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IR 2.10.docx

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Tufts University
Political Science
Kelly Greenhill

IR 2.10.14 The Road to WWII: Sources of Instability • experiments in Authoritarianism and Fascism o within two decades of Versailles, democracy collapsed & various forms of authoritarian government emerged  Spain Portugal, Italy and Germany  in all newly created states in central & eastern Europe (except Czechoslovakia) o surge of authoritarianism most evident in triumph of totalitarian fascist movements in Germany and Italy • Germany: powerful, dissatisfied, saddled with an ineffectual democracy o post-war Berlin o establishment of German Communist Party o formation of Freikorps o Battle over Reparations o German hyper-inflation o Hitler exploits German resentment • Italy: bitter, disgruntled. and susceptible o Mussolini o although Italy had been on the winning side in WWI, it resembled a defeated nation  food shortages, inflation, massive unemployment, violent strikes created a climate crisis o adding to the unrest was the national outrage at the terms of the peace settlement  Italians felt politicians let them down and did not provide them with what they promised at the beginning of the war • The Cordon Sanitaire: small, weak countries in the middle of Europe o fear of Communist virus leads to idea to create a protected buffer zone between USSR and Western Europe o buffer to be compromised of small, independent states, predicated on Woodrow Wilson’s ideology o but, they could not effectively protect themselves o Germany exploited their weaknesses, dominated them economically o i.e. Acquisition ofArms in Slovakia • The Far East: Japan has both needs and opportunities to satisfy them o goal of achieving regional hegemony o policy of aggressive expansionism through military conquest throughout the Far East o needed oil to support growth, which was under the control of the Brits o concerned about economic strangulation by the West (especially the US) o on an international level, lots of talk of sanctions and restricting Japan, but no action was made o two extremes, depending on who you listen to: either US intentionally pushed Japan into war through economic strangulations or FDR had no clue that the state department used economic sanctions against Japan to deter imperialistic actions o Japan knew it was inevitable, and thought they were capable of doing well • US: great, isolationist power o structural and cultural causes  some believed they were tricked into joining the war—European problem, not ours o eager to withdraw from world stage o steer clear of European squabbles o US public hostile to assuming international leadership role o did not want to balance militarily o unwilling to serve as financial hegemon • Great Depression: global economic crisis o beginning of the Great Depression: October 24, 1929 (Black Thursday)  stock market crashed  symptom of larger problem—did not cause depression o FDR (1932) and the New Deal changes government’s role  Depression would end with the outbreak of war in Europe—rise in military spending o unemployment rates increasing military output created more jobs (both being militarily involved across seas and industrial jobs at home) • Dysfunctional Multipolarity: prevailing BoP unraveling, weak or non-existent balancing o Germans realize something simple and profound: they don’t have to defeat their adversaries; all they need to di is prevent an alliance from forming against them o chain-ganging vs, buck-passing  chain-ganging: “occurs when states are dragged into war by reckless allies”  buck-passing: “occurs when states allow other to bear the burden of halting the rise of a state” • France: League failure series of alliances o Belgium, Poland, Little Entente o Encirclement, but need (reluctant) British o End up with Maginot Line • British o self-focused, interest-based strategy o guarantee only Western border of Germany o classic free-riding • nobody stepped up to truly protect Eastern Europe  Soviet Union • emerging great power (tremendous growth between 1917 and 1938, output equaled France, Italy, Japan, and Britain combined) • French, British, US antagonism no trust • Stalin tried… but nobody trusts him • hostility abates in mid-1930s but sub-optimally o US did not recognize USSR until 1934 o France and Britain hold out, not quite as long • facing threat of Hitler, Stalin opts for triage o bandwagoning with the M
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