Submitted by: L. S. Kaveisthaa INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Introduction: International Relations is the field of study, which concerns the relationships among the governments of the nations states. International Relations concerns people and cultures around the world. This is a vast subject area, which is an articulation of other actors such as, international organizations, multinational organizations and individuals, of other social structures as economics, culture, domestic politics etc, and with geographical and historical influences.
The historical background which has brought up International Relations as such a vital unit of the political practice in current global arena is discussed in this assignment. Civilizations: The fundamental structure, principles and concepts of International Relations which are still in use, genuinely embedded from the historical developments. The current international practice is a result of a particular civilization – Western civilization, which was centered in Europe. It was developed in the European states 300 to 500 years ago was transferred to the rest of the world.
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Not only the Europe was groundwork for the development of International Relations, but also the other civilizations too had an influence on its development. European civilization developed from origins in the Mediterranean, Egypt, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and in particular Greece. Classical period of Greek city states around 400 B. C. is given priority in the field of International Relations, because it demonstrated some of the basic principles of interstate power politics. During that period states were carrying out complicated trade dealings and warfare with almost all of the nations, from the Mediterranean through India to East Asia.
Also these Greek city states first used warfare as a tool power politics. This was clearly defined in the classic work, The Art of War by SunTzu. By about 800 A. D. China under the Tang rule was an advanced civilization, but it was independent of Western influence. Japan also had a great influence of Chine where they were too isolated from the Western influence under Tokugawa shogunate for so many centuries, which came to a conclusion after 1850 when the Meiji restoration began Japanese industrialization and international trade. The Arab empire of A. D. 00 to 1200 plays an important role in the International Relations of the Middle East. Europe began its world dominance about 1500, after the renaissance (when the Greek and Roman classics were rediscovered). The Italian city states of the time also found again the rules of interstate power politics, as explained by a consultant to Renaissance princes named Niccolo Machiavelli. Feudal units started to unite into large territorial nation states under single dictatorial rulers (monarchs). The European monarchs, after the military revolution, put cannons on sailing ships and started to invent the world.
The development of international systems, of imperialism (the acquisition of colonies by conquest or otherwise), of trade and war were all gathered speed by the Industrial Revolution after around 1750. Later on the regions which were dominated by Europe got independence. It came earlier in the Americas (in 1800). In the 16th century the Imperialists brought slaves in Africa and shipped them to Mexico and Brazil to do the gold and silver mining work. The wealth produced was exported to Europe, where monarchs used it to buy armies and build states. The great power system:
The modern international system basically evolved from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, where the modern states system developed, which established the principles of independent, sovereign states that continue to shape the international system today. Before this, the European medieval organization of political authority was based on a vaguely hierarchical religious order. Westphalia instituted the legal concept of sovereignty, which essentially meant that rulers, or the legitimate sovereigns, had no internal equals within a defined territory and no external superiors as the ultimate authority within the territory’s sovereign borders.
An easy way to view this is that sovereignty says, “I’m not allowed to tell you what to do and you are not allowed to tell me what to do. ” Classical Greek and Roman authority at times looked like the Westphalian system, but both lacked the notion of sovereignty. A system of great power system has been around A. D. 1500. The structure was a balance of power among six most powerful states, which form and break alliances, fight wars and make peace, letting none of the state to conquer the other. The most powerful states in 16th century were the Britain, France, Austria-Hungary and Spain.
They were fighting with each other in order to become supreme. After the establishment of treaty of Westphalia, the conquered states were allowed to continue as independent states. In the 18th century Britain became supreme after the Industrialization, this led to wars as Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), French Revolution, where France was defeated by an alliance of Britain, Netherlands, Austria-Hungary, Spain, Russia and Prussia. After all these disastrous occasions, the five most powerful states tried, to corporate on major issues to prevent wars, the result was the Congress of Vienna of 1815.
During the twentieth century three powers started to dominate the world; the United States, Japan and Italy. The great power system was globalized not centered in only Europe during the early 20th century. In World War 1 (1914-1918), Germany and Austria-Hungary were defeated by an alliance of Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States. Again after 20 years, in the World War 2 (1939-1945) Germany, Italy and Japan were defeated by an ally of the United States, Russia Britain, France and China.
After the end of the second World War, the United States and Soviet Russia, who were the allies, became rivals for the next forty years during the Cold War period. Imperialism: Imperialism is the acquisition of colonies by conquest or otherwise. European imperialism started during the 15th century, with the development of oceangoing ships. Portugal pioneered the first voyages of exploration beyond Europe, and then Spain, France and Britain followed them. With military technology, Europeans started to dominate the coastal cities and started to do trading.
This control started to extend to inland, in Latin America, North America then throughout in Asia and Africa. Over time the economies of colonies developed due to the communication infrastructure, factories etc. Decolonization, it means the independence was given to the colonies, started from the United States in 1776. Even though Europe was practicing decolonization in the late 19th century still it acquired colonies. Nationalism: Nationalism is the devotion to the interests of one’s nations. A nation is a population that shares an identity, basically including culture and language.
