Commentary on Erez Manela’s The Wilsonian Moment

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Erez Manela’s The Wilsonian Moment Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism is a monograph that attempts to reconstruct the story of colonial world at the end of Wilsonian moment. The book’s title, The Wilsonian Moment is alluding to the crucial period that lasted from autumn of 1918 to spring of 1919, when the Allied victory were confident that President Woodrow Wilson’s ideas for a new world will become successful until the terms of the Treaty of Versailles became public and the failure of the Wilson’s promise became evident. Erez Manela says, “The focus of this book is on the specific significance of Wilsonian moment in the colonial world, defined broadly as the dependent or semi dependent territories that encompassed at the time almost all of Asia and Africa”(8). Manela demonstrates how Woodrow Wilson’s post-war rhetoric on self-determination, a concept that firmly believes all nations should be able to determine for their futures and governance impacted several anti colonial movements by using Egypt, India, China, and Korea as case studies. In these case studies, Manela explicitly exhibits how colonized countries received and interpreted Wilson’s rhetoric, and applied it to their local struggle for independence. These four countries actively fought for their independence, but their arguments were dismissed at the Paris Peace Conference for different reasons. Manela tells us,” The “revolt against the West,” emerged “not from the

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