Time to consider how the growth of nation-states and the three "isms," nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism, led to global conflict. Consider the inevitability of World War I. Given 19th century Europe and the world, was WW I inevitable? WW I changed the world dramatically. At its inception, "The War to End All Wars" was a popular war and most people believed it would end quickly and with an allied victory. The war was seen as a just war that would lead to world peace and a world without the necessity of war. Soon, people became disillusioned by the horror, terror, and futility of the war. Romantic 19th-century visions of warfare were changed forever by modern technology and how that technology could be put to use to further national goals. The rules of warfare changed and the change led the 20th-century world into what one historian called "the age of total war."
CONSIDER: In the modern (post-19th century world), is war as an instrument of national policy, invevitable? In other words, has war as an instrument of national policy "won out" over modern diplomacy? Do modern nation-states act first and talk second? If we assume that a nation's perceived self-interest guides its foreign policy, does that make conflict inevitable? Given the Treaty of Versailles, do you think diplomacy had any chance to prevent World War II? What was the policy of appeasement that guided many countries' foreign policy in the 1930s? Why do you think other nations (including the U.S.) were willing to appease Hitler?
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