In this interpretive study, Amos Perlmutter offers a comparative analysis of the twentieth century's three most significant world orders: Wilsonianism, Soviet Communism, and Nazism. Anchored in three hegemonical states--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany--these systems, he argues, shared certain characteristics that distinguished them from other attempts to restructure the international political scene. While Communism and Nazism were committed to imperial ideologies, Wilsonianism was inspired by an exceptionalist, peaceful, democratic, and free market world order. But all three were able to mobilize industrial, technological, and military resources in pursuing their goals. In the process of examining the democratic, Communist, and Nazi systems, Perlmutter also provides a framework for understanding U.S. foreign policy over the course of the century, particularly during the Cold War. He underscores the importance of ideology in establishing an international order, arguing that in the wake of the Soviet Union's demise, no system--not even Wilsonianism--can lay claim to the title of new world order.
Originally published in 1997.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Age of Totalitarianism: New and Old International Orders
Chapter 1. Radicalization, Mobilization, and the Post-1919 International Chaos
Chapter 2. Wilsonianism in Theory and Practice: Its Rise and Demise
Chapter 3. The Communist World Order: Leninism in the Disguise of a New Imperialism
Chapter 4. Nazism: The Racial World Order
Chapter 5. Resurrection of Wilsonianism: FDR
Chapter 6. Balance of Power, Balance of Terror, and the Cold War
Chapter 7. The Kremlin's Cold War after Stalin
Chapter 8. A "New" New World Order?
What People are Saying About This
Fascinating and insightful. . . . An excellent study which convincingly illustrates the need for pragmatic American engagement in world affairs.Virginia Quarterly Review
A provocative account of the three 'world orders' that have dominated the century. Perlmutter's erudition and common sense illuminate our times. Clearly written, crisply argued. Highly recommended.Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations
A cautionary tale highlighting the need for continued military preparedness and the political will to use it wisely.Military Review
Amos Perlmutter's splendid Making the World Safe for Democracy . . . could not be more timely. . . . He writes with concision and authority.Jacob Heilbrunn, Wall Street Journal
A fine primer on 20th-century world politics. Recommended for general readers, upper-division undergraduates, and graduate students.Choice
Perlmutter's thesis may be stated briefly: Wilsonianism, despite its blemishes and hypocrisies, is the sole (hypothetical) contender for establishing 'world order.' But that would require the American people to embrace interventionism and hegemonialism. In the absence of a serious external challenge, such an embrace will not take place. In practice, we shall seek a foreign policy 'on the cheap'despite grandiose rhetoric. The American people cannot be mobilized to embrace a struggle against nebulous foes or complicated civil wars.James Schlesinger, former secretary of defense
Amos Perlmutter's book develops a timely theme by identifying and examining the three political movements of this century that have tried to promote world orders. A succinct, insightful, and important work.Kenneth N. Waltz, University of California, Berkeley
In a comparative analysis of the three great efforts at world order in this centuryWilsonianism, Nazism, and Leninism/StalinismAmos Perlmutter has written an illuminating essay on the limits of ideology. Making the World Safe for Democracy merits the close consideration of those intent on coming to terms with the international politics of a passing age.Robert Tucker, Johns Hopkins University