What are the factors that leads to Internationalism?


1. Annihilation of distance:

Modern technological means of communications and transport have annihilated distance. The journeys that took months can be finished in a few hours. Bullock carts and slow moving vehicles have become a thing of the past. Rails and roads have facilitated transport to a very great extent. Aerial navigation has revolutionized the means of transport and communication.

Telegraph, tele­phones, wireless, television, teleprinters and radio have enabled men to send their messages from one corner of the world to another in no time. Rapid means of transport and communication are thus breaking down frontiers and shortening distances everyday. Consequent on these inven­tions the world of ours has become very compact These achievements have facilitated international intercourse.

International traffic has begun on a scale which could not be dreamt of. These facilities have made us more and more dependent upon the help of our neighbors. Everything that we see bears stamp of internationalism. Our drawing room contains various articles imported from abroad. There is a mirror imported from Belgium, a table made of Burma teak, a clock imported from Switzerland and a pen made in England.


Even our diet consist of commodities imported from a number of countries. Wheat may be imported from the U.S.A., fruit from Afghanistan; spices from East Indies and cheese from Denmark. This means that we are now international citizens and our life is not now confined to the bounds of a village, town or country. It appears as if each one of us has become a member of a World Community.

2. Economic interdependence:

Economically one state depends upon another for raw materials, machinery or technical assistance. India, for example, depends upon various industrially advanced countries of the world for a variety of its needs in the economic field. She needs capital goods and expert technical assistance. This is possible only when there is international co-operation. No state can claim self-sufficiency.

The states of the world now recognize this fact and carry on a large volume of foreign trade in imports and exports. It is thus obvious that during the present age, mutual co-operation and contacts are not only desirable but also inevitable. In fact, economic interdependence is so great that any change in the economic conditions or in the economic policies of a country is bound to affect the well being of people of other countries. A strike by workers in India may, for example, affect markets in England and the U.S.A.

3. Political factors:

From political point of view also internation­alism is a necessity. Effective international peace is possible only if the nations of the world agree to have an international organization compe­tent to decide disputes arising amongst them. Isolated political existence of the states will bring about an anarchy in the comity of nations. Every nation is supposed to have diplomatic relations with other nations of the world.


These relations go a long way in removing differences among the nations and paving the way for the development of goodwill among them. Not only this but also irresponsible attitude of one state may be respon­sible for disturbing international balance and it may precipitate a global war and a wholesale destruction of entire mankind. International peace and goodwill was never so much needed as today.

Advanced nations of the world have developed deadly weapons of war. Nuclear weapons are now in the possession of many countries of the world. A little spark any where may put the entire world aflame and might bring about total anni­hilation of mankind.

(b) Attempts at International Co-operation:

The need of international co-operation had been recognized from earliest times. Tribal states, in the olden times carried on peaceful commerce with one another. But the relations among the nations before the dawn of the modern era were mostly based on rivalry, jealousy, hatred and enmity. The real need for international co-operation has been recognized by the modern age. Various attempts were made in this connection. Thus between 1840 and 1914 alone, as many as 500 international bodies were set up.

These related to industry, trade, labour, temperance, literature, science, abolition of slavery etc. The idea of establishing some inter-state organizations for the prevention of war can be traced in the writing of Picre Dubois who suggested international arbitration and the establish­ment of international judiciary as early as 1305 A.D. The letters of Erasmus (1446—1536) mention some schemes for establishing an inter­national league of Peace. The French writer Pierre in the 18th century proposed a federation of nineteen states of peace.


In the same century, Kant, a German philosopher suggested the formation of a world federa­tion for the sake of peace. Apart from theoretical schemes, practical efforts were made as well. The Holy Alliance (1815) between Russia, Prussia and Austria was the first practical attempt for world peace. It was followed by the Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907. These organizations did some useful work but these were ineffective organizations to check war and establish peace.

It was, however, in 1919 that the first great attempt was made at international co-operation in the form of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was visualized as a guarantor of world peace. But it met an utter failure and World War II broke out in 1939.

The second great attempt with strong determination of all the major powers of the world was made in the form of United Nations Organization. World pinned full faith in it But the working of the U.N.O. has revealed that it has not proved to be a successful organ of world peace and order. Clouds of war are gathering and who knows when the third great massacre of humanity may unleash itself.

Certain thinkers have suggested the following alternative methods to come out of the chaotic conditions prevailing in modem international life.


