Must History Repeat the Great Conflicts of This Century? : The Great Courses: Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Joseph S. Nye Jr.
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern History
  • 5 hrs and 50 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Twice in the first half of the last century, the great powers engaged in wars that killed nearly 70 million people, with the aftermath of each shaking the international political system, changing the maps of the world, and setting the scene for the next great conflict. And for most of the past 50 years, the Cold War dominated international politics. Is this the history we are condemned to repeat?
This series of eight lectures about international politics will hone your ability to approach that question with knowledge and insight. It reveals how concepts such as the balance of power and the international system interweave with and help shape history, showing you what actually happened in the great conflicts and why. The lectures will help you answer many of the key questions those concerned with creating a stable peace must answer every day; did the end of the Cold War bring peace and harmony or war and chaos? Does the United States play a dominant role in international affairs or is its role declining? Is military power still the key to world leadership, or has economic power become more important? Should the United States attempt to play the role of global police force, or should it withdraw from its overseas military commitments?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

“Beware of historians with bad analogies.”

1 Continuity and Change in World Politics

2 What Is an International System?

3 The Balance of Power and Its Problems

4 The Origins of the First World War

5 The Problems and Promise of Collective Security

6 The Origins of the Second World War

7 The Origins of the Cold War

8 Alternatives to the Present International System

This course was first released in 1991 so it was before the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of terrorism in the world, but I found it very enlightening and still relevant for today. I wish President Bush and his cabinet had listened to this course before plunging us in another war with Iraq, but what is happened.

Professor Nye gives a promising scenario for the future of the world and the United States in these lectures. The first three (around 45 minutes in length) lectures explain International politics and systems and how important the Balance of Power is.

The next three explain the origins of the World Wars and the different scenarios that could have happened instead of global conflicts. I have always thought that they were inevitable but through his perspective, I can see how things could have been different.

The seventh chapter takes on the Cold War and how it happened and if it was necessary. I found it fascinating.

My favorite lecture was his last on what the future may hold for us as a nation and the world at large. While he didn’t take on China or terrorism directly, he did show the way to a peaceful future in a global economy. If the world relies on each country for its economic base, than why would we want to fight? If we use democracy as a helpful tool for the poorer nations of the world, it is less likely that democracies fight each other.

This audible edition came with a pdf file with course notes which was very helpful.

I loved these lectures and it helped me understand why the world is so screwed up, but it also showed me why history doesn’t have to repeat itself.


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- Kristi Richardson "An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap."

Very old lecture

The analysis is superb but the conferences are very old. I guess they are from 1995. I couldn't find the date anywhere. If I had known they were so old I wouldn't have bought them.
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- Aurelia de Gaviria

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses