Causes of World War I

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Causes of World War II

Realism in brief

According to the Realist Paradigm-IR is a struggle for power by nation states. States protect their self-interest or national interest through the acquisition of power and maximize power through weapons accumulation and building up alliances.

A) Goal of state remains national survival in a hostile environment (anarchy).

B) The acquisition of power is the means to the end of survival.

C) Sovereignty means states are free to pursue self-interest of state and anarchy forces them to acquire power to do so.

Realists argue that states exist in a self-help system where the use of force is a constant threat, forcing states to acquire power to survive. Kenneth Waltz best summarizes the essential components of Realism:

"States are involved in an unending struggle with each other, because that is the nature of states in an anarchic world; power to is necessary survive in it or to continue to fight; all states are potential enemies."

(Waltz, 30)

Second World War in "Realism" perspective

The Rearmament of Germany

Hitler began to maximize power through weapons accumulation and building up alliances. The anarchy-motivated acquisition of power was clearly visible in this frame of time.

German rearmament began after Hitler left 1932-4 Geneva Disarmament Conference, stating that as the powers would not disarm to his level, he would rearm Germany to their level. By 1935 rearmament was well underway. This involved conscription and munitions factories.

Rearmament alarmed the French who, feeling insecure, reinforced the Maginot line (built between 1929 and 1934).

Britain in Anglo German naval Treaty (June 1935) allowed Germany's navy to be 35% of the size of the Royal Navy. Hitler used his newfound arms to support Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936-9).

Nazi-Soviet Pact

The Nazi-Soviet Pact signed on 29th August 1939 can...