POL 255 Communicating National Interests

Identify, from the course text readings on World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, one example from each conflict of ineffective, poorly timed communications of national interests between international actors.

Explain what factor(s) made the communications ineffective and poorly timed.

World War I: So when looking at the conflict of World War I, there are many instances of poorly timed communications where national interests are concerned. However, I believe that the inability of the government (Kaiser Wilhelm II) to understand and lead his people into the political changes (Reichstag, socio-economic upheaval) played a major role in setting the stage for the commencement of World War I. It became evident that “Germany’s political system was sharply divided between royalist and socialist factions, and its parliament, the Reichstag, had minimal controls over military plans and spending” (Nau, 2014). Similar issues were occurring in Russia where Czar Nicolas who was a close cousin of Kaiser Whilhelm II. It was peculiar, that despite sharing familial relations between the British, Austrian, German, and Russian monarchies, they were unable to communicate effectively enough to avoid war and preserver the sovereignty of their respective nations. Therefore, I believe this is why the World War I was unavoidable as they we were unable to communicate their various national interests.

World War II: I believe that the communication problem that perpetuated the European Theater of war, took place in Germany when Hitler orchestrated the night of the long knives. After systematically killing off the entire German parliament, he proceeded to put the plan set forth ins his manifesto Mein Kampf. Interestingly enough, though, “Professor John Mueller concludes, “The Second World War… was almost single-handedly created by one man” (Nau, 2014). I believe this despite the many other factors which were discussed in the text and through the annals of history. I believe, that had Hitler been of a different mindset, more akin to say, Winston Churchill, war could have been averted and peace achieved.

Cold War: In the onset of the cold war, we see the arrival of the “Long Telegram” from Kennan in Washington DC. As a result of suspicions of each other, Russia of the US/British/French alliance, and vice/versus. I believe the clear motives may never truly be known for certainty. What is certain is that after being invaded by three different foreign powers in less than a century, the Soviet Union could understandably be concerned about the security. However, I believe that the major issue at hand was the differences between the two systems of capitalism and communism. These competing ideologies, and economies would only serve to increase the gap between the two powers setting the stage for several proxy wars and ultimately defined the ‘Cold War’.

Nau, Henry R. Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, and Ideas, 4th Edition. CQ Press, 04/2014.