• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'The rise and decline of the great powers can be explained by their relative economic performance' To what extent do you agree?

Extracts from this document...


'The rise and decline of the great powers can be explained by their relative economic performance' To what extent do you agree? The great powers relative economic performances played a large role in determining their strength and power. Economic change in Britain, Turkey and Russia led largely to their declines between 1900 and 1919, while in the USA and Japan it led to their rise. However there were also many other factors in each country's change in power. Size of Military strength and also the army's reputation for success or failure in wars previously were very important as they determined how powerful the country would be in a time of war. Previous wars had benefited the USA, Japan and Britain but simultaneously weakened Turkey and Russia, de-stabilising their governments. Victory or defeat in wars also affected the outcome of any treaties that may have followed. These treaties were crucial factors in determining a country's power, as a poor outcome in a major treaty could destroy a country, leaving it small and weak. The impact of treaties on the powers was particularly shown by Germany's outcome of the Treaty of Versailles following World War 1. The Treaty left Germany with a small, useless military, very little money and a small empire. To be a great power, a country must have a large empire, such as that of Britain in 1900, which owned one quarter of the worlds land, and ruled one third of the worlds population, making it the worlds most influential and powerful country at the time. However, World War 1 itself was the key factor in the rise and decline of the great powers as it was the cause of the Treaty of Versailles, and thus Germany's decline in Power, and many of the other Power's rises. It was also the cause of the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the removal of Turkish territory in Europe, the Russian Revolution, the Depression in Britain and finally, it revealed the amount of power held by the USA and Japan. ...read more.


Despite these treaties being the cause of imperial and financial loss in many of the world powers, and therefore a decrease in their power and influence, they were drawn up as a result of conflict that had to be resolved. This of course means that they were a solution to wars, such as the Balkan League wars, the Russio-Turkish war, the three wars over Latin America, the Russio-Japanese war and of course World War 1. Russia was especially involved in two wars in the lead up to World War 1. The first of these was the Russio-Turkish war, when Russian troops invaded to help the Christians who were being ill-treated in Turkey. Britain threatened war on Russia, which forced an end to the attack and the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano. As aforementioned this treaty had enormous impact on Turkeys status as a world power, with its size and influence plummeting as a result of this war. The Russians in stark contrast benefited, gaining Kars and Batum. Russia did not however, benefit from the 1905 Russio-Japanese war, which it lost. This failure led promptly to a revolution, where the Tsar (King) was forced to give up power to the Duma (parliament). This unrest, in conjunction with it's poor economy, flailing reputation due to its defeat, and the fact that it had to give land to Germany as a result, lost a great deal of Russia's power. She barely managed to maintain her empire, and her status as a world power plummeted. Japan meanwhile gained all of Russia's Chinese territory, which, in addition to their own, gave her and emormous influence in that area thus rapidly increasing her power. Completely independently to this unrest, the USA had captured Hawaii in 1877 and built Pearl Harbour, a major naval base giving her an even greater military standing. In 1899, the USZ defeated Spain in a war over the ownership of Cuba. ...read more.


In the following inter-war years, naval rivalry between the USA and Japan grew as both countries fought for power in the Pacific. In this way, World War 1 gained Japan power, until she was powerful enough to defeat Manchuria in China, and finally attack Pearl Harbour in 1941. Therefore, in conclusion, although economic change was important in determining the rise and decline of the great powers, it is clear that the key factor was World War 1, as it affected every other aspect that determined the countries relative powers. The War affected every Power's economy greatly, bankrupting Turkey, Russia and Germany, causing economic problems in Britain whilst improving the economy of the USA and Japan. This was mostly due to the effects of the Treaty of Versailles, which in turn was put in place because of the war. The treaty also reduced Germany's military and empire, and Turkey's empire to the benefit of its neighbouring countries, to Britain, the USA and Japan. There were also other treaties that came as a result of the war, such as the Treaty of Sevres, which led to the final reduction in the Ottoman Empire, limiting Turkey to Constantinople and some surrounding areas. The Ottoman Empire collapsed as a consequence and never recovered. The war caused much of the unrest in Russia, allowing political extremism to take hold as in Germany, setting the scene for much of the conflict that was to follow in the following years. Where previous wars affected only one or two countries at a time, World War 1 had enormous impact on over 30 countries including every one of the great powers. It led to either a rise or decline in power in each of them, hence it was the greatest single cause of changes in power in the early 1900's, and set the pattern the arrangement of power that was to follow in the years succeeding it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. "Was the treaty of Versailles fair?"

    As well as concentration camps, extermination camps were added to the lists. These were places like Auschwitz and Mauthausen, where hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were murdered. In addition to concentration camps and exterminations camps, mobile execution squads were established, which traveled around Europe murdering Jewish people.

  2. To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles justifiable?

    The terms of the treaty may seem controversial but the public opinion believed in most of the terms such as the creation of new states especially with new ideas such as self-determination. The manner that the treaty may seem controversial was the location of the treaty.

  1. "Tension between the countries of Europe increased in year before 1914 due to the ...

    Germany agreed to Austria against Russia if Austria would help Germany against France so that emphasizes that there was tension between countries. The countries themselves worked together to avoid war, Bismarck for Germany tries lots of ways to create peace between countries like in the reinsurance Treaty with Austria.

  2. Why did Great Britain move away from Splendid Isolation?

    However while these powers remained detached there was no real threat to Britain due to the obvious supremacy of her military and particularly naval power. Yet the when the alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1879 was followed by an alliance between Russia and France in 1984 Britain began to

  1. War led to totalitarianism, and totalitarianism in turn led to war. Comment on the ...

    Nevertheless, European countries such as Britain and France had to concentrate on solving their domestic economic percussions, and lacked the time to devote to the spread of communism from the Soviet Union to other countries after the 1917 October Revolution.

  2. Why has Prussia replaced Austria as the leading Germanic power by 1870?

    They also argue that without Bismarck's political genius, shown in such examples as the way he dealt with the Luxembourg crisis and the editing of the Ems telegram, unification of Germany and therefore Prussian dominance, would not have taken place in 1870 in the manner that it did.

  1. Did Serbia benefit from the Balkan Wars?

    Serbian divisions headed into Macedonia, slamming into the North Macedonian Army commanded by Zeki Pasha, and winning a pivotal battle at Kumanova on October 25 before entering Shkup uncontested. A fierce assault against the lines of the Babuna Pass sent the Turks into a panicked retreat, leading the Serbs to realize their primary objective of Manastir itself.

  2. How did the Second Balkan War of 1913 change the relations between the powers ...

    Serbia and Austria The Second Balkan War intensified the antagonism between Austria and Serbia. In the Peace Conference of Bucharest, Serbia once again wanted to get at least part f Albania so that she could have an outlet toe the Adriatic Sea.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work