The balance of power leading to World War IThe industrialisation greatly impacted the continent.
In many cases, it led to the poorest people being paid regularly, which enabled them to support their families. That led to a population growth. In the countries that still were agricultural economies, people were not paid regularly, like in the industrialised countries. The workers could not support their families. That leads to the population decreasing.
The industrialisation also increased the wealth, but also the poverty. It made the rich aristocrats who owned the industries even richer, and the poor workers, who worked in slave-live conditions, even poorer. The workers were not happy with this. The women were not happy with their position in society either.
Both groups wanted more rights, but those in power did not listen (The Great War, 1964). The industrialisation also gave the countries with the most power the ability to produce weapons. An arms race between the mightiest nations occurred, which led to the invention and mass production of weapons of mass destruction. This mainly took place in Germany and Britain (The Great War, 1964) . The mighty empires saw themselves as better than the other empires.
They always had to show that they were better by having larger armies, more weapons or more wealth, for example. The arms race led to Britain and Germany both believing that if a war between them would break out, they would be the winning nation. Therefore, they did nothing to prevent a war from happening, except for creating alliances (Jones, 2018).
Before the war, the different nations saw the alliances as a strength. If the nation was attacked, they would always get help from their allies. What they did not realise, or at least did not care about, was that if one of their allies went to war, they would all be dragged into it.
Because of these alliances, they did not do anything to prevent a war from happening. When Austria-Hungary was attacked by a Serbian terrorist, all of their allies were dragged into the fight. This is what caused the WWI (Jones 2018; The Great War, 1964).The creation of the League of NationsThe US President Woodrow Wilson had advocated peace and neutrality for many years. Initially, he said he would not join the Great War. Around 1917, Germany started to attack American vessels headed for allied nations.
This caused Wilson to change his mind, and he decided that the US would enter the war. Wilson’s aim was to achieve a new world order, dominated by peace and democracy. According to him, liberal democracies do not go to war.
He therefore created his Fourteen Points together with his advisor colonel House. These points were then spread worldwide. His idea was that this war would be the war to end all wars. He believed that God had given him the mission to create worldwide peace. Towards the end of the war, Germany knew that they only had one more chance to win the war.
They therefore made a final offense in order to defeat the American army. In the end, Germany was defeated by Britain, France and the US. With the military collapsed and fearing for his personal safety, the Kaiser fled Germany.
Germany was practically forced into signing an armistice based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points, unless they wanted France and Britain’s armies to enter the country. The war did not officially end until the Paris Peace Conference. One of the other main decisions was to create the League of Nations, based on Wilson’s fourteenth point. Although, the US was never a part of it. Germany was initially not allowed to join, but was admitted later, when they had reformed the country into a democracy. (Jones, 2018; American Experience, 2002). It was the first international cooperation of countries ever. Here the countries could discuss and cooperate much easier.
The idea of the League was to prevent all future wars from happening. Although, they did not really have any power to stop wars. When Italy attacked Ethiopia and several countries, including Germany, started rearming, all the League could do was to tell them off, which was ignored.
(Jones, 2018; American Experience, 2002). So in reality, the League of Nations could not at all prevent wars from happening.The rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930sPrior to 1918, Germany had an army of four million, and they were the second largest economy in the world. The Versaille peace treaty forced Germany to pay Britain and France as compensation, and reduce their army to 100 000. That meant many people lost their jobs. The Germans were not pleased with this.
Germany was also forced to become a democracy for the first time in their history – the Weimar Republic. The extreme left wanted to follow Russia’s example and have Communism. Many people were dissatisfied with this new Germany. The extreme right, the folkscorp, wanted Germany to be like in the “good old days”, before the war. These two groups were constantly fighting each other. At the same time, the League of Nations called for disarmament. That may have been the worst time to do so, keeping in mind the nation’s rearmament.
The national socialist party formed a coalition with the conservatives in the Reichstag, which enabled Hitler to enter the political arena. At the same time, he was planning a revolution. Before he became a dictator, the Folkscorp became his private military – the SA, or more commonly known as the Brownshirts. Hitler eventually became chancellor, so a revolution was unnecessary.
The first thing he did was to declare marshall law. By blackmailing and killing, an enabling law was passed with 66% in the Reichstag. That law turned the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, with Adolf hitler as dictator. He increased the arming rate of the country. Hitler believed that if Germany won the next big war, there would be peace for 1000 years. Germany was not the only fascist state in Europe during that time. Germany annexed Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, and the League did nothing in fear of a war breaking out. Germany said they wanted the Sudetenland, and if they didn’t get it, they would start a war.
The League believed that if they let Germany have those territories they would be satisfied. They were wrong however, since Germany eventually invaded Poland. That would be the start of the WWII (Jones, 2018).The establishment and aims of the United NationsIn the League of Nations all member nations were equal, and there was a 100% consensus required for a proposition to be passed. Therefore, the League of Nations was ultrademocratic. That is what caused the League of Nations to fail. The United Nations (UN) would be structured differently, so it would not fail like the League of Nations did. After the Tehran conference, the result was a pyramid structure in three tiers.
The top tier consists of the Secretariat, which provided leadership for the organisation. The middle tier is the Security Council, and the lowest tier is the General assembly. The Security Council is, in contrary to the League of Nations, not ultra democratic.
