This chapter reflects on a range of examples of pre-capitalist societies, chosen to illustrate the major arenas of colonial disruption, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and to show how they worked. The empires which Europe created in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were merely the last (to date) in a long line of imperial ventures. There were few areas in the world which had not previously been subject to overlordship by external forces, sometimes to the suzerainty of successive powers. However, these old empires often functioned quite differently from the newer empires created by Europe. The growth of capitalism in Europe drove a need for closer control over the type and extent of production in areas under imperial domination. Whereas in previous empires merchants had merely served the demands of wealthy minorities for luxury goods (and in the process accumulated hoards of personal wealth), now these stocks of wealth began to go directly into the transformation of productive processes in Europe (the Industrial Revolution) rather than into consumption. Thus the emphasis was increasingly on raw materials or intermediate inputs to European industry.
12. Diversity in Pre-Capitalist Societies
4. The US rise to world power, 1776–1945
This chapter focuses on the emergence of the United States as a ‘superpower’ in 1945. It begins with a discussion of how America rose from being a group of British colonies to a continental empire containing human slavery during the period 1776–1865. It then examines how the reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned America into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. It also considers Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and how the United States got involved in World War I, how the American economic system sank into depression between 1929 and 1933, and US role in the Cold War between 1933 and 1945.
3. The Evolution of Modern Warfare
This chapter examines how the theory and practice of war has evolved over the past two centuries. It first provides an overview of modern warfare and the transformation in the way that wars are fought. In particular, it charts the decline of limited warfare and considers the ideas of Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz, along with the emergence of the Napoleonic way of war and the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte with regard to strategy. It then discusses the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the planning for and conduct of war, focusing on the ways that weapons technology transformed both strategy and tactics. It also explores the evolution of naval warfare, how nuclear weapons ended the era of total war, and the rise of revolutionary warfare. Finally, it reflects on how the transition to postmodernity can influence war as a politico-cultural institution.