World War II
Before World War II broke out the world took a wild ride during Hitler s rise to power. The entire world didn t think that he would become as powerful as he became. Hitler achieved his power by relying on the nerviness of the world to sit back and allow him to do what he wanted. The world was too concerned about the political, economic and militant to busy worrying about the German s who where thinking about ruling the world.
Before and during the war, the world was concerned about the economic system. Ever since World War I, the world countries have been in and out of depressions, no one wanted another war. The United States, which was in the Greatest Depression of all, was it s a big problem itself. The US didn t want war, especially after the last one they fought with huge causalities and huge amounts of money spent. The citizens of the US didn t want another war because they knew that another war would cause another depression and that was something that the people didn t want. Even thought the war would create jobs, and put the economy back into a war boom, the American public didn t want to have to deal with the downsides of a war. The major downside being the huge economic toll it would take on the government, which would be fighting on two oceans on different sides of the world. It would become very costly to maintain war and win too.
The world also had enormous political concerns. The US was in a period of major and they wanted no part of anything else in the world, except the Western Hemisphere. With Germanys rise of Nazism, the world responded with fascist parties popping up in every nation across the world. Hitler has spread his beliefs into every county in the entire world, exactly what he wanted. These parties responded to every action that their leader took; they helped him scout out a specific country and infiltrate that country s government. These parties believe in Hitler and did whatever he told them to do, including in the United States. After the countries realized Hitler s power they all formed different alliances. The Germans allied with Italy and Japan. The US allied with Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. It seemed as though each day another country would sign up with either side. Sometimes, even, countries would agree not to fight each.
The pre-war and during the war, militaries from all countries fought a war with superior equipment than in the last war. With the invention of the plane, tank, machinegun spread war supplies all over the globe and allowed each country to empower itself. The US prepared for war by passing a series of congressional acts that enabled the war budget to increase dramatically. These acts also allowed for the US to help other countries without actually engaging in the war. The US supplied Great Britain with supplies and ships without ever declaring war on Germany. Germanys invention of the Blitzkrieg they attacked nations and conquered them in single days. No nation had ever seen tactics like this before, and they worked for Hitler. Hitler s air force was the best in the world; he had the most planes with the best pilots. They were unstoppable. Japans increase in military power proved itself with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December. Japan showed off its massive air force that dominated and destroyed the majority of the United States Navy fleet.
World War II was a war that brought the world together. Their wasn t a place on the earth were this war wasn t fought. Their wasn t a place on this earth were people didn t take sides, whether with the Allies or the Axis powers. The war brought countries like the United States and the Soviet Union together. However, the war did bring mass destruction the Europe and the massive demise of the people hated by the Nazis. Hitler almost wiped out an entire race; however, he failed because the on dominance and perseverance of democracy upon the world.
World War Two was a terrible and destructive war. Although many dynamics led to the advent of World War Two, the catalyst of the Second World War was actually the aftermath of the First World War. The First World War’s aftermath set the stage for the rise of Hitler.
On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was signed by the German commanders in the railcar of the French commander, Ferdinand Foch, ending the actual combat of World War One. The debacle of the First World War, which killed between 10 to 13 million people, demanded retribution. The Allies needed to draw up a treaty, which formally ended hostilities between the Allies and the Central Powers. This treaty, which was called the Treaty of Versailles, was signed on June 28, 1919 and came into effect January 10, 1920. The treaty, while providing a formal peace between the Central Powers and most of the Allies (China and America), was not well liked by the Germans. They were made to agree to it under the treat of invasion by the Allies. They called it a Diktat, or slave-treaty. The treaty was very harsh towards the Germans. The treaty affected borders, hurt Germany, and created international institutions.
The Treaty of Versailles changed many borders and created new countries. Out of parts of the former German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, Poland was formed. Out of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, a multitude of smaller nations were formed. Germany’s size was decreased, while the sizes of France and Italy were increased. The Poles were given a “corridor” to the sea, cutting the remainder of East Prussia off from the main part of the German state. Danzig, a city in the Corridor, was not put under German or Polish control, but under a Leagues of Nations administered republic nominally independent of Poland and Germany. These new borders, in the end, contributed to the genesis of the Second World War.
The Treaty of Versailles was detrimental to Germany in the extreme. The Germans were required to accept responsibility for the start of World War One. The Germans had to pay substantial war reparations to the victorious Allies for the damage caused by World War One. These reparations, if they had ever been paid in full, would have bothered the German economy until the year 1988 under the plan Germany adopted. These reparations angered the German people and broke the German economy.
The German government didn’t have enough money to pay the reparations, so they had to print more. The German mark became almost worthless. In 3 months in 1923, the exchange rate of the German mark to the dollar went from 4.6 million marks to the dollars to 4.2 trillion marks to the dollar. Instead of the strong monarchy that Germany had known before the war, the Treaty of Versailles set up a weak republic in Germany. This republic, called the Weimar republic because it’s capital was Weimar, was generally not well liked by the German people. The Germans had to drastically reduce the size of their army and eliminate their navy and air force entirely. The Treaty of Versailles was very harsh on the Germans and soured the German outlook on the rest of Europe and on the world in general.
