US Pathway to Power part 1
Transcript US Pathway to Power part 1
Theme 3: World Powers and
International Tensions since 1918
Pathways to Power
The United States’ Pathway to
becoming a world power
• How has the notion of power been shaped and
transformed by the United States in the
• What military, political, ideological, economic and
cultural factors have contributed to making the
U.S. a world power?
• Why did President Wilson’s project for the League
of Nations fail?
• How does the Second World War mark a turning
point in U.S. foreign policy?
Outline U.S. Pathway to Power
• I. Different forms of power
• II. 1918-45: From Isolationism to War
• III. The Post-War World: The United States
Disseminates its Power in a Bi-Polar World
• IV. The United States in the World since the end
of the Cold War: The Hyper-Power as World
What is power?
• Power, in the context of nations, can be
– the ability to do something (power),
– to not do something (independence) and
– to make others do something (influence or the
faculty to impose one’s will on others).
• The greater the influence, the broader the
power; this is known as the “sphere of
I. Different forms of power
A. Diplomatic power (making treaties,
agreements with other nations)
B. Hard Power (military)
C. Soft Power (cultural, monetary)
A. Diplomatic Power
• War-time conferences:
–Atlantic Charter (August 1941)
pivotal policy statement defining the Allied goals
for the post-war world.
drafted by the leaders of Britain and the United
States (Roosevelt and Churchill), and later
agreed to by all the Allies.
Atlantic Charter stated the ideal goals
of the war:
– no territorial aggrandizement;
– no territorial changes made against the wishes of the
– restoration of self-government to those deprived of it;
– free access to raw materials;
– reduction of trade restrictions;
– global cooperation to secure better economic and social
conditions for all;
– freedom from fear and want;
– freedom of the seas;
– and abandonment of the use of force, as well as
disarmament of aggressor nations.
The Bretton Woods Conference, (July 1944)
• 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations in Bretton
Woods, NH, USA
• Opening speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt:
“The economic health of every country is a proper
matter of concern to all its neighbors, near and far."
• Purpose: to regulate the international monetary
and financial order after the conclusion of WWII
Agreements at Bretton Woods
• The GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade), inspired by the Atlantic Charter, was
• Agreements were executed that later
established the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (IBRD,
which is part of today's World Bank Group) for
• International Monetary Fund (IMF).
• Video:Bretton Woods System 0- '59
• Seminal idea of open markets
• End of economic nationalism
• Stabilization of world currencies
– Fixed the rate of all foreign currencies to the dollar
– The dollar was backed by its value in gold
• Major purpose was to avoid
– World War III
– The Great Depression II
Power and Control of the IMF and the
• Voting power based on economic power.
• The 30 countries of the OECD
(Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development) control almost twothirds of the votes in both the IMF
(63.55%) and the World Bank (61.58%).
• The G8 countries alone control almost
half the votes (48.18% of the IMF,
45.71% of the Bank).
Criticisms of IMF and World Bank
• Neo-Liberal Approach
– Structural Adjustment Programs
• Dominated by Industrialized Countries
– Voting system
• Ethics of Projects
– Human cost vs. Economic benefits
• February 4-11, 1945 near Yalta, in Crimea
• WWII meeting of the heads of government of the
U.S (FDR)., the UK (Churchill) and the USSR
• Purpose: discussing Europe's post-war
reorganization & re-establishment of the nations
of war-torn Europe.
• Within a few years, with the Cold War dividing
the continent, Yalta became a subject of intense
Yalta Conference Decisions
• Agree on free elections in Eastern Europe
– Poland becomes a nation again (w/ new borders)
• Agree to create the UN
– Security Council (15 members w/ veto power
including 5 permanent members
• FDR convinces Stalin to go to war with Japan
90 days after the war in Europe is over
Old and New Polish borders
• July 1945, Stalin, Churchill (replaced midpoint
by Attlee), and Harry S Truman, who had
replaced the late President Roosevelt.
• Treatment of Germany
– US : rebuild
– USSR: punish
• Nuremberg Trials
– High-ranking Nazis are tried
• Partition of Germany
– France is given part of Germany as long as it
comes out of the Allies part
• Berlin is also split into sectors
– Germany gets split into 2 (east and west)
• Truman informs Stalin of the atomic bomb in
an effort to intimidate him
Post-war occupation of Germany
B. Hard Power
• Definition: any means, mostly military and
economic, which a nation disposes to make another
nation act in a certain way, if necessary by force.
The Atomic Bomb
• Development and uses of the Atomic Bomb in
final stages of WWII: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
(only use of nuclear weapons to date)
• Developed by physicist Oppenheimer; called
The Manhattan Project
• Japan refused to surrender after the Potsdam
Declaration in July 1945 threatening prompt
and utter destruction (Hitler had already
Debate over dropping atomic bombs
• Supporters of the bombings generally assert they
caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive
casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of
Japan: Kyushu was to be invaded in October 1945 and
Honshu five months later. It was thought Japan would
not surrender unless there was an overwhelming
demonstration of destructive capability.
• Those who oppose the bombings argue it was simply
an extension of the already fierce conventional air raids
on Japan and, therefore, militarily unnecessary,
inherently immoral, a war crime, or a form of state
terrorism. At least one historian (Tsuyoshi Hasegawa)
states that the Soviet declaration of war on Japan had
more of an effect than the two nuclear bombings.
