Analysis of World War I From International Relations Perspective


In the history of the development of international relations, it was influenced by important events in the past, such as World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was these events that gave rise to new actors other than the state. As time goes by, a new era emerges. A new era was created as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which began with the city-state system in ancient Greece. The new era was marked by the discovery of various kinds of tools, namely weapons, fire, compasses, and printing presses. The discovery of a system of sovereign, independent states that formed an interaction between the international world was the impact of the Westphalia Agreement on the development of international relations. At that time, the Westphalia Agreement became a milestone in the development of international relations, which were marked by the formation of state and territorial sovereignty in a country.

There were many advantages and disadvantages to the formation of countries at the time, particularly how the government system was because there were still many in the form of kingdoms. The role of the king is ultimately reduced in determining the direction of the country's policies, reducing the power that the king has. So that the people's role in determining the direction of state policy is increased, rules and principles are drawn up for running a government in the country.

In line with the development of the state system, of course each country has its own interests, so to fulfill those interests, each country will look for partners to meet its needs. It is not uncommon for newly formed countries to compete in meeting the needs of these countries. In its development, relations between countries were always filled with intrigue, so a system that was recognized by all existing countries was needed so that harmonious relations between countries would occur. The progress of international relations at that time was very rapid.

Analysis of World War I From International Relations Perspective


In the 1900s and 1990s, the development of the international world underwent quite rapid changes, especially in the fields of technology, politics, and ideology. starting from World War I in 1914–1918, which was followed by countries in Europe and its surroundings. Before World War I occurred, there were many disputes between countries in Europe.

  • The first is motivated by conflicts between countries such as England and Germany, which conflict with industrial and military aspects; France and Germany, which are in dispute over territorial issues; Austria and Russia, which conflict over political factors; and many more.
  • Second, the emergence of an alliance political system in several countries in Europe to find friends, such as the Triple Alliance initiated by Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Germany, as well as the Triple Entente by the United Kingdom, Russia, and France.
  • Third, there is an arms race that causes countries to compete.
  • Fourth is the influence of social Darwinism and the July 1914 crisis, which was the spice and tobacco crisis that occurred in Hamburg. The security dilemma is the notion that in a context of uncertainty and limited rationality, perceived external threats (real or imagined) produce a feeling of security to prove that they believe in the target of the threat, thereby directing these countries to adopt measures to increase their strengths and capabilities, allowing them to counteract the threat (forming alliances, building weapons, and so on).

Another factor that caused World War I, which occurred in Europe in August 1914, was due to industrial competition, imperialism, and nationalism conflicts. The main cause was the assassination of the Austrian crown prince, Franz Ferdinand, who was killed in Sarajevo. This war brought controversy to European diplomacy and politics, resulting in several alliances. In the end, this war resulted in at least 100,000 victims dying every week. This then gave rise to two bipolar bloc forces between the allies, consisting of 23 countries and the United States as chairman, while Germany led the central parties such as Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria. There were many negative impacts due to World War I, so countries in the world began to think about making peace.

At that time, the United States was led by President Woodrow Wilson, who wanted the United States to be a neutral party. Woodrow Wilson wanted to stop war and create peace. In January 1918, Wilson outlined his peace program. The program produces Fourteen Articles of Peace with Points: 

1.    There is no secret agreement, and the peace treaty is open to the public.

2.    absolute freedom for the territory of the state.

3.    Eliminating barriers to economic activity between countries.

4.    There is no alignment of colonial claims. Wilson later founded the League.

Wilson then founded the League of Nations, which is an association between countries to make specific agreements with guarantees of mutual political and territorial integrity for large and small countries. This idea is well received in Europe because it guarantees open diplomacy and arbitration for international conflicts. World War I then ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which was detrimental to the central party as the losing side of the war.

Even though World War I ended physically, some international relations experts believe it continues to this day because it has become a source of great debate among international relations theorists. Despite its decisive role in shaping the 20th century, there is perhaps one major reason why this particular war, above all else, seems to have provoked heated debate in the field of international relations: well enough, every major theory of international relations has problems in this regard. fight.

Defensive realists and bargaining theorists, who believe wars result from spirals of distrust and an inability to find a negotiated peace, regard the First World War as a prime example of actors falling into wars they should have avoided. Liberals and constructivists, who see war arising from unit-level pathologies in the heads of their leaders and societies, can view 1914 as a case in which hyper-nationalism, class wars, cartel politics, and psychological distortions sent actors racing forward in the hope of meeting unmet household and personal needs.

The central question surrounding World War I, whether it was intentional, avoidable, or an anomaly, lies at the heart of international relations theory. It is not surprising, therefore, that explanations of war closely conform to the three main schools of thought: constructivism, liberalism, and realism. The respective causal mechanisms of ideas, domestic politics, and anarchy represent the three main explanations for the causes of World War I. Structural neorealists, who argue that a multipolar system forces great powers to support critical allies in crisis, even at the risk of total war, view the First World War as a prime example of the upward dynamics of the chain. Consistent with a dynamic version of systemic realism grounded in the logic of war prevention, I argue that the war that erupted in the fateful summer of 1914 had one and only one primary cause: the deep-seated fear among German leaders that their nation was in decline, which is irreversible relative to the rising Russian colossus. For the key decision-makers in Berlin, all other seemingly insignificant "causes" were secondary to this logic of deterrence.

World War I is a fundamental or critical case for international relations theory that examines the causes of war. These include balance of power, deterrence, theories of transition of power, and rationalist decision-making models. Recent historical work on the immediate and fundamental causes of World War I poses serious problems for all of these approaches. Among other things, they highlight the importance of context, how it is understood by leaders, their motives and assumptions, and their tendency to overstate the constraints placed on them, the freedom of other actors, and their ability to predict events and control risks. Realists believe that the natural human aggression absorbed by individual states in an anarchic international system can encourage them to take power and distrust the states that will influence each other rather than compete for absolute advantage. Liberals believe human nature is good and capable of resisting aggression. Their main assumptions are that war is inevitable and that there is more potential for cooperation if anarchic conditions are reduced. Overall, global change is possible.

The main obstacle to cooperation for liberals is simple: there are not enough international institutions. According to idealists, if the world wants to create an international organization that promotes peace, disarmament, and international law, cooperation will be more easily achieved. If necessary, these international organizations may use state enforcement. Countries bound by rules and norms created by institutions will have no choice but to cooperate. In a global environment where the international system is now bound, new actors such as transnational corporations and non-governmental organizations will facilitate interdependence and integration between countries, which in turn will lead to a peaceful international environment.


From the explanation above, it can be concluded that the development of international relations cannot be separated from phenomena that occur in the international world. It started with the civilization of ancient Greece, which later gave birth to the Westphalia Agreement, so that it created a sense of nationalism within the community. Over time, several important events followed, including World War I, which caused changes to the constellation of the international system. Many obstacles are experienced in international relations, so it is necessary for all countries to remove these obstacles.

According to liberalists, to achieve world peace we must encourage mutual trust between countries at a higher level than before. However, realists disagree with that, pointing out that the nature of world politics has not changed. From the analysis of international relations, it seems that if security is achieved, cooperation will automatically follow. However, the concept of security is a hotly debated one. New security issues emerged, such as environmental degradation, poverty, hunger, disease, and weak or failed states.

Experts are also starting to believe that security should be people-centered, not state-centered. Security should provide individuals with personal security and freedom from threats. So it can be concluded that international relations have a role and that wars, especially the First World War, also play a role in maintaining world peace.

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