According to the authors, the definition of collective security was a security arrangement in which a well-delineated and distinguished array of nations agrees forming a coalition and taking a collective action upon a member who tends to encroach upon the sovereignty of the other members (Nye and Welch 2014: 113). The member upon whom the collective action is taken upon is known as the aggressive member, and in this case, the League of Nations proposed by President Wilson would come together with the support from the military force with the aim of ensuring the safety of preponderance of power and indivisibility of peace. The author uses an approach of relating collective security to the balance of power to provide a clear insight into the similarities they both share when it comes to deterring aggression. According to the author, collective security was not sufficient even though it played a significant role in stopping World War 1. The reason is that collective security was more of an international law, which was not accepted by many involved states since they saw it as a constraining factor. The countries viewed compliance as a voluntary act. The United States was even unable to join the League of Nations which was its creation. Collective security, therefore, had to function without the US, which was to be its most prominent participant (Nye and Welch 2014: 114). Collective security according to the author was inevitable since it only acted upon threats that have been collectively identified and failed to act upon planned threats that had not been discovered.
The origin of World War II according to the three levels of analysis was majorly brought about by Adolph Hitler as a result of his 1933 political takeover in Germany under the rulership of his Nazi party. He, later on, chose to withdraw from the League of Nations and went ahead to initiate an expansion plan for Germany to bring it back to power (Nye and Welch 2014: 121). Treaty of Versailles became very tough on the Germans since they had lost the battle in World War 1 and required them to pay massive amounts of reparations, which Hitler was not in agreement. The Japanese expansion, as well as the formation of fascist governments by Franco of Spain, Hitler and Mussolini of Italy who took over Ethiopia in 1935, also contributed to the Second World War. Hitler, later on, took Czechoslovakia in 1939 under his dictatorship rule after seeing that the League of Nations was not doing anything to stop him and this was the beginning of the war. World War II was not inevitable (Nye and Welch 2014: 130). However, as time passed, it became increasingly probable.
The authors talk about the balance of power and how they were widely blamed for the resulting World War I.
“The balance of power is a great power forever discredited. It’s the old and evil order that prevailed before this war. The balance of power is a thing that we can do without in the future.” (Nye and Welch 2014: 112).
What the authors are trying to put across according to the above quote by the then US president Woodrow Wilson is that the act of balancing power was not a justified act. He regarded it as an immoral policy that only takes advantage in the violation of democratic rights and principles as well as the national self-determination. The balance of power is unable to prioritize peace and democracy as it is a means to preserve the sovereign system (Nye and Welch 2014: 112). The above quote is significant in helping citizens as well as the ones in the leadership positions to understand why balancing of power is not appropriate for a nation, as it also allows for self-determination violence as well as war as the only means of keeping independence. In the entire chapter, we can see that World War II received influence from World War I. World War I was blamed on the act of balancing power.
This chapter has been useful in enabling readers to understand the genesis of the civil wars that hit various giant nations in the world. The question that I pose to ask is would the collective security be effective supposing the US had not dropped out from the League of Nations? Again it is believed that World War II was triggered by Hitler, who is famously known for his temperament and dictatorial kind of rule. The question is what was the role of his personality in the eruption of the war? Supposing he had a tender character, would there be a likelihood for the Second World War not to erupt? What were the lessons learned by lawmakers in world war I? How were their behaviours altered by these lessons during the war period?
Nye, Joseph S., and David A. Welch. Understanding global conflict & cooperation: intro to theory & history. Pearson Education, 2014. 112-137