One of the most important questions of human existence is what drives nations to war-especially massive, system-threatening war. Much military history focuses on the who, when, and where of war. In this riveting book, Dale C. Copeland brings attention to bear on why governments make decisions that lead to, sustain, and intensify conflicts. Copeland presents detailed historical narratives of several twentieth-century cases, including World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. He highlights instigating factors that transcend individual personalities, styles of government, geography, and historical context to reveal remarkable consistency across several major wars usually considered dissimilar. The result is a series of challenges to established interpretive positions and provocative new readings of the causes of conflict. Classical realists and neorealists claim that dominant powers initiate war. Hegemonic stability realists believe that wars are most often started by rising states. Copeland offers an approach stronger in explanatory power and predictive capacity than these three brands of realism: he examines not only the power resources but the shifting power differentials of states. He specifies more precisely the conditions under which state decline leads to conflict, drawing empirical support from the critical cases of the twentieth century as well as major wars spanning from ancient Greece to the Napoleonic Wars.
Since the development of the modern state system in Europe four centuries ago, there have been ten general wars involving a majority of the major powers and a high level of casualties. Another major war is difficult to conceive of, since it would presumably be the last such conflict, and yet it is not an impossibility. In this volume a distinguished group of political scientists and historians examine the origins of major wars and discuss the problems in preventing a nuclear war.
Why did the US make a commitment to an independent South Vietnam? Could a major war have been averted? Fredrik Logevall provides a concise, comprehensive and accessible introduction to the origins of the Vietnam War from the end of the Indochina War in 1954 to the eruption of full-scale war in 1965, and places events against their full international background.
Does growing economic interdependence among great powers increase or decrease the chance of conflict and war? Liberals argue that the benefits of trade give states an incentive to stay peaceful. Realists contend that trade compels states to struggle for vital raw materials and markets. Moving beyond the stale liberal-realist debate, Economic Interdependence and War lays out a dynamic theory of expectations that shows under what specific conditions interstate commerce will reduce or heighten the risk of conflict between nations. Taking a broad look at cases spanning two centuries, from the Napoleonic and Crimean wars to the more recent Cold War crises, Dale Copeland demonstrates that when leaders have positive expectations of the future trade environment, they want to remain at peace in order to secure the economic benefits that enhance long-term power. When, however, these expectations turn negative, leaders are likely to fear a loss of access to raw materials and markets, giving them more incentive to initiate crises to protect their commercial interests. The theory of trade expectations holds important implications for the understanding of Sino-American relations since 1985 and for the direction these relations will likely take over the next two decades. Economic Interdependence and War offers sweeping new insights into historical and contemporary global politics and the actual nature of democratic versus economic peace.
A new interpretation of the origins of World War I that synthesises recent scholarship and introduces the major historiographical and political debates surrounding the outbreak of the war. It examines key issues, providing a clear account of relations between the great powers, disintegrating empires, and the role of smaller states.
This book is a systematic effort by leading international scholars to map the trends in major-power warfare and explore whether it is waxing or waning. The main point of departure is that major-power war as a historical institution is in decline. This does not mean, though, that wars between states are in general disappearing. While there is some convergence in the conclusions by individual authors, they are by no means unanimous about the trend. The articles explore different causes and correlates of the declining trend in major-power warfare, including the impact of the international structure, nuclear weapons, international law, multilateral institutions, sovereignty and value changes.
An Introduction to Theories of International Conflict
Author: Greg Cashman
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Category: Political Science
Now in a thoroughly revised and updated edition, this classic text presents a comprehensive survey of the many alternative theories that attempt to explain the causes of interstate war. For each theory, Greg Cashman examines the arguments and counterarguments, considers the empirical evidence and counterevidence generated by social-science research, looks at historical applications of the theory, and discusses the theory’s implications for restraining international violence. Cashman examines theories of war at the individual, substate, nation-state, dyadic, and international system levels of analysis. Written in a clear and accessible style, this interdisciplinary text will be essential reading for all students of international relations.
The book explores the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941. The war has usually been seen simply as Hitler’s war and yet the wider conflict that broke out when Germany invaded Poland was not the war that Hitler wanted. He had hoped for a short war against Poland; instead, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Richard Overy argues that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must therefore be multi-national and he shows how the war’s origins are to be found in the basic instability of the international system that was brought about by the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers, Italy, Germany and Japan, keen to build new empires of their own.
There is an enormous literature on the origins of the First World War. This pamphlet focuses on the major issues involved in the topic and assesses the validity of the different interpretations advanced. Beginning with the legacy of Bismarck's diplomacy between 1871 and 1890, Ruth Henig surveys the roots of the conflict and outlines the assassination crisis which led to war in August 1914, looking especially at the factors which influenced individual countries to mobilize their armed forces. She goes on to consider how the long-term factors leading up to the crisis of 1914 and the crisis itself have been interpreted by successive generations of historians since 1919, including the recent arguments concerning German responsibility for the outbreak of war.