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What level of economic interdependence existed between the Entente and the Central...

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rhylez | Honors

Posted February 19, 2013 at 3:12 PM via web

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What level of economic interdependence existed between the Entente and the Central Powers in the leadup to World War one? 

I'm looking at whether or not globalisation can be a factor which prevents war. Also external sources in your answer would be superb,

Thanks!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 19, 2013 at 3:37 PM (Answer #1)

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If you are trying to argue that globalization of trade will make war less likely, most historians and political scientists would say that the case of World War I will not help you at all.  In fact, they would typically say, even if they believe that economic interconnectedness will prevent wars today, that WWI was an example of how interconnectedness does not always prevent war.  In short, there was a high level of economic interdependence in the decades leading up to World War I.

It is widely acknowledged that the late 1800s were a period of what we would now call intense globalization.  With manufacturing booming in many countries of Europe, and with technology increasing the possibility of trade, the major countries of Europe traded with one another to a very great degree.  While this is not related to trade, it is also worth noting that the monarchs of Russia, Germany, and England were all cousins.  Globalization is supposed to help prevent war by creating more connections between peoples.  These countries had trade connections and familial and cultural connections and yet still went to war.

If you want to use World War I as an example to support your idea that globalization will prevent war, I suggest you read the paper in the ucsd.edu link below.  It argues that the economic interdependence of the time actually helped to reduce conflict and to put war off.  The authors claim that WWI was caused in part by a lack of interdependence in Eastern Europe which overwhelmed the impact of the interconnectedness of Western Europe.  

Sources:

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rhylez | Honors

Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM (Answer #2)

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Thankyou very much!

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