• Massive Retaliation under Eisenhower
– Use of nuclear weapons as first strike option
– Recognized limits to this policy
• M.A.D. (mutual assured destruction)
– is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy
in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass
destruction by two opposing sides would cause the complete
annihilation of both the attacker and the defender.
– based on the theory of deterrence where the threat of using
strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy's use
of those same weapons.
Power of the Dollar since 1945
• Direct foreign investment
Evolution of the US dollar
• 1945-1971 Dollar is the global currency
• 1971-today Dollar is the new gold Standard
– In essence the dollar is like the Gold Standard. Most global
contracts, especially those for oil, are denominated in
dollars. Many large economies, such as China, Hong Kong,
Malaysia and Singapore, peg their currency to the dollar.
When the dollar weakens, so do the profits of their
exporters. These countries also hold large deposits of U.S.
Treasuries, and could conceivably sell their holdings and
cause a dollar collapse. However, it is not in their best
Monetary Difficulties of the US after
US gold reserves
dollars in foreign
Video: A Brief History of U.S. Money
US Hard Power and
Joseph Nye on
global power shifts
C. American “Soft Power”
Definition: Group of non-coercive means, mostly
cultural or ideological which a nation disposes
to make another nation think in the same way.
Soft power is based on the power of conviction
and not constraint
US Cultural and Technological
II. 1918-45: From Isolationism to War
A.) The attempt to impose a Peace Settlement
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points
Points 1 - 7
• 1. Open covenants of peace
• 2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the sea, in peace and
• 3. The removal of all economic barriers and the establishment
of an equality of trade conditions.
• 4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national
armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent
with domestic safety.
• 5. A free, open minded, absolutely impartial adjustment of all
• 6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and the cooperation, regarding Russia, of all nations of the world.
• 7. Belgium to be evacuated and restored, without attempt to
limit the sovereignty.
Points 8 - 14
• 8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored.
Alsace-Lorraine returned to France from Russia.
• 9. A re-adjustment of the frontiers of Italy along clearly recognizable lines of
• 10. The opportunity for the peoples of Austria-Hungary to become
• 11. Rumania, Serbia and Montenegro should be evacuated and the
occupied territory restored. Serbia given free and secured access to the sea.
• 12. Turkish portions of the Ottoman Empire given secure sovereignty. Other
nationalities under that empire should be assured a secure way of life and
opportunity of autonomous development. Dardanelles should be
permanently opened under International guarantee.
• 13. Independent Polish state should be erected, with free and secured
access to the sea.
• 14. General association of nations should be formed under specific
covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political
independence and territorial integrity to all states (basically setting up 'the
League of Nations').
The U.S. and post WWI
• US only been in the war since April 1917.
war damage and casualties not as high as France
and Great Britain
• Wilson’s ideas were influenced by his 14 points
2 main aims:
– International Co-operation (all working together)
• Wilson did not want a harsh treaty for fear of
Germany wanting revenge/another war...
Paris Peace Conference
• Delegates of 32 states attended PPC (none of defeated
powers nor did Russia)
• Main decisions made by Clemenceau of France , Wilson of
USA and Lloyd Of Great Britain; All had different aims.
• Published 14 points during war in Jan 1918; Germany not
interested in principles by signing treaty of Brest-Litovsk
with Russia; Russia forced to give up land to Germany and
Austria-Hungary + pay war indemnity.
• Gave Allies idea of how Germany would treat defeated
nations if Germany won.
• Only when Germany defeated; showed interest; claimed
they believed they agreed to peace on basis of these
Paris Peace Conference
• Wilson; idealist; believed lasting peace not possible
without new standards
• Countries should be open + truthful; reorganize
Europe's boundaries based on self-determination.
• US: Only in war since 1917; Wilson didn't appreciate ill
feeling towards Germany; simplified the problems.
• His party was losing + growing feeling in USA; didn't
want to be involved in European affairs.
• No certainty that USA would sign Treaty.
• Began agreeing with Clemenceau; put faith in success
of League of Nations
Henry Cabot Lodge
• American Republican Senator and
historian from Massachusetts.
• He had the role (but not the title) of
Senate Majority leader.
• best known for his positions on foreign
policy, especially his battle with
President Woodrow Wilson in 1919
over the Treaty of Versailles.
• Lodge demanded Congressional
control of declarations of war; Wilson
refused and the United States Senate
never ratified the Treaty nor joined the
League of Nations.
League of Nations
• Treaty of Versailles brought peace to Europe and set up
League to preserve peace.
• Left Germany with many grievances that contradicted
peaceful 14 points.
• If Germany ever recovered; determined to get rid of unfair
clauses of Treaty; could lead to future problems
• Wilson had put too much faith in power of League Of
Nations to solve these problems and when US Congress
refused to Sign Treaty and join the League settlement
became less secure.
Reading Assignments Part 1
(red = priority reading)
• Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe (16
Part 1 War and International Relations
2. Peace settlement: 2.7-2.11, pp. 32-41 (read last year)
3. The League of Nations, pp. 43-49 (read last year)
4. International Relations, 1919-1933; United States Foreign Policy, pp.
• The Unfinished Nation by Alan Brinkley (13 pgs)
Chapter 23: America and the Great War (read last year)
The Search for a New World Order, p. 615-617
Chapter 27: The Global Crisis:
The Diplomacy of the new Era, pp. 704-706
Isolationism and Internationalism, pp. 707-711
From Neutrality to Intervention pp. 712-717