The balance of power was a major cause of the WW1 in Europe. While there were many factors that might have contributed to the war, Germany was singled out as the main protagonist (Markwell, 2006). The aggressive behavior of Germany was demonstrated by the occupation of France, Belgium, and Luxemburg. Germany perceived herself to be more powerful than other nations in Europe because of a large army and more advanced weapons. Its aim was to enhance its influence and dominance across Europe.
The United States decided to stay neutral on the issue of WW1 until 1917. The aggressive nature of Germany was affecting the interests of not just Europe, but also that of the United States (Markwell, 2006). The international trade was imperative in enhancing the U.S economy. There was a need to ensure the free movement of exports and imports across the world via the sea. However, the escalation of the conflicts in the WW1 saw Germany troops sink ships in the sea, prompting the United States to take an active role in the war. The other main factor is that the United States had formed an alliance with Britain and was not ready to the allies being threated. Thirdly, the United States wanted to promote stability in Europe to enhance the economic development.
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The participation of the U.S in the WW1 was mainly aimed at ending the war through negotiations. One of the main peace treaties that led to de-escalation of violent conflicts was the Treaty of Versailles (Markwell, 2006). The treaty demanded that Germany had to withdraw its troops in illegally occupied areas and prepare to compensate nations that had encountered losses. In other words, Germany was perceived to be the main aggressor who had to take responsibility for its actions. President Woodrow Wilson was at the center of the peace treaty. His main role was also to enhance economic growth in Europe by creating a favorable environment for free trade.
The most important developments in the peace treaty was the promotion of a paradigm shift on the balance of power and the international relations. The goal was to help countries of Europe to perceive themselves as interdependent states who should resolve their differences through diplomatic means. The United States enhance the formation of the League of Nations that sought to bring all the European Nations together. The League of Nations’ main mandate was to promote peace by rejecting any hegemonic tendencies. Any aggressive relationships that could escalate into violence were to be avoided.
The WW1 had major implications on the balance of power and the balance of power in Europe. Countries formed alliances based on their political interests. The British Empire, French Republic, and Italy formed an alliance to promote peace in Europe. Today, the formation of the European Union (EU) helped in promoting a favorable balance of power in Europe and improve the international relations. The EU treats each member as an equal partner and seeks to address issues using diplomatic means. The economic and political integration has helped the members to coexist as one community and enhance a free market. As a result, the EU has been able to enhance economic growth and development in the region. However, the Brexit demonstrates that nationalism might threaten the stability of EU and the international relations. The political interests might also affect the way a nation makes its decisions. For instance, some countries in EU, especially Germany, were reluctant to impose sanctions on Russian after the annexation of Crimea and destabilizing Ukraine. Nevertheless, the lessons of WW1 have helped nations in Europe to work together in promoting peaceful coexistence and enhancing the economic integration.
Markwell, D. (2006). John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace . Oxford University Press.