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Flashcards in Session 2 Deck (25):
1

The British Empire

a. Largest empire: dominant naval and financial power
b. Second half 19th century: peak of its power and beginning of its decline
c. Power that had most to lose from alteration of the status quo
d. Global interests = global commitments = global costs
e. Industrial relative decline (catch-up of late/second-comers)
i. Second-comers-advantage of history
f. Geographical advantage
i. Being an island, natural defense

2

The German Empire

a.Geopolitical centrality, but also vulnerability (born encircled, P. Kennedy)
i. Heart of Europe
1. Can provide leverage, but also vulnerable
b. Industrial and military might: most powerful industrial state in Europe
c. Only country capable of altering the European balance of power (further growth = change of power equilibria in Europe)
i. Any further expansion threatened to destabilize the geopolitical balance
d. Post-Birmarckian aggressive diplomacy

3

The French Empire

a. Largest overseas empire after Britain
b. Rich in terms of mobile capital, less so in industrial and military terms
c. Only one primary enemy, Germany, but erosion of its relative power vis-à-vis it

4

The Austrian-Hungarian Empire

a. Weakest of established great powers
b. Size and population
i. Need larger size for frontlines
c. Very low level of per capita industrialization
d. Multinational empire (historical anachronism)
e. Multiple fronts and national questions

5

The Italian Empire

a. New Power but “least of the great powers”
b. Partial alteration of the balance of power
c. Size and population
d. Low level of industrialization
e. High rate of illiteracy
f. Geographical dualism
i. North – south divide (socioeconomic, illiteracy rates)

6

The Russian Empire

a. Simultaneously power and weak
b. Investments in industries and infrastructures
c. Size and population (army)
d. Reliance upon foreign capital
e. Low level of industrialization; still peasant society
f. Low level of living standards; political & social conflict and fragmentation

7

The U.S. Empire

a. All the advantages of other powers; none of the disadvantages
b. Largest producer of manufacturing
c. Role of domestic market
d. More assertive diplomacy (imperial expansion)
e. Richest, highest production of coal
f. Through the war of 1898 – had acquired a small empire, to dominate Pacific ocean
g. Control of the Western hemisphere
h. Military weakness

8

The Japanese Empire

a. Rapid state modernization in late 19th century
b. Economic and military progress
c. National and social cohesion
d. Industrial lightweight
e. Isolation (advantages and disadvantages)
f. Limited size

9

Why did the system of alliances produce a “bipolarization” of Europe?

a. Triple alliance: Germany + Austria-Hungary + Italy (1882)
b. Triple Entente: France + Great Britain + Russia
i. 1904: Entente cordiale between Fra and GB; 1907: Anglo-Russian convention
c. 1900 – 1914: arms and naval race

10

Which were the main European rivalries?

a. Germany – Great Britain: naval race + industrial competition
b. Germany – France: territorial dispute + legacy of 1871
c. Germany – Russia: Pangermanism vs. Panslavism
d. Austria-Hungary – Serbia: Pangermanism vs. Panslavism
e. Austria-Hungary – Italy: Italian lands and Trieste (the big price, primary port- would give main economic and strategic advantages for Vienna)

11

Balkan War, 1912-13

I. Balkan War, 1912-13
a. Alliance of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro (Balkan League) vs Ottoman empire
b. Defeat of the Ottoman Empire
c. Treaty of London – creation of the state of Albania and Ottoman Empire withdraw from the Balkans

12

Balkan War, 1913

a. Serbia vs. Bulgaria over Macedonia
b. Greece, Serbia, Romania and Ottoman Empire vs. Bulgaria
c. Defeat of Bulgaria: Greece and Serbia divide Macedonia
d. Great territorial extension of Serbia
e. Main result: Expansion of Serbia’s power, influence, ambition

13

Which were the main events that in July-August 1914 led to the war and its rapid extension?

- Road to War - 1914
a. 28 June: Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo
b. 23 July: Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. Terms
i. Accuses Serbia of being behind the assassination of the archduke
ii. Explicit, extreme limitations of the sovernty of Serbia, actions against nationalists
iii. Telling Serbs that they had to accept an investigation to be conducted
1. Did not accept, violation of national sovernty
iv. Very harsh, unacceptable ultimatum
c. 28 July: Austrian declaration of war against Serbia (Russia mobilizes its forces)
d. 1 August: German declaration of war against Russia: Italy chooses neutrality
e. 3 August: German declaration of war against France: invasion of Belgium
f. 4 August: British declaration of war against Germany
g. 4 August: the United States proclaim its neutrality
h. In a week, a small war had become a pan-European war, and soon a global war

14

What were the main causes of the war?

a. Rigidity balance of power and system of alliances: impossible to limit/circumscribe war
b. Role of Germany
i. Could have prevented Austrian- Serian war?
c. Ideological clash: pangermanism vs. panslavism
d. Security dilemma: race against time
i. Considered necessary to react rapidly in order to achieve victory
e. Mistakes: belief in rapid victory
f. Domestic factors: public opinion and war enthusiasm?
g. Contingency and individual choices?
i. Had the archduke had not been killed
ii. Had Germany been less prone to push the Austiran-Hungarian government
iii. Effect of individual choice
h. Emotions, masculinity & concept of “honor”

15

Which were the main war fronts?

I. Western Front: France and Britain vs. Germany
II. Eastern Front: Austrian-Hungary and Germany vs. Russia
III. Southern/Italian Front: Austria-Hungary vs. Italy (enters war in 5.1915)
IV. The Balkan Front: Austria-Hugary vs. Serbia and allies
V. Turkish Front: Britain vs. Turkey
VI. Pacific Front: Japan vs. Germany
VII. War at sea: naval blockade and submarine warfare
a. War among empires
b. Small Pacific front
VIII. The Triple Stalemate
a. Military
b. Diplomatic
i. No one was willing to give-up
c. Domestic
i. Became difficult to mobilize without promising total victory

16

Which were the main phases of the war?

a. 1914-15: Full mobilization: domestic consensus: illusion of rapid victory
b. 1915-17: Military stalemate; domestic mobilization and war economy; trench warfare
i. Very difficult living in the trenches
c. 1917-18: Collapse of two fronts; Soviet revolution; US decision to enter the war
i. Eastern front
ii. Italian front almost collapsed
iii. U.S. decision to enter April 1917

17

What was the position of the United States between 1914-1917?

a. Very partial neutrality
b. Sided almost immediately with Britain due to financial reasons
i. US benefited through selling exports, increased exponentially
c. Victim of German submarine warfare (case of Lusitania)
i. Huge vessel going from Liverpool to New York was torpedoed by a German submarine
ii. 1,260 civilians killed
iii. Caused an uproar in the US
iv. Anti-German attitude in the country
v. The US itself was a country of immigrates, immigrate lobbies
d. Rise of power thanks to the war
e. Efforts to mediate and elaborate a new internationalist vision (necessity for a radical transformation of the international system)
f. “Geopolitical Consciousness” (Akira Iriye)
i. Emerging, based on the idea that no single power should dominate the European continent, would be dangerous for the US

18

Why was 1917 the key year of the War?

a. German victories + decision to re-launch unrestricted submarine warfare
b. Collapse of Southern and Eastern fronts
c. Bolshevik Revolution (11.1917)
d. US decision to enter the war (4.1917)

19

Which were the reasons of the US intervention?

a. Economic and financial interdependence with allies
b. German decision to re-launch indiscriminate submarine warfare
c. Desire to intervene resolutely and dictate terms of peace: US primacy/hegemony/exceptionalism
i. Reaffirming its uniqueness
ii. Proclaimed itself to be an associate
d. Zimmerman telegram
i. German- Mexican allies proposed
ii. Regain the territory lost in 1848

20

Wilsonian Readings: The Dark Side of Modernity & Interdependence

a. War pandemic: global character of modern world
b. Technology = greater machines of death and destruction
c. Geopolitical consciousness: “Garrison State”

21

Fourteen Points, 1.1918

a. Vs. secret diplomacy
b. Free trade
c. Disarmament
d. Self-determination and principle of nationality
e. Re-drawing of the map of Europe
f. League of Nations

22

Wilsonian Solutions

a. Interdependence = collective security
i. No country can pursue security unilaterally
b. Self-determination = democracy = world opinion
i. National public opinion will have their voices heard
ii. Inevitably hostile to war
c. Rules = international law & equality of nations
i. Can be expanded, ever evolving
d. End of War = disarmament
i. Connection between the arms race and war
ii. Disarmament is crucial to avoid future war

23

Why did Russia exit the war?

a. Military defeats
b. Domestic collapse
c. Bolsheviks’ naivete
d. Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
i. 3.1918
ii. Russia lost a significant portion of its territory
iii. Russia & Germany signed this treaty
e. Hopes for a global revolution

24

What were the main elements of Lenin’s counter (i.e. anti-Wilsonian) internationalism?

a. Self-determination
b. Global workers’ revolution
c. Anti-colonialism
i. Key element
d. Exploits contradictions of Wilsonianism
i. Argued that Wilsonianism was not internationalist enough
ii. Applied exclusively to Europe and possibly Japan
iii. Book: The Wilsonian Moment

25

Why, in the end, did the Entente (allies) prevail?

VII. Contingency (very close outcome)
a. Could easily have gone another way
VIII. Germany’s lack of supplies + US financial and material aid
a. Advantage of the other side, assistance
IX. Division within Germany and collapse of public support
a. Ability to conserve domestic cohesion was the most difficult in Germany