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The Shadow of the Past

Reputation and Military Alliances before the First World War

by Gregory D. Miller

Publication Year: 2012

In The Shadow of the Past, Gregory D. Miller examines the role that reputation plays in international politics, emphasizing the importance of reliability-confidence that, based on past political actions, a country will make good on its promises-in the formation of military alliances. Challenging recent scholarship that focuses on the importance of credibility-a state's reputation for following through on its threats-Miller finds that reliable states have much greater freedom in forming alliances than those that invest resources in building military force but then use it inconsistently.

To explore the formation and maintenance of alliances based on reputation, Miller draws on insights from both political science and business theory to track the evolution of great power relations before the First World War. He starts with the British decision to abandon "splendid isolation" in 1900 and examines three crises--the First Moroccan Crisis (1905-6), the Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis (1908-9), and the Agadir Crisis (1911)-leading up to the war. He determines that states with a reputation for being a reliable ally have an easier time finding other reliable allies, and have greater autonomy within their alliances, than do states with a reputation for unreliability. Further, a history of reliability carries long-term benefits, as states tend not to lose allies even when their reputation declines.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book is the product of many years of work. The argument began as a seminar paper for Randall Schweller’s International Security course at The Ohio State University, evolved into a dissertation, was sounded out early on in a journal article, “Hypotheses on Reputation: Alliance Choices and the Shadow of the Past,” ...

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1. Alliances and Reputationin International Relations

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pp. 1-34

It is widely accepted in business that a positive reputation is a valuable commodity, both for individuals and for firms, and there is significant evidence to support this view. Individual reputations, often measured in the form of a credit report, influence whether someone will qualify for a loan, an apartment, or sometimes even a job. ...

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2. Reliability and Alliance Behavior

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pp. 35-62

In the opening chapter I detailed how scholars have dealt with reputation, and I explored some of the major theories of alliance behavior. I also explained how the business literature treats the effects of a firm’s reputation on its success and have suggested that the influence of a firm’s reputation on the market ...

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3. The End of Splendid Isolation: British Pursuit of an Ally, 1901–1905

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pp. 63-91

Britain’s attitude toward the European Continent at the end of the nineteenth century is often described as one of “splendid isolation.” This is an unfortunate term because it mischaracterizes British foreign policy during that time. Rather than avoiding involvement in European power politics—which is how U.S. isolation is frequently described— ...

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4. The First Moroccan Crisis: Testing the Anglo-French Entente, 1904–1907

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pp. 92-125

France signed an entente with England on 8 April 1904 to increase French control over Morocco. Between 1900 and 1904, the French negotiated similar agreements with Italy and Spain.1 For example, France agreed to accept Italian rights in Tripoli in exchange for Italy accepting French control over Morocco (and an Italian promise that the Triple Alliance did not pose a threat to France). ...

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5. The Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis: Expanding the Entente, 1907–1911

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pp. 126-151

Considerable diplomatic activity took place between the 1905 First Moroccan Crisis and the 1908–9 Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis: the Triple Alliance was tacitly renewed; England and Russia signed an agreement that effectively created the Triple Entente with France; and England and France engaged in military discussions to develop contingencies for war. ...

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6. The Agadir Crisis: Rolling toward War, 1910–1914

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pp. 152-181

The 1911 Agadir Crisis, or Second Moroccan Crisis, was a renewal of tensions between Germany and France that began with the First Moroccan Crisis in 1905 over which state controlled Morocco, and was only temporarily suspended by the Algeciras conference (1906) and the Casablanca agreement (1909). ...

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7. Summary and Expansion of Findings

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pp. 182-208

The puzzle posed at the beginning of this book was whether a state’s reputation influences the behavior of other states, given the differences between the conventional wisdom and more critical scholarship on reputation published in the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. ...

Appendix A. First Treaty of Alliance between Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy, 20 May 1882

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pp. 209-212

Appendix B. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 30 January 1902

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pp. 213-216

Appendix C. Declaration between the United Kingdom and France Respecting Egypt and Morocco, 8 April 1904

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pp. 217-220

Appendix D. The Second Anglo-Japanese Agreement,12 August 1905

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pp. 221-224

Appendix E. Conventions between Russia and the United Kingdom Relating to Persia, Afghanistan, and Tibet, 31 August 1907

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pp. 225-228


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pp. 229-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780801464133
E-ISBN-10: 0801464137
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801450310
Print-ISBN-10: 0801450314

Page Count: 234
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs