Assess the importance of the Economy in changing the nature of international relations between the years 1879 - 1939

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Denis Kirya

Assess the importance of the Economy in changing the nature of international relations between the years 1879 - 1939

International relations significantly changed between 1879 – 1939 with economic stability fundamentally forming the direction and nature of international relations thus creating ideologies of imperialism. Economic needs appear to be heavily influential in constructing actions of political figures such as Mussolini whose hunger for imperialism is generated by an economic crisis at the time. Unilateral actions such as those of invading other countries strongly showcase the economic factor as central to all mechanisms which altered the nature of international relations.

Imperialistic political agendas evidently transferred relations from the notion of keeping world peace to ensuring individual safety and protection through alliances. Imperialism required protection and support in order to expand your empire. Mussolini demonstrated this by signing several pacts to withhold agreements between Italy and super powers of the world. The Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy highlights the role of alliances in allowing imperialism to expand with Hitler and Mussolini granting each other military back up in order to pursue their ambitions. Mussolini understood Italy’s precarious position with army resources stretched in both Spain and Abyssinia and sought after protection from Hitler to continue imperialistic needs. Clearly imperialism bought into force dangerous alliances which in the nearby future would pose a great danger to world peace in search of expanding their empires. Hitler’s invasion of Poland further illustrates the growth of imperialism as significant in weakening the position of the League of Nations and promoting radical ideas. Japan’s invasion of Manchuria equally demonstrates a desire of expansion coming from protection. However amongst all this, the emergence of imperialism as a political ideology is very much down to the economic starvation countries faced.  An economic crisis portrayed extreme ideas as reasonable and in the process made imperialism plausible and attractive. Mussolini recognised the economic potential of expanding his empire rather than staying compound within the League of Nations without economic stability. Isolation seemed an acceptable situation as long as economic stability was assured. The French only understood this too well and went on to invade the Ruhr in order to complete reconstruction of France with raw materials after Germany had failed to pay despite facing isolation from America. Economic insurance outweighed other factors with imperialism, isolation and agreeing sceptical pacts to form alliances appearing reasonable as a way of achieving stability. The economy engineered factors into force with imperialism being one of them which in turn led to alliances and abolishment of world peace ultimately leading to a second world war and forever altering the nature of international relations.

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Alliances predominantly shifted international relations from aiming to achieve disarmament to allowing alliances to grow and pose a threat to world peace. The Pact of Steel exemplifies the development of alliances as consequently empowering imperialism with Mussolini virtually granting Hitler control of Italy’s army to invade other countries.  In addition to this developing alliances challenged the authority of the League of Nations whilst allowing radical figures such as Hitler to ignore them and start conscription of his army. Alliances provided an alternative to an already deflating method of peace but also promoted radicalisation of domestic wealth which bought imperialism ...

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