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Monday, July 5, 2010

Major Factors or Causes that Led to Eruption of Second World War

Monday, July 5, 2010 - 1 Comment

In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and war in Europe followed. The French and British did not declare war at first, hoping they could persuade Hitler through appeasement, but Hitler did not respond. The United Kingdom and France declared war. During the winter 1939-1940 there was little indication of hostilities since neither side was willing to engage the other directly. This period was called the Phoney War. In 1940, Germany captured Denmark and Norway in the spring, and then in the early summer France and the Low Countries. The United Kingdom was then targeted; the Germans attempted to cut the island off from vitally needed supplies and obtain air superiority in order to make a seaborne invasion possible. This never came to pass, but the Germans continued to attack the British mainland throughout the war, primarily from the air. Unable to engage German forces on the continent, the United Kingdom concentrated on combating German and Italian forces in the Mediterranean Basin. It had limited success however; it failed to prevent the Axis conquest of the Balkans and fought indecisively in the Western Desert Campaign. It had greater success in the Mediterranean Sea, dealing severe damage to the Italian Navy, and dealt Germany’s first major defeat by winning the Battle of Britain.

In June 1941, the war expanded dramatically when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, brining the Soviet Union into alliance with the United Kingdom. The German attacks started strong, overrunning great tracts of Soviet territory, but began to stall by the winter. Since invading mainland China and French Indochina in 1940, Japan had been subjected to increasing economic sanctions by the United States, Great Britain and Netherlands, and was attempting to reduce these sanctions through diplomatic negotiations. In December 1941, however, the war expanded again when Japan, already into its fifth year of war with China, launched near simultaneous attacks against the United States and British assets in Southeast Asia; four days later, Germany declared war on the United States. This brought the United States and Japan into the greater conflict and turned previously separate Asian and European wars into a single global one.

In 1942, though Axis forces continued to make gains, the tide began to turn. Japan suffered its first major defeat against American forces in the Battle of Midway, where four of Japan’s aircraft carriers were destroyed. German forces in Africa were being pushed back by Anglo-American forces, and Germany’s renewed summer offensive in the Soviet Union had ground to a halt.

In 1943 Germany suffered devastating losses to the Soviets at Stalingrad, and then again at Kursk, the greatest tank battle in military history. Their forces were expelled from Africa, and Allied forces began driving northward up through Sicily and Italy. The Japanese continued to lose ground as the American forces seized island after island in the Pacific Ocean.

Second World War was a huge Military Conflict

World War II or the Second World War, was a worldwide military conflict the amalgamation of two separate conflicts, one beginning in Asia, 1937, as the Second Sino-Japanese War and the other beginning in Europe, 1939, with the invasion of Poland. It is regarded as the historical successor to World War I.

This global conflict split a majority of the world’s nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the deaths of over 60 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. World War II was the most widespread war in history, and countries involved mobilized more than 100 million military personnel. Total war erased the distinction between civil and military resources and saw the complete activation of a nation’s economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort; nearly two-thirds of those killed in the war were civilians. For example, nearly 11 million of the civilian casualties were victims of the Holocaust, which was largely conducted in Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union.

The conflict ended in an Allied victory. As a result, the United States and Soviet Union emerged as the world’s two leading superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War for the next 45 years. Self determination gave rise to decolonization/independence movements in Asia and Africa, while Europe itself began travelling the road leading to integration. In September, 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria under false pretexts and captured it from Chinese. In 1933, Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party became leader of the Germany. Under the Nazis, Germany began to rearm and the pursue a new nationalis foreign policy. By 1937, Hitler also began demanding the cession of territories which had historically been part of Germany, like the Rhineland and Gdansk. In July 1937, Japan launched a large scaled invasion of mainland China, beginning with the bombing of Shanghai and Guangzhou and followed by the Nanking massacre in December. In Europe, Germany, and to a lesser extent Italy, asserted increasingly hostile and aggressive foreign policies and demands, which the United Kingdom and France initially attempted to diffuse primarily through diplomacy and appeasement.

New World Order after 11/9

A pivot point came with Bush’s 11 September 1990 “Toward a New World Order” speech to a joint session of Congress. This time it was Bush, not Gorbachev, whose idealism was compared to Woodrow Wilson, and to FDR at the creation of the UN. Key points picked up in the press were: Commitment to US strength, such that it can lead the world toward rule of aw, rather than use of force. The Gulf crisis was seen as a reminder that the US must continue to lead, and that military strength does matter, but that the resulting new world order should make military force less important in the future. Soviet-American partnership in cooperation toward making the world safe for democracy, making possible the goals of the UN for the first time since its inception. Some countered that this was unlikely, and that ideological tensions would remain, such that the two superpowers could be partners of convenience for specific and limited goals only. The inability of the USSR to project force abroad was another factor in scepticism toward such a partnership. Another caveat raised was that the new world order was based not on US-Soviet cooperation, but really on Bush-Gorbachev cooperation, and that the personal diplomacy made the entire concept exceedingly fragile. Future cleavages were to be economi, not ideological, with the First and Second world cooperating to contain regional instability in the Third World. Russia could become an ally against economic assaults from Asia, Islamic terrorism, and drugs from Latin America. Soviet integration into world economic institutions, such as the G7, and establishment of ties with the European Community. Restoration of German sovereignty and Cambodia’s acceptance of the UN Security Council’s peace plan on the day previous to the speech were seen as signs of what to expect in the new world order The re-emergence of Germany and Japan as members of the great powers, and concomitant reform of the UN Security Council was seen as necessary for great power cooperation and reinvigorated UN leadership Europe was seen as taking the lead on building their own world order, while the US was relegated to the sidelines. The rationale for US presence on the continent was vanishing, discussing the European Community, the CSCE, and relations with the USSR. Gorbachev even proposed an all-European security council to replace the CSCE, in effect superseding the increasingly irrelevant NATO. A very few postulated a bi-polar new order of US power and UN moral authority, the first as global policeman, the second as global judge and jury. The order would be collectivist, in which decisions and responsibility would be shared.

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