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The Challenge of Grand Strategy
The Great Powers and the Broken Balance between the World Wars


Steven E. Lobell, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Norrin M. Ripsman, Peter Jackson, Scott A. Silverstone, Andrew Webster, Dale C. Copeland, Jack S. Levy, Tsuyoshi Kawasaki, Timothy W. Crawford, Mark L. Haas, David M. Edelstein
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  • Date Published: June 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107660113

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About the Authors
  • The years between the World Wars represent an era of broken balances: the retreat of the United States from global geopolitics, the weakening of Great Britain and France, Russian isolation following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the resurgence of German power in Europe, and the rise of Japan in East Asia. All these factors complicated great-power politics. This book brings together historians and political scientists to revisit the conventional wisdom on the grand strategies pursued between the World Wars, drawing on theoretical innovations and new primary sources. The contributors suggest that all the great powers pursued policies that, while in retrospect suboptimal, represented conscious, rational attempts to secure their national interests under conditions of extreme uncertainty and intense domestic and international political, economic, and strategic constraints.

    • Challenges conventional wisdom on the interwar years based on new evidence and theoretical innovations
    • Seeks to explain the variation in the grand strategies of the six most powerful states: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, the United States and Japan
    • Contributors include both historians and political scientists from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated, the essays in The Challenge of Grand Strategy give us a much better picture of the 1930s than we have had before. The reasoning of the players, the complex domestic politics, and their difficult international interactions are marvellously brought to life.' Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University

    'These stimulating essays challenge conventional wisdoms, set forth provocative new arguments, and invite reconsideration of International Relations theories as well as the history of the interwar years.' Melvyn P. Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of American History, University of Virginia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107660113
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: grand strategy between the World Wars Steven E. Lobell, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro and Norrin M. Ripsman
    2. Deterrence, coercion, and enmeshment: French grand strategy and the German problem after World War I Peter Jackson
    3. The legacy of coercive peace building: the Locarno treaty, Anglo-French grand strategy, and the 1936 Rhineland crisis Scott A. Silverstone
    4. The League of Nations and grand strategy: a contradiction in terms? Andrew Webster
    5. Economic interdependence and the grand strategies of Germany and Japan, 1925–41 Dale C. Copeland
    6. Britain's grand strategy during the 1930s: from balance of power to components of power Steven E. Lobell
    7. British grand strategy and the rise of Germany, 1933–6 Norrin M. Ripsman and Jack S. Levy
    8. Strategy of innocence or provocation? The Roosevelt administration's road to World War II Jeffrey W. Taliaferro
    9. The rising sun was no jackal: Japanese grand strategy, the Tripartite Pact, and alliance formation theory Tsuyoshi Kawasaki
    10. Powers of division: from the anti-Comintern to the Nazi-Soviet and Japanese-Soviet pacts, 1936–41 Timothy W. Crawford
    11. Soviet grand strategy in the interwar years: ideology as realpolitik Mark L. Haas
    12. Conclusions: rethinking interwar grand strategies David M. Edelstein.

  • Editors

    Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Tufts University, Massachusetts
    Professor Jeffrey Taliaferro is the author of Balancing Risks: Great Power Intervention in the Periphery (2004), for which he received the American Political Science Association's Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Award for the Best Book in International History and Politics. His articles have appeared in the journals International Security, Security Studies and Political Psychology, and two edited volumes. He is co-editor (and a contributor), along with Steven E. Lobell and Norrin P. Ripsman, of Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2009).

    Norrin M. Ripsman, Northern Illinois University
    Norrin M. Ripsman is Professor of Political Science at Concordia University.

    Steven E. Lobell, University of Utah
    Steven E. Lobell is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah.


    Steven E. Lobell, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Norrin M. Ripsman, Peter Jackson, Scott A. Silverstone, Andrew Webster, Dale C. Copeland, Jack S. Levy, Tsuyoshi Kawasaki, Timothy W. Crawford, Mark L. Haas, David M. Edelstein

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