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The Costs of Major Wars: The Phoenix Factor


  • Organski, A.F.K.
  • Kugler, Jacek


A major unexplored area in the field of international politics is the consequences of major war for members of the international system in terms of power lost or gained. This paper explores these shifts of power among neutrals, winners, and losers as a result of these wars, using a sample of 32 cases and time series analysis. The findings register unexpected but systematic patterns after major conflicts; while winners and neutrals are affected marginally by the conflict, losers' powers are at first eroded. Over the long run (15–20 years), though, the effects of the loss dissipate; losers accelerate their recovery and soon resume antebellum status. It is this phenomenon that the authors call the phoenix factor.

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  • Organski, A.F.K. & Kugler, Jacek, 1977. "The Costs of Major Wars: The Phoenix Factor," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1347-1366, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:71:y:1977:i:04:p:1347-1366_26

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