Document Type

Honors Project


The idea of a "new world order" based on peace, justice and democracy is not unique to the post-Cold War era. President Woodrow Wilson utilized the same rhetoric when discussing the end of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Wilson's "new world order" provided a foundation to his conception of New Diplomacy. Yet 1919 was not the start of a "new world order" based on New Diplomacy. The Treaty of Versailles, negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference, became considered a harsh treaty that was not based on New Diplomacy. How did New Diplomacy fail in 1919, particularly regarding the Treaty of Versailles, and yet maintain a position within the foreign policy rhetoric of the United States?

I explore the puzzle by examining the inclusion of the rhetoric of New Diplomacy with the practices of Old Diplomacy using a historical institutionalist framework. This analysis is conducted in two significant sections after presenting of the framework and the literature. The first details the development of Old and New Diplomacy as opposing institutional paths within the institution of diplomacy. The second section explores the way the practices of Old Diplomacy were combined with the rhetoric of New Diplomacy within the Treaty of Versailles. The incorporation of Old and New Diplomacy is particularly evident in four major sections: the Paris negotiations, the war guilt and reparations clauses, the Covenant of the League of Nations, and the Mandate system. Ultimately, this paper concludes that New Diplomacy failed to become a new dominant path in diplomacy after 1919. The inclusion of the rhetoric of the New in 1919, however, provided the basis for its current use in contemporary United States foreign policy rhetoric.



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