Essay on Realism: a Greater Explanation for World War I

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Pages: 9

Realism: A Greater Explanation for World War I Realism, by definition, is the study and practice of international relations; focusing on the nation-state, and that all nation-states are motivated by self-interest (Ferraro on Realism). The first two interests a state looks to fulfill are obtaining self-governance and defining borders. After those have been achieved countries will look to increase their power in many different forms (Ferraro on Realism). The years leading up to World War I were a time where most of Europe, as well as countries in Asia, were rapidly increasing their power. As countries gained power, their citizen’s nationalism, or attitude toward their country, also increased. According to Northedge and Grieve this was …show more content…
The theory is better explained by Morton Kaplan’s six rules of balance of power; states will act to increase power but negotiate opposed to fighting, fight rather than pass up opportunity to increase power, stop fighting rather than eliminate essential state, oppose coalition trying to assume predominant position in system, constraint states subscribing to supranational organizing principles, allow defeated states to re-enter the system (Kaplan).
Britain’s system, with the rise of industrialization and capitalism resulted in great European powers becoming significantly stronger (Northedge and Grieve). An increase of power by one state, led to other countries looking for ways to match, or balance, the increase of power. The states self-interest was a key component for the increase of powers, but the towering nationalism within these states also contributed greatly to states increasing power. When the people of a country saw a state had made an advance, they relied upon their own government to match it (Clare, John).
Militarism is a way of gaining power, this reflected on how countries built up their military to even the balance of power. Most countries were militaristic, but key contributors that affected the balance of power most leading up to World War I were Great Britain and Germany. The navy was of great significance in the arms race between Great Britain and Germany. In