Beyond the Balance of Power: France and the Politics of National Security in the Era of the First World War

Beyond the Balance of Power: France and the Politics of National Security in the Era of the First World War

by Peter Jackson
     
 

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This is a major new study of French foreign and security policy before, during and after the First World War. Peter Jackson examines the interplay between two contending conceptions of security: the first based on traditional practices of power politics and the second on internationalist doctrines that emerged in the late nineteenth century. He pays particular

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Overview

This is a major new study of French foreign and security policy before, during and after the First World War. Peter Jackson examines the interplay between two contending conceptions of security: the first based on traditional practices of power politics and the second on internationalist doctrines that emerged in the late nineteenth century. He pays particular attention to the social and political context in which security policy was made and to the cultural dynamics of the policy-making process. The result is a comprehensive reassessment of France's security policy in the era of the Great War. The book reconsiders the evolution of French war aims and reinterprets the peace policy of the Clemenceau government in 1919. It also provides a new perspective on the foreign policy of successive French governments in the early 1920s. It shows that internationalist ideas were far more influential over this entire period than is commonly understood.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By emphasizing the political, social, and cultural contexts of foreign policy decision-making and the clash between balance of power and internationalist security doctrines, Peter Jackson offers a provocative new interpretation of French security policy and international politics in the era of the First World War. In the process he engages some central debates in international relations theory. Beyond the Balance of Power is a major contribution with an interdisciplinary appeal, and essential reading for students of both the history and theory of security policy."
Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor, Rutgers University

"Why is France repeatedly cast as the villain when it comes to the ultimate failure of international initiatives and transnational efforts to re-order world affairs after the First World War? Answering this fundamental question animates Peter Jackson's panoramic study of French security policy before, during and after the Great War. Rare are the historians capable of integrating international relations theory and sociologies of power into their assessments of the past. Jackson not only does so, he makes the conceptual thinking of politicians, diplomats, soldiers and civil society activists his critical explanatory tool in digging for answers to France's security dilemmas of the early twentieth century. Untangling the political, cultural and, above all, the juridical roots of French ideas about peace, war, and international obligation, the result is breathtaking: a transformative work in an otherwise crowded historical field. The book is sure to become a classic."
Martin Thomas, Professor of History, Exeter University

"Peter Jackson has written a highly original and dramatically different account of French diplomacy in the critical war and post-war years. It is not only based on extensive work in the archives but moves beyond both national and theoretical boundaries to provide challenging portraits of the makers of policy as well as the consequences of their assumptions about the role of France in a multipolar international system."
Zara Steiner, University of Cambridge

"… quite simply, an absolutely brilliant book. Peter Jackson has produced a fascinating interpretation of French foreign and security policy in the tumultuous era of the First World War."
Brian C. Schmidt, H-Diplo

"Peter Jackson has provided the best account available of French national security policy against Germany during the decade from 1914 to 1925, and one that will remain a standard point for further reference."
David Stevenson, H-Diplo

"Jackson's book adds illuminating depth and complexity to a forgotten international history … This is the kind of careful history that sets out openly to persuade and convert the historical practitioner as well as reader about the importance of paying attention to sources we consider beyond the pale of our often too well-defined views of the past."
Glenda Sluga, H-Diplo

"Peter Jackson, the author of a highly regarded study of French intelligence and foreign policy in the 1930s, has provided an examination of French foreign policy from before the First World War to Locarno that forces us to reconsider not only French policy but the nature of the international order in this period."
Keith Neilson, H-Diplo

"… a welcome and valuable contribution …"
Talbot Imlay, H-Diplo

"This is an important and innovative book, with diverse and ambitious objectives which it meets very effectively … [It] is a superb work of scholarship which can be read very profitably on many levels and whose innovation in methodology and intellectual approach helps us make sense of one of the most complex periods of modern international history."
J. F. V. Keiger, English Historical Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107039940
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/31/2013
Pages:
577
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Jackson is Professor of Global Security in the History Department at the University of Glasgow. He is also Visiting Professor at the Institut d'études politiques (Paris) and has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Yale, Carleton and Aberystwyth. He co-edits Intelligence and National Security (the world's leading academic journal for intelligence and security studies) and is the author or editor of five books including France and the Nazi Menace (2000), Understanding Intelligence in the Twenty-First Century (with Len Scott, 2004) and The Uses and Limits of Intelligence in International Society (with Jennifer Siegel, 2005).

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