International relations significantly changed between 1879 – 1939 with economic stability fundamentally forming the direction and nature of international relations thus creating ideologies of imperialism. Economic needs appear to be heavily influential in constructing actions of political figures such as Mussolini whose hunger for imperialism is generated by an economic crisis at the time. Unilateral actions such as those of invading other countries strongly showcase the economic factor as central to all mechanisms which altered the nature of international relations.
Imperialistic political agendas evidently transferred relations from the notion of keeping world peace to ensuring individual safety and protection through alliances. Imperialism required protection and support in order to expand your empire. Mussolini demonstrated this by signing several pacts to withhold agreements between Italy and super powers of the world. The Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy highlights the role of alliances in allowing imperialism to expand with Hitler and Mussolini granting each other military back up in order to pursue their ambitions.
Mussolini understood Italy’s precarious position with army resources stretched in both Spain and Abyssinia and sought after protection from Hitler to continue imperialistic needs. Clearly imperialism bought into force dangerous alliances which in the nearby future would pose a great danger to world peace in search of expanding their empires. Hitler’s invasion of Poland further illustrates the growth of imperialism as significant in weakening the position of the League of Nations and promoting radical ideas.
Japan’s invasion of Manchuria equally demonstrates a desire of expansion coming from protection. However amongst all this, the emergence of imperialism as a political ideology is very much down to the economic starvation countries faced. An economic crisis portrayed extreme ideas as reasonable and in the process made imperialism plausible and attractive. Mussolini recognised the economic potential of expanding his empire rather than staying compound within the League of Nations without economic stability.
Isolation seemed an acceptable situation as long as economic stability was assured. The French only understood this too well and went on to invade the Ruhr in order to complete reconstruction of France with raw materials after Germany had failed to pay despite facing isolation from America. Economic insurance outweighed other factors with imperialism, isolation and agreeing sceptical pacts to form alliances appearing reasonable as a way of achieving stability.
The economy engineered factors into force with imperialism being one of them which in turn led to alliances and abolishment of world peace ultimately leading to a second world war and forever altering the nature of international relations. Alliances predominantly shifted international relations from aiming to achieve disarmament to allowing alliances to grow and pose a threat to world peace. The Pact of Steel exemplifies the development of alliances as consequently empowering imperialism with Mussolini virtually granting Hitler control of Italy’s army to invade other countries.
In addition to this developing alliances challenged the authority of the League of Nations whilst allowing radical figures such as Hitler to ignore them and start conscription of his army. Alliances provided an alternative to an already deflating method of peace but also promoted radicalisation of domestic wealth which bought imperialism into place. Despite alliances reflecting a desire to grow, super powers signed pacts to ensure peace but in reality served as dead agreements.
The Four Power Pact signed in 1933 between Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy highlights the ineffective nature of non-aggressive pacts in achieving peace. Invariably agreements between super powers such the four power pact served the purpose of generating a negative feeling between smaller countries which now appalled at nature of conduct sought after individual protection. The Soviet Union entered negotiations with France to establish a mutual assistance pact while Poland reacted by signing a pact with Germany in 1935.
Clearly alliances created an ideology of individual isolation which perfectly suited the imperialism developing as result of the economic crisis. Alliances fed into the ever growing tensions between nations allowing dictators to manipulate and impose imperialism in domestic and international agreements. Imperialism developed into the powerful force it became very much due to the nature of alliances which failed to realise the need to keep peace but instead ensured after economic gains.
Indeed it is the failure of alliances which allow Hitler to spiral out of control and totally ignore terms of the treaty to promote his ideology of fascism across Europe. Mussolini’s abbreviation from the League of Nations to supporting Hitler portrays the failure of alliances to keep intact dangerous forces which desired imperialism. The failure of alliances to achieve their ambitions of keeping world peace led to countries considering alternatives as Mussolini remonstrated feeding into the attractive world of imperialism created by the economic struggle Europe faced.
International relations greatly depended on the state of the economy to control dangerous forces which posed a great threat to world peace. Undoubtedly economic stability led to improved relations even between old enemies which understood pointless feuds in era of economic boom benefitted no one. Agreements between European super powers such as the Locarno Pact and Briand –Kellog Pact express the level of reduced anxiety and tensions when countries were assured of their economic destiny.
Contrastingly when economic insurance was removed or greatly damaged by an incompetent system nations were compelled into unilateral actions increasing tensions. The French invasion of the Ruhr in 1923 serves as an example of how economic factors controlled the actions of the government and its proposed political agenda towards the public. The French despite being a founding member of the League of Nations showcased peace served as a secondary goal when it came to economic stability.
Clearly the need for economic stability could force even the most liberal of governments to consider dangerous actions which posed questions at the heart of European relations. Nations understood isolation as the only reasonable action to expel you self from being dragged into the economic dungeon. Consequently international trade was hit with high tariffs virtually ending any relations between empires. The US had untaken tariffs as measure of domestic protection for their goods however other countries equally sought after the same protection submitting tariffs on foreign goods.
As a result of international trade ending the economy had bought into being isolated nations, dangerously armed after the failure of disarmament, attracted to imperialism and in danger of falling to dictators as seen in Germany and Spain. However with imperialism being thrust into political minds alliances were needed in order for it to take course with protection guaranteed. Arguably the most destructive alliances and actions of imperialism came after the Wall Street Crash in 1929 highlighting economic factors as responsible for bringing radical ideas into international relations.
The invasions of Manchuria and Abyssinia occurred both in the early 1930s when the economic depression of America had drastically hit Europe and especially Germany. Along with the development of imperialistic actions hostile alliances greatly developed in the 1930s with the pact of steel and October protocols creating an enemy against the status quo whilst the four power pact essentially enabling Hitler to ignore terms of the treaty.
In spite of all other factors nothing is credited to be as much of a direct impact as the rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany after the Wall Street Crash. The crash left Germany facing a near impossible situation with America calling back loans and reparations still incomplete. The mini boom Germany enjoyed after the war was over and unemployment rapidly rose to over 6 million and the number dependent on Government welfare peaked at 17 million.
The Weimar Government already struggling and unpopular inevitably fell to force that was becoming the Nazi party which recruited over 6 million new members by 1932. Hitler’s moment had finally arrived with the Wall Street Crash serving as the perfect source for Nazi propaganda to promote fascism. The economy enabled radical ideas to take shape in small in nations with imperialism and alliances resulting to compliment the drastic ambitions of dictators of economically depressed countries.
All in all the economy is the main factor which changed the nature of international relations greatly damaging a state of peace established after the First World War. The economic depression after the Wall Street Crash operated as a catalyst towards imperialism and alliances which in turn promoted radical ideas leading to another world war. Essentially a domino of factors all played a part in altering international relations with the economy being the first and most important factor to fall allowing imperialism and alliances to influence political minds.