The Treaty of Versailles created many new international organizations. Two of these were the League of Nations and the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Permanent Court of International Justice was a court where grievances of nations and by nations could be aired and adjudicated. The League of Nations was the forerunner of the United Nations but it did not have nearly as much power as that international organization. Only a few nations ever joined the League of Nations, and the United States of America was never a member. The USSR joined in 1934, but was discharged in 1939. In the end, these new international organizations could not stop initiation of the Second World War.
The First World War had many effects other then those directly attributable to the Treaty of Versailles. 10 to 13 million people were killed, one third of them civilians. In some parts of France, 1 out of 4 young men were lost in action due to the war. After the war, the Allies owed $10 billion for the voluminous financial aid given them. The Germans were hard-pressed to pay the considerable war-reparations forced on them and because of these debts, the world was in financial trouble. The governments who had to pay these debts just printed more money and it was because of this that inflation ran rampant. The world, after going through the carnage of the First World War, lost its optimism and became very pessimistic.
Adolph Hitler, a soldier in the German army who ended the war with the rank of corporal, was very bitter about the German defeat in the First World War. He shared the popular belief that the Germans had not been defeated in the field but had been “stabbed in the back” by traitors at home. He thought that the Jews had been among those traitors. He was extremely anti-Semitic. In the autumn of 1919 he joined the German Worker’s Party. He eventually came to control it and rename it the NSDAP (German acronym for “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” or Nazi Party). In 1923 he, along with the then small Nazi Party, tried to stage a revolt in the form of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch (German for revolt), which failed. After the Putsch failed, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, of which he only served 9 months. He used these nine months well. During the time he was is prison, he wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a book which outlined the brutal policies which he so coldly put into motion after he took power. He thought that democracy was evil and it only led to the advent of Communism as a form of government.
During the middle to late 1920’s, Germany was beginning to recover economically. This hurt the NSDAP, which was preaching a solid Nazi party line of hatred, bigotry, anti-Semitism, blaming others for the ills of society, and intolerance. Luckily for the Nazis, the Great Depression started, triggered by the Great Crash of 1929. This threw Germany’s fragile economy into a fit of depression and cleared the way for the Nazis to come to power. The Great Depression gave the Nazis the chance to tone down the bigotry and to say that they were going to help Germany out of the Depression. The German workingman still hated the Treaty of Versailles and the Allied victory and wanted to believe that people from within had stabbed Germany in the back. The Nazis promised revenge for the Diktat of Versailles. They promised to “throw off the shackles of Versailles” and punish those who were “responsible” for Germany’s defeat and those who had “stabbed Germany in the back”.
Hitler promised to clear Germany of Communists and other “enemies of the people”. Most German people of the time didn’t want Hitler as chancellor, because they knew he’d turn himself into a dictator. But the often too influential “screaming minority” and many people including notable German industrialists and Oskar von Hinesburg (the German chancellor’s son) wanted Hitler as chancellor. A deal was worked out by January 30, 1933 in which Hitler would become chancellor of Germany but the Nazis would only get two seats in the Cabinet. On February 27, 1933 a fire was started that destroyed the Reichstag building which housed the German Parliament. The Nazis quickly blamed the Communists and elections for a new Reichstag were held on March 5, 1933. Even after using terror to influence voters, the Nazis only got 43.9 percent of the vote. On the day that the new Reichstag convened, the Communist delegates were locked out. This gave the Nazis a majority and this majority declared Hitler dictator via the Enabling Act, a law which in essence suspended basic human and civil rights for 4 years. The Gestapo (secret police) hunted down enemies of the Nazis and shot them. By the time von Hinesburg died in August 1934, the Hitler ruled Germany completely. He gave himself the title Fuhrer und Reichskanzler (leader and empire chancellor).
Soon after Hitler had taken power, he started disobeying the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933 he started preparing Germany for war in violation of the treaty. In 1936 he sent German troops into the Rhineland, a flagrant violation of the Treaty of Versailles. In March of 1938 he annexed Austria. He annexed Czechoslovakia in March 1939. Hitler then wanted Poland. But on March 30, 1939 France and the United Kingdom issued guarantees of Polish independence. This guarantee alienated the Soviet Union, which swallowed up the eastern half of Poland in cooperation with Nazi Germany. Hitler wanted war and invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. This caused Britain and France to declare war on Germany soon after. “It was in virtue of this that we went to wa
r.” said William Strang, British Foreign Office Official and later Permanent Under-Secretary regarding the guarantee France and Britain made of Polish independence on Mar. 30, 1939. A few days after Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 Britain and France made formal declarations of war on Germany.
