September 18, 2013
Great Powers in World Politics
How do you know a great power when you look at a world map?
- Traditional maps make countries look smaller (Europe on traditional maps looks
bigger than India when in fact it should not be represented like that.)
- Various ways to rank countries:
- Size: use to be the most important thing
- Population: to have a large army you need a large population therefore it can be
a good measure.
- GDP Per Capita: measure that is used often
- Healthcare is important when looking at individual states, how they take care of
their population is important.
- Education is also important because you need highly trained people to succeed.
- Innovation is important because technology can change the world
Power: all about the wellbeing of your citizens in various aspects of their lives.
- Is Sweden a major power?
- Life of a Swedish citizen is a lot better than most countries in the world (mostly
free education, fantastic benefits and healthcare).
- Sweden GDP is also high, however they do not have the people to have a strong
Great Power’s Powers
- Military advantage (key advantage, overwhelmingly stronger than everyone else)
- Spheres of influence (able to influence different parts of the world easily)
- Influence on global order and institutions (set up the rules)
World War I (1914-1918)
- War began after one shot, leading to millions of deaths.
- The war had major political effects:
- Creation of the League of Nations: first modern experiment in creating global
order, absence of world government before the war, league of nations closet
thing to a world government.
- Redrafted the political map of Europe: three empires were dissolved and new
countries are established. Many more countries appeared on the map.
League of Nations
- American president Woodrow Wilson wanted a league of nations, interestingly
an American president persuaded Europe to make a league of nations. - United States Congress decided against the League of Nations and America never
World War II
- Imperialistic ambition from Germany and Japan. War of conquest.
- Great Depression triggered by the First World War and isolation. Created
nationalism in countries, wanted strength and control.
Appeasement: strategy of making concessions in the hope there will be no more
demands. France and Britain did this with Germany.
- Causalities: over 50 million people died in the war fighting this war of conquest.
- Political Effects:
- US joined world politics after Pearl Harbor realizing that isolation is no longer
working and they have to be involved on the world stage.
- Map was redrawn again, with the powers of the world changing with two
powers emerging; Soviet Union and the United States.
- Nuclear Weapons were used for the first time, Japan drastically changed after
the nuclear bombs were dropped and the war ended. Constitution was drafted
with American influence making them a democracy.
- The United Nations was created and remains the main framework for global
governments without being a global government. Solution to global problems
that is successful and unique (never been done before).
The Cold War (1950-1990)
- Not really a war more a period of history since there was no actual fighting
hence the name “cold” war.
- Fueled other conflicts around the world, proxy wars.