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POS 304 04/08/2010. Course Status: Paper Assignment 2 due last Thursday via e-mail. Course Agenda: Mearsheimer, Haas, Johnson Mearsheimer. Nazi Germany 1933-1941. France most powerful state in Europe between end of World War 1 and when Hitler became German chancellor of January 30, 1933.

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pos 304 04 08 2010

POS 304 04/08/2010

Course Status:

Paper Assignment 2 due last Thursday via e-mail.

Course Agenda:

Mearsheimer, Haas, Johnson


Nazi Germany 1933-1941.

France most powerful state in Europe between end of World War 1 and when Hitler became German chancellor of January 30, 1933.

France paid attention to eastern border with Germany but Germany posed no threat during this time period.

Soviet Union weak power cooperated with Germany.

European leaders realized soon after Hitler took power that Germany would disregard Versailles and attempt to alter power.

Hitler’s intentions became clear as he incorporated Austria, took Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.

Three states that contained Wilhelmine Germany before 1914, were Nazi Germany’s principal rivals between 1933 and 1941.

Hitler intended to rearm from 1933 on.

Three major building plans to expand German Army.

Hitler increased army threefold. 1933.

March 1935 army would grow to 700,000.

1936 Rearmament program building peacetime army of 830,000.

Start of World War 1 German army contained 3.74 million soldiers.

Hitler pushed to create a powerful navy and air force.

United Kingdom, France, and Soviet Union all feared Nazi Germany but each engaged in buck passing behavior.

1939 United Kingdom finally joins forces with France but Soviet Union did not join with allies.

After France knocked out of war United Kingdom tried to ally with Soviets but Soviets preferred to continue buck-passing.

France and Soviet Union went to considerable lengths to maintain armies that could stand up to Wehrmacht.

United Kingdom’s initial strategy for dealing with Hitler was to pass buck to France.

United Kingdom increases defense spending.

Focused on spending on air force to deter Hitler from launching Luftwaffe against the British homeland.

United Kingdom abandons buck-passing strategy when United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany September 1939.

France too was committed to buck-passing.

Alliances to small states but alliance not active.

France discouraged from approaching the Soviet Union by concern that Franco-Soviet alliance would ruin any chance that UK might join forces with France against Nazi Germany.

France’s interest in passing the buck to Soviet Union was reinforcing widespread belief that Stalin was trying to buck-pass to France.

United Kingdom buck passing notwithstanding French leaders worked hard throughout 1930s to get United Kingdom to commit itself to defense of France.

Soviet policy in mid-1930s three main schools of thought.

Schools of thought.

Stalin intervened in German politics to help Hitler to become chancellor because he believed Nazis would go to war with UK and France.

Others contend Stalin determine to build balancing coalition with UK and France but Western powers refused to cooperate.

Stalin using buck-passing strategy so Hitler would strike United Kingdom and France first.

Buck passing Soviets preferred strategy in mid 1930s.

Host of factors mid 1930s made resurrection of Triple Entente unlikely.

Abundant evidence United Kingdom and France committed to buck-passing.

Compounded by deep seated ideological hostility between Moscow and Western power.

Geography also impediment to collective security cooperation.

Soviets continued buck passing strategy until Wehrmacht invaded Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

Calculus of power.

Distribution o power among European great powers and geography can account in large part for buck-passing behavior of Hitler’s adversaries.

Germany had a great deal of latent power but Germany not potential hegemon until 1939 because it did not have powerful army before then.

France and Soviets had larger armies until 1937.

Distribution of power between Soviets and France made buck passing strategy more likely outcome.

Soviet Union also stronger than Czarist Russia so United Kingdom and France did not feel compelled to support Soviet Union.

United Kingdom wanted to form alliance with Soviets after June 1940 but Soviets continued to buck-pass.

Mistake was that Stalin thought Nazis would not attack Soviet Union.

3 Different factors account for buck-passing during this time period.

1)Nazi Germany not formidable threat before 1939,

2) Soviet Union controlled considerable potential and actual military power.

3)Germany and Russia shared common border in 1914 but did not before 1939, separation encouraged buck-passing.

Cold War 1945-1990.

After World War II Soviet Union most powerful state in Europe and Northeast Asia.

Reasons to think United States might not balance against Soviets.

United States balanced because it had no buck-passing option.

Strategic Behavior of Great Powers.

Iran and Turkey important targets of Soviet expansion.

United States pressures Soviets on both venues of expansion.

Truman Doctrine proclaimed.

United States afraid of Soviet domination in Western Europe – Marshall Plan.

Build a unified West Germany.

Soviets respond with alarm.

Stalin pushed to expand Soviet influence in Northeast Asia during early Cold War.

Korean war causes United States to increase defense spending and build formidable deterrent structures in Europe, Northeast Asia, and Persian Gulf.

American impulse to buck-pass never completely disappeared.

US calls for Europeans to defend themselves and strong support for integration.

But buck-passing not serious option during Cold War due to bipolar distribution of power.

Calculus of Power.

No power in Europe could contain Soviets so United States had to step in.

United Kingdom in no position.

Despite military demobilizations post World War II United Kingdom in no position to defend Western Europe from Soviet army.

Summarize results.

Offensive realism predicts that stats will be acutely sensitive to the balance of power and will look for opportunities to increase their own power or weaken rivals.

States will adopt diplomatic strategies that reflect opportunities and constraints created by the particular distribution of power.

Threatened state is likely to balance quickly and efficiently in bipolarity because neither buck-passing nor great power balancing coalitions are feasible when there are only two great powers in system.

United States buck-passed to contain Wilhelmine Germany and Nazi Germany, but during Cold War had no choice but to balance.

Multipolarity buck-passing most likely in absence of a potential hegemon but still likely to occur when there is an especially powerful state in the system.

Buck-passing most prevalent in the case of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France.

In sum both geography and distribution of power play a key role in determining whether threatened great powers form balancing coalitions or buck pass against dangerous aggressors.

Haas Conclusion.

Three fact increase confidence in centrality of ideological distance.

1)process tracing supports assertion key decision makers enmity of amity shaped by ideological difference.

2) perceptions of threat and foreign policy choices corresponded very closely with objective domestic-ideological changes in one or more states.

3)Evidence supports of causal mechanisms in Chapter 1 – conflict probability and demonstration effects mechanisms.