Jawaharlal Nehru – the most quoted man in history?

In one of my recent posts I listed numerous quotes that I gathered in my journal last year. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), the Harrow / Cambridge educated philanthropist and first Prime Minister of India, featured prominently in this collection.

Now, Indian history is one I am largely unfamiliar with. But this is one of the great things of writing this blog – I get to explore areas of time and geography that I may not have come across in my education but would really like to learn more about.

Nehru is a figure I had heard many things about but mostly as remote facts relevant to international relations. For example I learnt of his leading role in the non-alignment movement in 1961 last year whilst studying the Cold War. It’s almost sad I didn’t further research this great man until I ran into some of his quotes on pinterest!

He has become known to many as the architect of  a democratic, modern and secular India. His life is far to complex and amazing to be triibulised by me so I implore you to read one of the following …

BBC History  – Historic figures – Jawaharlal Nehru 

PM India .gov – Shri Jawaharlal Nehru 

History .com – Jawaharlal Nehru

why he is so inspirational to me is in part because of his relationship with his daughter. Having read ‘Letters from a father to his daughter’ (1931) I have discovered the root of many of the quotes I had referenced. But these letters were more than this, they include the hopes and dreams of India as a nation and the relation between the generation fighting for independance and generation that would uphold it. Speaking to his ten year old daughter (who would also go on to become prime minister of India) he imposes ideas and concepts well beyond her years aiming to make her “think of the world as a whole, and the other peoples in it as (her) brothers and sisters”.

These letters are so beautifully written and express his ideas of the world, his dreams for the future and loving teachings – all using the most gorgeous metaphors and imagery. His letters on history speak to me particularly as he explains the “fascinating story of the earth “.

I especially think these letter inspire me because I can relate to the father-daughter relationship. They evoke the same emotions reading “the little princess” creates a book I always end up in tears reading!!

It is this emotional and worldly writing that makes him so quotable. It is writing to his daughter that he simplifies the nature of being human and living on earth to a simple but thought provoking manner. For example …

” culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit “

Many people have attempted to rank or categorise his work and Quotes but for me my favorate Quote of his will always be …

” You don’t change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall “

with this as a close second …

” Time is not measured by the passing of time but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves “


Do you have a favorate quote from Nehru? or an area of Indian history that you think I should write about ? – tweet me @time_daisy 


Thoughts on Elton’s ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’ …

Primarily hypothesised by Dr. G. R. Elton in his 1953 book, The Tudor Revolution in Government[1], the concept reflects the departure in style of government from the medieval to the modern during Henry VIII’s reign.  There has been much historiographic argument as a result of this seminal work.

Elton emphasises the role of Henry’s chief ministers, Wolsey and Cromwell, citing the years under their ‘rule’ as the two major periods of governmental change and development during Henry’s sovereignty[2]. Elton portrays Cromwell as the usurper of a medieval, household-based government and the designer of a modern bureaucratic state that translated royal supremacy into parliamentary terms[3][4].  Bradshaw holds a similar view crediting Cromwell as the instigator of a ‘structural reorganisation designed to transmute the crown’s (medieval) jurisdiction into a unitary’[5]. Elton sees Cromwell as ‘the most remarkable revolutionary in English history’ crediting him with the ‘revolution’[6].

The argument for this perceived change, being a ‘revolution’, emphasises the adjustment in structure in addition to a shift in power within the court. Elton describes the change from ‘medieval household to modern court’[7].  This occurred almost exclusively in the 1530’s under Cromwell’s direction. The 1539-40 reconstruction of the Royal Privy Council is a key example of the changes Cromwell instigated. By the restriction and fixation of membership, as well endowing new rights under the 1539 Statute of Proclamations Act, Cromwell achieved feet’s that Wolsey was never able to in 1526 under the Eltham Ordinances. Cromwell’s reforms created what some historians see as the foundations of a modern bureaucratic government, achieved by removing medieval structures within the central administration and transforming the household into a well-organized department of state[8].

Regarding the Tudor era simply as an extension of the medieval is serious miscalculation according to Elton[9]. However historians such as Chrimes have argued that there was no ‘fundamental departure from the medieval system’ – that this was not an age of dramatic administrative revolution[10]. Chrimes argues that what Elton witnesses as a ‘revolution’ was simply a ‘rejuvenation’ of the monarchy designed to impose an exacting authority in preparation for religious reformation[11]. A.F Pollard describes changes in evolutionary terms but sees little evidence between Henry VII and the reign of his Son, prior to the Henrician Reformation[12]. Perhaps then it was the administrative consequences of conjoining the church and monarchy that initiated the modernisation of government.

[1] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959)

[2] Ibid pp.67

[3] Hughes-Warrington, Marnie, Fifty Key Thinkers On History, 1st edn (London: Routledge, 2015) pp.79-80

[4] Kenyon, John, The History Men, 1st edn (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983) pp.210

[5] Coleman, Christopher and David Starkey, Revolution Reassessed, 1st edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1986) pp.5

[6] Williams, Penry, “A REVOLUTION IN TUDOR HISTORY?”, Past And Present, 25 (1963), 3-8  pp.6

[7] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959) pp.414

[8] Kenyon, John, The History Men, 1st edn (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983) pp.210

[9] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959) pp.7

[10] Williams, Penry, “A REVOLUTION IN TUDOR HISTORY?”, Past And Present, 25 (1963), 3-8  pp.3

[11] Ibid   pp.4

[12]Ibid   pp.3

Guess Where I’m Going …

I am very excited about the end of exams – more than just the simple fact I will no longer be taking exams and panicking about their impact – I will be of to a place I have never been before and I cannot wait!

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and and for a city with such a rich and diverse history it is amazing I hadn’t heard of it before. The Ancient Greek myths of  Jason and the Argonauts were said to have established the city after fleeing from the King of Aetes having stolen the golden fleece.  Having encountered a dragon whilst there the city’s “dragon bridge” is named after Jason’s victory over the monster – I will be sure to take a selfie!

However most accounts state that the city began in the 1st century AD as a Roman one ; highlighting on the trade route between Upper pannonia and the northern Roamn colonies of Norcicum and Aquilia. Roman walls and dwellings give physical evidence of this period unlike the supposed Greek settlement. Before the trade route was utilized the area was populated with celtic tribes since around 2000 BC ; the ground was largely marsh and dwellers were subsistence hunter-fishermen.



The germanic occupation began in the 6rd century; with them came rapid growth. I look forward to visiting many of the city squares of which most are from this era. The city developed despite battling to eventually come under Habsburg rule in 1335 and suffering a huge earthquake 1511. Rebuilding under renaissance style it will be interesting to see the contrast in architecture as the city changed hands frequently in the middle ages each bringing a unique style – that is if any of it survived through several earthquakes!

Since its founding the citys geographical position has made it strategically vital. The deterioration of the Western Roman Empire saw the destruction of much of the city as the Huns invaded. There are still early christian churches that remain – again more photo opportunities! the best example of it strategic importance would be the building of Ljubljana Castle in the late 15th century. This was in reaction to the threat of the turks who wanted control of the well connected city. The Castle is probably the thing I am most looking forward to visiting – who can resist a good medieval castle !

Ljubljana is a City where Slovenian nationality began. The Slovene language was said to be established here. The rich culture of the city is argued to have been established with the philharmonic in 1701. However it was not until more recent history, the 1860’s, that it truly became the slovenian cultural centre . The city gained true power status and recognition as it hosted the four members of the holy alliance in 1821 who met to discuss the democratic revolution and national movements of Italy and how to suppress them.

