Ideational theories – these do not provide a satisfying explanation for partisan
disagreement over alignment.
Societal debate about Britain’s international strategy was the product of
cleavages in its domestic political economy.
Looking to also explain partisan government’s foreign policies
supported the socialist ideologies of Soviet Russia and opposed the
reactionary regime in Germany.
Felt little solidarity with the Soviet regime, found Bolsheviks as
extremism, hostile to communists in England.
Belief in market economics and political freedom was exact opposite to
communism, yet they valued cooperation with the Soviets just as much as
Belief in equality, progressive institutions, social welfare - support for
unemployment insurance, domestic reforms.
o Ideals = collective security, advancement of international law.
While they should have backed the French Republic, they wanted
harmonious relations with Germany, (ideological affinity)
appeased fascism and balanced against communism.
Party of nationalism, tradition and hierarchy – devotion to Anglican
Church and monarchy
Internationally their views were embodied by the British Empire.
o Should have aligned against what countries posed a threat to the
While they should have sided with the German constitutional monarchy,
they supported France in reference to cleavages, (ideological affinity).
Political Economy Theory
Papayoanou: “Power Ties” – Status Quo vs. Revisionists - *diverse societal
interests can be aggregated into consistent national interests
o When status quo is strongly interdependent with each other and
weakly interdependent with revisionists, they will react
aggressively to revisionist’s attempts to overturn the existing
o When status quo is strongly interdependent between both, or not
strongly so, it will respond with challenges against it with
Societal cleavages over alignment (over material interest)
o 1) position of individuals exposure to the international economy:
if people are exporting to one specific state, they’re going to align
with that state to protect their source of income. If the states or markets people are exporting to are threatened, they’re going to
align against who’s threatening them.
Complications when there are economic ties with more
than one powerful state. Strategic interests harder because
aligning with one could hurt or jeopardise relations with
o 2) Some sectors might have interests in foreign policy that are not
bound to a particular state or regional market – eg. Finance
Democratic processes usually ensure that politicians act as if they are
mechanistic interest aggregators, even when they aren’t.
Interests of sectoral groups might determine partisan cleavages
Political Economy of GB – these are hypotheses, not necessarily written proof of
acting upon interests
support in north, strong with manufacturing and coal mining (Deeply
rooted to Europe) – their alignment strategy should have reflected these
interests. Ruled 10 years before the War, overcome by Labour
afterwards, coalition. These two competed for the same set of voters,
their constituencies has similar economic interests over foreign policy.
Both of them should have pursued a strategy designed to promote
peaceful, cooperative relations among the continental great powers.
Should have sought to ensure all states acted justly in a stable
international order due to their reliance on exports to Europe.
**conclusion: electoral support came from industries highly dependent
on exports to Europe, wanted to maintain a stable, cooperative
international order on the continent. Did not try to prevent war at all
costs, instead they sought to defend the status quo against states that
threatened the future of the Euro trading system. Until 1914 wouldn’t
balance against Germany because they didn’t believe it would act less