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The Second World War Unrest Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 24th, 2019

Introduction

The Second World War was the greatest world unrest in the history of humanity. It culminated in the death of over 30 million people. The war brought things to a standstill in the world with reduced or no economic activity being realized between 1939 and 1945. The war came at the time in which the global economy was recovering from a deep depression (Howard, 2007). Fighting reached most countries across the world.

Retrospectively, many analysts argue that the war could have been prevented. Others say that it was inevitable to engage in the war. This way, they argue, the world was brought to some level of structural sobriety with bodies such as United Nations coming to the fore in maintaining global harmony. This paper looks into the argument that the war was preventable and highlights some of the reasons why.

Chronology

Germany’s meteoric rise under Hitler was because of the First World War. Hitler began to pursue an aggressive foreign policy between 1919 and 1933. Earlier on in the treaty of Versailles, Germans lost precious land to Poland. Most Germans were unhappy and wanted to reverse that.

These factors shaped the politics of the Nazis with Hitler pursuing his personal ambitions including addressing the outcomes of the First World War (Weinberg, 2005). As Hitler rose to power, most of the people in Germany were unemployed. With the unemployment rate soaring high, the Nazi regime established its political policies.

Hitler began to revise the treaty of Versailles by attacking various neighboring states as he tried reclaiming lost land and increase the territory of Germany (Cogley & Sargent, 2001). Britain was one of the global powers at the time and it was involved in resolution of international conflicts involving various countries through appeasement.

As Britain continuously gave into the demands of Hitler, USSR was alienated .Stalin was made to believe that the Western powers had allowed Hitler to continue his aggressiveness as Germany expanded in the East. The expansion promoted further conflicts between the Nazis and the Soviets. As noted by Cogley & Sargent, (2001), the appeasement policy pursued by Britain and France was cowardly as it allowed continued aggression of expansionist states.

German began attacking states that were allied to Britain in late 1939. In 1940, Germany began assault on Britain too through airstrikes resulting into the battle of Britain. However, Germany failed to conquer the British Air Force. Italy joined the war together with its allies by attacking North African states as Hitler planned his next move. Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 (Davies, 2008).

The initial efforts to invade Russia were successful but the outcome thwarted the efforts of Germany to continue its aggression. A full-scale retreat of Germany was realized in 1943 after the Stalingrad and Kursk battles in which German soldiers were badly injured and many died. In 1944, Germany was forced out of the USSR completely.

In the same year, the U.S. joined the war by launching daylight invasion of Germany in one of its colonies that it had captured from France through the port of Normandy (Simkins, Jukes & Hickey, 2002). Therefore, Germany had established enmity with almost all superpowers: U.S., USSR, and Britain among others. Despite the efforts of each country, USSR was the first country to get to Berlin with the effects of the war forcing Germany to surrender in 1945 (BBC 2012).

Argument

Could the war have been prevented? Many people concur that it could have. Although most nations were independent, the rise of Germany under the unpredictable Hitler after the First World War should have been stemmed. Additionally, many European superpowers at the time had expansionist policies.

The United States was the sole superpower with nonexistent expansionist policies. Hence, it was in a better position to curb the hunger of Hitler for more and more territory. The US should have played a big role in resolving and possibly repealing the Versailles treaty that was a major catalyst to the war. The Nazi regime was also repressive and should not have existed with US doing nothing (BBC 2012).

Unlike in the more recent Rwanda Genocide where the United States’ poor run in Somalia prevented her from acting, the case in 1939 and before was not preceded by a foreign policy mishap. Hence, the US should have played a more active role. Germany was still weak in many fronts.

However, with the help of France and Britain through appeasement, Germany grew into a formidable force. The two countries should have used their power to forestall Germany’s meteoric rise. However, as critics argue, this would have given Stalin leeway to further his expansionist ways, which Hitler had beaten at him. Hence, prevention should have been directed at the two nations. The UN played a role too.

The economic policies it was proposing worsened the Germans’ resolve to get back their resources. The Japanese had a minimal role though it was also significant if the consequences and outcomes of the war are anything to go by. Conclusively, most of the superpowers at the time played an active or passive role in worsening the war (BBC 2012).

References

BBC. (2012). History: World War 2. Retrieved from

Cogley, T. & Sargent, T. (2001). Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics. NBER Macroeconomics Annual, 16: 331-388.

Davies, N. (2008). No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939–1945. New York: Penguin Group.

Howard, M. (2007). The First World War: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Simkins, P., Jukes, G. & Hickey, M. (2002). The First World War, Volumes 1-2. NY, New York: Osprey Publishing.

Weinberg, GL. (2005). A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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