6601493 - Kopija

My favorate Ljubljana dweller by far is Tito ; the infamous Yugoslavian leader of the state post WW2 . The first World War had passed the city only indirectly affecting its residents ; the outbreak of the second would drive its path of history to the Right. The city was encircled by the Fascist by a 30m high wire fence to keep it isolated – commemorated in the path of Remembrance and Comradeship  I am aiming to walk around the city following it. Tito died in the city leading to Yugoslavia’s unraveling –  a tension during the Cold War straining the state’s relation with the USSR.


For a city with such rich history it is amazing I had not heard of it before ! I’m revising hard so I can pack up and go already  … if you have ever been to this amazing city, live there or know someone else who has please leave a message or find me on twitter I would love to hear from you.

I will be posting videos and blog posts during my time there (at the end of the month) so be prepared and subscribe !





The first comic strip

Sequences of images portraying events are common throughout history . One would assume that the Bayeux Tapestry is an early form of comic strip however it was never intended as humorous ( although it been made into several internet memes)…

Bayeux Tapestry Memes...I can't get enough of these.:

Thriller Medieval Macros / Bayeux Tapestry Parodies | Know Your Meme:


The first true comic strip was published in the scottish newspaper “The Glasgow (or later Northern) Looking Glass”; this was the first mass-produced publication to tell stories using illustrations. Its 4th issue in 1825 included a  row of humorous images telling the story of a coat  what we would now recognise as a comic strip. The story titled the”History of a Coat” was illustrated by William Heath (1794-1840) a british caricaturist and creator of the newspaper. These illustrations were the first to use word balloons and use the term “to be continued”.




to read more about the history of the newspaper please visit –




Another Cold War essay

I think I am starting to get the hang of these A2 history essays now (finally) so instead of writing a new piece I spent my time doing a revision essay and came away with a decent L5 (the highest level essay possible).  This title was realy interesting to research – some of the views regarding President Reagan in his first term (1981-85) were quite flamboyant. Anyone currently taking this topic at any level please leave a comment with any questions or suggestions of further argument ( one great thing about this sight is that I’m always learning new things from fellow bloggers).

To what extent had relations between the USA and the USSR deteriorated between 1981 and 1985?

Throughout President Reagan first term in office, 1981-85, tensions between the US and Soviet Union had deteriorated from an era of coexistence back to confrontation. Tensions between the superpowers had reached peak; the highest since the Cuban crisis of 1962, as the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 unfolded. Reagan’s inauguration signified the movement of American politics back towards containment show with the success of his anti-détente campaign within which he famously described détente as “what a turkey has with his farmer until thanksgiving”. Within his first term Reagan introduced multiple anti-communist policies, including the Reagan Doctrine and the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), this further deteriorated an already dwindling relationship. The collapse of détente under carter showed the earlier weakness of this movement and the escalation to a second arms race in 1981 could be argued as a progression of this tension. The deterioration of 1981 to 85 was an extension of the tensions built up during Détente and a continuation of the underlying themes of the cold war ; mistrust, power purist, global destabilisation and ideological confrontation.

Many in the white house, political hawks and anti-communist, were still applying a typically orthodox viewpoint on the cold war. One aspect used to their advantage was the Brezhnev Doctrine; this simply stated that the Soviets would continue to gain territory but it would never lose any to capitalism. The Orthodox historians such as T.A. Bailly argue that the soviets nature was to be expansionist and that American reaction to prevent the self-determination of a country from being lost were justified. The implementation of this Doctrine had seen 10 countries fall to communism during the period of détente of particular concern to the Americans was the fall of friendly governments in Nicaragua and Grenada in Central America; the USA’s “backyard”. The tensions built from the application of the Brezhnev doctrine between 1974 and 1980 led to not only the containment of communism under Reagan but its “roll back”. Reagan’s decision to act and subsequently liberate Grenada in 1981 showed the new age in the cold war, one where America was prepared to act aggressively.  America’s aggressive containment and roll-back policies were set into motion with the aim to restore the US to unilateralism and military dominance and began with a military intervention in Grenada. It is in this way that the new height of tension under Reagan was simply the acceleration of an already deteriorating relationship.

Reagan’s fervent anti-communist character was the main cause of this acceleration and led to an instantaneous deterioration in relations between the superpowers. His outspoken hatred of the Soviet regime, referring to it as “an evil empire” did nothing to improve tensions. His speech in 1981 to the University of Notre Dame he stated that “the west won’t contain communism. It will transcend communism. It will dismiss it as some bizarre chapter in a human history whose last pages are even now being written”. His speech in the UK parliament (June 1982) saw him pass further insult saying “the further march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history”. He applied this anti-communist ideology on a reinvention of the 1950’s policy of “roll back” in the Reagan Doctrine of 1984. Though this the USA supplied support, financially and militarily, to anti-communist fighter predominantly in South America, Africa and Afghanistan.

Historian Barbara Tuchman argued that of instead of deploying confrontation and “roll back”, as a way of restoring the Americans Unilateralism, the west should instead ingratiate itself with the soviets. The weakening of the soviet economy lead Tuchman to suggest “the stuffed-goose option – that is providing them with all the grain and consumer goods they needed.” The weakening of the Soviet Union was used as leverage; Reagan described the Soviets as a “sick bear”. The anthropomorphism was accurate – sick bear are often dangerous and seek territory in more favourable climates. Reagan’s ‘poking’ at the ‘sick bear’ fuelled the mistrust felt by the soviets and undoubtedly bruised their pride. This led them to desire increasing power having felt, like the US that under détente their global leadership had been reduced, and returned to their primary strength in the military.

Soviet mistrust was fuelled by initiatives in Europe, specifically the NATO “Able Archer 83” exercise and the positioning of 108 Pershing II and 464 Tomahawk cruise missiles in Europe. However orthodox historians argue this as a counter move to the Soviet positioning of SS-20s whereas post-revisionist, with contemporary evidence, look at the transcripts of the ‘zero option’ or INF talks whereby the soviets rejected the deal to remove the SS-20s in exchange for the halting of Pershing II and Tomahawk deployment to Europe. Post-revisionists view this failure to consolidate the ‘zero option’ as further evidence of the deterioration of the relationship. Their deployment signified the return of Cold War tensions to Cuban crisis levels.  Able Archer 83 was another tension in Europe that furthered this deterioration and brought the question of who would send the first strike. The exercise, designed to simulate the coordination of a nuclear attack under DEFCON1 protocols however it almost led to a real attack. The Soviet Politburo believed this exercise to be a ruse for genuine first strike nuclear war and readied their nuclear forces to respond, some argue to strike.  Historians argue that this was the closest the world came to nuclear war alongside the Cuban Crisis of 62. The Norwegian rocket incident is also argued in the same way as the high altitude of the test resembled that of a US Trident missile and alarmed Russian radar to a potential attack.

Reagan’s aggressive and reactionary policy towards the USSR showed the deterioration of the superpowers relation. Many historians argue that the 1980’s was a “new era in the cold war”. As J.L Gaddis perceived; the evolution of motivation from the original 1945 conflict is grounds to argue that this period became “the second cold war” as the conflict war no longer wholly ideological but became about the power pursuit of both superpowers, each fearing the dwindling of their influence. The deterioration resulted in an accelerated arms race, with Reagan investing $1.5 trillion on military build-up – the largest in peacetime American history, the scale of this new nuclear armament is unprecedented. There is no doubt that the relations had dramatically deteriorated in Reagan’s first term in office. This is partially due to Reagan’s aggressive anti-Soviet policies and growing military capabilities.

