Eastern Europe, 1923
The political map of modern Eastern Europe originally was drawn by the victorious Entente Powers (specifically, Britain, France, and the United States) during negotiations at Versailles (1919–21) that ended World War I. No matter that their cartography was based on their own political and economic self-interests, once the borders were drawn they became political realities because their Western creators had the muscle to enforce their decisions. The Versailles configuration of the world was institutionalized by the founding of first the League of Nations and then, following World War II, the United Nations. These organizations were intended to legitimize the Western-imposed political settlement of states that had been shaped in the image of the West’s nation-state principles and made state borders inviolable through a set of international laws.