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Encyclopedia > Great Power
One of the hallmarks of contemporary great power status is permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council.
One of the hallmarks of contemporary great power status is permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council.
This article concerns only great powers in the modern (post-1815) world; for nation-states wielding similar power before 1815 see Historical powers

A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess economic, military, diplomatic, and cultural strength. Nations often consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions of their own. Image File history File links Acap. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1200x749, 154 KB) UN security council Author: Bernd Untiedt, Germany January 2005 File links The following pages link to this file: United Nations Security Council ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1200x749, 154 KB) UN security council Author: Bernd Untiedt, Germany January 2005 File links The following pages link to this file: United Nations Security Council ... “UNSC” redirects here. ... This article deals with the world most powerful nations and empires before the Congress of Vienna. ... One of the most influential doctrines in history is that all humans are divided into groups called nations. ... A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Diplomat redirects here. ... Soft power is a term used in international relations theory to describe the ability of a political body, such as a state, to indirectly influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies through cultural or ideological means. ...


The term "great power" was first used to represent the most important powers in Europe during the post-Napoleonic era. Since then, power has been shifted numerous times, most dramatically during the First and Second World Wars. While some nations are widely considered to be great powers, there is no definitive list, leading to a continuing debate. World map showing the location of Europe. ... Napoléon I, Emperor of the French (born Napoleone di Buonaparte, changed his name to Napoléon Bonaparte)[1] (15 August 1769; Ajaccio, Corsica – 5 May 1821; Saint Helena) was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... A world war is a war affecting the majority of the worlds major nations. ...

Contents

History

Different sets of great, or significant, powers have existed throughout history; however the term "Great power" has only been used in scholarly or diplomatic discourse since the post–Napoleonic War Congress of Vienna in 1815.[1] The Congress established the Concert of Europe as an attempt to preserve peace after the years of Napoleonic Wars. The Napoleonic Wars lasted from 1804 until 1815. ... The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819. ... The Concert of Europe describes the broad cooperation between Europes great powers after 1815. ... Combatants Austria[1] Portugal Prussia[1] Russia[2] Spain[3] Sweden United Kingdom[4] French Empire Holland Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Naples Duchy of Warsaw Bavaria[5] Saxony[6] Denmark [7] Commanders Archduke Charles Prince Schwarzenberg Karl Mack von Leiberich Gebhard von Blücher Duke of Brunswick Prince of...


Lord Castlereagh, the British Foreign Secretary, first used the term in its diplomatic context, in a letter sent on February 13, 1814. He stated that: Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, (June 18, 1769 - August 12, 1822), known until 1821 by his courtesy title of Viscount Castlereagh, was an Anglo-Irish politician born in Dublin who represented the United Kingdom at the Congress of Vienna. ... The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (commonly referred to as Foreign Secretary) is a member of the British Government responsible for relations with foreign countries, heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (often called simply the Foreign Office). ...

It affords me great satisfaction to acquaint you that there is every prospect of the Congress terminating with a general accord and Guarantee between the Great powers of Europe, with a determination to support the arrangement agreed upon, and to turn the general influence and if necessary the general arms against the Power that shall first attempt to disturb the Continental peace.[2]

The Congress of Vienna consisted of five main powers: the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, Prussia, France, and Russia. Spain, Portugal, and Sweden were consulted on certain specific issues, but they were not full participants. Hanover, Bavaria, and Württemberg were also consulted on issues relating to Germany. These five primary participants constituted the original Great powers as we know the term today.[3] Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ... Motto Suum cuique Latin: To each his own Prussia at its peak, as leading state of the German Empire Capital Königsberg, later Berlin Government Duke1  - 1525–68 Albert I (first)  - 1688–1701 Frederick III (last) King1  - 1701–13 Frederick I (first)  - 1888–1918 William II (last) Prime Minister1,2... Hanover(i) (German: , IPA: ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ... For other uses, see Bavaria (disambiguation). ... Arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Wuerttemberg. ...

The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819.

Over time, these original five were subject to the usual ebb and flow of events. Some, such as the UK and Prussia (as part of the newly-formed German state), experienced continued economic growth and political power.[4] Others, such as Russia and Austria-Hungary, slowly ossified.[5][6] At the same time, other states were emerging and expanding in power; the foremost of which were Japan and the United States. Clearly, at the dawn of the 20th century, the balance of world power had changed substantially from 1815 and the Congress of Vienna. The Eight-Nation Alliance (the five Congress powers plus Italy, Japan, and the United States), formed in 1900 represented the club of the Great powers at the beginning of 20th century. Image File history File links CongressVienna. ... Image File history File links CongressVienna. ... Jean-Baptiste Isabey (April 11, 1767 - 1853), French painter, was born at Nancy. ... Military of the Powers during the Boxer Rebellion, with their naval flags, from left to right: Italy, United States, France, Austria-Hungary, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia. ...