  • Daisy Turnbull A-level history L5


what I wish I included …

A personal statement is only 2000 character long so you cannot fit everything onto one page. If I could give one piece of advice it is Don’t read anyone else’s. A personal statement is unique to you interest and experience so be as interesting and
experienced as you can.  One great way of showing this is researching the professors and doctors that are leading in your field of interest ( and see what universities they came from) and seeing how they have expressed their passion for the subject.
Neil Oliver, for example, my favorate scottish TV Archaeologist stated “It was the sheer challenge of understanding the ancient world that attracted me and the legacy that those people left behind” in his phenomenal BBC4 series ‘A History of Ancient Britain’. Gathering an insight as to why experts are so interested in their subject is a great way of comprehensively understanding your own interest.

If you are wishing to study joint honours make sure you have some linkage as to why both such as a quote that discusses the relation between both subjects. I wish I included this great quote from Moreland ” The relationship between archaeology and history was, until recently, akin to that between servant and master”  it would have been a great link between what seemed like the two halves of my statement.

Another great resource of information is on university websites. Articles such as “why choose {insert subject here} .. ” and “meet our students” are great for researching why others choose that subject. This is only useful to a certain extent as it also shows what the common themes are likely to be in other applications. However student profiles give a comprehensive list of what the University is looking for in its students. For example one student profile from the University of Exeter  goes on to emphasize the importance of a personal statement ..

What made you choose your degree subject?

I did not have any English qualifications – any official papers (as I like to call them).  Before coming to Exeter Uni, I had been travelling for almost two years between different English speaking countries.  The Uni believed in me and I got the place.  I appreciated a lot the fact that they considered more my personal experience rather than turn me down because I did not have any papers.


One thing I am glad I did was gain experience – my placement at the Mary Rose allowed to get my foot in the door with more than one university! Having experience or a
qualification at some where well-know is one of the best ways of getting yourself  noticed. This could be that you sent an essay to a notable competition on the subject you wish to study or that you visited a conference on a topic you are particularly interested.

I was realy interested in the middle east and the archeology found their. I went along to the Iran Heritage Foundation’s conference of “the Destruction of Monuments and Memory in the Middle East”. what was great about this was that it was relatively small which meant that you could go and talk to speakers and subject leaders personally – I had many interesting conversations while I was their.  ( This conference has now been uploaded onto their YouTube channel see below)


Unfortunately University places are now so competitive that “I’m realy enjoying my studies” doesn’t quite cut it. I said in the introduction not to read anyone else’s personal statement well don’t let anyone else read yours. If they are applying for the same  or similar course it may well be the same admissions team that compares your statements. Keep yours personal. The most important thing is to be yourself, don’t try and include impressive fancy language (unless you’re an english scholar I suppose) but show that you have a sound understanding of what is required in the subject by using key words. Most importantly don’t try and do it in one draft – rewrite rewrite rewrite and you will come up with your own golden UCAS ticket !

To everyone applying for University good luck ! To everyone yet to accept a place good luck ! To everyone taking A-level finals to get into their accepted place good luck! It will all turn out ok … or so I keep telling myself .

Historic resource – The Failures of Collective security; Essay by J.C.Edegbulem

The Failure of Collective Security in the Post World Wars I and II International System

Joseph C. Ebegbulem

Introduction – 

World War I pointed out a fundamental flaw in the balance of power system. When the system failed, the result was dangerous and catastrophic. The incredible levels of destruction in the war led most nation-states to reject a balance of power system as the basis for international security in the post-World War I. Instead, the victorious states sought to institutionalize a system of collective security via the League of Nations in which aggression by one state would bring response from all states; collective security would thus be achieved. The achievement of this “collective security” would be based on the principle that an attack on one is an attack on all. Any state contemplating aggression would face the sure prospect of struggle not simply with the prospective victim, but with all other members of the system, who would make any necessary sacrifice to save the state attacked. In a hypothetical world of collective security, the assumption is that the members of the system will have such an overwhelming preponderance of power that will be so unreservedly committed to the principles they have endorsed that aggression will become quite irrational; presumably, it will not occur or if it should occur, it will be defeated. The League of Nations and the United Nations are two post-World War (first and second World Wars) agencies under which the collective security system has been used as machinery for joint action for the prevention or counter of any attack against an established international order. The objective of collective security is to frustrate any attempt by states to change the status quo with overwhelming force because a change in the status quo entails a change to the world order of independent sovereign states. This was meant to muster overpowering collective force, which could threaten and then applied to end aggression by revisionist states and other would-be aggressors.

Meaning and Nature of Collective Security – 

According to George Schwarzeberger, collective security is a “machinery for joint action in order to prevent or counter any attack against an established international order” (Schwarzenberger, 1951). The term implies collective measures for dealing with threat to peace.

Van Dyke (1957) sees collective security as a system in which a number of states are bound to engage in collective efforts on behalf of each other’s individual security. To A. K. Chaturvedi (2006), collective security is “an arrangement arrived at by some nations to protect their vital interests, safety or integrity, against a probable threat or menace over a particular period, by means of combining their powers.”

In his conceptual clarification, Onyemaechi Eke (2007) sees the concept of collective security as “an idealist one which hinges on the prevention of hostilities by the formation of an overwhelming military force by member states to deter aggression or, by implication, to launch a reprisal attack capable of defeating the recalcitrant member.” According to him, collective security “connotes the institutionalization of a global police force against abuse of order and breaches, which can lead to insecurity. It is an arrangement in which all states cooperate collectively to provide security for all by the actions of all against any state within the groups which might challenge the existing order by using force. By employing a system of collective security, the United Nations hopes to dissuade any member state from acting in a manner likely to threaten peace, thereby avoiding conflict.” 23 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 24

From the above definitions by these eminent scholars, collective security can then be seen as a plan for maintaining peace through an organization of sovereign states, whose members pledge themselves to defend each other against attack. The concept is best seen as “security for individual nation by collective means”, that is, by membership in an international organization made up of all or most of the states of the world pledged to defend each other from attack. The idea of collective security was extensively discussed during the World War I, and it took shape in the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations, and again in the Charter of the United Nations after World War II.

According to Palmer and Perkings (2007), “a collective security system, to be effective, must be strong enough to cope with aggression from any power or combination of powers, and it must be invoked if and as aggression occurs.” The principle of collective security involves a willingness to apply sanctions as and when necessary and even to go to war. Collective security will never work unless all the nations that take part in it are prepared simultaneously to threaten with sanctions and to fight, if necessary, an aggressor. It must be open to those states which are willing to accept its obligations in good faith.

Rourke and Boyer (1998) assert that collective security is based on four principles: first, all countries forswear the use of force except in self-defence; second, all agree that peace is indivisible, an attack on one is an attack on all; third, all pledge to unite to halt aggression and restore the peace; fourth, all agree to supply whatever material or personnel resources that are necessary to form a collective security force associated with the United Nations or some IGO to defeat aggressors and restore the peace.

The principle of collective security is found in Article 48 and 49 of the Charter of the United Nations which states that, “the action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine; such decisions shall be carried out by the members of the United Nations directly or through their action in the appropriate international agencies of which they are members.”

The idea behind the collective security system is that members of the organization advancing the collective security system (this time, the United Nations) are bound to spring to each other’s defense in case of attack. The basic principle is that an attack on one is an attack on all. Any state contemplating aggression would face the sure prospect of struggle not simply with the prospective victim, but with all other members of the system, who would make any necessary sacrifice to save the state attacked.

