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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

History of International Law, World War I to World War II

Martti Koskenniemi

World War I to World War II

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 For the contemporaries, the horrors of the Great War came as an incomprehensible shock. How could the most ‘civilized’ part of humankind engage in such destructive violence for such a meaningless cause for such a long time? Almost 1.4 million Frenchmen and 1.7 million Germans lay dead on the battlefield with the total numbers of casualties on the Allied side at five and Central Powers at three million. There was a widespread sense that something about pre-war European culture and politics had gone terribly wrong and needed to be remedied in the post-war work of...
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