Shifts of international power have most notably occurred through major conflicts. [7] The conclusion of World War I and the resulting Treaty of Versailles witnessed the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and the United States as the chief arbiters of the new world order.[8] The end of World War II saw the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union emerge as the primary victors. The importance of China and France was acknowledged by their inclusion, along with the other three, in the group of countries allotted permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... “UNSC” redirects here. ...


Since the end of the World Wars, the term "Great power" has been joined by a number of other power classifications. Foremost among these is the concept of the superpower, used to describe those nations with overwhelming power over the rest of the world. Middle power has emerged as a term for those nations which exercise a degree of global influence, but insufficient to be decisive on international affairs. Regional powers are those whose influence is confined to their region. Major power and global power have emerged as synonyms of "Great power". The USA and USSR were the two superpowers during the Cold War. ... Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have some influence internationally. ... In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... The top global powers usually have relatively high military budgets, reflecting their powerful military capabilities. ...


Characteristics

There are no set and defined characteristics of a Great power. Largely the question has been treated as 'an empirical one, and common sense can answer it'.[9] This approach does have the obvious disadvantage of subjectivity. As a result there have been attempts to derive some common criteria and to treat these as essential elements of Great power status.


Early writings on the subject tended to judge nations by the realist criterion, as succinctly expressed by the historian AJP Taylor: "The test of a Great power is the test of strength for war".[10] Later writers have expanded this test, attempting to define power in terms of overall military, economic, and political capacity.[11] Kenneth Waltz the founder of Neo-realism uses a set of five criteria to determine Great power: population and territory; resource endowment; economic capability; political stability and competence; and military strength. [12] These expanded criteria can be divided into three heads: power capabilities, spatial aspects, and status.[13] It has been suggested that Defensive realism be merged into this article or section. ... A. J. P. Taylor (March 25, 1906 - September 7, 1990) (full name Alan John Percivale Taylor) was a renowned British historian of the 20th century. ... Kenneth Neal Waltz (born 1924) is a member of the faculty at Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars of international relations (IR) alive today. ... Neorealism is a cultural movement in cinema that, following the realism in literature, brings elements of true life in the stories it describes, in contrast with a tendency to depict a world mainly existing in imagination only. ...


Power dimension

Leopold Von Ranke was one of the first to attempt to scientifically document the Great powers
Leopold Von Ranke was one of the first to attempt to scientifically document the Great powers

As noted above, for many, power capabilities were the sole criterion. However, even under the more expansive tests power retains a vital place. Download high resolution version (1000x1347, 298 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1000x1347, 298 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Leopold Von Ranke in 1877. ...


This aspect has received mixed treatment, with some confusion as to the degree of power required. Writers have approached the concept of Great power with differing conceptualizations of the world situation, from multi-polarity to overwhelming hegemony. In his essay 'French Diplomacy in the Postwar Period', the French historian Jean-Baptiste Duroselle spoke to the multi-polarity conceptualization. He wrote: Hegemony (pronounced or ) (Greek: ) is the dominance of one group over other groups, with or without the threat of force, to the extent that, for instance, the dominant party can dictate the terms of trade to its advantage; more broadly, cultural perspectives become skewed to favor the dominant group. ...

'A Great power is one which is capable of preserving its own independence against any other single power.' [14]

This differed from earlier writers, notably from Leopold von Ranke, who clearly had a different idea of the world situation. In his essay 'The Great Powers', written in 1833, he wrote: Leopold Von Ranke in 1877. ...

'If one could establish as a definition of a Great power that it must be able to maintain itself against all others, even when they are united, then Frederick has raised Prussia to that position.' [15]

These positions have been the subject of criticism.[16] For Duroselle's definition to result in more than one Great power, major world powers must be equal in power—each able to resist one another. This is quite unlike the usual state of international relations where, even amongst Great powers, there are nations which are stronger than others. For there to be even one Great power, Ranke's definition requires one state to have overwhelming power. These positions are ameliorated somewhat by the asymmetry between offense and defense.


Spatial dimension

All nations have a geographic scope of interests, actions, or projected power. This is a crucial factor in distinguishing a Great power from a regional power; by definition the scope of a regional power is restricted to its region. It has been suggested that a Great power should be possessed of actual influence throughout the scope of the prevailing international system.

Great power may be defined as a political force exerting an effect co-extensive with the widest range of the society in which it operates. The Great powers of 1914 were 'world-powers' because Western society had recently become 'world-wide'.- Arnold J Toynbee[17]

Other suggestions that have been made are that a Great power should have the capacity to engage in extra-regional affairs and that a Great power ought to be possessed of extra-regional interests, two propositions which are often closely connected.[18]


Status dimension

Formal or informal acknowledgment of a nation's status as a Great power.

