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First Lecture

Political Science
Course Code
John Haines

of 3
POL208: Lecture 1
3 crucial events in world history:
1. Decision to drop the atomic bomb
2. Fall of the Berlin wall
3. 9/11
Atomic Bomb:
x August 6th and 9th: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 200 000 civilian deaths
x Led to the end of WWII
x Why was the decision unanimous?
o Simply b/c America was at war with Japan
o Battle with Japan led to high American casualties
o Pentagon forecasted nearly 250 000 American deaths
o Full invasion of Japan would be extremely costly
o Using the atomic would end up saving lives (not only American bust also
x The nuclear attack was part of a massive bombardment campaign; Tokyo was already
being bombed: 60 000 casualties
o **the dropping of the bomb was meant to show the Soviets that America was the
strongest and most powerful nation --- balance of power (still only a theory)
x President Truman was inexperienced with foreign affairs; he was unaware of the
Manhattan Project
o Faced pressure from all guards of the government
o Did not have the same authority as FDR
x Why was the bomb not dropped on less populated area?
o Scientists were not sure if the bomb would actually work: therefore a failed
demonstration was too risky
o The US at the time only had 3 operational bombs: they did not wish to waste any
o Americans were unsure if this would be enough to push Japan to surrender
x Capacity of punishment became incredibly high; there was no shield
x The Brits and the Canadians were in agreement with the US
Fall of the Berlin Wall
x November 1989
x Came as a surprise to all; including the Germans
x Gorbachev Factor:
o Had reform on his agenda
o Wished to improve the communist system
o Wished to decrease the pressure on the Soviet Economy** --- wanted to focus on
domestic affairs
x Immediate Cause:
o Decision by Hungary to diminish all control over borders with Austria
Massive immigration from Eastern Europe to Western Europe
x A breach of the Iron Curtain
o Freedom of travel allowed; within 3 hrs thousands crossed from East to West
television telecast in the East
o West Germany was the first supplier of aid to EG
x Failure of intelligence in US and around the world
o Plenty of signs and information but no operational evidence
x Changed fundamentally the strategic framework of the US
o Before 9/11 the US called for 0 casualties: this changed America was now ready
to take risks and intervene
6 Levels of Analysis:
1. Individual Actors:
x Truman and Gorbachev
x Individual beliefs/perceptions
2. Role of Decision Makers:
x Position of advisors ± Kissinger and Nixon
x Institutions they represent: their respective status in society
3. Government Structure:
x What kind of government; democratic vs dictatorship
i. Government accountable?
x France: President has authority over foreign policy
4. Characteristics of Society:
x Economic conditions²available resources
x Relative opens of society
5. Levels of Classic IR
x Relations among states
x Emerging interdependence
6. World System:
x Bi-polar distribution of power: Cold War
x Now: multi-polar world