December 12, 2012
The Three Crises In the 1800s the world looked and functioned a lot differently than it does today. There were massive European empires that spread across the globe, the largest and most powerful of which being the British Empire. Literally every part of the world outside of Europe, including some parts of Eastern Europe, was colonized by European countries except for the United States and parts of Asia. The distribution of power was a lot different then, too. The most powerful nations at that time were the ones that had the most military power, the most diplomacy, and the most commercial power and that was the way it had been since the beginning of time (Manzione).
The start of the change in the old international order was the Industrial Revolution because of the global economy that it had created. Because of the global economy, national power had to be redefined. The nations that had the most power were now the nations with the most manufacturing, the most technology, the most commerce, and military and diplomatic power were now only the fourth most important. This was a major change to have been made because, as stated before, the old definition of national power had been in place for an enormous amount of time (Butler). Due to the new definition of power and the new global economy and increase in manufacturing, countries which were not part of Europe became powerful. These countries were Germany, the United States, and Japan. This led to such uneasiness and instability in Europe which ended the time of peace caused by the Concert of Europe, which was a treaty created by the European monarchies in hopes that if there was peace it would keep democratic revolutions at bay (Manzione). The end of this treaty was also the start of World War One (WWI). WWI was a long and terrible war that has been described as Europe committing suicide. Though it was long and seemingly meaningless there were some major ideologies reflected by WWI. The first was militarism. At the start of WWI military power was a big deal; after all it had been one of the major points in determining global power for a very long time. The power of a country’s military very much determined how powerful the country was. The second ideology was colonialism. There were, at that time, European colonies all over the world so colonialism was also very important during WWI. The third ideology during this war was nationalism which is pride in one’s country. Virtually every country involved in WWI had high amounts of nationalism. If it weren’t for nationalism there may not have even been a war (Sheffield). WWI officially ended November 11, 1918 when Germany signed an armistice with the Allies. On January 4, 1919 a peace conference met in Paris at the Versailles Palace (“Timeline”). Thanks to the large amounts of money that other countries had to borrow from us, the United States came out of the war as the nation with the ability to shape the peace treaty and the new international order. Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States at the time of the conference. He was very idealistic and the things he wanted to happen were just not very likely to happen at that time. He also had an extreme lack of experience in dealing with international affairs so he and all of his advisors lacked the diplomacy needed to get things done (Manzione). The points that Wilson wrote up for the peace treaty were as follows. First he wanted all nations to have the right to determine how they live. This is called self-determination and would encourage democracy on a global scale. Since Europe still relied heavily on imperialism the delegates present from the European nations were against this and all of the other points. The second thing Wilson wanted was free trade and free market capitalism which would mean that every country had the right to conduct trade as they wished without interference. This was also