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The Power of Small States: Diplomacy in World War II

Date: 1959
This Is an inquiry into how the governments of small and militarily weak states can resist the strong pressure of great powers even in crisis periods. The continued existence and, in deed, startling increase in the number of small states may seem paradoxical in the age of superpowers and the drastically altered ratio of military strength between them and the rest of the world. It is well known that the ability to use violence does not alone determine the course of world politics. Some of the other determinants can be observed with exceptional clarity in the diplomacy of the small powers which were striving to stay out of World War II. I have chosen to focus my attention on certain small states situated on the periphery of Europe. This is not a history of the foreign policy of these countries during a selected period nor yet another inquiry into neutrality. Never theless, the events of the times, as they involved these states, and the objectives of the five states' diplomacy are the materials out of which I have sought to construct some propositions about the power of small states. My study grew out of an interest in the mounting influence of Turkey, the Cinderella of the eastern Mediterranean. Here was a striking example of a small state which was no helpless pawn in international politics. An outcast after World War I, this poor and militarily weak country grew in power until it was being actively wooed by several great powers in World War II, and it later joined the "Atlantic" states comprising NATO. How could this have happened? The Turks were not alone in the 1939-45 period in having to face a succession of demands from the warring great powers and in wishing to remain out of war. Some of the small states were as successful as Turkey; some were not. Some, like Turkey, were able to resist compliance with great-power demands, or at any rate they could put off with impunity complying with some of them. Thus my purpose to analyze the power of small powers through a study of Turkey was broadened to include four other states in somewhat similar circumstances. It was simultaneously narrowed down to a specific time period when the diplomacy of several small states having much in common could be compared fruitfully. The period chosen, World War II, is far enough in the past so that much valuable documentary material and numerous memoirs have already appeared. It is close enough in time for those participating in the major decisions to be questioned about them. Of course there are documents which mislead and re porters who are too subjective to be reliable. Nevertheless, for the purposes of this study it was sufficient to describe the broad outlines of decision-making in particular crises, and the available evidence permitted me to draw these pictures without undue risks of misjudgment. It was not possible to discover, precisely and in detail, the motivations of the individual diplomatists; fortunately, this was not necessary to illustrate the main themes of this analysis. In any case, for those who care to read, the historical record of this subject is now available. How the leaders behaved and the effects of their behavior can be calculated without delving deeply into their motives; it is sufficient to learn how they esti mated the future before embarking upon it. For an analysis of the power of small states it is enough that the data should say: This is how the situation looked to the decision-makers; this is what they did about it; and this is the effect of their action. Readers primarily interested in straight diplomatic history may care to skip the first and last chapters, which may be too analytical for their tastes. On the other hand, political scientists may be able to draw from the case studies material for a dif ferent kind of analysis from that which I have attempted. In acknowledging my gratitude to the many individuals who aided me in this study, I deeply regret that I cannot name those in the countries involved, both key participants and discrimi nating observers, who were so useful in clarifying my perspective on their governments' actions. I can only say that without their friendly help the analysis would be wider from the mark of authenticity than it is. Fortunately, I can be more specific, if unavoidably selective, in thanking some of those in the American academic world who kept me from making more mistakes than I have undoubtedly committed. First and foremost, for his dedicated attention to every word in the unpublished manuscript, I must mention William T. R. Fox, my husband. The members of the Center of International Studies as well as other members of the faculty at Princeton University have at one time or another assisted me in important ways, but I would like to single out particularly Dr. William W. Kaufmann (now at RAND), and Professors Percy E. Corbett, Dankwart A. Rustow, and Cyril E. Black. A special debt of gratitude is owed to the director of the Center of International Studies, Frederick S. Dunn, whose intellectual and moral en couragement was indispensable to this book. All shortcomings in the work are of course my own responsibility. The rich library resources of the Royal Institute of Interna tional Affairs were generously made available to me. I should also like to thank the officials in the Historical Division of the Department of State for permitting me to confirm certain facts and sequences of events. Professors Schuyler C. Wallace and John H. Wuorinen of Columbia University pointed my way to those who could give me firsthand information about relevant events. A similar service was performed by Dr. Raymond Dennett, President of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. To Houghton Mifflin Company, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., Wil liam Collins Sons and Company, Ltd., and the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty's Stationery Office I am indebted for permission to quote from works published by them.

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