The aftermath of World War One was the real catalyst of the Second World War. The Treaty of Versailles left many loose threads and didn’t completely satisfy any party involved. Hitler and Germany as a whole were bitter about Germany’s defeat and Hitler capitalized on that bitterness to take the reins of power in Germany. Hitler then started annexing countries and expanding Germany’s territories as an expression of his defiance of the Treaty of Versailles and desire for a return to German empire. Perhaps no better example of Hitler’s bitterness exists than his making the French surrender in the same railcar where the Germans signed the armistice that ended the real combat of World War One. Although many dynamics instigated the Second World War, the real catalyst of the Second World War was the occurrence of the first.
Japan and China s Role in World War Two
Japan and China played a large role in World War II. Their roles were interesting and important. Japan caused the United States to enter World War Two by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. If that didn t occur, the United States may not have entered World War II. That was a very important step in this war. China was more in a war with itself and Japan rather than the rest of the world.
The Russo Japanese War made Japan a great power during the next quarter of a century. But, China was still an ancient empire. In the late 1920 s, most of China was united under political and military leadership of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. He was born in 1887. He led the Chinese opposition to the Japanese invaders throughout the war. When Japan invaded China in 1937, Chiang was head of the ruling Kusrintang Party. His capital was at Nanking. He continued war with Japan from his new capital Chucking. Chiang was made chairman of National Defense Council in 1939 and chief of state in 1943. Americans expected Chiang and China to be the fourth of the great powers after the war until the Nationalists took over the Communists in 1949. Japan overthrew Chiang and captured China. This is what started World War Two.
The Chinese National Government s Army numbered two million poorly trained and equipped troops. The Chinese communist army, comprising 150,000 guerilla troops in Northwest China, at first, they supported Chiang against the Japanese. There were no trained reserves, no navy, and only a few aircraft with inexperienced Chinese and foreign mercenary pilots. In 1937, the Chinese government invited United States Army Corps Captain Claire Chennault to become its aeronautics advisor. He accepted and was appointed Colonel in the Chinese Air Force. He spent the next three years training Chinese and foreign mercenary pilots. This, he found difficult to achieve decisive results while Japanese had air superiority. He built up a reliable early warning system during this time by distributing radio sets to patriotic peasants so that details of Japanese planes to get off the ground before they could be attacked. Raw materials were there but factories capable of turning into weapons did not. China s population was 500,000,000; but agriculture could barely produce enough food for all those people. On November 8, Shanghai was captured. Throughout World War II, the main problem of transporting supplies into China became large. China was dependent on supplies from abroad to enable to continue in the war against Japan.
When Japan went to War in 1941, it was one of the best-prepared belligerents. At that time, eight percent of their national product went on war materials. Since Japan is an island, it was not rich in raw materials; it had to import its raw materials. Oil, Iron Ore, and their most strategic metals were imported. From 1941 to 1944, its industry expanded. Truck production reached its peak in 1941. Tanks and artillery peaked in 1942. Also, small arms were at their highest peak in 1943 throughout 1944. Japan s ship and tank building ceased because of the lack of steel available to industry.
To start their economy moving, the government decided to use military industries to get out of depression. In the early 1930 s, the military leaders of Japan decided to take control of China. In 1931, the Japanese army invaded China in the Manchuria region. Soon, Japan took over Manchuria. Japan was later condemned for the take over Manchuria by the United States and by the rest of the world. In 1932, Japan withdrew its membership in the League of Nations. The take over of Chinese land lead to hostility between Japan and China. The hostility finally erupted at a bridge outside of Beijing. The name of the bridge was the Marco Polo Bridge. The Japanese and Chinese soldier met and started to fight. This started the second Sino-Japanese War. The war lasted from 1937 to the end of World War II at 1945.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning on December 7, 1941, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The Japanese had been planning the attack of Pearl Harbor since September of that year. The plans were told to the pilots on October 5 and the order to begin; the attack was given December 5. They dispatched 214 machines. Some were 50 conventional bombers, 51 dive-bombers, and 70 torpedo planes.
At 7:02 A.M., large fleets of planes were spotted near the Hawaiian Islands. The planes were thought to be a fleet of United States B-17 s that were due back to land that day. At 8:10 A.M., Japanese planes swarmed the island of Oahu. The planes destroyed warships, airfields, barracks, hangars, and houses. At 8:10 A.M., the Japanese planes were running low on ammo and left. The United States feared that they were going to return after reloading, the United States army brought out anti-aircraft guns. At 9:00 A.M., 175 more Japanese bomber and fighting planes attacked Pearl Harbor. Several United States ships were destroyed and more people died.
The anti-aircraft guns had little effect on the planes, at 10:00 A.M., the second attack ended. All together, 18 ships were sunk or badly damaged and 308 United States planes were destroyed. There were 2,343 deaths, 1,272 wounded, and 1,000 Americans were missing. The Japanese lost 29 planes and their crews. The United States were outraged and shocked, the Japanese were happy for their success in the attack.
