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And bravo to the OUP for the very clever cover design for the series: a common look with endless variety and handsome colours. Yes, a delight to explore. On rare occasions perhaps a little abrupt, so that one is left hoping for a fresh attempt. Gosh - that would be tricky! This is a very fine collection and makes you want to hand this out as essential reading to anyone who finds it better to amuse themselves with being bigoted, tyrannous or lazy.

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Music and tradition in Europe - exploring minority and popularism. Happy While this site will remain, for all new content please visit www. Skip to main content. Home News Very Short Introductions' very big success as it presents its th subject. Images: Oxford University Images, Facebook. To be sure, there was a brief revival of interest in the MSC in when it played a role in coordinating naval operations during the Gulf War. In the end, however, the UN has shifted toward subcontracting force out to regional bodies such as NATO for example in Kosovo or the African Union in Darfur rather than creating a structured and effective military capacity of its own.

The Soviet UN ambassador argued that the regimes slated to take over these countries were essentially French puppet governments. Later in the same year, the UNSC refused to discuss a Siamese complaint about French military activities on its border with Indochina and could not come to an agreement over an investigation regarding the communist-royalist civil war in Greece.

On most issues where the veto was used, the Soviet Union stood on one side, the other four members on the other. This, effectively, guaranteed a deadlock on most issues, including such hot concerns as the division of Berlin. The American, British, and French forces occupying that part of the German capital as well as the Germans who lived there were, essentially, hostages. To overcome the blockade, the United States commenced a massive airlift of food and other supplies.

It would last almost a year. While the Western powers debated and drafted resolutions to end the blockade, the Soviets ignored any possibility of compromise. Not until early did the Soviets accept that Western powers could not be smoked out of Berlin. Instead, the Americans and others upheld the Republic of China which had been reduced to the island of Taiwan as the legitimate member of the P At the same time Taiwan was summarily ejected from the world body. Another resolution authorized the use of force to push the North Koreans back. The preeminently American troops that carried out the resolution eventually overstepped the boundaries of the UNSC resolution by moving deep into North Korea and very close to the Chinese border in the fall of The arrival of mostly American troops under American command led by General Douglas MacArthur spoke of the futility of expecting rapid military action 58 from the world body unless a member state was ready to step in and pick up the responsibility.

The United States—with the help of a number of other countries—did so from to It stated that in case the UNSC could not maintain international peace, an issue could be taken up by the General Assembly. Although seemingly revolutionary, the resolution was promoted by the United States as a way of circumventing possible Soviet vetoes—the USSR having returned to the UN in the meantime—regarding Korea.

It became clear over the years that followed, however, that notwithstanding Resolution , the General Assembly remained subservient to the Security Council. The Soviets would not miss future meetings naturally, the other four UNSC members learned the same lesson. This had two consequences. It highlighted the importance of the UNSC as a means of blocking action that might jeopardize the interests of the P No wonder that the next largescale military action blessed by the UNSC would not take place until the end of the Cold War.

In the more immediate term, though, the role of the UNSC as the place where all cold-war issues would be deliberated upon was secure. In some cases, they produced odd bedfellows. One example was the Suez crisis of In October of that year the British, French, and Israelis cooperated in an offensive against Egypt with the aim of removing Gamel Abdel Nasser from power. Nothing worked. Finally, on October 29, , Israeli forces invaded the Sinai peninsula. When Israel, as had been agreed, accepted and Egypt, as expected, rejected the ultimatum, British and French planes bombed Cairo and the Suez Canal region.

It came as a rude shock to London and Paris that the Eisenhower administration called for an immediate Security Council condemnation of the Israeli, British, and French action.

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Both superpowers were trying to win allies among the newly independent or about to be independent states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Yet, as the explosion of nonaligned countries would show, countries like Egypt were keener on striking their own course than aligning themselves with the two most powerful states on the globe.

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This did not mean that Cold War contests disappeared from the agenda of the Security Council. During the Cuban missile crisis, for example, the U. The resolution of the crisis was an indication of the fact that among the P-5 some were indeed more equal than others, basically, the P the United States and the Soviet Union.

