Traditional Great Power Rivalry

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  • Created by: miataylor
  • Created on: 30-04-15 16:19

Geopolitical Inevitability

  • 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville, French political commentator: 'marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half of the globe.' This interpretation underlines the fact that US/USSR struggle for influence and prestige made future conflict inevitable.
  • This idea was actually prophesised by Hitler in 1945: 'the laws of both history and geography will compel these two powers to a trial of strength, either military or in the fields of economics and ideology.'
  • 1890s, relations soured at the end of the 19th century, rival ambitions in China and Manchuria.


  • Destroys old international order. Eurocentric international system which had dominated world affairs for last 500 years was in ruins. Unhinged traditional politics, insitutions, alliances. Complete conflagration which overturned the World. Risen in its stead, US and USSR.
  • End of multipower system. Bipolar one to replace it.
  • Europe was vulerable to these superpowers: Winson Churchill: 'a rubble heap, a charnel house, a breeding ground of pestilence and hate.' Indeed, France had been out-produced by the German military-industrial economy in the 1930s, lost on the battefield in 1940s, and psychologically scarred by the experience of occupationa and collaboration after. Britain had lost 1/4 of its national wealth…


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