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From War to Peace

From War to Peace: Altered Strategic Landscapes in the Twentieth Century

Paul Kennedy
William I. Hitchcock
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    From War to Peace
    Book Description:

    In this timely collection, a dozen leading scholars of international affairs consider the twentieth century's recurring failure to construct a stable and peaceful international order in the wake of war. Why has peace been so hard to build? The authors reflect on the difficulties faced by governments as they sought a secure world order after the First World War, the Second World War, and the Cold War.Major wars unleashed new and unexpected forces, the authors show, and in post-war periods policymakers were faced not only with the reappearance of old power-political issues but also with quite unforeseen challenges. In 1918, a hundred-year-old order based on a balance of power among the states of Europe collapsed, leaving European and American leaders to deal with social, ideological, and ethnic crises. After World War II, hopeful plans for peace were checked by nuclear rivalry, international economic competition, and colonial issues. And unexpected challenges after the Cold War-global economic instability, ethnic conflict, environmental crises-joined with traditional security threats to cast a pall again over international peace efforts. In drawing out historical parallels and comparing how major states have adapted to sharp and sudden changes in the international system during the twentieth century, this book offers essential insights for those who hope to navigate toward peace across today's altered and uncertain strategic landscape.Contributors to this volume:Carole Fink, Gregory Flynn, William I. Hitchcock, Michael Howard, Paul Kennedy, Diane B. Kunz, Melvyn P. Leffler, Charles S. Maier, Tony Smith, Marc Trachtenberg, Randall B. Woods, Philip Zelikow

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14748-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Paul Kennedy and William I. Hitchcock

    “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,” wrote Wordsworth about the last days of the revolutionary eighteenth century. So, too, might one have thought as the 1980s drew to a close. In just a few years—the blink of an eye in historical terms—a breathtaking series of transformations to a long-established international order occurred, apparently without warning, and still more astonishing, without violence or war. In 1989–91, the Cold War came to an end, the Germans tore down the Berlin Wall and reunited their nation, the Soviet empire imploded, Eastern Europe shook off its totalitarian shackles,...

  5. Part 1: Reordering Europe After World War I

    • 1 The Great Powers and the New International System, 1919–1923
      (pp. 17-35)
      Carole Fink

      Almost sixty years ago, on the eve of World War II, one of Britain’s sagest historians analyzed the origins of the “twenty-years’ crisis” as a conflict between two powerful impulses in international affairs. On one side were the Utopians, the spiritual heirs of Rousseau, Kant, and Bentham, who believed in the ideal of achieving a harmony of global political and economic interests. On the other were the realists, whose robust ancestors, the realpolitikers, the determinists, the relativists, and the proponents of national interest, had preached not only that states, like human beings, inevitably failed to live up to their ideals...

    • 2 International Associationalism: The Social and Political Premises of Peacemaking After 1917 and 1945
      (pp. 36-52)
      Charles S. Maier

      The scale, duration, and ferocity of World War I ensured that leaders of the combatant nations would seek to justify their struggle in terms not of realpolitik but of lofty values and ideology. Although the premier of Italy might cite national interest as a reason for fighting, even he qualified the cause as “sacred,” orsacro egoismo. But American intervention and the importance of the United States in eventually helping to break the long stalemate made it certain that the architecture of the postwar settlement would include at least some of Woodrow Wilson’s concepts. Wilsonianism involved an effort to institutionalize...

  6. Part 2: From World War to Cold War

    • 3 American Grand Strategy from World War to Cold War, 1940–1950
      (pp. 55-78)
      Melvyn P. Leffler

      The events of 1940–41 transformed the way American officials thought about U.S. national security. With the Axis powers on the verge of gaining preponderance over the resources and industrial infrastructure of most of Eurasia, American policymakers resolved that such control jeopardized U.S. vital interests and could not be tolerated. While heretofore determined to remain aloof from an inevitable European conflict that they hoped would not affect their security, they now realized that their nation’s well-being was inextricably tied to the configuration of power across the seas. President Franklin D. Roosevelt may still have harbored some hopes that the British...

    • 4 Reversal of Fortune: Britain, France, and the Making of Europe, 1945–1956
      (pp. 79-102)
      William I. Hitchcock

      In 1945, few doubted Britain’s claim to great-power status. Britain counted itself among the Big Three, victorious in World War II, an imperial nation capable of projecting power across the globe. The British economy, though strained to its limits by the cost of war, was thought to possess the resilience required to recover its once dominating position in Europe and beyond. Moreover, the triumphant election of the Labour Party signaled the arrival of a new set of governing ideals that reflected the popular desire for a renewed and reformed Britain. The challenge of recovering from the cruel blows of war...

