International contacts and conflicts outline summary study guide




International contacts and conflicts outline summary study guide


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International contacts and conflicts outline summary study guide

AND CONFLICTS, 1914 – 1999
                            Pages 676 – 705



World War I

World War I launched many trends of the 20th century. Bitter nationalist warfare weakened Western Europe while nationalism and revolution stirred elsewhere. An inadequate peace settlement after Germany’s defeat guaranteed further tensions in Europe, east Asia, and the Middle East, while debts and reparations contributed to future economic difficulties.

The Great Depression

The economic depression that dominated the 1930s was international in scope. Economic shocks were particularly severe in Western Europe and the United States. The depression triggered important new governmental policies and also furthered extremist political forces in many countries. The Great Depression resulted from problems in the industrial economies of the West, combined with long-term structural weaknesses in other parts of the world. The result was a worldwide collapse that spared few economies.

World War II
World War II involved major battles on all seas and across the globe. The Axis powers initial victories gradually gave way to an Allied victory. The war furthered the exhaustion of Europe and saw the United States and the Soviet Union become the dominant great powers.

The Cold War and Decolonization, 1945 – 1989

The Cold War rivalry primarily began in Europe but had worldwide ramifications. The Soviet Union created a communist-bloc, which included much of eastern Europe and parts of east Asia. An American-led system of alliances surrounded the Eurasian communist bloc and tried to contain its spread. Proxy wars were fought across Eurasia and Africa. Around the globe colonial empires crumbled and newly independent nations often sought a neutral path between these two alliances.

Conclusion: A Legacy of Uncertainty

World wars and cold wars brought new destruction and new levels of fear across the globe as world power shifted. American industrial and military strength, and an increasingly popular American culture and way of life replaced Europe’s position of importance. New leaders arose across the globe in Africa and Asia, but few, even the Soviet Union, could rival the United States.         

What moves toward internationalism preceded World War I?

What long term causes led to World War I?

How was World War I fought that made it different from previous wars?

How did World War I change Western governments and societies?

Why would any conflict between European nations involve the world?

How did World War I end?

What led to the Great Depression and what was its worldwide impact?

How did totalitarianism lead to World War II?

How was World War II fought and ended?

What is a total war and how does it affect the societies involved?

What agreements settled World War II and structured the post-war world?

What events led to the Cold War?

Describe the course, actions, alignments, and results of the Cold War.

What conditions have predominated in the post-Cold War world?

In what ways is the period from 1914 – 1999 an era of American influences?




World Court

Submarine warfare

 Balfour Declaration

League of Nations

Socialism in One Country

National Socialist Party

Anschluss and the Munich Conference


Tripartite Pact (Axis)


Stalingrad; El Alamein; Midway



Total War

United Nations (UN)

Teheran; Yalta; Potsdam

Iron Curtain

Cold War

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)


PHOTO ESSAY: Technology and War (Pages 701 – 702)
20th Century warfare has been dominated by technology, science, and ever more terrifying weapons of war.

How are modern conditions of warfare represented in these photographs?




Why might nations spend billions to support and train spies and intelligence agencies?

How would modern technology eliminate the idea of “front lines” and blur the distinction between civilian and military?   

Map 28.1: World War I (Page 682)
Identify nations belonging to the Entente powers.
Identify nations belonging to the Central Powers.
Geography and War
What geographic advantages did the Central Powers possess?

Why is Russia virtually isolated? How would this affect her?

Why is the Ottoman Empire exposed to Allied attack?

What problems relative to sea movement do Britain and Germany have?

Map 28.3: World War II (Page 694)
In what year were the Axis gains the greatest?
What areas did each power control:
Germany and Italy?

Geography and War
How did geography hurt the Soviet Union, China, and Great Britain?

What type of war did geography force the U.S. and Japan to fight?

Why would the Mediterranean Sea be so critical to Great Britain?

Map 28.5: The Cold War (Page 700)
What countries were allied with the U.S.? The Soviet Union?
What nations were neutral?
Why are Yugoslavia and China critical to both alliances?

Geo-politics and Military Considerations
How does geographic location help and hinder the
American-led alliance?
Soviet-led alliance?

Why are Cuba and Nicaragua threats to the United States?

How are South Yemen and Ethiopia threats to world trade?

Why would the invasion of Korea threaten the United States?

How would revolts in Eastern Europe threaten the Soviet Union?

Why is the Middle East critical to both alliances?

Chart 28.1: World War I Loses (Page 684)
Which country had the most killed and wounded? The least?

How might these loses affect Germany, Russia, Austria, and France?

Why might the U.S. have a different perspective on the war?

Drawing Conclusions
Russia had greater loses than listed here. Why?

How would number of wounded be a burden of a society at war?

Most killed would have been young men. How would this affect a society?


Table 28.2: US Defense Spending (Page 703)
Drawing Conclusions
Why might expenditures increase from 1950-1970 and 1980-1985?

What international expense in 1990 would have increased expenditures?

What effect would this percentage of defense expenditures out of the total federal budget have had on the U.S.?

What might you conclude about the American economy if the portion of the defense budget was always below 10% of the Gross National Product?

