Study Notes – Semester 1

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Session 2 – Why was the 19th Century international system based on balance of power?

Session 2 – Why did the Vienna system come to grief on the Eastern Question?


Session 3 – ‘Bismarck’s alliance system was a tribute to his ingenuity but lacked both utility and cohesion.’ Would you agree?


Session 3 – Having solved so many crises since 1905, why were the Great Powers unable to solve the crisis of 1914?


Session 4 – Does the history of the League of Nations tell the story of the triumph of realism over liberalism?


Session 4 – Was the first shot of the Second World War fired in China in 1931, in Spain in 1936, or a year later in China? 

Session 5 – Was the Cold War inevitable? 


Session 5 – Do you agree that the two key episodes in the early evolution of the Cold War were the Marshall Plan and the Korean War? 


Session 6 – What contribution did nuclear weapons make to keeping the peace between East and West? 

Session 6 ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis arose because Khrushchev understood more clearly that Kennedy that the West was winning the Cold War.’ Discuss. 

Session 8To what extend did decolonisation alter the power hierarchy in the international system? 


Session 8 – ‘The Cold War was fought in the Third World.’ Discuss. 


Session 9  – Did the formation of the European Union represent a break with past forms of European states systems? 

Session 9  – Has the European Union solved the German Question? 


Session 10 – After 1973 were the Bretton Woods institutions still relevant? 

Session 10 – Has globalisation decreased inequality? 

Session 11 – Was détente a fundamental change in American postwar foreign policy? 


Session 11 – What accounted for the resurgence of East-West tensions after 1975? 


Session 12 – When did the Cold War end?


Session 12 – Is the collapse of the Soviet Empire in Central and Eastern Europe best explained with reference to material power, the role of ideas, or something else?