chapter  3
459 Pages

The world wars

WithRichard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor

This chapter focuses on the world wars: World War I, then called the Great War, its causes, and its consequences, including World War II. It considers system-level explanations including the growth in German power that changed Europe's distribution of war. The most important individual-level explanation must focus on Hitler's ambitions and his racist ideology. The Versailles arrangements and continued upheaval in Europe created a new world and changed the maps of Europe and the Middle East. The diplomatic revolution formalized the division of Europe, as other countries came to fear and oppose German power and intentions. The alliance system and the tensions generated by arms racing fuelled nationalism across Europe, which in turn intensified tensions and suspicion. The Anglo-German naval rivalry was accompanied by an arms race on land that pitted France and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The years before 1914 were punctuated by repeated international crises, often pitting Germany against Britain, France, and Russia.