By David Reynolds
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Extra info for Summits: Six Meetings That Shaped the Twentieth Century
44 It turned into a very long diplomatic dance. S. 45 Because the Allies were not ready, the peace conference did not begin for nearly a month after his arrival in Europe. And, although the preliminary conference proved the only one, the complex issues at stake and the conflicting interests of twenty-eight delegations made agreement very hard to reach. In retrospect it is easy to criticize Wilson’s approach to the negotiations. Although he had established a think tank of academics and journalists known as “The Inquiry” back in September 1917, which drew up a multitude of useful background papers, he made much less use of his technical advisors than did the British.
Philippe de Commines, c. 1490 INTRODUCTION THE TERM “SUMMIT” was coined by Winston Churchill. ” What prompted Churchill to apply “summit” to diplomacy is not clear, but the word was popping up in British newspapers because expeditions to scale Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, had resumed in the late 1940s. ” He delivered this speech to the House of Commons while the eighth attempt on Everest was in progress: the summit was finally conquered at the end of that month. 1 The Everest obsession helps explain why Churchill’s metaphor rooted itself in popular consciousness.
5 In 1096 and 1097 the emperor Alexis Comnenos made a point of meeting the leaders of the First Crusade in his own palace, as did Manuel Comnenos when the Second Crusade arrived in 1147. But when Byzantium spiralled into decline in the fourteenth century, its emperors became as mobile as those of the late Roman Empire, and much less potent. Emperor Manuel II was reduced to touring the courts of Italy, France, Germany and England for help against the Ottoman Turks, handing out precious books and pieces of the supposed tunic of Christ as inducements.