Chapter 3 – Summary
International History 1900-90
The Second World War brought the Americans and the Soviets military and
politically deep into Europe and helped transform their relations with each other.
Modern Total War
First world war – Total war in a sense that whole societies and economies
were mobilized: Men were conscripted into armies and women went to work in
The Versailles Peace Treaty augured both a new framework for European
security and a new international order. Neither objective was achieved.
There were crucial differences between the victorious powers over policies
towards Germany and principles governing the international order.
The effects of the Great Depression, triggered in part by the Wall street
crash of 1929, weakened liberal democracy in many areas and
strengthened the appeal of communist, fascist and Nazi parties.
The Rise and fall of Japan
1. 1937 China was invaded by Japan; their ambitions could not be realized at
the expense of European and American interests.
2. 1941 German and American submarines were in an undeclared war
3. Imposition of American economic sanctions on Japan precipitated
Japanese military preparations for a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor
4. Destruction of Japanese cities remains a controversy.
End of Empire
The belief that national self-determination should be a guiding principle in
international politics marked a transformation of attitudes and values.
Various factors influenced the process of decolonization: the attitude of the
colonial power; the ideology and strategy of the anti-imperialist forces; and the
role of external powers.
A) 49 territories were granted independence between 1947 and 1980 (from
a. India, Africa and Apartheid
B) In indo-China, after 1945, Paris attempted to preserve colonial rule, with
drawing only after prolonged guerrilla war and military defeat at the hands
of the Vietnamese revolutionary forces.
a. France also withdrew from Africa
b. Many French regarded Algeria, as part of France itself. War from
1954 and 1962 led to many deaths
C) Nationalism or Communism?
a. In Asia, the relationship between nationalism and revolutionary
Marxism was a potent force.
b. The glothl trend towards decolonization was a key development in
the 20 century, though one frequently offset by local
circumstances. Yet, while imperialism withered, other forms of domination or hegemony took shape. The notion of hegemony has
been used as criticism of the behavior of the superpowers, most
notably with soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe, and American
hegemon in Central America.
1945-53: Onset of the Cold War
USA support for those who felt threatened by Soviet subversion or
Associated policy of containment expressed the self-image of the USA as
Underpinned by the Marshall Plan
(Eastern Europe) Democratic socialist and other anti-communist forces
were undermined and eliminated as Marxist-Leninist regimes, loyal to
Moscow, were installed.
1 confrontation in Berlin 1948
USA Military Deployment was followed by political commitment enshrined
in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) singed in April 1949.
o An attack on ONE member would be treated as an attack on ALL
o Commitment of the USA to defend western Europe
o Willingness of the USA to use nuclear weapons to deter soviet
o Involvement in attacks between North and South Korea
Impact of Cold war in the Middle East
o Founding state of Israel in 1948 reflected the legacy of the Nazi
genocide and the failure of the British colonial policy.
o State of Israel was formed by force, and owed its survival to a
continuing capacity to defend itself against adversaries who did not
recognize the legitimacy of its existence.
1953-69: Conflict, confrontation and compromise
o The Rearmament of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1954
precipitated the creation of the Warsaw pact in 1955.
o The global nuclear dimension increased with the emergence of
other nuclear weapon states: Britain 1952, France 1960 and China
1969-1979: The rise and fall of détente
o America‟s commitment in Vietnam was deepening, soviet-Chinese
relations were deteriorating
o By 1969 the PRC and the USSR fought a minor border war over a
o The foundations for what became known as Détente were laid
between the USSR and the USA and for what became known as
rapprochement between China and the USA.
o Getting the superpowers involved in the war, helped create the
political conditions for Egyptian-Israeli rapprochement.
o Détente is relaxed relations between countries (between two rivals) o Overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979 resulted in the loss of an
important Western ally in the region.
1979-86: The second cold war
o Resulting period of tension and confrontation between the
superpowers has been described as the second cold war and
compared to the early period of confrontation and tension between
o American statements on nuclear weapons and interventions.
o Glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) unleashed
nationalist and other forces that, to Gorbachev‟s dismay were to
destroy the union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Foreign ministry invoked “Frank Sinatra” I did it my way.
Sinatra Doctrine, meant that Eastern Europeans were now
allowed to „do it their way‟
o Gorbachev paved the way for agreements on nuclear and
conventional process that helped ease the tensions that had
characterized the early 1980s. In 1987, he traveled to Washington
to sign the intermediate-range nuclear missiles, including cruise
and Pershing II.
Used agreements as a means of building trust!
The end of the cold war marked success in nuclear arms control rather
than nuclear disarmament. The histories of the cold war and the bomb are
very closely connected, but while the cold war is now over. Nuclear
weapons are still very much in existence!
Nuclear weapons have been a focus for political agreement, and during
détente, nuclear arms agreements acted as the currency of international
How far cold war perspectives and the involvement of nuclear-armed
super powers imposed stability in regions where previous instability had led to
war and conflict.
Introduction: The timeless wisdom of realism
According to realists, the inter-war scholar‟s approach was flawed in a
number of respects. They ignored the role of power, overestimated the
degree to which human beings were rational, mistakenly believed that
nation states shared a set of interests, and were overly optimistic that
humankind could overcome the scourge of war.
Realism taught American leaders to focus on interests rather than on
ideology, to seek peace through strength, and to recognize that great
powers can coexist even if hey have anti-ethical values and beliefs.
Realist writers and thinkers (Thucydides, Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas
Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
o Raison d‟etat (Reason of state)
o State‟s first law of motion It tells the statesman what he must do to preserve the health
and strength of the state
Morals and Ethics?
o Realists are skeptical of the idea that universal moral principles
exist and, therefore, warn state leaders against sacrificing their own
self-interests in order to adhere to some indeterminate notion of
Dual moral standard:
o One moral standard for individual citizens living inside the state
o Different standard for the state in its external relations with other
o Justification for the two moral standards stems from the fact that
the conditions of international politics often make it necessary for
state leaders to act in a manner (for example, cheating, lying,
killing) that would be entirely unacceptable for the individual.
Classical Realists such as Thucydides (Statism, survival and self-help)
Structural realist (Kenneth Waltz)
o Statism – is the term given to the idea of the state as the legitimate
representative of the collective will of the people. The legitimacy of
the state is what enables it to exercise authority within its domestic
o Anarchy exists outside of the state (Lack of central authority)
o Self-Help is the principle of action in an anarchical system where
there is no global government. Realists do not believe it is prudent
for a state to entrust its safety and survival to another actor or
international institution, such as the United Nations.
If a state feels threatened, it should seek to augment its own
power capabilities by engaging, for example in military arms
Power, perpetuate existence, survival, and national interest.
Balance of power – If the survival of a state or a number of weaker states
is threatened by a hegemonic state or coalition of stronger states, they
should join forces, establish a formal alliance and seek to preserve their
own independence by checking the power of the opposing side. Seeks to
ensure equilibrium of power.
o Cold war competition between the East and the West, formal
alliance of the Warsaw Pact, and the NATO provides an example.
o Realism unable to provide a regional integration, humanitarian
intervention, the emergence of a security community in Western
Europe and the growing incidence of intra-state war wracking the
o Unable to explain the increasing incidence of intra-state wars
plaguing the global south
One realism, or many? 1. Classical realism (Thucydides): Peloponnesian War between Athens and
a. The drive for power and the will to dominate are held to be
fundamental aspects of human nature.
b. International politics is power politics