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

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

By: Norrin M. Ripsman (editor), Jeffrey W. Taliaferro (editor), Steven E. Lobell (editor)Paperback

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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.

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About Author

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


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.

Product Details

  • publication date: 27/06/2013
  • ISBN13: 9781107660113
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 360
  • ID: 9781107660113
  • weight: 480
  • ISBN10: 1107660114

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