EU Policy Forum Educator Workshop

2018 EU Policy Forum for Educators

100 Years Since World War I: The Making of Modern Europe

The 2018 EU Policy Forum took place on August 14, 2018 at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.

The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies welcomed middle school, high school, and community college educators to participate in the 2018 Summer EU Policy Forum, co-sponsored by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme, and focused on contemporary issues in the European Union including the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, and how European and international security issues have been shaped in that time.

November 2018 is the centennial of the end of World War I. The First World War was seen by many at the time as the “war to end all wars,” and few expected another conflict to break out just 21 years later. The end of WWI was marked by the establishment of a new and short-lived intergovernmental organization called the League of Nations, which was the brainchild of US President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s liberal institution was designed to bring conversation and cooperation to states who were previously at war, to bring about disarmament, and to establish the concept of collective security – a novel idea at the time.

Just as the League of Nations was not destined to be a long-lasting institution, much of what had been written into the final treaties of WWI failed to prevent the rising tensions that would eventually lead to the Second World War. The Treaty of Versailles with Germany, along with the treaties with Austria and Hungary, stipulated the re-drawing of borders, creation of new sovereign states, payment of unsustainable reparations, and the demilitarization of the belligerent forces. These treaties brought about more than their original intent; they also fostered a sense of resentment and anger among those faced with their consequences. Such sentiments grew stronger and contributed to the rise of political extremism and eventually the Second World War.

Fast-forward 100 years and we see ourselves with well-established institutions that provide collective security, namely the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We also see a push for the use of diplomacy over arms in the pursuit of the nuclear disarmament of potentially threatening states. At the same time, members of today’s collective security organizations are at odds, and others are threatening to leave. We also have come to see rising levels of nationalism and ethnocentrism, leading to a resurgence of populist parties across Europe.

What lessons can we draw from the failed attempt at collective security under the auspices of the League of Nations? Should we be worried about imposing too strict conditions on potential nuclear states for fear of a nationalist backlash? Does the rise of nationalism and ethnocentrism spell the end of the liberal world order in which we live?

During the 2018 EU Policy Forum, educators discuss and debate these topics to equip themselves with the tools necessary to teach complicated and controversial subjects in schools and community college settings. Participants consider how current trends in international security and diplomacy are related to major events in the past, and how to apply lessons from the past with a critical eye.

To view the agenda of the workshop, click HERE.


The EU Policy Forum is sponsored by the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, the Center for West European Studies, and the Center for Global Studies. The workshop is hosted by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. For more information, please email the Center for West European Studies at

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