• 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...

Introduction

'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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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 the Allies liberated the death camps throughout Europe, people everywhere were shocked. Between the years 1945 and 1949, many Nazi leaders were put on trial for the war crimes that they had committed against humanity. While on trial, these men claimed that they were only following orders.

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

    This caused many Germans to be sceptical about receiving a fair treaty when the treaty was being signed in France. The Germans were also under the impression that the treaty was being signed under the Fourteen Points that President Wilson of America declared, but the treaty was used by the

  1. The Rise of Nation States in Europe

    - Both Austria and Turkey accepted the treaty. - Significance of the independence of Greece * 1. It set a good example for other Balkan states to fight for independence. * 2. Only southern part of Greece gained independence, so they continued to help Greeks in other countries to fight for independence.

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

    The adoption of appeasement policy accelerated the rise of totalitarianism in the Soviet Union. War led to totalitarianism, and totalitarianism in turn led to war. The totalitarianism in Germany and the Soviet Union triggered by the First World War contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.

  1. To what extent was the economic crash of 1929, and the depression which followed, ...

    The League couldn't agree what action to take and attempted to make a secret deal with Italy to give them most of Abyssinia in a plan to avert war. This attempt was unsuccessful and after almost a year and a half of fighting, Abyssinia was officially merged with the other Italian colonies in East Africa.

  2. "Tsarism collapsed at the beginning of 1917 because Nicholas was a weak Tsar who ...

    In an alternative source, a letter written to the Tsar by Rodzianko, he is warning Nicholas against Rasputin. He wrote, " No one opens your eyes to the true role which this man (Rasputin)

  1. Mao Gandhi Compare Contrast Essay

    Mao transformed from this fair Communist leader to a dictator that 'forced great bloodshed from the people of China'. An example was anyone when asked could not produce the Little Red Book, a book on Communism teachings by Mao, was immediately classified as a Capitalist and interrogated in the prison.

  2. Mussolini's Increased Support and Rise to Power.

    There was a wave of strikes in 1919 and 1920, accompanied by violence, looting of shops and occupation of factories by workers. In Turin, factory councils reminiscent of the Russian soviets were appearing. In the south socialists leagues of farms workers seized land from owners and set-up co-operatives.

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