It was decided that the winners of the WWII would be permanent members: France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and China. These five members have the right to veto any proposal put into the Council. If no veto is applied, it is a simple majority rule. The Security Council also consists of ten temporary members, that are elected by the General Assembly. The General Assembly consists of representatives of all member states, including observer states such as Palestine. The UN has also got a Peacekeeping Force. If two of the member states engage in state-on-state conflict, the Security Council can decide to send in Peacekeeping Forces.
Both sides must accept that these forces enter the conflict, and stop fighting. If they are members of the UN, they have already signed up for this. If they did not agree, there would be consequences for them, e.g.
an economic embargo. The Peacekeeping Force has weapons, but only for the purpose of self defense. The UN strives to spread human rights, so they created the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. However, it is merely advisory and not global law.
Some examples of the Human Rights are the freedom to live, the freedom to move, and that everyone is equal to the law. They also have agencies to promote other important matters, e.g. health, education, equality and food and water (Jones, 2018).
LiberalismLiberalism is the idea of global free trade, and humans are naturally rational. The theory was first created by the economist Adam Smith. Smith lived in the 18th century, in the time of empires. Back then, trade between the empires was not allowed. Smith argued that there was a natural harmony of interest between nations and people, and that those in power should not interfere. This would later be known as “free trade” (Jones, 2018). In 1919, US President Woodrow Wilson wrote 14 points, that he thought would create global peace and democracy. For example, he wanted to create absolute freedom of navigation on the seas outside territorial waters.
He also wanted to remove all economic barriers, and impose an equality of trade between countries. One of his other points was that all nations should disarm as much as possible, with only enough military for domestic security purposes (Wilson, 1918). Another famous Liberal was Norman Angell. He argued that there were no real victors in war. Wars were simply no longer relevant, they were just expensive.
Governments had to loan large sums of money, and all they got was slightly more land. He also argued that we are much more interdependent now, than in former times. If a war would happen, all trade between the states would end, which would be disastrous for both the country and the people. (Jones, 2018). After the critique from Realism, Liberalism went quiet a new approach to Liberalism was made – Neoliberalism.
Two famous Neoliberals were Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. According to them, relationships between Western states are characterized by interdependence. There can be more connections between states, other than the political relations of governments. For example, states can be connected by links between international business corporations. They argued that there is an absence of hierarchy, since since military security is not as important anymore.
There are other actors than states in Western democracies, and they do not want military conflict. When states are highly interdependent, they will cooperate with other states to solve their common problems (Jackson and Sørensen, 2010, p.42-43).
RealismRealism is a pessimistic way of viewing the world, and is the belief of profound conflicts of interest between country and people. If there is no higher authority over the state, then the relationships between states are based on anarchy. One of the most prominent Realists was E.H. Carr.
He was very critical against Wilson and his Fourteen Points. He argued that Liberals, especially President Wilson, were thinking too intellectual and academic. He also argued that there is no such thing as a natural harmony of interest. He argued that International Relations is all about power. Those who have power will strive to keep it. Those who don’t have it will strive to gain power. Another famous Realist was Hans Morgenthau, who was influenced by Carr. His theories about the political arena could be condensed into three points.
The most important point was human nature, since humans were the foundation of international relations. Humans are self-interested and power-seeking, which makes aggressions more likely. (Jackson and Sørensen, 2010). Morgenthau’s second point was that International Relations is a struggle of power. Whether it’s about holding on to one’s power, or to gain more power.
His third point was that with modern states, we will inevitably experience the cycle of tension, war, and peace (Jones, 2018).In response to the Neoliberals, Realists, including Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer, developed Realist ideas even further. They created Neorealism. Waltz argued that since there is no higher authority above the state, not even the United Nations, there will always be a state of anarchy. He argued that there will be anarchy for a very long time, since none of the Great Powers will want to surrender their autonomy to a higher power.
Waltz also argued that all states are operated the same. The only difference between them is the size. The bigger states have more power, the smaller states have less. (Jones, 2018; Jackson and Sørensen, 2010, p.
45). The Great Powers will try to balance this difference in power out, e.g. with industrial or military capabilities. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, the world was a bipolar system.
Now it is a multipolar system. The Neorealist Mearsheimer argued that bipolar systems are superior to multipolar systems, since they provide a greater international stability. Therefore, they provide more peace and security. With a bipolar system, Mearsheimer argues that the chances of miscalculations and misadventures are lower (Jones, 2018; Jackson and Sørensen, 2010, p.77).International Political EconomyThere are three main branches of International Political Economy (IPE): IPE Liberalism, IPE Mercantilism and IPE Neomarxism.
IPE Liberalism is based on Smith’s idea that free trade is superior to controlled trade. IPE Liberals argue that free trade is capable of generating far more wealth, compared to controlled trade. They argue that humans can prosper if capitalism is expanded on a global scale, beyond the boundaries of states, and also by the decreasing significance of these boundaries.BibliographyAmerican Experience – Woodrow Wilson: The Redemption of the World (Part 2). (2002) Directed by Carl Byker and Mitch Wilson, Public Broadcast Service.Jackson, R.
and Sørensen, G. (2010). Introduction to International Relations Theories and Approaches. 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University PressJones, B. (2018). Presentation.
Canterbury: Canterbury CollegeThe Great War Part 1 – On the Idle Hill of Summer. (1964). Produced by BBC. (DVD).
London: BBC.Wilson, W. (1918). President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points.