Nation building

Nation building

This hook explores how nations have been formed or rebuilt after wars.

“Map of Europe in 1923”

“Map of Europe in 1923”.From Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution and Share Alike, 2.5, 2.0, and 1.0 generic:


Europe and the Middle East in 1923 looked very different to how they had in 1914. Countries had been newly formed or regained independence, borders had shifted, monarchies were removed, and the buildings and infrastructure of some countries were significantly damaged. The new nations required legal processes, governments, and infrastructure. Nations that had gained or lost land needed to adapt their infrastructure to cope with these changes. 

Even nations whose borders remained the same needed much rebuilding, and the First World War was costly to all involved. Germany went from being an economic superpower in 1914 to a country plagued by hyperinflation and unemployment. It did not pay off the reparations owed from the First World War until 1990. Britain also suffered from hyperinflation after the First World War and is still paying off its war debt. It is estimated that the war cost Britain over 3 billion pounds. 

League of Nations mandates gave control of various territories to Allied powers. In the Middle East, France and Britain had mandates to rule the new nations until they were able to stand alone. Some Pacific Island territories that were formerly controlled by Germany, including Papua New Guinea, Western Samoa, Nauru, and the Solomon Islands, were mandated to Australia, New Zealand, or Japan. 

Possible discussion questions 

What are some of the most important things to consider when a new nation is created? 

How should other countries be involved in the division or dissolution of another country? 

Should the borders drawn up after the First World War still be respected? Why or why not? 

What were some of the consequences of the First World War for Pacific nations, for example, Samoa? 

When should a mandated country be given the opportunity to self-administer? 

Which new countries were given the opportunity to self-administer after the First World War? Which were mandated? Do you think the decisions to mandate or self-administer were fair or unfair? Why or why not?

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