The Chinese and Japanese both played important roles in World War Two. If not for them, the war could not be the same. Although China was busy with their own problems, it was still considered being a part of the war. Without Japan the bombing of Pearl Harbor would not have taken place. Therefore, the United States might not have entered the war and helped the other countries win the war.
The conditions of Germany post WWI, and pre, during, and post WWII changed drastically because of influences of the League of Nations, the Treaty of Versailles, and Adolf Hitler. These views will be analyzed and compared, to see how the role of these factors changed history the way they did.
The League of Nations, a former international organization, was formed after World War I to promote international peace and security. The basis of the League, also called the Covenant, was written into the Treaty of Versailles and other peace treaties and provided for an assembly, a council, and a secretariat. A system of colonial commands was also set up. Based in Geneva, the League proved useful in settling minor international disputes, but they had a hard time stopping aggression involving major powers such as, Japan’s occupation of Manchuria in 1931, Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935-36, and Germany’s seizure of Austria in 1938. It collapsed early in World War II and ended in 1946. The League of Nations was also considered incomplete because they could not get support from the US nor Germany.
When World War I ended on November 11, 1918, peace talks went on for months because the Allied leaders wanted to punish the enemy and “divide the spoils of war.”
A formal agreement to end the war was made and called the Treaty of Versailles. The part that took the most time to decide were the territorial changes because powers like Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman, and Germany had collapsed. These fallen empires had to be divided up and America s President Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau of France, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and David Lloyd George of Great Britain, were the main men of this deal. During 1918, Russia was knocked out of the war because of military defeats and the Bolshevik Revolution.
Even though Russia had not been part of the Central Powers, Germany seized much of western Russia. After many months of arguing, the four men had made western Russia into the nations of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland.
The Treaty of Versailles was a treaty of peace and vengeance for the Germans. When the treaty was first introduced to the Germans, they didn t want to sign it. It forced the Germans to accept responsibility for the war and give over its colonies to the League of Nations, coalfields, and the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. Danzig was to become a free city, and the Saar Basin was to be occupied by the French for 15 years. It also made them pay big reparations to the Allies, limit their army to 100,000 soldiers, of which none could be drafted, and the amount of war apparatus they could have .
It also supported the “war guilt” clause, that Germany was held responsible for the entire war. Even though Germany absolutely was against the clause they had no other choice but to agree with it, they signed on June 28, 1919, because if they didn t they would be faced with the problem of dealing with an Allied occupation in Germany.
The war guilt clause soon led to the demand that Germany would be held responsible for paying for the cost of the war. A reparations committee was set up because German objections that the economy would be left devastated arose. In 1921 the committee proclaimed that Germany would be forced to pay France and Belgium $33 billion dollars a year over the next 66 years.
That announcement upset the German government and caused them to resign in protest. But they had to pay because of fear that they would be attacked by the allies, knowing they could not compare to them with their limited army.
Out of the $33 billion dollars the Germans had to pay for damages, the country could only pay $4.5 billion of it. The first installment was paid on time, by the German government, but by the end of 1922 they when they still did not give France the 140,000 telegraph poles as required, (at least that was only the excuse given by Poincar , the French prime minister at the time) the French-Belgian force invaded the Ruhr Valley, attacking the industries that were there. The German government then made a policy of passive resistance, which the Germans in the Ruhr could not be involved in. Those who went against, or did not agree with the treaty were killed or injured.
The occupation of the Ruhr was soon ended when the new German chancellor, Gustav Stresemann, called off the passive resistance movement and negotiated with Belgium and France to set new reparation payments.
The Treaty of Versailles contributed to weakening the German economy not only because of the British naval blockade but because of the large amount of overseas colonies taken away, and the large reparation payments they were forced to pay. Prices in Germany rose because the imports became more expensive, by 1919 high inflation was a major problem for Germany. The economy soon collapsed, in 1923, because of the unstable inflation.
The invasion of Ruhr was also the cause of the collapse. It reduced the amount of goods that Germany produced, drastically. The German government printed more money to make up for it, and that was called hyperinflation. The prices only rose more because of this since there was way too much money in circulation and too little products to get with it. Soon 80 million marks, which once meant something, became the retail price for one egg. Starvation and unemployment became very major issues also. The rich and the poor all went through the same tribulations, because every cent they have earned turned worthless before them.
The Ruhr invasion, and economic crisis caused another Putsch, a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government, to be run. Munich, Bavaria is where everything took place. Adolf Hitler, and the rest of the national Socialist German Worker party, the NAZI Party for short, organized it. They were against many groups, including the Weimar Republic. Hitler and his many German supporters went into a private meeting that was held by the Weimar Republic announcing their plans to overthrow the German government and take control of Berlin. They searched for help from fellow conspirators but the next day, November 9th 1923, Bavarian soldiers halted armies. While marching through Munich, over 20 Nazis were killed and many were severely injured. Even though the Putsch failed and made Hitler go to prison, it made his ideas surprisingly public , and made him an idol to many German patriots. The only setback would be that he would need to get his ideas into motion using more legal means.
