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The Causes and Consequences of the First and Second World Wars.docx

14 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2231E
Jessica Trisko

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The Causes and Consequences of the First and Second World Wars 1/15/2013 8:27:00 PM John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of GreatPower Politics 139-164;168- 202;209-224. Scott Sagan, “1914 Revisited: Allies, Offense, and Instability,” (1986):151- 175. Lecture 1/15/2013 8:27:00 PM Trisko office hours  Tues 1 – 3 SSC 4162  [email protected]  put “2231” in the subject line World War I the 19 thcentury global economy  the industrial revolution spreads in Europe and north America  freedom of global trade is underpinned by the gold standard  nationalism encourages the promotion of domestic industries  by the end of the 1990s, free trade began to collapse Potential causes of WWI Systemic  Creation of system of nation-states generates competition  The rise of Germany changes the balance of power  The development of a rigid alliance system  Economic change and competition  Cult of the offensive Domestic  Rise of nationalism and imperialism Individual  Kaiser Wilhelm’s foreign policy Industrialization and economic competition Industrialization in Britain and France, then Germany, Japan and the US  Prompts population growth and urbanization which contribute to political pressures within countries Emergence of a relationship between economic strength and military might  Technological advances speak arms races, makes countries better able to wage devastating wars  Overseas power projection is necessary to maintain empires o Naval power, resources The rise of Germany 1888  Kaiser Wilhelm II comes to power 1897  Kaiser announces of weltpolitik o Removes Bismarck o Goal of establishing an empire and a “place in the sun” Naval competition with Britain begins in 1890s  Already the most powerful army in the world  1898 begins a rapid fleet expansion leading to an arms race Series of foreign policy failures (Morocco, Balkans) lead to belief that the war may be necessary to prevail  War in colonies clearly isn’t working, a direct war may be the only way The alliance system Rigid alliance system develops based o several ententes in the early 1900s, rather than the flexible Bismarkian system  Triple Alliance o Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy o Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria later join  Triple Entente o France, Russia, Britain, (Serbia) France0russian alliance of 1894 Romania, Greece, Portugal and Japan late join Italy switches sides in 1915 US believes itself to be unaffected by threats in Europe Cult of the offensive Offense seen to have an advantage in conflict Operationalized Germany’s Schlieffen Plan  Attack France while remaining on the defensive in the East  Predicated on slow Russian mobilization and quick French defeat France has a plan to attack Germany Austria-Hungary considers attacking Serbia or Serbia and Russia  Russia knows this Russia has a powerful incentive to mobilize Saga (reading) critiques this explanation on the cause of WWI  Because it makes the argument that war was inevitable, everyone is always on the offensive thus war is going to happen  Sagan does not agree with this Alternative explanations Nationalism  Shared idea about legitimate political order, perceived commonality among people, exclusive right to a territorial homeland  Examples o Unification of Germany (1871), minority persecution in the Balkans and agitation in multi-national states  As a cause of war o Increases cost of war, makes conquest more difficult o Contributed to collapse of empires, wars causes by multinational states breaking apart o Contributed to wars if unification – caused by a desire to bring all members of one nation under the same state Imperialism  Originates in search for trade routes to Asia, goal of controlling trade, and European technological superiority  May be based on cosmopolitan vies of a “civilizing mission” or pure conquest  Competition over colonies leads to confrontation between great powers abroad (not in Europe)  Britain suffers from imperial overstretch o Settler colonies in North America, Caribbean and South Pacific, Colonial territories in Asia and Africa o American revolution 1776, costly Boer Wars in late 1880s  Ottoman Empire “sick man of Europe” – provides opportunity for new territorial gains both near and abroad The July Crisis 28 June 1914  Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austria-Hungary throne assassinated by Serbs 5 July 1914  Germany pushes Austria-Hungary to go to war with Serbia 14 July 1914  Austria Hungary presents ultimatum to Serbia which is rejected, both mobilize for war 28 July 1914  Austria Hungary declares war on Serbia and alliance system comes into effect The First World War Russia begins mobilizing troops on the German border Germany declares war on Russia and France  German troops disregard neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg to see through France from the Northeast (schlieffen plan) April 6 1917  US joins the war after being a major allied supplier for years End of the Great War As the French, British and Americans drive the Germans to the Hinderenburg line, Bulgaria falls, the Ottoman Empires sues for peace and Austria-Hungary collapses War-weary Germany revolts and the Kaiser and Generals are forced to sign an armistice on November 11 1918 Characteristics of WWI warfare  Trench warfare, 25 000 miles of trench’s, enough to circle the earth  Reconnaissance  Artillery  Waves of infantry attacks  New tech: tanks, airplanes, poison gas, machine gun Conflict beyond Europe  Some in turkey Consequences of WWI First total war, threatening
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