and civilizational inferiority conditioned the settlement of the dispute. By presenting a thorough account of the settlement of the Vilnius dispute under the auspices of the League, this study enriches the League of Nations scholarship with a hitherto neglected episode of inaugural importance in the League's history. Focusing on the bargaining between the intergovernmental Council and the international Secretariat, the work sheds light on the 'league temperament', or the inter -nationalist mindedness, in the most 'realist' of the League's policy avenues - that of international dispute settlement. In parallel, the thesis analyses the efforts of the dispute unsettlement by Soviet Russia. Focusing on the work of Soviet diplomats in Lithuania, the thesis reconstructs Soviet attempts to derail the dispute settlement in the League and beyond, shedding light on the period of 'peaceful coexistence' and of consolidation of power in early Soviet diplomacy.
Supervisor: Evans, Robert J. W. ; Clavin, Patricia M. Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available