After this point, in late 1922, German citizens activity in political affairs increased rapidly, because they were searching for ways to overcome the depression. Germany was desperate to find a new leader to get out of their depression. That leader would be Adolf Hitler. Nazis soon be come very popular, because of their charismatic ability. Hitler led the people to believe that Germany s problems were caused by communism, the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles.
Although he was defeated when he ran for president in 1932, Pres. Paul von Hindenburg was persuaded to name him chancellor in 1933 and the Reichstag gave him dictatorial powers. When Hitler came to power, he did a lot to “fix” the problems in Germany. As the newfound dictator of Germany he made his point to challenge the races that occupied Germany. Marxist and Jews were the race he was against the most, because he blamed Germany’s defeat in World War I on them.
Because of his vast power, Hitler got whatever he wished. He used his anti-Semitism and anti-Communism to win the support both of the workers and of the bankers and industrialists. He removed Germany from the league of Nations, and invaded Yugoslavia along with the once demilitarized zone, the Rhineland, he also had widespread plans to take of Austria.
With other Nazi leaders, like Goering, Himmler, and Goebbels, he crushed all competitors and took control of all aspects of German life. Anti-Semitism became part of the law, and Concentration Camps were established.
In 1938, an agreement signed at Munich, Germany, by Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy, which surrendered the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, to Germany. Czechoslovakia, not invited to the talks, was forced to give in to the pact’s terms. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, upon his return to London, announced that he had achieved “peace in our time,” but the pact was widely noted as surrender to Hitler. The Munich Pact became a symbol of appeasement.
Hitler s hostile foreign policy, helped by English and French appeasement, culminated in the triumph of the Munich Pact in 1938. As he prepared Germany for war, he bullied smaller nations into making territorial changes. He became allied with Mussolini in Italy, and he helped Franco come to power in Spain. Austria was absorbed into the “Third Reich,” and Czechoslovakia was taken apart. In 1939 he signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union that gave him the right to invade Poland.
France and Britain immediately declared war on Germany, officially beginning World War II. The Germans won a quick victory in Poland, and went on to occupy Norway and Denmark in 1940. In May they overran the Low Countries, broke into France, and rushed to the English Channel. On June 22 France surrendered (although a Free French force kept fighting). Britain, was left to fight alone. The Battle of Britain went on from August-October 1940, Germany’s attempt to bomb Britain into submission, was the only German failure of the war’s early years.
Axis land operations continued in Northern Africa and in the Balkans, where Greece and Yugoslavia were occupied. On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, bringing that nation, under Premier Joseph Stalin, into war. While that was happening, the U.S. was considering to join forces with the Allies. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the U.S. into the war.
By 1942 Japan had conquered the Philippines, many other Pacific islands, and all of Southeast Asia. Germans in the Soviet Union reached Stalingrad and the Caucasus. Rommel seemed about to take Cairo, and German submarines were threatening to get rid of Allied shipping. Late in 1942, the Allies began to rally. In North Africa, British General Montgomery’s loss of Rommel at Alamein and the landing of U.S. troops in Algeria, resulted in Allied victory in Africa. The Allies conquered Sicily and Southern Italy, and Italy gave up in September 1943. In the Pacific, U.S. forces won in 1942, the naval battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, landed on Guadalcanal, and began the island strategy that by 1945 had won back the Philippines and brought a striking force to Japan at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The German surrender at Stalingrad was followed by a Soviet offensive that by 1944 had taken Russian troops deep into Poland, Hungary, and the Balkans. In the battle of the Atlantic, the German submarine fleet was just about destroyed. German resistance in Northern Italy was stubborn, however, especially at Cassino and Anzio. On June 6, 1944 (D Day), the final Allied campaign began with the troops landing in Normandy. In August a second force landed in South France. in late 1944 Belgium and France were liberated, and the war had traveled into the Netherlands and Germany. Allied bombing, meanwhile, was destroying German industrial centers. In Dec. 1944 the Germans staged counterattack in the Ardennes. By Jan. 1945, however, the Allies were continuing their drive into Germany. The Russians had conquered East Germany to the Oder.
On March 7 the Western Allies broke through the Siegfried Line, crossed the Rhine, and overran Western Germany. In April 1945, after Hitler’s suicide, German resistance collapsed, and on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally. The Allies now turned their attention to the Pacific. The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and occupied Manchuria. In Aug. 1945, while U.S. troops were preparing to invade Japan’s home islands, Pres. Truman ordered the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 14, 1945, ending the war.
After World War II, Germany made settlements in the area of The Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Sudetenland.
