POLI 142K Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: U-Boat, Opportunity Cost, Unification Of Germany

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Published on 8 Sep 2015
School
Course
Poli Sci 142K:
Politics and Warfare
Spring 2015
The World War I Case
Week 1, Wednesday, March 30
I. Case Significance: Why WWI?
A. Dimensions of Significance
1. Path Dependent War
2. World Historical War
3. Least-likely War
B. Path Dependent War
1. Path Dependence: initial choices constrain (limit) future options
2. The causal origins of WWII and the Cold War
3. 1919-1939: the unstable balance of power
C. World Historical War: changes the character of all future warfare because of:
1. Globalization: the global battlefield and the interlocking of systemic conflict
(Europe, Asia, Middle East)
2. Totalization: mass warfare, mass mobilization, and the destruction of states
(unlimited war)
a) Civilian Targeting: the blockade of Germany and U-boat warfare
b) Opportunity Cost: reduced GDP, standards of living
3. Eclipse of European Power
a) The Emergence of the US, USSR, China and Japan
b) The relative but permanent decline of European economic, military and
cultural power
c) From London to Wall Street: the transfer of the core of international finance
II. Least Likely War
A. A case is least likely if it is most unlikely to be predicted by the core of a specific
theory.
B. WWI is least likely for both Structural (realist) and Institutional (liberal) theories
1. Structural Theory: a stable balance of power maintains peace (low probability of
war) by making the war choice not a rational strategy.
2. Institutional Theory: institutions that can and do maintain peace over time should
maintain peace at any given time.
3. Elites and war and the status quo
The Background to 1914
A. 1500-1815: the long cycle of European war
1. 1500-1660: The Gunpowder Revolution and the emergence of the major power
balance of power
a) England, France, Spain
b) State-building wars
2. 1660-1815: The Wars of French Hegemony and the emergence of the Eastern
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Document Summary

Path dependence: initial choices constrain (limit) future options. The causal origins of wwii and the cold war. C. world historical war: changes the character of all future warfare because of: Globalization: the global battlefield and the interlocking of systemic conflict (europe, asia, middle east) Totalization: mass warfare, mass mobilization, and the destruction of states (unlimited war) a) civilian targeting: the blockade of germany and u-boat warfare b) opportunity cost: reduced gdp, standards of living. A case is least likely if it is most unlikely to be predicted by the core of a specific. B. wwi is least likely for both structural (realist) and institutional (liberal) theories. Structural theory: a stable balance of power maintains peace (low probability of war) by making the war choice not a rational strategy. Institutional theory: institutions that can and do maintain peace over time should maintain peace at any given time.

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