The status of Great power is sometimes confused with the condition of being powerful, The office, as it is known, did in fact evolve from the role played by the great military states in earlier periods ... But the Great power system institutionalizes the position of the powerful state in a web of rights and obligations.- George Modelski[19]

This approach restricts analysis to the post-Congress of Vienna epoch; it being there that Great powers were first formally recognized.[3] In the absence of such a formal act of recognition it has been suggested that Great power status can arise by implication, by judging the nature of a state's relations with other Great powers.[20]


A further option is to examine a state's willingness to act as a Great power.[21] As a nation will rarely declare that it is acting as such, this usually entails a retrospective examination of state conduct. As a result this is of limited use in establishing the nature of contemporary powers, at least not without the exercise of subjective observation.


Another important criteria throughout history is that great powers have enough influence to be included in discussions of political and diplomatic questions of the day, and to have influence on the final outcome and resolution. Historically, when major political questions were addressed, several great powers met to discuss them. Before the era of groups like the United Nations, participants of such meetings were not officially named, but were decided based on their great power status. These were conferences which settled important questions based on major historical events. This might mean deciding the political resolution of various geographical and nationalist claims following a major conflict, or other contexts. There are several historical conferences and treaties which display this pattern, such as the Congress of Vienna, the Congress of Berlin, the discussions of the Treaty of Versailles which redrew the map of Europe, the Treaty of Westphalia, and so on. The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819. ... The Congress of Berlin (June 13 - July 13, 1878) was a meeting of the European Great Powers and the Ottoman Empires leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. ... The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster by Gerard Terborch (1648) The Peace of Westphalia, also known as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, is the series of treaties that ended the Thirty Years War and officially recognized the United Provinces and Swiss Confederation. ...


The Great powers

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GDP is an indicator of a state's economic power.
GDP is an indicator of a state's economic power.
Military expenditure is a factor in a state's military power.
Military expenditure is a factor in a state's military power.

In the past, the term Great power was mostly restricted to powers within Europe (see history above). Ever since the term was first academically used in 1815, numerous powers have rotated between the statuses of Great power, middle power and superpower. These are listed below. Major power shifts occurred in the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars. After WW1 Austria-Hungary collapsed. After WW2 the United States and the Soviet Union became the two superpowers. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1515x630, 61 KB) Summary 2005 figures of GDP (nominal) in billions of US dollars from w:List of countries by GDP (nominal) which is based on the IMF data [1] for 2005. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1515x630, 61 KB) Summary 2005 figures of GDP (nominal) in billions of US dollars from w:List of countries by GDP (nominal) which is based on the IMF data [1] for 2005. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1435x624, 52 KB) Summary Military expenditures by country in US dollars based on CIA factbook figures accessed 31 March 2006 Grey indicates no data (such as Russia). ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1435x624, 52 KB) Summary Military expenditures by country in US dollars based on CIA factbook figures accessed 31 March 2006 Grey indicates no data (such as Russia). ... Source: SIPRI Military Expenditure Project Website Military expenditure is an indicator of the economic resources devoted to military purposes. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have some influence internationally. ... The USA and USSR were the two superpowers during the Cold War. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ...


After the second world war, the European powers of Germany, France, the UK and Italy managed to rebuild their economies. China has built up to Great power status during the post-war period, with unprecedented economic growth. India is often considered a Great power. There is debate on whether Italy should be considered a 'Great power': it is a member of the G-8, and can be described as a major power in economic contexts;[22] in military terms, however, it is categorized as a middle power rather than a Great power[23][24]. Germany is considered by experts [25] [26] [27] [28], chancellor Angela Merkel[29] , former president Johannes Rau[30] and leading media of the country [31] as a middle power in Europe. A European is primarily a person who was born into one of the countries within the continent of Europe. ... G-8 work session; July 20-22, 2002. ... Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have some influence internationally. ...   (IPA: ) (born in Hamburg, Germany, on July 17, 1954, as Angela Dorothea Kasner), is the Chancellor of Germany. ... Johannes Rau (January 16, 1931 – January 27, 2006) was the President of Germany from July 1, 1999 until June 30, 2004. ...


After the dissolution of the USSR, the newly formed Russian Federation emerged on the level of a Great power, leaving the United States as the sole superpower.