In November of 1945 in Nuremberg Germany, 22 of the most important Nazi leaders went on trial. They were charged with “crimes against humanity” along with “crimes against peace”.
The allies after hearing about the Nazi massacre German leaders could easily be tried as war criminals. France, the US, USSR and Britain made a testimony that revealed slave and medical results performed on humans.
In 1948 there was a large crisis in Germany. France was with the US and Great Britain, to merge their 3 occupation zones in Germany and turn over control of the territory to a new government that would be run by Germans. The Soviet Union was against this because they feared that Germans would soon overcome them. No agreement could be made thought because of the decision of the USSR. The Soviets blocked the land routes around their zones of Berlin and Germany. And this isolate the country. They only did this because they wanted to force the western allies to change their policies.
Berlin, like Germany was separated into 4 parts. And the Western Allies had to choose amongst the parts. The US and Britain worked together to make an airlift to transport the supplies they needed, (food, coal etc.) to a city that had over 2.5 million people there. A year later when the Soviets weren t able to achieve their goals they raised the blockade. But Germany along with Britain was still split between the East and the West. Western Berlin remained isolated inside the communist territory. Soon a democratic government was made for Western Germany. A few months after the Soviet held territories became the German Democratic Republic.
Post World War II had a big effect on German industry, along with the whole economy. The war left millions of the people homeless and the cost of the war was too much for the country to withhold. There was a lack of food and the frequent bombing caused economic problems. The war caused masses of Germany to become ruins. Many industries were destroyed along with homes and farms.
A military alliance was formed as a way to guard against Communists. In April of 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, (NATO for short) became very powerful. It had 12 original members that included US, Britain, Italy, France, Norway, Luxembourg, Iceland, Portugal, and the Netherlands. In 1952 Turkey and Greece joined, and in 1953 West Germany was involved. Spain then joined in 1982. The members of the “nation” worked on ways to provide troops with well arms for military forces. While this was happening the Soviet Union was setting up organizations that would support economic cooperation throughout communist nations. The Mutual Economic Assistance group was formed by nations in the communist bloc.
By the rules of the Warsaw pact, made in 1955, soviet troops were allowed to be in Albania, Hungary, and other countries in that area.
Western Germany made a very fast recovery from the war. A multiparty system was made that involved two parties, The Social democrats and the Christian democrats. The industries of West Germany were restored and economic stability was founded again. Later the economy went back to being strong and the citizens returned to a high standard of living. They were Capitalists and were led fairly by the government.
German Communists were appointed after World War II to local officers. A system was made that was very similar to the Russian communist movements. Industries, banks, and even people were being seized for their money. People who were suspected of communism were captured and put into harsh prison camps. In 1946 the communists forced the social democratic party to join and form a Socialist Unity Party which soon went under the control of Walter Ulbricht, a communist leader, prepared a constitution that contained some communist ideas. There are strong communist ideas that still control Germany to a point.
If it were not for The Treaty of Versailles or the Locarno Pact, (which was a series of treaties made in 1925 by Britain, France Germany, Italy, Belgium, Poland, and Czechoslovakia that guaranteed boundaries and peace and Hitler violated it in 1936) would there have been a second World War? Hitler was anxious for German equality so perhaps there would be. He was willing to rebel against any country to gain power in his country and no bills or acts could have halted him. He had the ability to move those he spoke to with his oratory skills, and that made him extremely popular to Germans and others.
The League of Nations and all other international organizations were no match for Adolf Hitler, because of his skills in drawing support. He could sway an entire nation to follow his anti-Semitism easily and a good example of him doing so was the Holocaust, the Germans liked what Hitler said because it took blame off of them and placed it on the Jews and other racial groups. If he did not kill himself, Germany may still have been one of the most powerful countries in the World.
The Locarno Pact was the cause of World War II according to many sources, but Hitler only defied that meaning that he would be willing to defy any clause. He must have enjoyed seeing other countries, like Britain and France offer things like appeasement to his country, knowing that he would only want more and easily receive more.
If there were no League of Nations many things would not have changed. They were a weak association and their lack of real fire power kept them from being a threat to most countries. They relied mainly on persuading countries to work for them. They failed when called on in times of emergency, because there was no real force behind their word. They worked with the Treaty of Versailles though, but the treaty still would have had the same effect if the League was not involved in it.
If the Treaty of Versailles were never written, then Germany would have nothing to avenge. There would still be bad air between France and Germany and a small war may have broken out. Europe would not have been a very safe place because Germany most likely would have become the most powerful of the nations there with or with out Hitler s assistance. The German army with out limitations, and unlimited U-boats, and submarines would have meant major problems for the rest of Europe, or even the World at that time, since every country with power had been devastated because of the war that had recently occurred.
