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Intentions in Great Power PoliticsUncertainty and the Roots of Conflict$
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Sebastian Rosato

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300253023

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300253023.001.0001

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The Early Interwar Period

The Early Interwar Period

(p.153) 5 The Early Interwar Period
Intentions in Great Power Politics

Sebastian Rosato

Yale University Press

This chapter examines Franco-German and U.S.-Japanese relations in the early interwar period (1919-30). The chapter begins by drawing on the primary and secondary historical record to evaluate how key French and German decision makers thought about each other’s intentions, focusing on these episodes: the negotiation, signature, and aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles; the onset, development, and resolution of the Ruhr Crisis; and the Locarno era. Were they confident that their counterparts had benign intentions—that is, did they trust each other—as asserted by intentions optimists? Or were they uncertain about each other’s intentions, which is to say that they mistrusted each other, as suggested by intentions pessimism? Having shown that Paris and Berlin were far from confident that the other side had benign intentions throughout the early interwar period, the chapter then describes the shape of the resulting Franco-German security competition. The second half of the chapter repeats the analysis performed in the first half, this time with respect to the United States and Japan, focusing on the following episodes: the aftermath of World War I; the creation and operation of the Washington Treaty system; and the three years between the Geneva and London Naval conferences.

Keywords:   Interwar period, Franco-German relations, U.S.-Japanese relations, Intentions, Uncertainty, Trust, Security competition, Great power politics

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