“In a hypothetical world of collective security, the assumption is that the members of the system will have such an overwhelming preponderance of power and will be so unreservedly committed to the principles they have endorsed that aggression will become quite irrational; presumably, it will thus not occur, or if it should occur, it will be defeated.” (Dyke, 1957)

Problems of Collective Security – 

At the twilight of World War I, many political thinkers thought and hoped that the states of the world would make the League of Nations a collective security system that would maintain international peace and security, and some had the same hope after World War II in connection with the United Nations. Karen Mingst averred that collective security is borne out of some salient assumptions. These assumptions are that: wars are prevented by restraint of military action; aggressors must be stopped; the aggressor is easily identified; the aggressor is always wrong; aggressors know that the international community will act against them (Mingst, 1999). As asserted by Van Dyke (1957), “they wanted states to abandon narrow conceptions of self interest as a guide to policy and to regard themselves as units in a world society having an interest in preserving law and order everywhere.” These ideas expressed by these scholars could not work out as a result of numerous problems associated with the concept of collective security. There are other scholars who feel that the concept of collective security is misguided. They see it as conceptually muddled and naively unrealistic. Although they are pledged to defend each other, many countries will refuse to do so, if such an act is not in their own best interests or thought to be too risky or expensive. In addition, they argue that collective security arrangements will turn small struggles into large ones, and prevent the use of alternative Transcience (2011) Vol. 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2191-1150 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 25 (non-violent) problem solving, relying instead on the much more costly approach of military confrontation. In addition, there is always a danger that alliances formed by the purpose of collective security can also serve as a basis for an aggressive coalition. Other problems associated with the collective security system are discussed as follows:

i States do not regard themselves as members of one society having a common vital interest in protecting and preserving each other’s rights. Does it really matter to Japan if Paraguay and Bolivia destroy themselves in a war? Of what interest is it to Nigeria if Egypt should attack Tunisia and such attack is repelled or defeated? There is no doubt that states have demonstrated a willingness to ally themselves with certain other selected states and thus to pledge to defend certain selected frontiers in addition to their own, but the principle of “one for all and all for one” does not commend itself.

ii Another challenge to collective security is that its risks are great. Governments of nation-states can enforce law against individuals with little risk or fear. Internationally, however, the situation is quite different. Disparities of power are much greater. Theoretically, it might be easy for a world society to defeat aggression by a smaller power like Nigeria, but what if one of the great powers turns aggressor?” It is one thing for a government to enforce a law against a hapless individual and another thing for the United Nations to try to enforce the law against a state which may be almost as strong as the rest of the world combined. The development of nuclear weapons makes the problem all the greater. An aggressor with such weapons could virtually wipe from the face of the earth a number of the members of the collective security system. Faced with such a possibility, a member whose own most vital interest was directly threatened might choose proud defiance rather than surrender. But a member whose own vital interests were not directly threatened would be unlikely to be so bold. Nor do states want to commit themselves in advance to undertake such risks, regardless of the identity of the aggressor and of his victim.

iii Jones (1985) and Rostow (1968) cited in Eke (2007) are in agreement that the principles of the United Nations veto is “a great inhibition to the smooth and effective functioning of the Security Council collective security system”. In his observation, Rostow argued that “part of the problem is that the responsibility of world peace was resting on the shoulders of nations with preponderant military and political power.” By this, he meant those nations that could become arrogant to ignore local wars, revolutions, or conquests on the assumption that they do not disturb the general equilibrium of power or endanger the sense of security of the system as a whole. The veto principle of the Security Council of the United Nations was originally meant to ensure commitment of the five permanent members to the United Nations. It was also meant that no superpower is against any UN action, which can lead to outbreak of hostilities (Butler, 1999). The superpowers were expected to exercise collective responsibility for the maintenance of global peace and security. But what we see today has been unilateral actions by some permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers, especially the United States and Great Britain against countries they perceive as threats to international peace and security. A good example is the invasion of Iraq by the United States and Britain, “this wave of American-styled security by domination in place of collective security creates both anxiety and curiosity over the weakness of the United Nations Collective Security as “sine qua non” for world peace and security.

iv The activities of powerful regional organizations have posed a serious problem to United Nations Collective Security System. “Experience has shown that members of such organizations demonstrate divided loyalty often times with more concern to the regional organization than the UN.” (Eke, 2007) Members of regional security have often abandoned the UN Collective Security System in preference to regional security system. Bulter observed that during the invasion of Iraq by the United States “the Security Council – the hub of collective security regime was bypassed, defied and abused. . . ” (Butler, 1999). Palmer and Perkings agree that the United States and western powers, in their attitudes of placing more emphasis on national and regional defence than on collective security as the obligation Transcience (2011) Vol. 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2191-1150 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 26 to the Charter of the United Nations are fundamental problems of unanimity of the Council and by extension, the cause of failure of security regime. (Palmer and Perkins, 2007)

In many instances of states and regional conflicts, members of regional security abandon the UN. For example, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had helped to bury the optimism, which greeted the UN Collective Security System in the 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia, and of course Iraq, after the fall of Soviet empire. In these two crises situation, the Security Council which is the hub of collective security regime was bypassed. The double allegiance of members of the United Nations, especially by the veto-wielding ones, concretely depicts moral failure.

Failure of Collective Security under the League of Nations – 

Palmer and Perkings observed that the League of Nations was a complete failure as an instrument for enforcement of collective security. They cited the failure of the United States of America to join the League from the start and the rise of the Soviet Union outside the League as one of the major reasons why the League failed as instrument for the development and enforcement of collective security. They also believed that “the open defiance of Japan, Italy and Germany combined to destroy any hopes that the League would be effective in major international crisis.” (Palmer and Perkings, 2007) This line of thought was also captured by Charles, Kegley. He posits that “the failure stemmed from the U.S. refusal to join the organization; the other great powers’ fear that the League’s collective strength might be used against them. (Kegley, 2007) Another example of the failure of the League of Nations’ collective security is the Manchurian crisis when Japan occupied part of China. After the invasion, members of the League passed a resolution calling for Japan to withdraw or face severe penalties. Given that every nation on the League of Nations Council had veto power, Japan promptly vetoed the resolution, severely limiting the League of Nations’ ability to respond. After two years of deliberation, the League passed a resolution condemning the invasion without committing the League’s members to any action against it. The Japanese replied by quitting the League of Nations.

A similar process occurred in 1935, when Italy invaded Ethiopia. Sanctions were passed, but Italy would have vetoed any stronger resolution. Additionally, Britain and France sought to court Italy’s government as a potential deterrent to Hitler, given that Mussolini was not in what would become the Axis Alliance of World War II. Thus, neither enforced any serious sanctions against the Italian government.

Karen Mingst argued that Collective Security does not always work. She observed that the inability of the international community to respond to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria and Italy’s assault on Ethiopia was the fundamental differences in state interests and ideologies. According to her, “Collective Security does not always work. In the period between the two world wars, Japan invaded Manchuria and Italy overran Ethiopia. In neither case did other states act as if it were in their collective interest to respond. . . . In this instance, collective security did not work because of lack of commitment on the part of other states and an unwillingness of the International Community to act in concert. In the post-World War II era, Collective Security could not work because of fundamental differences in both state interests and ideologies.” (Mingst, 1999)

Additionally, in this case and with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the absence of the USA from the League of Nations deprived the League of another major power that could have used economic leverage against either of the aggressors states. Inaction by the League subjected it to criticisms that it was weak and concerned more with European issues (most leading members were Europeans) and did not deter Hitler from his plans to dominate Europe.