If Hitler never came to power Germany would not still be in the Depression, but they would still be going through hard times socially and economically. There would not have been such serious racism surely, but racist belief would still be as common as they were at that time. There still might have been a Second World War though, since the Treaty of Versailles was nearly impossible for any country to follow precisely.
Although the League, The Treaty, and Hitler sometimes seemed as though they were setting up for times of war rather than peace it seems as though the Second World War, and every war that has come and every war that will come are unavoidable fate rather than chance.
World War II will always be remembered as the costliest war ever, in lives as well as money. One of reasons that this war will always be remembered is the harsh ruler s that were in control at the time of the war. These rulers are going to be greatly responsible for starting the war, and also for escalating it into what it became. The other main reason why this war will always be remembered is due to the changes that it caused in everyday life for people all around the world. This essay is going to discuss the principle causes and effects of WWII.
The main causes for WWII were the rising of the two European dictators Benito Mussolini of Italy and Adolf Hitler of Germany. Once Mussolini came to power in Italy, he slowly destroyed anyone that was opposed to him, and then he set up a totalitarian state. This changed Italy for the worst. After being in power, he set up the secret police to kill or torture anyone that spoke out against him, the propaganda machine went into high gear, and this was the perfect remedy for a conflict. One more thing that made Mussolini responsible for the war was his expansionist ways. He wanted to create a Roman Empire that would mirror the Roman Empire from ancient times, both in strength and might. In order to accomplish this though, he would have to invade Albania, Greece, and Ethiopia. This made the majority of the world look upon Mussolini with hate, even before the war was begun. Mussolini s alliance with Hitler also showed Italy and the world what his goals really where.
Hitler, however, became a much stronger and hated leader at the same time when compared to Mussolini. Hitler created the Nazi party, which at first people supported simply because they opposed communism, and they ran Germany with an iron fist. Reason for Hitler great resentment towards the Jews was because of the economic state that Germany was in, and the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler was very upset that all of the burdens of WWI were placed upon Germany. Germany once again started WWII when it invaded Poland after it signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact with the Soviet Union, to make sure that the Soviet Union didn t not counter and attack Germany.
WWII eventually engulfed the entire world, far as Japan. There were many effects of this world war. Social losses, political lose, and economic devastation made life is European countries after the war very harsh. From a political point of view, Europe lost its world power status and lost colonial empires to nationalism. Socially, 50-70 million people were dead making WWII the most destructive war ever, and people found it very hard once again to trust any leader due to the treatment they received from their previous leaders. Economically, WWII literally drained all of the money out of European markets. Billions upon billions of dollars were spent for the war effort. Tremendous amounts would be borrowed from the United Stated, never to be repaid.
However, not all of the effects of WWII were bad. Many countries contributed to the founding of the UN, or United Nations. This was created in order to attempt to prevent such a catastrophe from ever happening again. The UN was similar to the League of Nations, but it was stronger in all of the areas that the LON was weak. Some other great results of WWII were that two superpowers had emerged after Europe s collapse, the U.S. and USSR. USSR becoming a superpower caused communism to spread into all of the countries that it bordered in Eastern Europe. The US and Britain stressed the issue of not allowing communism to spread any farther, so they had a great influence upon the nations of Eastern Europe. This led to the development of the Cold War between the US and USSR After dropping an Atomic device on Japan for the first time in human history, the Atomic age was born. The USSR and US began scrambling to make sure that they had more weapons in their arsenal than the other. This was known as the Arms Race. Finally, NATO (North Atlantic Peace Treaty) was set up as a defense against the spread and threat of communism. If a communist country attacked any member of NATO, the other members would take it as an attack upon them, and retaliate with full force.
WWII spelled nothing but disaster for the majority of the countries that it involved. This should serve as a reminder to everyone of the world of what can happen in we sit back and allow things such as the anti-Semitic ways of Hitler, and the expansionist ways of Mussolini to go unpunished. If these men would have met any sort of resistance, it wouldn t have necessarily stopped them, but it would have slowed them down, making it easier to finally defeat. Now most of the countries that were involved in WWII are back on their feet and starting to make steps towards improvement, but this doesn t mean that we can just forget about the past, cause that can simply mean that we are doomed to repeat it.
Out of all the wars that the world has gone through, none has been more devastating as World War II. But what caused this war? Well, world war II had six major causes: anger over the Versailles Treaty, the failure of peace efforts after world war I, the rise of Fascism, the goals of Hitler, the isolationism by America and Britain, and the re-armament of Europe. This paper will go over each of these causes individually and then draw some conclusions about World War II.
The first cause of World War II was the intense anger over the Versailles Treaty. Germany was very angry over two things and the first of which was the many territorial losses they had to endure as a result of the treaty. They lost two cities on the French-German border and as per Wilson’s thirteenth point Poland was re-formed with access to the Baltic Sea, which went right through Germany.
