• Home
  • History
  • Global history and the birth of modern international relations

Global history and the birth of modern international relations Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Week 1: Global history and the birth of modern international relations

  • International relations can be compared to a system where state engage each and each state is viewed as sovereign but some states are more powerful compared to others.
  • It is a political system of the international community.
  • The origin of international relations is deeply enrooted in history and has been in existence the same period of time as the states themselves.
  • The contemporary international relations has been shaped by a few but significant milestones that define their developments.
  • The end of Protestant states and Catholic states War in 1648, which lasted nearly thirty years, laid important foundation for development of international relations.
  • The end of the War gave birth to sovereignty of states and allowed sovereign leaders to act as they pleased within their borders of their states without interference of the international body (Jackson and Sorensen, 2015).
  • Emergence of nation-state as main political unit of the international system in 17th and 18th was a very important milestone towards establishment of international relations.
  • Nation-state shifted power balance between stronger and weaker states, resulting in some nations such as Ottoman Empire and Spain shrinking in power while other like England and France becoming more powerful.
  • Between 1800 and 1945, nationalism emerged making it possible for nation states to grow and become more powerful.
  • The period also witnessed unification of German and Italy which shifted political powers in Europe and around the globe
  • The end of WWII is an important brick in the development of international relations.
  • It brought a new unipolar power system with the US as a Superpower, thereby putting an end to multipolar systems.

Week 2: Colonialism and Imperialism

  • Both terms are used to describe economic and political domination or suppression of one state by another.
  • Both concepts were ways of conquest designed by Europeans to help them benefit both strategically and economically.
  • Colonialism is a term used to refer to situation where a state conquers and suppresses another state.
  • The resources of a conquered states are often exploited by the dominant state.
  • Colonialism can be understood as establishment of Alien colonial where the natives of a nation are controlled by foreigners (Abbinnett, 2006).
  • It is a master-slave relationship.
  • Imperialism can be defined as formal or informal control over political or economic landscape of another.
  • Imperialism compliment colonialism. In other words, imperialism can be used to drive the practices of colonialism.
  • Imperialism entails creation of an empire and extending it or enlarging its dominance to other states either diplomatic or military actions.
  • The major difference between the two concepts is that while colonialism entails settlement in the conquered nation, imperialism is form of governance that can be carried out without proper settlement.

Week 3: WWI and the end of the multinational empires.

  • Multinational empires is a term that is used to describe sovereign states made up of two or more nation.
  • According to Martel (2011), the Peace Conference held in Paris in 1919 at the end of WWI marked the end of multinational empires.
  • WWI resulted in military defeat of the multinational empire forcing their dissolutions.
  • The mission of the conference was to elevate democratic and liberal values in regions that were dominated by autocratic leadership.
  • This was also characterized by the demand for autonomy by the nations that were existing within federal monarchy.
  • The right of self-determination emerged and steered the whole process.
  • The major international empires that crushed as a consequence of WWI include Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian Empires.
  • Some of the states that emerged from Habsburg Empire as new states include Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Croatia and Serbia.

Week 4: The Soviet Revolution and the Great Depression.

  • Just like WWII, WWI resulted in massive destruction of businesses and property in Europe leading to major economic setbacks.
  • The great depression of the 1930s had positive impacts economic Revolution of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1920s the Soviet Union was undertaking massive economic revolution projects which included construction of infrastructures such as Hydro-electric power plants, development of large steel and iron works and development of industrial complexes.
  • These projects demanded heavy use of machinery, which in turn required expert operators such as installation and maintenance operators (Hobsbawm, 1995).
  • Most Germans and Americans migrated to USSR as expert consultant since it was difficult to find jobs Europe and US during the depression era.
  • As a result, the economy of USSR escalated at a time when the rest of the world was struggling.
  • The USSR also granted concessions to foreign companies, leading to further prosperity of the economy.


Abbinnett, R., 2006. Colonialism and Imperialism. In Marxism After Modernity (pp. 117-125). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Hobsbawm, E., 1995. Age of extremes: the short twentieth century 1914–1991Abacus.

Jackson, R. and Sørensen, G., 2015. Introduction to international relations: theories and approaches. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Martel, G., 2011.
A Companion to Europe 1900-1945. John Wiley & Sons: New Yok.