The Consequences of Humiliation explores the nature of national humiliation and its impact on foreign policy. Joslyn Barnhart demonstrates that Germany's catastrophic reaction to humiliation at the end of World War I is part of a broader pattern: states that experience humiliating events are more likely to engage in international aggression aimed at restoring the state's image in its own eyes and in the eyes of others.
Barnhart shows that these states also pursue conquest, intervene in the affairs of other states, engage in diplomatic hostility and verbal discord, and pursue advanced weaponry and other symbols of national resurgence at higher rates than non-humiliated states in similar foreign policy contexts. Her examination of how national humiliation functions at the individual level explores leaders' domestic incentives to evoke a sense of national humiliation. As a result of humiliation on this level, the effects may persist for decades, if not centuries, following the original humiliating event.
1. National Failure and International Disregard
2. Withdrawal, Opposition, and Aggression
3. National Humiliation at the Individual Level
4. The Cross-National Consequences of Humiliating International Events
5. Soothing Wounded Vanity: French and German Expansion in Africa from 1882 to 1885
6. "Our Honeymoon with the U.S. Came to an End": Soviet Humiliation at the Height of the Cold War
Conclusion: The Attenuation and Prevention of National Humiliation
Joslyn Barnhart is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University.
Barnhart's book is an important, original contribution to international relations theory on states' reactions to humiliating events, which seemingly occur regularly, affecting numerous states. With this rigorous, well-argued book, Barnhart has shown the way for future investigations into the interaction between status, prestige, humiliation, and reputation.
[T]the book is impressive. It is an ambitious and thoughtful examination on how states deal with their insecurities, emotional or otherwise. It is voluminously researched and judiciously written. What Barnhart has done better than anybody is to map out the complex emotional and political chain from mad to even.
The Consequences of Humiliation substantially advances knowledge and provides sophisticated answers about a pervasive phenomenon in international politics. It sets a high bar for multi-method research and will be required reading for current and future scholars who are interested in status, political psychology, and emotions in international relations.