Giving Poland Sea access split Germany into two parts, the main part of Germany, and a small portion to the North of the Danzig corridor. The Danzig corridor really inflamed Germany for many years, but they really could not do anything about the situation because they lost World War I. Another country that was angry over the Versailles Treaty was Italy. They were not angry because they thought that the land that they had received as a payment for their participation in the Allied effort against Germany did not offset the cost of the war, nor did it satisfy their ambitions to grow. The final country that was angry over the Versailles Treaty was Japan. They were also a victor over Germany and they wanted to gain control over China as reward for their participation in the war. This, however, did not happen and they were angry over the situation.
The second cause of World War II was the failure of the many peace efforts that occurred after World War I. The League of Nations, which was one of Wilson’s fourteen points and part of the Versailles Treaty, was a forum in which nations could settle their disputes with one another. The problem was that the League did not have any real power. The only thing it could do was try to persuade the offending nation to concede and if that did not work out they could impose economic sanctions on that country. But the league had so little power that the sanctions it passed were normally ignored and it could do nothing from that point on. Another failed peace effort was the Washington Conference. At this conference the principal naval powers agreed to limit their navies according to a fixed ratio. But again none of the powers really went through with their agreement. Yet another failed peace effort was the Locarno Conference.
This conference produced a treaty between France and Germany stating that the border between the two countries was guaranteed. However, we know that this treaty failed because Germany invaded France during world war II. The final failed peace effort was the Paris Peace Act. At this conference all of the major countries, excluding Russia, and many smaller countries agreed that war was not a national policy and stated that they would try to resolve problems through diplomatic means. The only way that war was acceptable in this act was by means of self-defense. These did not directly cause world war II, but they made it possible by their obvious lack of power. Countries still did not trust each other enough to follow through with the good ideas that they had.
The third cause of World War II was the rise of Fascism. Fascism was a movement that began before World War I, but did not become a serious political power until Benito Mussolini took control of the Italian government in 1922. Under Mussolini Italy became a Totalitarian government where labor unions were abolished and political opponents were killed or silenced. This caused many things to happen to Italy’s social and economic problems. The first of these problems was the lowered living standard of the Italian people. The people lost their eight-hour workday protection and the government lowered their wages. Mussolini acknowledged that the living standard had gone down, but explained it by saying that the Italian people were not used to eating much anyway, so they would not feel the lack of food as badly as others.
Another thing the Fascist government caused was an increased birthrate in Italy. Mussolini wanted women to have more children so that he could create a larger army in the future. In this way he felt that he could have a large army by the time he was ready to go to war for more land. Mussolini used tactics much like the communists in that he had total control over all of the Italian population and could have people killed whenever he wanted. Italy, however, was not the only country to fall under Fascism. Germany adopted this form of government only it was called National Socialism. Its leader was Adolf Hitler and it called itself the Nazi party. The Nazi party differed slightly from Mussolini’s government in that the Nazi’s were more racist and believed that it was their destiny to make the world subject to the perfect German people. They were particularly hateful to the Jewish people, which were proven after they started to exterminate all of the Jews within central Europe after World War II started. These events did not directly cause World War II, but they brought us to the brink of war. People that listened to these dictators believed that these men could bring them to world domination.
The fourth cause of World War II was the goals of the German dictator, Hitler. He had a vision of the German people becoming a master race and dominating the entire world, but he also knew that he could not achieve all this during the war he intended to start. He, however, had two major goals, which was to bring all of central Europe together and form a larger Germany and to create more room for Germany to grow by taking over Poland. His first move was to test the other European powers by inserting troops into Germany’s coal mining area next to France. The Treaty of Versailles forbade this and Hitler wanted to see how far he could push his adversaries before they would strike back. If Britain had not been so passive to Hitler they might have stopped this war before it ever started. They, however, allowed Hitler to do this because they did not want to start another war. Hitler then pushed the European powers further and further until he invaded Poland and Europe had no choice but to react.
The fifth cause of World War II was American and British isolationism. After world war I America turned away from Europe and went back to its domestic problems. The American people did not want anything to do with European affairs because many of the debts that were accrued during the war were not being paid and Americans were very bitter. Britain also turned to its domestic problems and did not want to interfere in Continental Europe’s problems. If one or both of these countries had attempted to stop Hitler when he first came into power he probably would have been thrown out of office and world war II might have been prevented.
The final cause of World War II was a direct result from all of the previous causes, and that is the rearmament of all the European powers. Tensions started to increase as Hitler tested the European powers and most if not all countries began to increase their armies and navies. This brought war closer because it meant that the government leaders were prepared to use force to resolve the problems that Hitler was causing, and it raised tensions even higher than they already were.
In conclusion, World War II was not an extension of World War I, but World War I was a big cause of World War II. Most of the causes of World War II came out of the Treaty of Versailles, and if that treaty had been better there might not have been World War II. Nevertheless, World War II happened and we can only learn from the mistakes we see from the past.
Multimedia Encyclopedia. IBM Corp., 1998
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