Free «To What Extend Did the Idealist Theory Lead to the World War II?» Essay Sample
Analyzing both historical events and modernity, it becomes obvious that the idealistic component is a guarantee of the progress of society. This component, called in different situations as “passionarity”, “strength of mind”, “ideology”, “a religious rush” or “enlightenment,” allowed few soldiers to win against the whole armies, individuals or small groups to create the states and to rule them successfully. This component changed both the map of Europe and the world and consciousness of people a lot of times, often giving the chance to pass to the following step of the development of civilization for them.
In the international relations, idealism is a political school which professes the principle of subordination of the foreign policy of a state to the needs of its domestic policy. Idealists sincerely believed that a struggle against poverty in the country should be followed by the struggle against poverty abroad. The idealist theory was the forerunner of the World War II.
Idealists considered the world politics by means of legal and ethical categories, being guided by the creation of standard models of the world relations. The refusal of the recognition of power and military means as the most important regulators of the interstate relations was the cornerstone of their belief. The preference was completely given to the system of international law and its institutions. Instead of the balance of forces, idealists offered the other mechanism of settlement of the interstate relations, namely - the mechanism of collective security. This idea was based on the reason that all states have a common goal - peace and general safety - as instability of the power balance of forces and war cause a huge damage to the states and lead to the senseless expenditure of resources. The aggression of even one state against another one brings damage to all world countries.
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From the historical point of view, idealism is the trend when something spiritual is the main driving factor of historical and social development. The idealistic treatment means the recognition of the primacy of public consciousness in relation to a social being. Modern texts about the theory of the international relations of the 19th century mentioned the theory of idealism rarely or did not mention at all. The creation of the idealistic theory is steadily attributed to Machiavelli, Hobbes or Russo, and it was in decline until the end of the World War II. This gap in a semi-official historiography of the theory of the international relations is equivalent to the denial of political and standard connotations of a realistic thought. It is easy to understand the reason for which modern realists neglected a considerable part of the intellectual heritage (Hobhouse, 2007, p. 647).
Before the World War II, the USSR had a strong support of the world countries. However, the country was financially and military weaker than the rest western countries. This support was based not on the financial, but on the idealistic relations, accepted by the major part of the world.
The political realism and tactics of power were associated with violence and aggressive foreign policy of Germany during the World War II and, therefore, did not suit to modern realists. The idealist theory had an impact on the mainstream of the theory of the international relations, as well as the whole variety of interpretations of idealism and realism. Otto Span, who was the fascist social philosopher, supporting the national idealist direction, believed that Hobbes and Machiavelli belonged to the opposite “individualistic” direction (Landherr, 1948, p.388).
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Edward Hallett Carr, the famous philosopher, opposed to the position of the idealist theory, calling it “utopia.” He characterized war from the position of idealists as the “aberration in the course of normal life and the way to prevent it is to educate people about peace, and to build systems of collective security. Carr’s indictment of idealism, coupled with the onset of the World War II and then the Cold War, dealt it a devastating blow.” (Mearsheimer, 2005).
It is impossible to call modern realism to be a product only of one idealistic thought. Neglecting the past, post-war realists invented the eclectic theory, which is contrary to the majority of discoveries and statements of modern science about politics. Unlike the modern realistic theory, the idealistic theory of the state offered a comprehensive explanation of the international relations and connected it to the theory of “human nature”, state and history. “Personality” or “identity” of the state became the key concept, and the concept of personality had a clear theoretical basis and significantly surpassed the simple statement about the “natural” interest of the state.
Idealism in modern science about the international relations has also closer ideological and theoretical sources, represented by utopian socialism, liberalism and pacifism of the 19th century. Its main message is the belief in the need and opportunity to finish the world wars and armed conflicts between the states by the legal regulation and democratization of the international relations, distribution of moral norms and justice.
According to this direction, the world community of the democratic states is quite capable of settling the conflicts arising between its members in a peaceful manner with support and pressure from public opinion. It can be done by means of the methods of a legal regulation and increase in a number and a role of the international organizations promoting the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation and exchange. The creation of the system of a collective security on the basis of a voluntary disarmament and mutual refusal of war is one of its priority goals and a tool of international policy.
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After Stalin’s death, the opportunists, who ruled the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, refused the development of the Marxist-Leninist theory. The scientific-theoretical level of both rank-and-file members of the party and its heads steadily decreased. A similar weakening of the position of Marxism-Leninism, which is dialectic materialism, led to the penetration subjective-idealistic concepts and the “scientific” directions into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and then into the whole Soviet society.