L’ombre persistante de la Grande Guerre

BERLIN – Cette année marquera le centenaire de l’explosion de la Première Guerre mondiale, une raison fort suffisante pour nous inciter à réfléchir sur ce que cette catastrophe européenne majeure nous enseigne aujourd’hui. Les conséquences de la Grande Guerre sur les relations internationales et le système des États à travers le monde sont encore aujourd’hui palpables. Ainsi, avons-nous tiré quelque leçon de cet échec politique des gouvernements, des institutions et de la diplomatie internationale qui retentit en ce fameux été 1914 ?

Plusieurs régions étendues de l’hémisphère nord sont encore aujourd’hui aux prises avec l’héritage des grands empires européens – Habsbourg, russe et ottoman – qui s’effondrèrent au lendemain de la Première Guerre mondiale, ou dont le déclin, dans le cas par exemple de l’Empire britannique, fut amorcé par la guerre et scellé par une séquence encore plus sanglante une génération plus tard. Les zones de fracture qui en résultent – par exemple dans les Balkans et au Moyen-Orient – constituent la source de certaines des menaces les plus sérieuses à l’heure actuelle pour la paix régionale, voire mondiale.

Après la fin de la guerre froide et l’effondrement du successeur soviétique de l’Empire russe, la guerre est réapparue dans les Balkans selon des circonstances très similaires à celles qui avaient caractérisé la période antérieure à 1914, un nationalisme agressif reconfigurant en fin de compte la désintégration de la Yougoslavie en six États distincts. Et si ce fut bien l’aspiration de Slobodan Milošević en direction d’une « Grande Serbie » qui déclencha le conflit, le président serbe ne fut pas le seul protagoniste : pendant un temps, l’Europe faillit bien replonger dans la confrontation de 1914, la France et le Royaume-Uni soutenant la Serbie, et l’Allemagne et l’Autriche la Croatie.

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