There are many long-term causes of the Second World War that are found in the conditions preceding the First World War. The end of the First World War and the peace agreements that followed in 1919 totally changed the state of the Eastern and Central Europe. New nations were formed, and the countries that lost the First World War, specifically the Germany and the Austria were forced to give up some of their territories. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was created after the First World War to restrain the Germanys power and with hope of helping to inhibit the occurrence of another world war (Hazen 8). However, the necessities of the Treaty of Versailles made Germany feel vulnerable and aching for retaliation, the outcome of this was the rise of Adolf Hitler and possibly to the Second World War. The instability created in Central and Eastern Europe in 1914-1918 by the First World War resulted in another international conflict. According to Hazen, the Germany ambition to dominate Europe both economically and politically was spearheaded by Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi Party). He strategically armed the unstable nation to sign treaties with Italy and Japan to advance his ambitions of making Germany the most powerful nation in the world. Hitlers attack on Poland in September 1939 provoked the Britain and France to proclaim war on Germany, and consequently, the Second World War began (5).
The Germanys dishonored the Versailles Treaty in 16 March, 1935, as Hitler organized the Germany to re-arm. The violation of the Treaty produced formal disputes from Britain and France, for they were more concerned about imposing the economic sanctions of the Versailles treaty than its military restraints. The Britain and the France thought that the requirements of the Versailles Treaty were harsh for the Germans, and they assumed that Hitler's intention was only to loosen the extremes of the Versailles treaty and nothing beyond that. Consequently, on March 7, 1936, Hitler advanced his troops into the Rhineland with no opposition. The provision of treaty required that the Rhineland be demilitarized since France hunted it for a buffer between herself and Germany. However, Hitlers insolence was met with inaction (Kane 127).
The first German invasion was Austria. After Italy had joined the Anti-Comintern Pact, thus eliminating the focal obstruction of a Anschluss the Austria, Germany declared the occupation of Austria on March 12, 1938, making it a German province: "Gau Ostmark" (Rein 124). Having secured the territory of Austria, the Germans focused on invading the Czechoslovakia. Hitlers first order of operation was to secure the Sudetenland, the northeast part of the country. With the German occupation of Austria, the small state was now nearly surrounded (Rein 125-127).
On September 17, 1939, Poland was attacked from the East by the troops of the Soviet. Poland was quickly destroyed having been attacked from both sides. At the beginning of 1940 Germany and the Soviet Union had already shared control over Poland, with regards to a secret protocol added to the Nonaggression Pact (Rein 129).
In the mid of 1941, Hitler launched an attack against the Soviet Union, dubbed Operation Barbarossa (Ryan and Leonard 59). Although the Soviet was armed with numerous tanks and aircraft significantly more compared to the Germans, they were easily defeated due to their weak air technology. The Germans surprise attacked helped them to advanced 200 miles of Soviet capital by mid-July. Hitler and his commanders were at the time in disagreement that derailed the next German invasion in Soviet until October when Germans was again delayed by a Soviet counterattack during the start of tough winter weather.
War in the Pacific (1941-43)
With Britain battling with the Germany in Europe, the Japanese aggression was intensifying, and it seemed that the only nation capable of stopping the Asian nation was the United States of America. The Japanese, by late 1941 was involved in an expansion of its territories and persistent war with China as well as the invasion of the European colonial territories in the Far East. The sleeping giants were awakened by a Japanese aircraft attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941 (Hazen 26). The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the life of more than 2000 troops that resulted in the unification the American citizens opinion in favor of participating in the World War II. A day after the attack the Congress declared full force retaliation on Japan with only one contrasting vote. On the other hand, the Germans together with other Axis Powers instantly declared war on the Americans.
The Battle of Midway
After many victories, the Japanese seemed unconquerable. Their next targeted was on Midway Island, approximately 1,500 miles on the west of Hawaii, the position of a strategic American airfield. Thanks to the American code breakers, Admiral Nimitz, who was the commander in chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Americans claimed the victory of the battle in June 1942 (Hazen 42). The victory was a turning point in the Second World War. In June 1943, the Japanese continued to suffer from attacks launched by the Allied naval forces that employed the use of simultaneous amphibious attacks on strategic locations of the Japanese territorial islands in the Pacific (Hazen 43). With the attacks the Allied forces were closer to their definitive goal of attacking the Japanese homeland.
After the Second World War, the United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged to be the strongest nations in the world. The two nations were referred to as the superpowers. They held different ideologies on the issues of economics and government. They engaged themselves in a war of ideologies known as the Cold War. The Soviet Union supported the idea of a communist nation. A communist society is characterized by the government control of the systems of production and the national resources. The government has the ultimate decision on where it citizens live and work. On the other hand, the United States of America is a capitalist nation. A capitalist society is characterized by the freedom of people and businesses to have control on the production of goods and services. People have the freedom to choose where they live and work. After the end of First World War, the Cold War started in Europe. The Soviet Union succeeded to have the control of Eastern Europe. The super power had the control of half the Germany and nearly half of Berlin. The United States of America rallied with the Britain and France to assume control of western Germany and the West Berlin (Bank and William 123). In mid-1948, the Soviet Union obstructed the road and railway transport network of West Berlin that was used by the United States, Great Britain, and France to transport supplies.
Cold War Conflicts
After Second World War had ended, Korea was split into South and North Korea (Rein 45). North Korea supported the Soviet ideology of communist while the South Korea supported the capitalist ideology. The North Korean army attacked the South Korea. The South Korea was reinforced by the soldiers sent by the United Nations. The China supported the North Korea by sending its soldiers to fight against the South Korea. The war came to an end in 1953 with neither side claiming victory. Meanwhile, the United States of America and the Soviet Union were in a superiority race of nuclear weapons. In 1959, Cuba under the Castro regime became a communist nation. The Soviet allied with Cuba and secretly put missiles on the Cuban soil. United States of America President Kennedy was concerned that the Soviet Union would launch an attack on his country. He ordered warships to surround the Cuba territory with hopes that blockade will intimidate the Soviet Union to remove the missiles from Cuba. For almost a week, there was high tension for the possibility of nuclear war. Eventually, the missiles were removed, and the conflict ended.
The end of Second World War resulted in several challenges that faced the administration of Harry Truman. The American economy had to be transformed from a wartime economy to entirely a consumer economy (Ryan and Leonard 362). Strikes that had been postponed during the war escalated with fury across the nation. As the soldiers were settling after the war, they wanted to be reinstated in their previous jobs, creating an enormous labor surplus. The Congress enacted the servicemans Readjustment Act of 1994 known as the GI Bill of rights to offer relief to the veterans of the Second World War, and to reduce the labor surplus (Ryan and Leonard 362). The law was to allow the veteran to access government loans to those wished to venture into new business. It also provided financial support to veterans who wished to further their education. Thousands of veterans exploited the opportunity and welcomed the move by the government.
Banks, Arthur S, Thomas C. Muller, and William Overstreet. Political Handbook of the World, 2005-2006. Washington, D.C: CQ Press, 2006. Print.
Hazen, Walter A. Everyday Life: World War Ii. Tucson, Ariz: Good Year Books, 2006. Print.
Kane, Robert B. Disobedience and Conspiracy in the German Army: 1918 - 1945. Jefferson, N.C. [u.a.: McFarland & Co, 2002. Print.
Rein, Leonid. The Kings and the Pawns: Collaboration in Byelorussia During World War Ii. , 2013. Print.
Ryan, James G, and Leonard Schlup. Historical Dictionary of the 1940s. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, Inc, 2006. Internet resource.
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