Realism And Its Effects On The War I And World War II Essay

Realism And Its Effects On The War I And World War II Essay

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Realism is a research paradigm that focuses primarily on power. John Mearsheimer holds that, “Power is the currency of international politics.” The realism research paradigm is used by scholars to explain the causes of both World War I and World War II. Although both World Wars can be explained within the realm of realism, realism only focuses on the systems level of analysis, and does not look at other causes of the wars that liberals look at when examining World War I and World War II, such as the state and individual level of analysis. Therefore, flaws can be pointed out in the realism research paradigm because there may have been other factors that contributed to war that realism simply ignores by design. In this paper, I argue that realism, mainly defensive, is useful for explaining the causes of both World War I and World War II in terms of relative power, but that both wars also point to a weakness in the realism research paradigm because there are theories that exist within the liberalism research paradigm that focus on factors such as economy, domestic policy, and absolute power.
Structural realism is a research paradigm that explains that the real reason states pursue power is because of the structural properties of the state system. When analyzing causes of wars, realists focus on the systems level of analysis. To realists, the state and individual level are not contributing factors to wars, and they are not significant when analyzing causes. Defensive realists focus more on the use of aggression for security purposes, whereas offensive realism argues that states deal with anarchy and their own insecurities by being the strongest state. I argue that defensive realism relates more to World War I and II because it appea...


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...his still have occurred if the Versailles Treaty did not place the sole blame on Germany, causing them to pay and leaving their economy destroyed?
Theories about the causes of war point to some holes in the realist research paradigm. Realism is only explained in terms of relative power, whereas liberals focus on absolute power. “States concerned about relative power behave differently than do states interested in absolute power,” states who are concerned with relative power want to gain power in order to be stronger than other states. States that favor relative power over absolute are more interested in the distribution of material capabilities and are not as likely to take gains if it gives other states power as well, “States motivated by relative power concerns are likely to forgo large gains in their own power, if such gains give rival states even greater power.”

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