Making Inferences
Soviet defense expenditure usually accounted for 40% to 60% of their total budget and around 30% of their GNP. What can you infer about the Soviet Union and their ability to pay for the Cold War?


Gorbachev said the U.S. spent the Soviet Union into defeat during the Cold War. Do you agree? Why or why not?


The American allies included Western Europe and Japan, which had their own defense budgets. Why would the dollar disparity between the western and communist alliances be even greater?



The immediate cause for the outbreak of World War I was
nationalist tensions.
a naval race between Germany and Great Britain.
colonial disputes over Morocco.
conflicting alliances.
the Industrial Revolution.

The influence of technology on modern warfare is demonstrated by all of these developments in World War I EXCEPT:
airplanes and aerial warfare.
the destructive power of artillery and machine guns.
mechanized warfare as demonstrated during the Blitzkrieg.
poisonous gases and barbed wire.

Which of the following statements about the effects of World War I and the Great Depression on world governments is a FACT?
Both made governments more responsive to the needs of the governed.
Both made it easier for the military to dominate the government.
Both supported the rise of totalitarian dictatorships.
Both encouraged the growth of democracy and representative governments.
Both led to the unprecedented growth of governments and their intervention in society.

It was inevitable the conflict in Europe would become a world war because
Great Britain and France had existing alliances with Japan and the U.S.
the European combatants had colonies and forces around the world.
Germany attacked China and Japan.
Germany had alliances with Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.
the U.S. was heavily invested in German industry and protected its ally.

The biggest battles outside of Europe during World War I occurred in
African colonies of Europe.
East Asia where Japan and China fought each other.
the Middle East where the Turks fought Britain, Russia, and France.
the Pacific where Germany and Japan fought for control of many islands.
Latin America where Mexico invaded the United States.

The immediate result of World War I was the
rise of the United States as a great power.
beginning of European decolonization.
rise of Japan to great power status.
Great Depression.
collapse of all European empires.
The principle of Woodrow Wilson that influenced future decolonization was 
immediate independence for all colonies.
evacuation of all occupied territories.
popular self-determination.
reparations for war damage.
the League of Nations.

All of these were causes of the Great Depression EXCEPT:
the collapse of agricultural prices around the world.
World War I reparations, which bankrupted the old Central Powers.
weak banking systems around the world.
the intervention of governments to stabilize economic problems.
overproduction and easy credit.

The symbol for the start of the world-wide Great Depression was the
1919 Treaty of Versailles with its reparations clauses.
October 1929 collapse of the American stock markets.
election of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the USA in 1933.
abandonment of the international gold standard in 1933.
coming to power of Hitler and the Nazis in 1933.

The only major country to escape the world-wide depression was
Japan because it did not have any economic connections to world commerce.
the United States due to its extreme wealth.
Germany due to the election of a Nazi government.
France due to the support of its African colonies.
the Soviet Union due to its communism and isolation.

20th century totalitarianisms usually follow all of these practices EXCEPT:
an all-powerful dictatorial leader.
an aggressive nationalist foreign policy.
one mass party representing one social group or class.
the use of violence, secret police, and terror to maintain its control.
control of the economic system, religion, education, and communications.
The Axis bloodless victories between 1931 and 1938 succeeded because
the Germans, Italians, and Japanese had many international allies.
only the U.S. opposed the moves.
only the British opposed the moves.
the Great powers able to stop the takeovers were unwilling to do much.
the West felt the takeovers were justified.

Ultimately, the Axis powers were defeated because
the Soviet Union stopped both the Germans and Japanese.
the U.S. developed and used the atomic bomb on Germany.
Japan could not defeat China.
resistance movements and partisans stopped the Axis advance.
the manpower and industrial output of the Allies was so much greater.
After World War II, the rise of internationalism was best represented by the
rise to prominence of the U.S. and Soviet Union.
victory of the communists in the Chinese Civil War.
United Nation and its organizations and activities.
willing breakup of the colonial empires by the European powers.
United States end of its isolationism in international affairs.

The Cold War was caused by the
rivalries between the western and communist blocs.
American support for anti-Soviet activities.
aggressive Soviet moves in Eastern Europe and Asia.
American possession of the atomic bomb.
Western domination of the United Nations.

Which of these is a FACT about the Cold War?
China supported the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War period.
The disputes between the U.S. and Soviet Union were confined to Europe.
While no war was fought in Europe, supporters of both major alliances fought smaller wars around the world.
Most countries of the world supported one of the alliances.
The Soviet Union was the victor in the Cold War.

All of these are trends in the Post Cold War world EXCEPT:
the U.S. is the world’s single superpower.
the revival of cultural and religious identities.
the standardization of economic and trade philosophies.
an increase in anti-democratic, dictatorial states.
regional conflicts have flared up.



How did the role of technology in warfare change from 1500 – 2000?

Compare and contrast the international role of the U.S. in the 20th century with one of these: Britain 1750 – 1945, or China and Islam in the post-classical age.

Compare and contrast European 20th century decolonization with any one of these: Haiti, 1800; Latin America, 1820s; the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1991.

Compare and contrast the causes and consequences of the Great Depression with the epidemics of the post-classical and early modern periods.

How did the role of the U.S. in world affairs change from 1789 to 2000?

Compare and contrast the notions of “East” and “West” during the Cold War.


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