    • 5 The Making of a Political System: The German Question in International Politics, 1945–1963
      (pp. 103-119)
      Marc Trachtenberg

      In October 1963, Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko had a long conversation with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Dean Rusk. The German problem was the focus of the discussion. “From the standpoint of the security of Europe and of the Soviet Union,” Gromyko said, this “was problem number one.” And Rusk agreed: the German question, including the complex of problems relating to Berlin, was obviously the most fundamental issue in East-West relations. “There was certainly no question about that,” he said. Germany was “the point of the confrontation,” and the German problem (including Berlin) was thus obviously the “number...

    • 6 The Trials of Multilateralism: America, Britain, and the New Economic Order, 1941–1947
      (pp. 120-139)
      Randall B. Woods

      The great conflict that began in 1939 and ended in 1945 destroyed the European balance of power in both a strategic and economic sense. Cataclysmic in its destructive power, World War II left the international community, and especially its European members, battered, gasping for breath, and searching desperately for a new order that would usher in an era of physical, economic, and social security. As policymakers in Washington and London grappled with the task of recasting the international economic system, however, they found that they were constrained by domestic politics as well as by competing national visions over what kind...

    • 7 Third World Nationalism and the Great Powers
      (pp. 140-156)
      Tony Smith

      In surveying the international system at the end of World War II, leaders of the great powers spent comparatively little time thinking about the future political development of what has come to be known as the Third World. Yet in the course of the Cold War, the Third World became a major theater of ideological and sometimes military conflict. The war had wrought profound changes in the colonial empires that would contribute to a loosening of the bonds of control. In the postwar landscape, one of the least anticipated and least understood dimensions was how to control the process of...

  7. Part 3: Security and Order After the Cold War

    • 8 The United States, the Cold War, and the Post-Cold War Order
      (pp. 159-184)
      Philip Zelikow

      It is impossible to analyze the settlement of the Cold War without comprehending what was being settled. In other words, a theory of settlement must be accompanied by a theory of what the Cold War was about. The Cold War can best be understood as the final phase, lasting nearly half a century, of a long global struggle between two fundamentally different conceptions for the organization and governance of modern society.

      That struggle began as the international system of the nineteenth century was coming to its end in the bloody chaos of World War I.¹ Out of those ruins arose...

    • 9 Europe After the Cold War: Realism, Idealism, and the Search for Order Without Empire
      (pp. 185-209)
      Gregory Flynn

      There is a striking convergence in each of the three post-war moments examined in this volume: in each period, the same basic debate has reemerged, a debate between realists and idealists over the basis for order and its possibilities. Following World War I and World War II, early thinking about a postwar system was dominated by idealists who sought both to establish a new basis for order, and to remove from Europe certain elements of order, both domestic and international, that were thought to have caused the wars to begin with. In both cases, institutions were created that were intended...

    • 10 The International Financial System and the Nation-State
      (pp. 210-230)
      Diane B. Kunz

      Writing just two years after the end of World War I, John Maynard Keynes observed, “the power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the economic organization by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century. We assume some of the most peculiar and temporary of our late advantages as natural, permanent, and to be depended on, and we lay our plans accordingly.”¹

      Keynes’s analysis could easily be applied to our present circumstances; during the twentieth century...

    • 11 Global Issues and the New Security Agenda
      (pp. 231-245)
      Paul Kennedy

      When the statesmen of 1919 and 1945 confronted the altered strategic landscapes of their respective postwar worlds, they were increasingly aware of newer forces at work alongside their traditional great-power concerns. Calls for democracy, nationalist stirrings in the colonies, demands by labor movements and trade unions for greater social and economic justice, ideas about a new world order enhanced through international organization, new technologies and forms of communication, all made the task of statecraft more complex and challenging than in Talleyrand’s day. Like most leaders brought up in the Western tradition, they saw their job essentially as a Burkean one:...

  8. Afterword
    (pp. 246-256)
    Michael Howard

    The chapters in this volume concentrate not so much on the actual alterations in the “landscapes” of international politics and their causes as on the way statesmen and peoples adjusted to the consequent changes in the international environment. In this afterword I shall therefore try to say something about the alterations themselves, and set the question in a broader historical context.

    All the changes considered here have been the result of wars, with the remarkable exception of the events of 1989. Then, within a few tumultuous months, the Soviet Union abandoned its acquisitions, its aspirations, and its very ideology without...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 257-302)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 303-306)
  11. Index
    (pp. 307-325)