Paris 1919

Paris 1919

Paris 1919 is a documentarian’s attempt to bring history alive through mock excitement and archival film. Two months after the end of the Great War, kings, queens, presidents, and diplomats travel to Paris to craft a peace treaty. With the dream of founding a league of nations, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson takes the helm along […]


Paris 1919 is a documentarian’s attempt to bring history alive through mock excitement and archival film.

Two months after the end of the Great War, kings, queens, presidents, and diplomats travel to Paris to craft a peace treaty. With the dream of founding a league of nations, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson takes the helm along with the leaders of France, the UK, Italy, and Japan. As they meet, mapmakers in dark rooms across Paris redraw boundaries reshaping the world. Empires are dissolved and new countries created as Wilson’s grand vision dims in the face of greed and retribution. Eventually, after months of talks, this meeting led to the Treaty of Versailles and a geopolitical influence that has never lost its significance.

Director Paul Cowan shines a light on an event that had major reverberations. The world’s leaders carved out territory based on reparations and economic advantage, while devastated countries sought resources to rebuild and appease their citizens. In the meantime, another group attempted to put a dollar value on lost men, livestock and infrastructure for which they can charge the Germans.

It’s not to say there are no dull moments – history can’t always be dramatic even if you’re just showing the highlights – but it is moderately interesting most of the time.

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