Political Science Essay

Political Science Essay

Essay question: Choose and answer one of the following prompts, using the length and formatting guidelines set out in the class Welcome Announcement:

1.  Apply the balance of power to the behavior of the major powers in 1914 (sources: lectures, Fromkin).

2. Explain the double bluff (sources: lectures, Fromkin).

3. Explain wars of retribution and apply it to Austria and Serbia in 1914 (sources: lectures, Fromkin).

4. Explain the war state and apply it to 1914 (sources: lectures, Fromkin).

5. Explain maneuver and siege warfare and apply it to 1914 war plans (sources: lectures, Fromkin).


Essays should be 6 pages. You are not required to turn in a works cited page if you use only materials from the syllabus. If you feel strongly about a source from outside of the class, you may use it, but then you must provide a works cited for those sources. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

Cite the sources of your facts and arguments using in-text citations that include the author, year, and page (Magagna 2020, 435). We like lots of specific citations. It makes it look like you are analyzing the actual texts, which makes it look like you care.

The book for citing: 1. Fromkin, David. Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started the

Great War in 1914? Knopf, 2004.

(you can find it on this website: https://libgen.is/, also I have uploaded )

Week lecture notes for citing:1

The hirer is some explication for Fromkin. The chief problem with Fromkin is his attribution to Germany of stating Ww1 But did Germany want war as a first preference or did it choose war as a response to the breakdown of the balance of power that forced Germany to act to save Aus.Hungary ,Germany’s only ally, or was Germany a war state. If the Former is true Germany was a war starter but not a war state, More importantly, this denies the crucial role of Aus.  in choosing mobilization in order to crush Serbia Mobilization as a matter of common knowledge meant war. Finally, could Russia have prevented war by accepting Austrian aggression against Serbia?

In reading Fromkin note that Germany allied with Aus Hungary. This followed the logic of gains from trade because both states rationally were better off than if they had followed rational self help The alliance liked the strongest and weakest of the great powers, and thus allowed them to balance against any possible counter alliance. In general, states will only ally if the benefits exceed costs because the alliance is better than self-help. States prefer self-help to alliances because benefits do not have to be shared. Self-help is a guarantee against defection to the enemy conflicting objectives like peace or war and free-riding by allies. Coalitions(alliances} follow a minimum winning formula or only as many allies as are necessary. Allies rationally distrust each other and attempt to war plan for fighting alone  ww1 is an excellent example of all these principles.

2. Major powers can be assumed to start a systemic war if it is in decline or opportunistically seeks to exploit a temporary advantage. The difficult problem is to predict the behavior of ascending major power. In principle, an ascending major power has no incentive to initiate war because it can wait until its power is sufficient to dominate its system. However, this makes the rising power an objective threat to its system, particularly if it has hegemonic potential, and this perceived threat will trigger counterbalancing adversary coalitions. This generates an incentive for the ascending power to pre-empt this threat by striking first.  Germany fits the above description and calls into question Fromkin’s portrayal as a war state.

The puzzle of Austria Hungary. One aspect of ww1 that makes it a least likely case is the behavior of Austria Hungary in 1914 As the weakest of the five great powers, its leaders had the most to lose from a major systemic war because defeat or even the defeat of Russia, its most significant adversary, could cause political collapse and the end of the state. Given minimal rationality and correct perception of its enemies payoffs from war and peace, one might assume that the balance of costs and benefits would favor peace( the status quo) or bargaining. However, Austria chose war with Serbia even though doing so would likely lead to Russian intervention and systemic war. But this choice was rational if decision-makers correctly believed that any other choice was equivalent to defeat and the death of the state War with Serbia could potentially end its primary threat and restore the balance of power by reversing its decline. Note that this explanation does not depend on German behavior and focuses on Austria Hungary’s rational perception that the benefits of war outweighed the costs. (R=benefits of war exceed net costs. This is a rational gamble and illustrates the danger to European peace of a balance of power that deepened on a declining major power facing major power adversaries.

3.  Most of the literature on war focuses on major wars because they reshape entire systems and reconfigure the balance of power. However, most wars statistically are major-minor power wars that involve a major power attack on a minor power that refuses the demands of the major power. Serbia’s decision to fight Austria is an example. What is theoretically interesting is that such wars should never occur. This is because the minor power should always accept a bargain short of war. The minor power should bargain because.  it cannot defeat the major power but it can be defeated while the major power can gain while not paying the costs of war. But this logic will be overridden if the minor power sees the benefits of war as greater than the net costs.   This will be true if any bargain acceptable to the major power threatens the survival of the minor power and it is a give that any state will fight if it can rather than accept a loss of sovereignty. Consider this situation. The major power makes demands that of the conflict. threaten the independence of minor power. The latter faces a stark choice between peace and war and controls the outcome of the conflict. If the minor power chooses war the major power chooses war.  The major power bargains only if the minor power offers a bargain with sure benefits that exceed the sure benefits of war. The major power is indifferent between the minimum benefits of war and an equivalent bargain.  The minor power will choose war if any feasible bargain threatens the survival of the minor power and there is a credible belief that the minor pews population will pay the costs of war.

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