WWI, A Buildup Up To WWII – History Essay
The aggressor in both World War One and World War Two in Europe was Germany. The causes of these two wars in several ways are similar; however, it can be seen that there were different reason the wars broke out. During
the early 1900’s a use in nationalism in Europe took place. At this time Germany felt it was the natural leader of Europe. The Germans felt that Britain was restricting their power because Britain was supreme on the sea. Britain’s rule of the sea prevented Germany’s gaining colonies abroad. Colonies could supply Germany with resources needed to maintain her army and give Germany the prestige she wanted. Britain, on the other hand, did not want Germany to increase her power through the gaining of colonies.
As a result, a strong rivalry developed between these two powerful nations. This rivalry was a long term cause of World War One. Nationalism also became a long term cause of World War Two. Both Germany and Italy were very angry with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Consequently, this treaty create ripe ground for the growth of nationalism in both Italy and Germany. Nationalism appeared in these two countries under fascism. In Italy the rise to power of Mussolini was bared on the idea that Italy could be the best country in Europe. Many Italians believe that Mussolini could create a nation as great as the famous Roman Empire had been. A similar feeling concerning greatness grew in Germany under the fascist leader Adolf. Hitler, who created the Nazis Party. The Germans, called Aryans, considered themselves to be a superior race both physically and mentally. Therefore, a feeling of nationalism or pride in their country quickly developed under fascist rule. Both Italy and Germany became strong European powers as a result if nationalistic feelings. Their power rivaled the power of Britain.
The Soviet Union and France Consequently, the development of nationalism in Germany and Italy became a long term cause of the Second World War. Militarism also was a cause of both WWI and WWII. Before the outbreak of war in 1914, Germany had developed an army that was powerful, efficient and successful in battle against Austria-Hungary (1860s) and even France (1870s). Because Germany had been highly industrialized she was able to maintain a strong army supported by military machines that rivaled anything Britain had. With this powerful force to rely on the Kaiser planned to expand his control our colonies. Militarism also became the cause of WWII. Japan was hungry for more land and natural resources to supply its war factories; it wanted to take control over all the countries and lands in the Pacific region. So they took action on December 7,1941, Japan launched an air raid from Japanese aircraft carriers against the US Naval headquarters at Pearl Harbor, and also 360 Japanese fighter planes. The result was a disaster; altogether 2500 Americans were killed and 1200 were injured. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S declared war on Japan. The last similarities of the cases of the two wars is imperialism. In WWI, many countries had colonies: the French had a large stake in northern Africa and Indochina, Portugal held land in the East Indies, and Belgium had diamond interests in Africa. Germany only held few in Africa. Also in 1931 the first serious test of the League’s power occurred when Japan invaded Chinese province of Manchuria. China called for help to the League to stop Japan, but the League did nothing. Member countries were in the midst of the Great Depression and were occupied with their own economic problems. So, there was nothing done to stop Japanese imperialism and Manchuria came under its control.
One difference of the causes between these two wars is alliance. Although nations of Europe looked at each other in less than favourable light, they also realized that alone they were vulnerable. By the end of the first decade of the new century the old alliances were shifting. England, France, and Russia, fearing the rise of Germany, signed an alliance, which was called Triple Entente. In response to this alliance, Germany formed the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy. The purpose of the alliances was to avoid war no country would dare to attack one member of an alliance because the other nations would come to help. But on the other hand, after WWI the American government returned to its policy of isolationism. It did not want to become involved in the affairs of other countries. It believed that any involvement would drag the US into wars that had nothing to do with its interests. This attitude of minding ones own business or isolationism was used by many countries and became a major cause of WWII. Another difference is in WWII the policy of appeasement was used to gain more territory and power, and the appeasement wasn’t used in WWI. The fear of communism made some people less critical of Hitler and encouraged some politicians to be sympathetic to his demands. Many politicians also viewed that the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany and that some of its lost territories should be returned. British Prime Minister Chamberlain was the strongest supporter of appeasement yet he was Hitler’s greatest political victim. Chamberlain firmly believed that the only way to prevent another world was to give in to some of Hitler’s demands. But at the end he realized that Hitler is not to be trusted.