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IR Notes Lecture 12

IR Notes Lecture 12 - IR Notes Lecture 1 I How World War I...

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IR Notes Lecture 12—February 20, 2007 I. How World War I was fought a) Became war of attrition instead of offensive strategy b) Idea that this was an offensive war was tragically mistaken c) Why didn’t rational actors stop the war if this was such an ugly war? 4 reasons i) War aims kept on getting bigger: had to justify the costs of war by promising more and more tangible benefits to population (1) Each side tasted some small victories, which led them to seek more ii) Dehumanizing of the enemy, creates hostile images of the enemy which perpetuates war (1) Propaganda convinces populations that you can’t compromise with that enemy (2) This is a form of value-infusion: sell war as noble effort against dehumanized enemy nation iii) Growing political influence of the military during the war (1) Those who opposed in military was forced out of office (2) Military, in order to advance its interests, wants to keep fighting, try to get victory iv) Tools of evaluation within military and political sphere deteriorates (1) Militaries are bad at adapting to changing conditions within a war, and bad news during wars on the political front gets suppressed or distorted (2) When failure was apparent, instead of admitting defeat, they tried to find a scapegoat whether a military or political leader II. Ending of WWI and impact a) Toppled all European dynastic empires b) Over course, Commies came to power in Russia, U.S. emerged as arguably the world’s strongest power militarily and financially c) Weakness apparent in Europe stimulated unrest in the colonial world for ind. III. Paris Peace Conference 1919 a) Victors each came to conference with different objectives i) U.S.: Wilsonian Idealism: self determination, open diplomacy, fostering of democracy, open economies, formation of League (1) 14 points are a classical liberal ideology (a) Institutions, economic interdependence, democratic ideology ii) Britain: primary goal was to salvage fraying empire (1) Finding a way to manage commitment in Middle East (2) Foster conditions for sustainable balance of power in Europe that will enable them to stay off the continent (3) Means not only to ensure that Germany doesn’t get back, but also to preclude French becoming too powerful and instigating stuff with German iii) France: keep Germany weak (1) Together with British, wasted to be repaid cost of war through German reparations b) France and Britain blamed balance of power politics for war
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i) Wilson thought that balance of power undermined democracy and self- determination for pursuing power at the expense of all else ii) War was so brutal many thought fighting wars to preserve power was no longer preferable iii) But needed a mechanism to replace balance of power as a way of keeping order in IPOL iv) Thus, liberal Wilsonian solution: anarchy would need to be overcome at int’l level as it was at domestic (1) Need int’l institutions in order to do this, similar to domestic legislatures and courts (2) Key to this plan was the League c) League of Nations i)
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