Internationalism and the State in the Twentieth Century

Internationalism and the State in the Twentieth Century

Internationalism and the State in the Twentieth Century

Internationalism and the State in the Twentieth Century

Synopsis

Using in-depth analysis of power relations, material changes and developments in ideologies, this essential text provides an accessible and student friendly historical introduction to the changing relations between states. The subjects covered include long term trends relating to war, the changing balance of power, decolonisation, the European system and the Cold War. This volume is essential reading for all those interested in the history of International Relations in the twentieth century.

Excerpt

During the course of the twentieth century, there occurred a transformation in the relations of states so fundamental that later scholars may come to see it in terms of a revolution. For this transformation there was no single name. Some called it ‘internationalisation’, while others used the term ‘interdependence’ and still others spoke of the development of ‘world community’. Nor did it have a single aspect, appearing sometimes as a social and economic movement, and at other times as a political or ideological movement. Scholars would argue as to whether it was primarily an economic transformation, or a matter of policy and political choices, or a matter of ideology and new values. But while there was no general agreement on its character, there was general agreement on its external signs.

One was the increasing density of diplomatic encounters. Even as late as the last quarter of the nineteenth century, diplomacy had been a matter for foreign offices and war councils; the entire diplomatic community as late as 1880 had consisted of perhaps no more than one hundred ambassadors in all. By the middle of the twentieth century, it had expanded to include commerce departments, health departments, treasuries and drug administrations. All the ordinary activities of the twentieth-century state, to a greater or lesser degree, came to be subjects of diplomacy. There was also the institutionalised representation of many more private groups and their intercession with state bodies. The internationalist literature of the first decade of the twentieth century proudly recorded 300 professional associations or cause groups with international links; a mid-twentieth-century manual listed more than 20,000. Instead of that thin body of official representatives of perhaps no more than a hundred altogether which had served nineteenth-century cabinet offices, twentieth-century diplomacy came to absorb hundreds of thousands of people acting on behalf of multifarious causes.

The second may be characterised as ‘institutionalisation’. Steadily through the century, there developed an increasingly dense web of international organisations which linked states in permanent commitments, served by a large corps of international civil servants who actively participated in diplomacy. There was also the expansion of international law, and the development of ideas of shared or ‘collective’ security which were institutionalised into long-standing

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