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Multipolarity: The Classical Balance of Power System

by: Kerrigan Unter

Multipolarity: The Classical Balance of Power System PSC 1003

Marketplace > George Washington University > Political Science > PSC 1003 > Multipolarity The Classical Balance of Power System
Kerrigan Unter
GPA 3.0
Introduction to International Politics
Olson, L

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Introduction to International Politics
Olson, L
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kerrigan Unter on Monday October 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Olson, L in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 10/19/15
PSC 1003 Multipolarity The Classical Balance of Power System The Balance of the Power System emerged after the Napoleonic Wars with the creation of the Concert of Europe sought to insure that no state would achieve hegemonic status as France had under Napoleon prevented a general European War until the outbreak of World War I The Great Powers Britain France Russia Prussia Germany after 1871 and Austria AustriaHungary after 1848 Rules of the Balance of Power System no state can be allowed to achieve a preponderance of power and become a hegemonic power states will continue to compete for power but their action is constrained by the other Great Powers Each state will act to insure that no other state gains too much This is motivated primarily by the security dilemma Alliances will be temporary and utilitarian to prevent any state from gaining too much Most importantly each Great Power must be willing to all with any other Great Power when the equilibrium of the systems is in jeopardy negotiation is better than fighting but war is seen as an acceptable tool of foreign policy if it is needed to maintain balance preservation of sovereignty and independence is limited to the Great Powers Each will seek to preserve each other s sovereignty However secondary powers can be divided if it serves the interest of maintaining peace presence of a balancer state Stability ofMultipolar Systems defensive realists argue that multipower systems are stable If states are engaging in power balancing behavior more players facilitates this tendency and states are more constrained offensive realists argue such systems are too complex and too prone to catastrophic miscalculation If states are engaging in power maximizing behavior simpler systems like the bipolar system are more stable The Alliance System a system of shifting entangling and often secret alliances between Great Powers and between Great Powers and secondary powers developed by Otto von Bismark with the intention of insuring stability in the balance of power system stability could be achieves by effectively constraining state action while still allowing states to compete for resources and power Causes of World War I German unification Completed with the end of the FrancoPrussian War in 1871 This war would definitely change the balance of power since France and Germany would become permanent enemies German fear of a twofront war Exacerbated by the FrancoRussian alliance in 1894 Russia weakness particularly compared to Germany Germany s development of the Von Schlieffen plan Outbreak of World War I proximate cause the assassination to Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo Led AustriaHungary to issue an ultimatum to Serbia Serbia would accept all but one condition leading AustriaHungary to declare war the entangling alliances draw the Great Powers into con ict and Germany sets the Von Schlieffen plan in motion Germany fails to conquer France getting bogged down in trench warfare on the Western Front resulting in the twofront war Germany feared Realist Explanations preemptive war By 1914 a bipolar system had emerged in Europe Germany sought to act to restore a perceived imbalance in power between the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente Preventive war Germany sought to rectify a future imbalance namely an eventual increase in Russian power Power transition Germany sought to challenge Britain for hegemonic status responding to a progressive decline in British power


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