Failure of Collective Security under the United Nations – 

While Article I of the UN Charter calls for “effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace,” Article 43 of the Charter provides that members of the UN, in accordance with special agreements to be conducted, are Transcience (2011) Vol. 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2191-1150 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 27 to make available to the Security Council “armed forces, assistance and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.” These shall take place “if the Security Council finds that an act of aggression or other threats to the peace has occurred, and if the parties concerned do not comply with such measures as the Council shall deem necessary. . . ” (Palmer and Perkings, 2007)

The United Nations calls for necessary measures to maintain international peace and security, including the obligation of states to place at the disposal of the United Nations agreed power necessary for an international peace force to be equipped with agreed types of armaments. Rather than have an institutionalized collective security regime, under the U.N. regularized training, maintenance and command, loosely Collective Security mechanism took the force of multinational willingness to control troops to promote the U.N. peace agenda. Where there exists an aggressor, there is need to collectively counter the attacks of the aggressor and preserve the peace through a Collective Security system. In such a situation no member state of the United Nations can claim neutrality, and none would dare to support the aggressor. If the aggressor dares to use force, then the combined forces of all the other states should so overwhelm the aggressor that hostilities would terminate and would cause would-be aggressor to retrace its steps for fear of sanction.

One of the problems of the United Nations Collective Security system is the unwillingness of countries to subordinate their sovereign interests to collective action. “Thus far, governments have generally maintained their right to view conflict in terms of their national interest and to support or oppose UN action based on their nationalistic point of view. Collective Security therefore exists mostly as a goal, not as a general practice.” (Rourke and Boyer, 1998)

Another eproblem which have resulted in the failure of the United Nations Collective Security system is the overdependnce of the Security Council on the member-governments for assistance, especially the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, etc. This overdependence has made these nations act unilaterally in conflict situations without approval of the Security Council of the United Nations. In some situations, they flout the orders of the Security Council not to act unilaterally. The Iraq crisis and the role of the coalition forces, which was molded by the United States and Britain is clearer example.

Rather than seek the global interest of peace and security through stability in Iraq and the Middle East region, the domination oriented members amassed their vast economic, diplomatic and military resources, captured and brazenly subjugated Iraq to an unprecedented condominial regime serving their economic interest under Iraq Reconstruction Programme.(Eke, 2007)

This goes to show that the big powers of the world will only agree to cooperate with the United Nations in relation to collective security as long as it serves their interests.

“The larger powers (who, after all, must bear the major burdens of enforcing peace under a collective security system) have never been willing to give an unconditional commitment to carry out the commands of the world organization; they have always reserved for themselves some escape hatch. They have never been willing to set up an international army of any significant strength, under direct control of the League of Nations or the United Nations without any strings attached.

Some scholars see the United Nations Collective Security as one sided system whereby lesser and medium powers are ignored during aggression. They argue that the United Nations has not completely applied the Principle of Collective Security on a universal scale. To them, collective security would be meaningful only if it applied to great as well as lesser powers. Thus these scholars have overly criticized the unrepresentative stature of the Security Council.

They question the non inclusion of any African country in the membership of the UN Security Council considering the fact that Africa makes about one third membership of the U.N.

The lack of geographical spread of members of the Security Council, no doubt, has a negative effect on the function and strength of the Council on the role of maintenance of global peace and security. The major issue here is that such members that feel their voices are only heard but of no policy consequence in protecting their interest feel withdrawn in U.N. actions of Collective Security. According to George Schwarzenberger, Transcience (2011) Vol. 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2191-1150 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 28 “Collective Security as understood at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco meant collective security against danger to peace from the middle powers and small states and collective insecurity in the face of aggression by any of the world powers.”

The above observation is corroborated by Inis Claude who asserts that “in the final analysis, the San Francisco Conference must be described as having repudiated the doctrine of Collective Security as the foundation for a general, universally applicable system for the management of power in international relations. The doctrine was given ideological lip service, and a scheme was contrived for making it effective in cases of relatively minor importance. But the new organization reflected the conviction that the concept of Collective Security has no realistic relevance to the problems posed by conflict among the major powers (Claude, 1962).

On the other hand, the concerted action of the United Nations in the Korean Crisis of the 1950 proved that Collective Security under the United Nations was possible. The enforcement action undertaken by the United Nations against North Korea that invaded South Korea in 1950 marks the first time the organized community of nations in accordance with the principles of Collective Security, has employed armed forces against an aggressor.

When the United Nations found out that North Korea exhibited aggression against South Korea, it called upon members of the United Nations to send troops and other assistance to South Korea and it asked the United States President to designate a Supreme Commander of the UN Forces. Thus the United Nations demonstrated that even though it had no armed forces at its disposal, as provided for in Article 43 of the Charter, it was not impotent in the face of open aggression.

But critics argued that the enforcement of UN action against North Korea was possible only because the Soviet delegate at the time was boycotting the meetings of the Security Council. They argued that had he been present, he presumably would have vetoed any action against North Korea. To them, the action of the United States and of other United Nations members who supported enforcement actions does not necessarily reflect a commitment to resist aggression simply out of belief that the Principle of Collective Security deserved support. One of such critics is Arnold Wolfers who submitted that “instead of being a case of nations fighting any aggressor anywhere and for no other purpose than to punish aggression and to deter potential aggressors, intervention in Korea was an act of collective military defense against the recognized number-one enemy of the United States and of all countries which associated themselves with its action.” (Wolfers, 1962)

These critics believed that, had South Korea been the aggressor, it seems unlikely that the non-communist states in the United Nations would have endorsed enforcement action for the benefit of the communist regime in North Korea.


Collective Security as an institutionalized mechanism for the maintenance of international peace and security has reduced tensions among states in the international community. It has done much by providing the framework for keeping conflicts from becoming major threats to international peace. As Palmer and Perkings pointed out, for Collective Security to be effective, it must be strong enough to cope with aggression from any power or combination of powers, and it must be invoked if and as aggression occurs.

The direction of the United Nations Collective Security system has always been dictated by the world’s big powers especially the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Small and medium powers feel left out in the Collective Security arrangement as they can only benefit from the system only when the interests of any of the “big gives” especially the United States are at stake. However, its weakness does not dismiss the system as wholly unuseful. The UN Collective Security system remains relevant and needed, but its radical defects must be attended to by admitting the added duty to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, which were not initially conceived and by enlarging the Security Council to take care of political interests of states perceived as orchestrating these new security challenges “since collective security system has always remained an idealistic concept which has never been defined by treaty and, therefore, can be hijacked by the powerful nations in the lopsided United Nations Security Council. Transcience (2011) Vol. 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2191-1150 Ebegbulem: Failure of Security 29

It is of great importance therefore, to harp on the need to institute a confidence-building measure among the members of the United Nations so as to establish the requisite solidarity and cooperation for enduring global peace and security. To do this is to start genuine reforms as currently canvassed by member states of the United Nations; especially those of them from Asia, Latin America and Africa with enlargement and representation of the Security Council based on geographical location and power-relations.