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But Suez also showed that the General Assembly, which strongly criticized the attacks on Egypt, actually carried more than symbolic weight. In front of the television cameras, Stevenson demanded that Valentin Zorin, the Soviet representative, admit to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. When Zorin refused to answer, the American showed photographs that clearly established the presence of the missiles.

That task was left for backchannel Soviet-American diplomacy. During the s and s, the United States military involvement in Vietnam and neighboring countries drew worldwide condemnation. A decade or so later the Soviet Union sent its troops to Afghanistan, but despite global uproar no UN resolution was forthcoming. With the absence of Cold War 62 antagonisms the UN appeared to emerge as a major player in shaping a new world order, a term employed, yet again, by an American president. Although Operation Desert Storm was successfully concluded and represented the largest UNSC-authorized military campaign, its consequences were contradictory for the UN.

Far from increasing the credibility of the UN, the Gulf War actually undermined it.

The sudden emergence of virtual unanimity among the veto powers did not hide the fact that there was, at this point, but one superpower. The United States—in part because of its dramatic advantages in wealth and military resources, in part because of the demise of its only true counterweight, the Soviet Union—emerged in the s as the one power that could make or break any UNSC initiative. Following the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August , the U. With the participation of thirty countries, approximately , troops, and a massive air operation, the American-led coalition did just that by the end of February The occasion was, again, Iraq.

Despite more than a decade of UN sanctions, that country was reportedly continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction WMD. Iraq, still ruled by Saddam Hussein, arguably also had links to various terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, the organization that had perpetrated the September 11, , attacks in New York and Washington, D.

The comparison regarding the role of the UN in the two Gulf wars was stark. Nor was this the only such occasion to occur in the new millennium: in October the United States had led a military operation that toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan accused of harboring the headquarters of the terrorists who had planned the attacks of September The UN was brought in afterwards, as a sponsor of the planning for the future shape of Afghanistan.

If anything, the end of the Cold War had highlighted the disparity between one of the P-5 countries and the rest of the world. The majority of UN members did not approve of the military action called for by the United States, but they were 64 incapable of preventing it. In this sense, the collapse of the Cold War international system had changed little.

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The possession of nuclear weapons presumably makes a state invulnerable to attacks from other states, the consequences— a subsequent retaliation with nuclear weapons—being too grave to the attacker. And indeed, despite such tense moments as the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear weapons have not been used since the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in At that point, of course, the bombs were used for offensive purposes and without the fear of retaliation in kind.

Although nuclear weapons have not been used as a tool of war for more than six decades, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is 65 Facing wars, confronting threats Broad principles, however, again clashed with naked national interest. The United States chose to safeguard its monopoly of atomic weapons, while the Soviet Union quickly moved to develop its own arsenal. By the fall of the USSR had successfully tested one. In subsequent decades India and Pakistan both declared their nuclear capabilities, while other states—Israel, Iran, and North Korea—worked hard to acquire them.

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The United Nations proof of the overall failure—especially by the P-5—to live up to the UN goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. As well, a series of international treaties has been aimed at controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons, at limiting the scale of the arsenals each country holds, and, ultimately, at bringing the threat of nuclear war under control. Throughout the Cold War the IAEA remained a relatively impotent organization, beholden to the whims of the great powers.

The efforts at nuclear arms control were therefore essentially results of old-fashioned power politics rather than the moral pressure of the international community.

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In their talks led to the SALT I agreement that put caps on the number of offensive 66 nuclear weapons each side could have. Whether the agreements were primarily aimed at making the world a safer place, as its principal advocates piously argued is, however, open to question. It is clear, though, that the renewed atmosphere of Soviet-American tensions in the late s resulted in a renewed nuclear arms race in the s. And there was nothing the IAEA could do about it. In the early s the dissolution of the Soviet Union lifted the nuclear shadow of the Cold War.

But fears of global annihilation as a result of a superpower showdown were soon replaced by renewed concerns of proliferation.