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December 8, 2015
Second World War A.D.1939 - A.D.1945 - Causes, immediate cause, opening events, results of war.
Second World War was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945. The great powers of the world, split up into two opposing military alliances the Allies and the Axis and involved in the war. It was the most widespread war in history. In a state of 'total war' the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. The Treaty of Versailles left many countries dissatisfied. Adverse conditions such as, repartition and unemployment led to new radical ideas, which led to the second world war.
Causes for the Second World War Treaty of Versailles:
The first world war ended by the Treaty of Versailles. It was vindictive in nature and many countries were dissatisfied. According to the treaty, Germany was stamped as an aggressor and levied a huge war indemnity. She had been deprived of several territories which included Alsace and Lorraine. The rich Saar coal mine was given to France for 15 years under free lease license. Her army was reduced. All these humiliating terms against Germany resulted in the Second World War.
Spirit of Nationalism
The concepts like Germany for Germans, Italy for Italians which emphasized nationalism in a manner led to tension. Germany boosted the superiority of German race on the earth. Nationalism is indeed to develop love for one's country and to rise above
regionalism but when it crosses all limits it assumes alarming proportion.
Failure of League of Nations
League of Nations was founded after the first world war to prevent wars in future and to maintain international peace and security. The big powers which dominated the League of Nations did not obey the terms and conditions of the League. Hence the League failed in its prime duty of preventing the race for armament and preserving peace.
Rise of Japan
Japan emerged as a World power after the First World War. The industrial development and economic growth forced Japan to follow the policy of imperialism. It signed Rome-Berlin- Tokyo Axis with Italy and Germany and sowed the seeds for Second World War.
Rise of Dictatorship
After the First World War, the World was witnessed the rise of new ideologies such as Democracy, Communism, Fascism and Nazism. The newly formed Republican governments in many European countries failed and gave way to dictatorship of Hitler and Mussolini. These dictators glorified the principles of war and conquest which ended in the second world war.
Problems of Minorities
After the First World War, a number of new nations had been created but the principle of nationality was not followed. Several countries like Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia were formed by neglecting the interests of the minority groups.
Policy of Appeasement
The statesmen of the major world powers ignored and evaded their responsibility and followed to the policy of appeasement. But appeasement did not satisfy. The great powers increased steadily and it resulted in the Second World War.
Formation of the Axis Coalition
Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German National Socialist (Nazi) party, preached a racist brand of Nazism. Having denounced the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, he created a new air force, and reintroduced conscription. Hitler in collaboration with Italy and Japan signed the Rome- Berlin-Tokyo Axis in 1936. This resulted the war.
German Aggression in Europe
In September 1938 Hitler threatened Czechoslovakia. The British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain initiated talks and signed the Munich Pact, Hitler promised not to take any more Czech territory. Chamberlain believed that he had achieved “peace for our time,” but Hitler within six months seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia which resulted the second world war.
In 1939, Hitler demanded from Poland the right to construct a military road connecting East Prussia and Germany through Polish Corridor. He also demanded the surrender of Danzig. When Poland refused, Hitler made a lightening attack on Poland known as Blitzkrieg on 1, September 1939. As Britain wanted to protect Poland declared war on Germany on
September 3rd 1939 and France was also joined with Britain. Thus started the Second World War.
Opening Events (1939)
The World War II officially began on September 1, 1939, when Hitler declared his Blitzkrieg, (lightning war) against Poland. Britain and France much to Hitler's surprise, immediately declared war upon Germany.
As Hilter's forces conquered Poland, the Soviet Union was acting out guarantees of territory under a secret part of a Non-Aggression pact between the USSR and Germany. This Treaty gave Stalin free reign to take the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Eastern Poland, all of which would remain in Soviet possession after the war.
At this moment, Mussolini declared war on the Allies to occupy a few hundred yards of French territory.
The Battle of Britain 1940
Hitler turned his attention to Britain. He sent his Luftwaffe (Airforce) to drop bombs on Britain. His ‘U’ boats(Sub marines) torpedoed many British ships. During the month of August and September in 1940, Luftwaffe continuously bombed London and other cities daily. This is called the Battle of Britain Though the British suffered heavy losses at first, eventually, it managed under the Prime Ministership of Winston Churchill and turned the air strike against Germany.
Operation Barbaressa (1941)
Hitler, after his defeat over the skies of Britain, turned his attention towards the Soviet Union. Despite having signed the non-aggression pact with Stalin, Hitler despised communism and wished to destroy it in the land of its birth. Hitler ordered a large attack on the Yugoslavia and Greek. The Italian and German armies quickly swept across Yugoslavia, In Greece, there was tougher resistance, but the Axis forces proved too powerful and by the end of April the Balkans were under Axis control.
On June 22.1941, Hitler invaded Russia, At this critical moment, the Russian winter, which began early that year, stalled the German (army) to a halt at the gates of Moscow. Stalin had planned to evacuate the city, and had already moved important government functionaries, but decided to stay and rally the city.
Russians followed the Scorched Earth Policy They abandoned the villages and set fire to crops, roads, railways, factories and even houses. So that Germans could not gain anything. After a long besiege of five months, the Germans were able to capture the empty city of Moscow. After suffering a crushing defeat in Russia they retreated in January, 1944.
In August 1941 the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President F.D Roosevelt met on the
board of the battle ship Augusta and signed the Atlantic charter, and agreed to launch a massive attack against the common enemy Germany.
America Enters the war
Meanwhile, the Japanese had attacked American fleet stationed at Pearl Harbour on December 7,1941. This disastrous attack forced the Americans to enter into the war. The very next day the USA declared war on Japan.
Mussolini's Aggression in Africa (1940 -1942)
Mussolini had seized Ethopia and launched attack on Kenya, the Sudan and British Somaliland. The British counter attacked and captured Eritrea in February, Somalia in March and Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
End of the War
The Allied troops planned an invasion of France from England. In May 1944, a big American and British force landed in Normandy. They were joined by the secret underground French forces. Germany was attacked on all sides. From the East the Russian forces chased German troops. When Hitler came to know about the advance of the armies from the two sides reaching Berlin, he committed suicide.
Italian army was defeated and Allies occupied Italy and Mussolini was killed. The Allied army entered Germany and it surrendered on May 1945. After the fall of Germany, America dropped atom bombs on the cities of Hiroshima on August 6, and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 which caused a great destruction. As the result Japan surrendered unconditionally. Thus the second World War came to an end.
Results of the war
1. The destruction to life and property was on a much larger scale than the First World War. Over 50 Millions were lost their lives.
2. It sounded the death knell to dictatorship in Germany and Italy. Germany was occupied by the Allied forces and later it was divided into two parts. The West Germany was controlled by Britain, France and America and the East Germany by
Russia. At the end of the war Japan was occupied by American forces under General McArthur.
3. The war weakened Britain and France. America and Russia emerged as Super Powers. The war did not end totalitarianism in Russia. A cold war started between Russia and America.
4. The war quickened the phase of national movements in Asia and Africa. India, Burma, Egypt, Ceylon and Malaya fought for their freedom and won their freedom from Britain. Philippines from America. Indo-china from France and Indonesia from the Dutch got their independence.
5. The European countries gave up the policy of Colonialism and Imperialism.
6. The United Nations Organisation was set up to maintain International peace and harmony. The organization worked hard to maintain international co-operation and for the promotion of human welfare.