References –

Aja, A. (2007) “Peace and Conflict Resolution”, Enugu: Kery and Brothers Ent. (Nig.) Arnold, W. (1962) Discord and Collaboration”. Baltimore: John Hopkins Chaturvedi, A. K. (2006) “Dictionary of Political Science”. New Delhi: Academic Publishers. Dyke, V. N. (1957) “International Politics”. New York: Meredith Corporation Eke, O. (2007) “Strategic Studies: Logical Focus in the 21st Century”. Abakaliki: Willy-Rose and Appleseed Publishing Coy. Inis, L. C. Jr. (1962) Power and International Relations. New York: Random House Jones, W. S. (1985) The Logic of International Relations (5th ed.) Boston: Little, Brown and Company Kegley, W. C. (2007) World Politics: Trends and Transformation. California: Thompson Higher Education Mingst, K. (1999) Essentials of International Relations. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Norman, P. and Howard, P. (2007) International Relations. New Delhi: Vivender Kumar Arya Rostow, E. V. (1968) Law, Power and the Pursuit of Peace. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Rourke, J. and Boyer, M. (1998) World Politics: International Politics on the World Stage, Brief. U.S.A.: Dushkin/McGraw Hill Schwarzenberger, G. (1964) Power Politics: A Study of International Society (3rd ed.) London


How is failure portrayed in history?

History is full of tremendous successes but also quite a few remarkable failures. Figures such as Neville Chamberlain are examples of how with the passing of time can alter short term successes and turn them into dramatically flawing failures. However history, an ever-changing subject being almost purely subjective, portrays events and personas as a contrast of their successes and failure.What we perceive as a failure is as much as what we perceive as a success and in different historical periods this has fluctuated around the morals and religions beliefs of the time. Today we remark that success requires the acquisition of wealth and fame and failure along the path to aquire this is common.

The ancient romans held ‘success’ as a measure of three counts 1) a large amount of money 2) a large amount of fame 3) a large amount of military success. The last point was held in such high esteem that upon the failure in Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE many of the officers committed suicide rather than bare the shame of such a cataclysmic defeat. For the Romans defeat was a disgrace worse than death and the Battle is still regarded today as “Rome’s greatest defeat” by many historians. Never had so many Romans been killed in a single conflict; the three legions who took part in the battle would never fight again and were disbanded by 79 CE. The battle is considered one of Rome’s most infamous failures and frankly produced no positive outcome under the Roman measures of ‘success’, none that is for the Romans.

In contrast the Ancient Grecians portrayed failure in a different light. They were largely sympathetic to the unfortunate circumstances in which many people in their society were facing. As many of the Athenian values, the act of pity on the unfortunate was written into several notable plays. One of the most outstanding is Oedipus the King by Sophocles in 429 BC. The main themes are fate and free will and a people’s willingness to ignore painful truths. The underlying message is that terrible things can happen to good people just as often as they occur to bad people; fate is not determined by free will. Success and failure was a matter of circumstance to the Athenians and one’s lack of success was not scorned upon as the cultural principles of Ancient Greece were far more accepting of failure then the Romans. Athenian culture was at the height of it’s prosperity and respected qualities in its population of openness, respectfulness, a rational mind and acceptance of authority. Part of this meant putting the Gods into a less important position in politics and favored ideas of community in their government failure to accept accept this and fate could take a turn for the unfavorable.

Crisitian teaching encompases the greek sence of community, in pity and caring for others, however bases it around spiritualness and divinity. Jesus, in 30AD, gave a speech to his followers. Today this is celebrated as “The Sermon On The Mount”  and is one of the most quoted aspects in the New Testament.  It’s teachings form the core of Christian morals and directly confronts a view on failure and success . These extracts show how the humbleness of accepting failure in pursuing the moral right will be rewarded according to Christian teachings ;

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Here success is directly linked to devotion; if you are successful in fulfilling christian values then success shall be given to you in other aspects of your life however one must be pyes enough to be heard or metaphorically you must be knocking on the right door. This second example follows this further looking using Gates as an analogy.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

This phrase indicates that the easy (the wide gate) is most likely to lead to failure and one must struggle if to become successful. In essence nothing comes to those because of ‘fate’ but out of self will and determination. This is in complete contrast to Greek philosophy as it insinuates that one must deserve success and that bad things do not happen to everyone only those who have taken ‘the wide gate’. It was said that when Jesus had finished his sermon the crowds were amazed  because “he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” – again showing that greek visions of success within the confines of the law were no longer upheld, at least within the christian religion. 

The idea that success ought to be deserved was upheld in Napoleon Bonaparte’s regime with the introduction of “carriere ouverte aux talents” or “careers open to the talented” which celebrated the fact that talented individuals could rise through the ranks of the enlightened french army despite their background. This new policy meant that officers could be established based on merit rather than social positioning.This was a new system of meritocracy in France that allowed for military, scientific and artistry to be celebrated and developed regardless of social class. The “ordre national de la Légion d’honneuris one way in which Napoleon comorated military prowess in particular and became the highest decoration in france upon its establishment in 1802.To Napoleon success was all that mattered. He followed the Romans thinking; to fail, or more precisely to be defeated in battle was a disgrace himself. Napoleon was also clear of the difference between success in genders, female in this age were to have children – to be infertile was to be a failure.


Napoleon recognised that success did not depend on spiritualism but that in the developing western world conquest and acquisition were the prizes of true success. The ideas of meritocracy which Napoleon installed, underlines multiple systems including confucianism, social darwinism and platonism. Many historical references can be made to figures who have not been given merit in their lifetime but when more liberal or meritocratic values were upheld their life was only then celebrated. Figures such as Vincent Van Gogh are example of this. Success may span longer than a lifetime, in a way that is not linked to spirituality. Today Success is directly liked to fame or acknowledgement and part of this is the role that success has altered our perception of history as we look for the successes and failings of characters, events and policies.

However these modern perceptions of success are based around materialism and personal wealth or influence. Buddhism looks at success skeptically and looks to the perception of failure according to western thinkers as . Siddhārtha Gautama became Buddha or “the enlightened one” and strive to succeed by giving up his worldly positions to achieve a spiritual status. Failure, then to Buddhists, is  simply to possess. What a capitalist would deem as a failure (to not obtain wealth) would theirfore be a success to a Buddhist.

The western world, having developed from the Roman civilisation, upholds their values of success and failure. Failure today is something to be ashamed of – it’s why failing a test leads to embarisment and shame. This is a comfort to any unsuccessful business owner.

However the only unilaterally accepted accomplishment that you are deemed to have succeeded is knowledge. It is universally appreciated ; being wise is theirfore the equivalent of success.

To thrive off random

I have quite frequently been noted on my almost unexhausted knowledge of random and almost completely useless facts; many of which I note down in my rather shabby old notebook or hold as my phone background.  These usually compile of fantastic quotes from books I ought to read or people I wish I met.

“To thrive of randomness” is realy something we all do everyday. The facts or anecdotes I know come from the podcasts, Tv shows or books I read (yes … I am bit of an old woman at heart) are ingrained in all of us; but it is drawing links, as historians are so notorious for, that allows them to be applied in almost any situation. 

so here are some of the quotes, pictures and facts that I have picked up in the last 6 months. They are a conglomeration of my travels, my education and general life inspiration. My favorite quote this month, as funny as it is, is beginning to ring true as A-levels tip into the borderline breakdown stage and to just have one night where i am not panic writing an essay would be lovely.

“cinderella never asked for a prince she asked for a night off and a dress”

– Kiera cass

I have just got back from a “night off” with a few of my friends having tamely celebrated an 18th birthday at a dinner party (I suppose all my friends are old at heart realy).  How could I not resist writing down such a fabulous quote !

