One could make the argument that World War II was just a continuation of World War I, despite the fact a very late one. Approximately twenty years separated the two but the effects of World War I unquestionably contributed to the starting of World War II such as the — Treaty of Versailles — and the search for thorough ideas (Fascism and communism) due to the terrible conditions of different countries after the Great War. Publically however, the two wars are considered separate conflicts. On the other hand, it could be argued that, unless you exterminate everyone on one side, the end of a war always leaves “unfinished business” that are the seeds of the next war.
World War I was based on imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. The war took place in Europe as its battle grounds. It started with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in the year 1914 during his travels to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Bosnia was in the very south-east corner of the Austrian empire and some people there wanted to be independent from Austria and set up their own state which could run itself. Franz Ferdinand had been warned that his visit could provoke trouble but he ignored this advice and visited Sarajevo regardless. As was common at the time, he travelled in an open topped car. Exactly one month following the assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The war divided Europe into two armed camps – on one side was the Triple Alliance made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, and their enemy was the Triple Entente of France, Russia and Great Britain. As other countries began to join sides, the Triple Alliance became known as the Central Powers and the Triple Entente became the Allied Forces. The United States attempted to remain neutral and was a proponent for the rights of neutral states. Isolationist foreign policy was encouraged by Congress’s apprehensions about giving other countries a political door into US policies and the cultural melting pot of the United States’ population. In spite of these factors, the United States did enter World War I, as a result of several events. In 1917 upon the participation of The United States, with nearly one million troops in the line by the end of the war, the American presence finally convinced the Germans that the war could not be won; they had managed to win a war of attrition with France and Britain, but the influx of an endless supply of American troops meant that there was no way Germany could win. By November 1918, the writing was on the wall and on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent along the entire line as an armistice was signed, signaling the end of the war. (1), (2), (3) In January President Wilson traveled to Paris for the peace conference that would lead to the Treaty of Versailles, he came equipped with his Fourteen Points, an idealistic plan to reorder Europe with the United States as a model for the rest of the world. He failed to gain most of what he wanted as the French and British were more inclined towards a vengeful peace, requiring reimbursements from Germany, than to any idealistic requests of the United States. The League of Nations, the one victory Wilson managed at the conference, was never backed by the United States Senate, and, without the United States, it failed as a powerless organization that collapsed in the face of German and Japanese aggression in the 1930s. (4)
By the end of World War 1, ended the four major imperial powers –The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russia and Ottoman empires. The German and Russian empires lost a substantial amount of land and territories, while the other two were pulled apart. The map of Europe was redrawn with several independent nations restored or created. The League of Nations formed with the intention of preventing any reappearance of such an awful conflict. This goal failed, with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the humiliation of Germany contributing to the rise of fascism and the conditions for World War II. (5)
It has been written that World War I left Germany bankrupt and easily influenced by extreme politics. The economic boom cause by World War I exposed weaknesses in the global economy which collapsed, causing the “Great Depression”, allowing more extreme politics to come around, and the stronger countries unable to stop it. On the other hand some would argue that what set the stage for World War II started with the treaty that ended World War I. Germany was forced to pay hefty reparations that crippled her economically. Making it nearly impossible for a country to succeed through peaceful means. With that being said World War One caused Germany to get into a great debt because they were left responsible for the damages made in World War One. In result Hitler began to rise up in his vengeful and expansionist plans for Germany. He was able to play on German resentment of the terms imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. He was helped also by another proposal, by promising those in poverty great jobs and riches causing many Germans and allies to follow Hitler into his racist and prejudices ways. Allied with the Empire of Japan, Italy and several other countries Adolf Hitler, in control of Nazi Germany began to dominate and gain control of Europe, and later, the world. Unlike World War One, The second War used the entire world as its battlefield. In early 1939 Hitler had successfully taken control over Austria and Czechoslovakia. At this point Britain and France had signed a peace treaty with Poland, promising to protect any of the mentioned nations if invaded within five years. Hitler signed an agreement with the Soviet Union in August of 1939 that divided up Poland and the Baltic States. Britain and France warned that they would declare war if Germany attacked Poland. September 1st 1939 The Germany Army invaded Poland. Britain and France declared war on September 3rd 1939, thus the start of World War Two. (6)
The war ended in total victory over Germany and Japan in 1945. The Soviet Union and The United States of America emerged from the war as rival superpowers. Finally The United Nations was established and replaced The League of Nations.
2) http://www.diffen.com/difference/World_War_I_vs_World_War_II 3) http://jbarnstable.org/cyberteen/2009/summer/war/ww1vsww2.html.
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