References

  1. ^ Danilovic, Vesna. "When the Stakes Are High—Deterrence and Conflict among Major Powers", University of Michigan Press (2002), p 27 (PDF chapter downloads).
  2. ^ Webster, Charles K, Sir (ed), British Diplomacy 1813–1815: Selected Documents Dealing with the Reconciliation of Europe, G Bell (1931), p307.
  3. ^ a b Danilovic, Vesna - When the Stakes Are High - Deterrence and Conflict among Major Powers, University of Michigan Press (2002), p228 - (PDF copy).
  4. ^ Multi-polarity vs Bipolarity, Subsidiary hypotheses, Balance of Power
  5. ^ History of Europe Austria-Hungary 1870–1914.
  6. ^ A Short History of Russia.
  7. ^ Power Transitions as the cause of war.
  8. ^ Globalization and Autonomy by Julie Sunday, McMaster University.
  9. ^ Waltz, Kenneth N - Theory of International Politics, McGraw-Hill (1979) - p131
  10. ^ Taylor, AJP - The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918, Oxford: Clarendon (1954), xxiv
  11. ^ Organski, AFK - World Politics, Knopf (1958)
  12. ^ www.acdis.uiuc.edu
  13. ^ Danilovic, op. cit., p225
  14. ^ contained on page 204 in: Kertesz and Fitsomons (eds) - Diplomacy in a Changing World, University of Notre Dame Press (1959)
  15. ^ contained in Iggers and von Moltke "In the Theory and Practice of History", Bobbs-Merril (1973)
  16. ^ Danilovic, op. cit., p226
  17. ^ Toynbee, Arnold J - The World After the Peace Conference, Humphrey Milford and Oxford University Press (1925) - p4
  18. ^ Stoll, Richard J - State Power, World Views, and the Major Powers, Contained in: Stoll and Ward (eds) - Power in World Politics, Lynne Rienner (1989)
  19. ^ Modelski, George - Principles of World Politics, Free Press (1972) - p141
  20. ^ Domke, William K - Power, Political Capacity, and Security in the Global System, Contained in: Stoll and Ward (eds) - Power in World Politics, Lynn Rienner (1989)
  21. ^ Domke, William K - Power, Political Capacity, and Security in the Global System - p161, Contained in: Stoll and Ward (eds) - Power in World Politics, Lynn Rienner (1989)
  22. ^ see for example Heineman, Ben W.. "The Long War Against Corruption". Foreign affairs (May/June 2006). ; which speaks of Italy as a major country or "player" along with Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
  23. ^ Middle Power Approaches to Maritime Security Note the categorization of Italy within this group
  24. ^ Middle Powers Initiative April 25 2003. Note Italy's inclusion as a middle power
  25. ^ books.google.com
  26. ^ www.lavoisier.fr
  27. ^ journals.cambridge.org
  28. ^ links.jstor.org
  29. ^ Robert Birnbaum. Porträt: Angela Merkel (German). Tagesspiegel online. Retrieved on 2007-01-31. “Weichenstellungen in der Außen– und ihrem Unterkapitel, der Sicherheitspolitik sind zugleich von großer Bedeutung für die Zukunft der Mittelmacht Deutschland.”
  30. ^ 25.09.2003 Rede von Bundespräsident Johannes Rau (German). Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (German Ministry of Defense). Retrieved on 2007-01-31. “Als europäische Mittelmacht müssen wir uns immer fragen, welchen Beitrag wir für Freiheit und Verteidigung der Menschenrechte leisten wollen:”
  31. ^ Wolfgang Harrer interviewing Roméo Dallaire. [http://www.heute.de/ZDFheute/inhalt/25/0,3672,2384889,00.html German Dream: "Hat Eure Bundeswehr eine Seele?"] (German). ZDF heute.de. Retrieved on 2007-01-31. “Deutschland als führende Mittelmacht”

  (IPA: ) (born in Hamburg, Germany, on July 17, 1954, as Angela Dorothea Kasner), is the Chancellor of Germany. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Lieutenant-General Roméo Alain Dallaire, OC, CMM, GOQ, MSC, CD, B.Sc, LL.D (h. ... Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Second German Television), ZDF, is a public service German television channel based in Mainz. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic change and military conflict from 1500 to 2000 is the fifth and best-known book by historian Paul Kennedy. ... Scientific superpowers are those countries and regions responsible for the most scientific progress in the modern world. ...

Further reading

  • The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John J. Mearsheimer
  • Theory of International Politics by Kenneth N Waltz
  • World Politics: Trend and Transformation by Eugene R. Witkopf
  • The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy

  Results from FactBites:
 
great power - definition of great power - Labor Law Talk Dictionary (660 words)
The Great Powers are often taken to be those nations or political entities that, through their great economic and military strength, are the arbiters of world diplomacy, and whose opinions must be taken into account by other nations before effecting initiatives.
Great powers are also often associated with a particular military technology, such as dreadnoughts or nuclear weapons.
There is in any case a great contrast with the situation at the start of the twentieth century, when the number of candidate and actual Great Powers was closer to ten.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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