Thursday, 17 November 2011

Structural Analysis of World War I, World War II, and the End of Cold War

Reagan and Gorbachev signed Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the White House in 1987

Neville Chamberlain (British Prime Minister) show Munich Treaty, signed by himself, Hitler, and France, to the public in 1938. He declared "peace of our time" to his people after returning from Munich, Germany. However, This treaty failed to stop Hitler's planned aggression which started in 1939.

I.                   World War I

There are structural and process factor the help explain the change of the alliance system  in Europe between 1815 and 1914.  In 1907, Britain, France, and Russia established Triple Entente while Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary formed military alliance since 1882. First, from the realists’ view, the big change was caused by the unification of Germany in 1870, resulting in a major change in the distribution of power in central Europe. Located right in the middle of Europe, a united Germany had tremendous geopolitical consequence. From a structural perspective, a united Germany was either too strong or too weak in challenging both with Russia and France. In the process, due to Bismarck’s brilliant diplomatic talent (1871-1890), the newly unified Germany had not produced instability in Europe from 1870 to 1890. So, effects of major structural change on the system’s political process had been delayed until 1890. However, Bismarck’s successors were not so adept and were too aggressive. From 1890, the alliance system of Europe grew more rigid and lost diplomatic flexibility, with one alliance centered on Germany and another on Russia and France. The bipolarity of alliances gradually grew more and more rigid and exploded in 1914, resulting World War I and the surrender of Germany in 1918.