At about A. D. 1500, countries as France and Austria began to construct entire nations into single states. These nation states were very powerful and large; they dominated smaller neighboring countries. Many small nation states were conquered and united into nation states. Automatically the idea of Nationalism became a powerful force and contributed to the disintegration of huge, multinational states such as Austria Hungary, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The world economy, 1750-2000: In 1750, Britain seems to be the world’s largest, advanced and most powerful economy had a GDP of $1200.
This was due to the Industrialization (a process at the world level of analysis spread to the other advanced economies), the use of energy to drive machineries and the accumulation of such machinery along with the creation of products. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 18th century. By 1850, wooden sailing ships were replaced by coal powered iron steamships. There were creation of factories and textile industries and other commodities too. The railroad development increased the volume of world production and trade, also tied distant locations more closely together economically.
The British favored the concept of ‘Free Trade’. Apart from that Britain served as the financial capital of the world by managing a complex world market in goods and services in the 19th century. International monetary relations were still based on the value of precious metals as gold, silver, diamonds etc. By the 20th century, the United States became the world’s largest and advanced economy, not the Britain. The industrialization of the United States was powered by territorial expansion, by adding vast resources. The United States was attracting poor people from the Britain as well.
The United States transformed the world from the consumption of coal to oil. New technological explorations helped the United States to become dominant in the world economy. By 1930s due to the Great Depression, this was faced by the whole wide world, led to a severe setback. As a result of the Second World War, the concept of capitalism started to spread under the leadership of the United States. The United States provided helps to the Western European economies and Japan in order to put them up back on the track.
World trade and world market grew and woven together massively due to the developments in air transportation and telecommunications. After the Second World War, the Soviet Russia as a reverse concept to the United States, practicing Communist principles of central planning and state ownership. In the early 1960s its leaders were predicting that communism would outperform in the future, but the Soviet blockades were caught in to the trap of the Western capitalism by bureaucracy, ideological rigidity, environmental destruction, corruption and high military spending.
Therefore the Soviet Russia faced a hard time at this moment. The cold wars: The United States and the Soviet Russia became the two superpowers after the Second World War. Each of them had their own ideological mission (capitalism vs. communism), its networks of alliances with the third world countries and its deadly weapon store of nuclear weapons. Europe was divided in to two parts, the NATO (alliances of the United States) and the Warsaw Pact (alliances of Soviet Russia).
Germany was divided into two where the United States dominated the west of Germany, and the east was by Russia and there arose the Berlin Wall, which separated Russia into two parts, was known as the ‘Iron Curtain’ by Winston Churchill. The Soviet bloc did not join the Western economic institutions as the IMF, but all the states joined the UN. Throughout the Cold War era, the UN managed to maintain somewhat an adherence between nation states. The main concern of the West was that the Soviet will expand it’s Socialist policies to the rest of the world, especially the Western Europe.
So the United States started to get hold Of the other nation states, where they proposed the Marshall Plan, in which financial aid was given to rebuild European economies. Most of the world’s military spending was devoted to the Europe, also they invested more and more in arms race, where both party produced tons and tons of nuclear weapons. Through the policy of Containment, the United States tried to stop the expansion of Soviet influence globally on several level at once-military, political, ideological, economic.
The United States maintained a network of military bases and alliances throughout the world. The Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949 led to a Sino-Soviet alliance, but China became independent in the 1960s following the Sino-Soviet split, feeling threatened by the Soviet power made a pathway for China to ally with the United States during the 1970s in order to safe guard them. After that the United States and China developed links, visit of president Nixon to China in 1972. But during the Cold War, China tried to balance the relationship with both the super powers.
In 1950, during the Korean War, U. S. allied with South Korea and attacked North Korea, then Chinese helped the North Korea, where there was a split occurred in the relationship between the U. S and China. The Cold War’s tension was a bit eased when Stalin died in 1953. Though the tension was a little eased still they had the enmity, one of the example for this is the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the Soviet Russia planned to have a nuclear attack on the U. S. but it was stopped. The concept of Nuclear War made the two parties to think a little.
They signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, prohibiting atmospheric nuclear tests and began to cooperate in cultural exchanges, space exploration, aviation and other areas. But in the 1989s the cold war was totally came to an end due to various reasons as; in June 1989 the pro democracy demonstrations that took place in Beijing, China, the toppling of the Berlin Wall, the vital reason was atthat time Russia was struggling because of the financial, economic collapse, inflation, corruption, war and military weaknesses, so with these reasons the Cold War came to an end.
After the end of the Cold War there were no competition among any states to become a super power, the world system changed from a bipolar, to a multi polar and finally to a unipolar system where the United States was ‘The’ only super power. This led to so many issues for the United States afterwards, the attack held in the World Trade Center, in New York, by the Al-Qaeda, headed by BinLadan, also the rise of Muslim fundamentalist terrorism etc. Conclusion:
As we noted in the above pages, the field of International Relations has been brought up to the current position through a very fluent historical background. From the ancient times onwards International Relations was in practice by the kings and the empires through trade, warfare, relationships such as friends, marriage relationships etc. therefore it is important for us, as students of International Relations to know the historical background of this field. Reference: International Relations, Sixth Edition, by Joshua S. Goldstein www. wikepedia. org www. international-relations. com www. msnencarta. com