What are the major factors that have contributed to the relative peace since World War II?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are many possible factors, with scholars of International Relations disagreeing on which are the most important.  Some possibilities include:

  • The bipolar, mutually assured destruction of the Cold War.  The idea here is that both the US and the USSR knew that a serious war would be fatal to both.  Since they knew that, they never went to war with one another.  This is the sort of answer that realists in the field of International Relations would accept.
  • The presence of multinational institutions like the United Nations and the growth of democracy worldwide.  Institutions give countries ways of dealing with one another that do not involve war.  They also build ties between countries that reduce the likelihood of violence.  Liberals/idealists in the field of IR point to this and to the rise of democracy as factors that cause less desire for war among the various countries.
  • Greater interconnectedness and a feeling that other people are "like us."  Over the years, things like airplanes, television, and now the internet have contributed to globalization.  This has given people more access to and contact with people from other countries.  Therefore we no longer see one another as strange and dangerous people but instead as potential friends who are like us.  This is the sort of explanation favored by constructivists in the field of IR.

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