1. The whole world may be conquered by a powerful nation which may organize it on the basis of justice to all, there should be what is known as a Universal Empire.

This plan was advocated by the imperialist powers of the world. The plan is a clever trick of the imperialist powers to justify their claims of world domination. A Universal Empire is likely to create a monopoly. Universal Empire will suppress individuality of different nations and stagnate political progress.

2. The second proposal comes from the socialists. They suggest that the capitalist order should be abolished and the workers and peasants of the world should establish the socialistic system of economy. The entire humanity may be organized on the principle ‘from each according to one’s capacity, to each according to one’s needs’. Capitalism with all its evil consequences is responsible for all wars.

3. Lastly, there is a proposal regarding the establishment of a world federation. This proposal finds favour with a large majority of political philosophers. It is suggested that all the countries of the world should be organized into a common federation.


The world federal government should be given certain powers while a substantial measure of freedom should be left to the states. In matter of local nature, each nation should be free to follow its own policy and ideas. But the matters in which the peace or welfare of the world is concerned should be determined through a common agency in which the various nations are represented. The concept of world federation demands a frank recognition of the principle “what concerns all should be decided by all”.

Oscar Newgang suggested the conversion of the League of Nations into a World Federation with a World Legislature, World Executive and World Judiciary. Street suggested a World Federation consisting of Great Britain and her Dominions, U.S.A., France, Belgium, Holland, Switzer­land and Scandinavian States. Jennings put forward the idea of a federa­tion of Western Europe.

Many other philosophers of the modern period have hinted at the formation of a federal union of all the states of the world. In their opinion, world peace and order can only be guaranteed if a world Federation is formed. Raja Mahendra Pratap, a revolutionary leader of Indian struggle of independence spent his whole life for the Propagation of this ideal.

Concept of Collective Security:

It implies that all international disputes should be settled peacefully by some International Agency in which all nations are represented. Matters like territorial boundaries, international migration, armaments, tariffs, privileges of national mi­norities, international communication, foreign capital etc. should be decided by the international agency.

Briefly, the external sovereignty claimed by states must be restricted in these matters. There must be the ‘rule of law’ between the nations as there is the rule of law inside the state. The ‘rule of might’ which had been practiced so far shall have to be abandoned by the nation states.

The states under the principle of national security would wage war against another state resulting in huge destruc­tion.

The principle of national security should now be replaced by collective security which has the following implications:

1. States should agree to accept the rules of conduct laid down by a common international authority as binding upon themselves on all matters affecting other states.

2. States must agree to renounce the right to settle disputes by making war.

3. States must regard any act of war against any other state as a war against themselves and should come to the rescue of the victim.

If all the nation states realize the truth of these principles and act upon them, collective security is assured. The very idea that act of war against one is an act of war against all is an essential guarantee of peace and order. The ideal of collective security takes into its fold the idea of national security.

Some Forms of International Co-operation : Although interna­tional organizations have not been successful in checking wars yet in some other spheres, a measure of success has been achieved. Some of these organizations may be enumerated as under:—

1. International Red Cross Society:

It is a humanitarian body with its headquarters in Switzerland. It has its branches all the world over. It has rendered valuable service to the war wounded, the sick and the infirm.

2. The Universal Postal Union:

It was formed in 1874. It is based on the principle that all member countries form a single unit in the matters of postal communications. All the countries of the world are its members.

3. The International Telecommunication Union:

It is an organization which aims at international co-operation in matters of telegraphic and telephonic communications. It was formed in 1934.

4. The World Health Organization, the UNESCO and the Inter­national Labour Organization:

Were established on conclusion of the World War.

5. International Refugee Organization:

The body seeks to resettle refugees and displaced persons and protect their rights and privileges.

All these organizations are serving humanity in a variety of ways.

Points to Remember

Nationalism has done a great harm to the human race. An atmos­phere of nervous hostility is created because of extremes of nationalism. World public opinion is, therefore, going against nationalism. A new concept of internationalism is now taking its place.

As an ideal, interna­tionalism is far higher and nobler than nationalism beeause the good of humanity is a far higher good than welfare of a particular country or community. Factors leading to internationalism :

(i) Annihilation of distance.

(ii) Economic inter-dependence.

(iii) Political reasons.

Attempts at international co-operation have been made in the following forms:—

1. International Red Cross Society.

2. The Universal Postal Union.

3. The International Telecommunications Union.

4. The World Health Organization, the UNESCO and the IL.O.

5. International Refugee Organization.

6. The U.N.O.

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