This next one I took a picture of in a bookstore in America. Being dyslexic I did actually use this quote in my personal statement although the 3000 words did not include such a fabulous sketch.


This next picture is also from my trip to america, the grand canyon to be exact. Did you know that in 1935 some poor souls laid a telephone line from one side of the canyon to the other!


while we’re still on the topic of dyslexia – I found this image yesterday of what it looks like to read with the condition. luckily i’m not this bad but just regularly forget words, spellings, phrasings oh and funnily swapping up of numbers; suppose I am reading 1975 I would say 1957 whilst thinking I am saying 1975 … random no?

you have probably already guessed from the first two quotes but I like a good sassy historian, J.M.Roberts is exactly that and this quote from him is one of my all time favorites … i have ended many an argument with this line.

“I have not changed my mind about a particular topic and have felt no need to give it more or less attention”

– J.M.Roberts


So there you have it a few random bits and pieces from my collection. This notebook of mine also holds some great ideas for my new youtube channel please check it out (if you already hadn’t) www.youtube.com/channel/UCynlSlG8Iq44FQZi2X8vCtw , although I am not sure how I film “my drunk historic kitchen”!

Please like and comment if you enjoyed this. I am also thinking of doing a random fact/quote of the month – what do you think?


see you soon fellow time travelers


was the cold war inevitable ?

It’s often been discussed in many a history class. But as a shortened answer – yes. why? can i give such a conclusive but brief answer … well it happened so at one point or another there must have been a point of no return where conflict between the USA and the USSR was inevitable. So the real question here is at what point could either side no longer back down if at all.

The question is still a valid one. Today we are still living through the effects of the war where “there is no shooting … only bleeding” and to some extent we are still bleeding – some would argue we are still shooting.

I was given this chirpy question as part of an A-level history assignment. Bearing in mind I will only have 40 minutes in the actual exam to write a similar essay I went on the write 3000 words on the topic. so instead of letting them go to waste I thought I would share them with you.

It’s only a small part of at least 50,000 words I have written  for my history studies this year! as it occurred to me that this is my last year of school studies it would seem a shame if all my efforts were not share hopefully this will aid someone else’s studies of the period …. by please no cheating and read only. As a rule history should be”by the book” only – believe me i have enough of them!

on to the essay …

To what extent was the cold war inevitable?

The cold war is often argued as an ideological confrontation between the political systems of the capitalists versus the communists. This battle transforms itself into several forms through the second half of the 20th century and its impact has shaped the modern world. Why this confrontation developed cannot be decisively established. With no event/ specific area of conflict to determine the exact date of its creation, this new “war” is almost undoubtedly the result of the tension within the wartime alliance. Traditionalists, however, often date this tension back to the Russian revolution of 1917. The US support of the white army instead of the Bolshevik Reds, during the civil war, is often described as a cause for political distrust by the Soviets. Whereas revisionists argue that Truman’s economically aggressive foreign policy forced the USSR to take hostile action against them, this usually resulted in their support of USA’S political enemies (e.g. Fidel Castro) like the US had in 1917. The Conflict between Russia and America was inevitable the rise of both world powers resulting in rivalry ; however deciphering the causes before 1945 without an exact beginning date is an unusual challenge and shows that this battle is unique to its eras conditions. The growth of American and Soviet Russia’s power during the same period would inevitably lead to conflict; this may have been political, ideological, military, within the spheres of influence, economically or culturally. The nature of the conflict is therefore directly linked to the era and the conditions of the post war world.


With the collapse of the imperialist powers in Western Europe, after demising in colonial wealth, two great world powers came to inherit the resulting political void. Russia and the US could therefore have fallen into a “’traditional’ great power rivalry” as seen in Europe in the dawn of the 19th and late 18th century’s. The collapse of the French and British empires saw the end of a Eurocentric world. The creation of over 23 separate states (1944-46) shows the imperial turmoil the post war world had created; newly independent states such as Israel were highly controversial. The decentralisation of colonies, especially within Africa, presented a new opportunity as the land was essentially “up for sale”. The Americans were especially keen for these new states to become independent of their European rulers and grow into strong democratic and economically stable countries. Policies like the Marshall plan were set in place. In turn the Russians saw this as an aggressive spread of American influence and as an investment into the development of America’s economy – growing states into reputable trading partners for its own gain. This view is held by revisionist historian William A. Williams who sees Americans as “empire building people” – something America has always denied (refusing to be seen as colonial like the 19th century European powers). They do not invade, according to his theory, by military means but economically. Secretary of state Hull attempted to replace Imperial tariff with US aid reaching out to the newly formed non colonial states. The “open door” policy of USA’s international economic policy shows their desire to retain foreign markets for US-business; something that would later cause tension between Cuba and the US. The aim of this policy? Williams believes that US economic policy makers are solely concerned in maintaining capitalism domestically. The Truman plan provided international loans to countries (mostly in Europe) at risk of communist revolution. It was Truman’s belief that a strong, developed economy within a country could settle disrest and prevent revolution. Looking back to the 1917 revolution the starvation of the workers within cities, such as St. Petersburg, was a crucial factor in the public political opinion; the battle cry of the revolution “peace, bread, work” showed the populaces economic reasons for joining in revolt. Truman saw a need to prevent the spread of communism into the European countries that had become decimated by the war. He offered economic growth as a means to confront Communism.


The end of Eurocentrism therefore gave political ‘space’ for conflict between the growing world powers. The 19th century Capitalist European powers had adopted a policy of isolation towards the Soviets. The Bolshevik exclusion from diplomacy constituted into agreements such as the treaty of Brest-Litovsk which resulted in the loss of territory to Russia. Russia in turn was suspicious of the west; unfair treaties were used as examples of “imperialist plotting for their downfall”.  The interwar years of the 1920’s saw a “pattern of oscillation between accommodation, isolation and ideological confrontation” between the Bolsheviks and the rest of Europe. The distrust of the Russians stemmed from the 1917 revolution, as one American policy maker put it “a reading of communist ideology reinforced this tendency to the see the USSR as Naturally expansionist and committed to spreading revolution”. The Americans did not formally recognise the Soviet regime until the wartime alliance; secretary of state Colby summed up the US’s reason in his August statement 1920. Formally Colby A fear of communism was spread by exiles from the civil war as well as several prominent anti-Bolsheviks. Propaganda spread the view of USSR as “a threat to domestic and international stability”. As a result the public opinion in the USA came to a turning point. The “red scare” of 1919-20 saw US law enforcement joining pro-business activists to destroy what they saw as a communist/radical threat after the ‘revolutionary party’ led strikes and sent bombs to officials in the name of radical communism. The spread of communism to china under Mao Zedong in 1948 showed Americans the global aspirations of this “revolutionary communism” – seeing this as a direct threat to domestic America. The ‘red scare’ as well as the exposition of supposed “enemies of the state” by McCarthy in the 1940/50’s, this helped to spread the sense of insecurity within the US.  At the same time that the USSR supposedly adopted a policy of ideological spread via revolution whereas the American “policies were committed to spreading USA’s dominance in world affairs” – both world powers were seeking expansion in their spheres of influence. US policy makers were “committed to spreading USA’s dominance in world affairs”. Inevitably these spheres would cross as the boundaries of influence were drawn closer. The modern world had become smaller; improved transport and communication due to rapid advances during both world wars. The military technological advance also saw the increased size of military weapons and the distance that they were able to travel. The striking range of armaments meant that international conflict could be fought within their own borders.


The new form of war was established with the end of the last. The dropping of the A-bomb on Japan brought warfare into a new era of nuclear weaponry. Revisionist historian Gar Alperovitz argues that the use of nuclear bombs on japan was not used to win the war quickly but to intimidate the Soviets. In his opinion the cold war is a result of the use of the atomic bomb. From its dropping in 1945 the war was therefore inevitable; it would ultimately lead to the space race and nuclear tension.  The “last actions of one conflict were the first major shots in another”. The end of the war saw not only technological change but political. USA had long adopted self-isolation in international politics but at the end of the war saw new diplomatic policies being put forward with the notion of ‘never again’ as their driving point. The ‘mistakes’ of 1919-1930 were seen as a result of America’s isolation. Pearl harbour was used as an example to show that the USA must take “a leading role in world affairs to encourage prosperity and stable democracies”. This was laid out in war time agreements such as the Atlantic charter and the Munich analogy; “if rejected or refused international laws they must be resisted”. The determination to take part in international agreements is the state’s willingness to act as a great power – a clause agreed by many political scientists such as George Modelski. This change in attitude was upheld using international bodies such as the UNO, Bretton Wood financial systems, IMF and the world bank.  The FDR had wanted to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR in 1930/40’s hoping that diplomatic recognition would “mellow” soviet policy reducing its revolutionary aims. However the isolationist policy had meant that public opinion was already opposed to foreign commitments over Japan and Germany. Trade remained low and the soviet spying relentless; the unresponsive Stalin during the announcement the Manhattan project’s success, proved how deep they had infiltrated into the American system.


This tension during the war inevitably lead to the breakdown of this wartime alliance one the common enemy was defeated. The alliance had been one “of convenience, not trust” as geopolitical considerations had gone ahead of ideology. The USA was forced to reluctantly recognise the Soviets in 1933, despite Stalin’s repressive policies such as the Purges and Siberian labour camps. FDR debated over the proper policy towards the USSR; “…deeply influenced both US-Soviet relations and the domestic policies of the communist issue”.  From the start, the alliance was based on mutual distrust. The soviets lagged in technological advance and saw the need for an alliance in order to uphold its borders. However throughout the war ideological mistrust as well as memories of Munich tainted their alliance. These seemed to be rightly held by the soviets as the allies push Hitler further east towards Stalin, the Russians lost more men and suffered far more than any other. During the war the aim of Russia seemed to be different than the west, as a British diplomat commented “he spoke of minimum conditions he meant that his government insisted on recovering the territory violated by Hitler”. The hope for continued co-operation came primarily from Litvinov who advocated the policy in order to maintain peace and influence within an “anti-fascist solidarity” he saw capitalism and communism working alongside each other in an alliance, not of convenience, but ideology – against fascist rule. Litvinov’s downgrading in 1946 is noted by Harriman as a sign of political movement away from co-operation. With this conflict seemed inevitable.


The change in American policy made it hard for soviet policy makers to determine their reaction. With no historic reference to the US’s actions without an isolationist foreign policy (the Russians had expected this to continue after the war) made their judgement hard to decipher. For example the American rejection of Russia’s proposal at Potsdam to be given former Axis colonies in Africa came as a surprise to the Soviets. As the Americans were pressured to “expand their definition of security needs” the USSR also sought to expand on the Anglo-American tensions that had built up in the “special relationship” and use them to their own diplomatic failure. There inability to do so showed how “out of touch” they had become in international diplomacy. There years of enforced isolation during the 1920’s had reduced their knowledge of post war diplomacy and how the great powers conducted their domestic negotiations.  However the tentative agreement (Nov 1944) shows that deals were possible with the soviets after/at the end of the war. Roosevelt in turn also misunderstood the relationship between the US and USSR. He believed he could build on the ‘mutual trust’ built up during the war – he even returned an OSS code book without copying/ recording it. At the end of the war the A-bomb also made Soviet-American relations tricky. Its development bred resentment and distrust; the high levels of espionage throughout the war, on both sides, show this.


USSR planned for peace on the assumption of a secure western border with a weakened Germany. Poland was one of the most volatile areas at the end of the war, with competing exile governments its fate was debated between western allies, “never again policies” and soviet ambitions.  The most significant act of war time distrust came to light as Russia was accused of the massacres of polish officers during the war, they denied this until the 1990’s. Fears and suspicions still circulated however about Russian behaviour in Eastern Europe. Stalin’s suspicious nature led to these cover ups and allegations. The collective security adopted by the west became a key point of anxiety; Stalin wanted control of the USSR’s own destiny and boarders knowing the west would not head decisions that would directly benefit due to their ideological differentiation.   USSR had ambitious internal affairs “As Stalin has said, we must proceed step by step and before taking any new step we should consolidate positions already acquired” and showed little intention for global expansion at the end of the war. Russia’s historic sense of vulnerability, fuelled by unsecure borders in 1812, 1914, 1919 and 1941, was dealt with by capturing surrounding land as a buffer zone during tsarist rule. It is argued that Russia was still looking eurocentricity in the 1940’s. The division of Germany at Potsdam was a way of dealing with the indecision and conflicting aims of the allies. All agreed that Germany was to be de-Nazified, demilitarised, deindustrialised and for democratic power to be re-established, however it was the interpretation and execution of these aims that lead to debate. Each power looked after their own needs – France for instance was reluctant to accept German control of the Saar which delayed co-operation until the autumn of 1945 meaning that the German people suffered the harsh winter of 1943. Britain on the other hand wanted to reduce its economic burden placed on them – their economy heavily reliant on several American loans. The soviets aim of revenge and reparation conflicted with the American notion of “never again”. Seeing how harsh treaties had led to the start of the second war the west was keen not to repeat the cycle. Stalin meanwhile had set up his own reparations commission headed by Maisky and Litvinov. There demands for German reparation in order to pay for war-time destruction, dismantlement of all factories regardless of whether they were war making or not and forcing experts to work for the USSR was deemed as the “complete violation of all efforts to maintain ‘non war’ potential industries in Germany” as it eradicated the east German economy.


Most historians persist that the cold war was not inevitable but brought on by the opposing leaders. John Lewis Gaddis demarked six main reasons for the outbreak of the cold war. Firstly, the confusion over US and USSR’s foreign, on both sides, blamed mostly on Molotov for exacerbating the mistrust. Gaddis then goes on to blame the change in policy by the Americans – becoming involved in world affairs rather than isolationist as Stalin had expected them to remain. The misread soviet intention at this time is also made liable, the propaganda spread by anti-Bolsheviks helped to develop this interpretation. Gaddis also remarks that the US was politically, economically and militarily stronger than any other state at that time.  This gave it freedom to act; its natural counterpart was the USSR the world power that had developed alongside America, they became rival blocks as each’s influence spread. He also stresses that the US only acted as it chose to see the soviets as aggressive expansionists.  This post revisionist view also dictates that the incompatible ideology did not lead to conflict between both countries.


Following Gaddis opinions as a model the cold war was not as inevitable as some suggest. Without ideology as the catalyst but using the conditions of the post war world the antagonism between the USA and USSR is clearly frictional towards the end of the war and evident in post war discussions. The high levels of espionage undertaken by both countries in the last year of the war showed an increase in distrust. The dropping of the bomb is just as pointed as its secret conception and shows the political distrust of not only Russia but the rest of the Allies at the end of the war. The different aim of the allies during post war discussions suggests that the cold war was ultimately inevitable. The difference in political systems and interpretation of terms was bound to cause further mistrust and tension.

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