World war two, the most destructive war in history
1) Causes of W.W.II
We need to distinguish two different types of causes : immediate causes and secondary causes such as the failure of the Versailles treaty and the League of Nations.
In Europe, France and Britain declared war to Germany when it has invaded Poland in September 1939. In the Far East China declared war when Japan tookover Manchuria. The USA got involved when Japan destroied their fleet in Pearl Habor and finally the Soviet Union joined the war when Germany invaded their territory.
If we look at the Treaty of Versailles it has nothing to compare with the treaty proposed in Wilson’s 14 points. Germany was terribly desapointed by this new treayty. The winning nations wanted to punish severely Germany butdespite numerous discussions, althrough they did not agree Germany had no other choice than to sign it. Germany was considered guilty and blamed for starting the war.
The military, finanicial and territorial clauses were considered by the German population as humiliating.
- The arm forces were reduced substanticaily: no submaries, no airforce , they were only allowed to have a small army and sixnaval ships. The Rhineland area was de- militarised.
- Germany had to pay 6.600 million£ for the damage caused by the war
- The German territory was reduced :
- Anschluss, Germany was not allowed to unite with Austria
- Alsace – Lorraine was returned to France
- Belgium received Eupen and Malmedy (ex German territories)
-German lands was also distributed to Denmark, Poland and Czeckoslovia and the League of Nations control Germany’s colonies
- Creation of the Danzig corridor attributed to Poland so it could have a acces to the sea.
The German population greatly resented this treaty and 10 years later the Versailles Treaty was recognized to be a failure. Germany was suffereing a “GreatDepression” in 1929, with a lot of unemployment, and a starving population. Hilter became a determined and efficient leader. He used the “Great Depression” to impose his ideas. He just wanted to abolish the Versailles Treaty, he was looking for a revange and he started to re-armed his nation including Rhineland. In 1935 he re-introduced military services. Britain and France did not take any action, anxiousto keep the peace. In 1939 Hilter invaded Czechoslovacia.This situation helped the strong nationalism movement to develop in Germany, prepare to follow Hilter and his idea of “ the dominant German race”.
After WWI, the victorious nations created the League of Nations to prevent any other wars but it failed in its mission as Japan, the Soviet Union never joined the organisation and alsobecause it had no military forces.
2) Major Turning Points
1939 – To the surprise of Hilter who intended to open the second world war, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany when they occupied Poland. Originaly Hilter intended
to invade Russia after Poland. Instead he occupied France
Summer 1940 – France was rapidly occupied and to finish the attack on this front Hilter decided onan air campaign over Britain before returning to his original course. The Luftwaffe suffered heavy loses in planes and trained pilots compared with the Royal Airforce when Hilter took the decision to bomb London. The Western front resisted and remained “active”
In mid 1941, Hitler went back East, to his original plan to invade and occupy Russia who was preparing for this huge attack. Sure ofhis success Hilter was certain to finish the invasion before the winter as his army was not prepare for extreme weather conditions.
Despite the warning from his Generals, Staline did not believe the German would invade just before the winter and they were taken by surprise and the loses in men and materials were tremendous. But when the German army arrived in Moscow it was winter and they...
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