I can’t take credit for the pithy title of the blog post. Its the title of a book subtitled , “The fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the Modern Middle East”, by David Fromkin. The middle east of course changed a great deal as shown in the map below, and so of course, did Europe.
In 1992 shortly after the end of the cold war, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union my brother Ed was living in Prague trying to get them to buy Apple computers. It was very funny / sad to go into a bank there and then, to exchange money and watch all of the work still be done by hand on a ledger. While I was there I stumbled into this sign and was sort of flabbergasted;
Its in the subway system somewhere. Having “passed” my “advanced” history courses in HS I, like many, avoided history in college like the plague because I was convinced it simply amounted to looking up answers in the back of textbooks. Thus I was a bit stunned to see an etching of a US president in a subway of what been behind the iron curtain for 50 years. How did it get there and what did it mean?
Of course it was from this era that you have just read about. Some members of the new government and citizenry of Czechoslovakia must have been so happy with their new country they erected this lovely sign. I wonder how many Slovaks supported it.Interestingly it was not torn down or apparently defaced in any way in the decades of Soviet hegemony.
The entire face of Europe was new.
Look at all of those new nations! Imagine redrawing the map of the US and carving Texas and California into a bunch of new states. How many people would be happy with that?
As to the chapter Kissinger is pretty clear on not being keen on the ToV. Why? What exactly were its failings? Do you agree? If it was so egregiously bad why has Wilsonianism gone down as such an influential and positive part of US foreign policy?