The First World War (1914-1918), The Second World War (1939-1945)
The first world war broke out in 1914 was fought on land, air, on the sea and under with all resources meant for military purpose. The war started in Europe but later spread on the continents of Asia and Africa and its consequences were felt all over the world.
Causes for First World war
The Great war of 1914 was not due to a single cause but due to various explosive materials that have accumulated for many years.
1. Competitive Patriotism
The main cause of the first world was intense nationalism the then ruler of Germany Kaise Wilhelm II went to proclaim that Germany was going to be the leader of the world. France was old rivals of Germany and later have defeated France in Franco-Prussian War and seized their province of Alsace and parts of Lorraine.
Along with France, Italians also look to get back their province and under the cover of nationalism Balkan States of Serbia and Bulgaria of Poland ruler filled people with hatred and passion. Which became the main cause of the world war I.
2. Armament race
This intense nationalism causes Europe turning into an area of vast armed camps with each country preparing for war. Germany began to build a powerful navy, Britain and France were concerned about Germany growing military strength.
This led to the Armament race where one country increases its armaments than other countries are compelled to do the same. Germany, England, France all began increasing their armaments.
3. Triple Alliance and Triple Entente
There was a triple alliance formed between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and in order to control German expansionism, there was Triple Entente formed between Britain, France, and Russia.
Thus Europe was divided into two main camps where England, France, and Russia were on one side while Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Turkey were on another side which was the main step toward the world war I.
There was a race for new colonies in Africa and Asia. Great Britain established many colonies in Africa which was followed by France, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium with Britain and France occupying most of the regions in Africa.
There was an agreement signed according to which Britain has control over Egypt and France to take over Morocco which was opposed by German Emperor and the two countries were at a brink of war but was averted because of American mediation.
5. Balkan Wars
Four Balkan countries Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece started a war against Turkey who lost most of her possessions in Europe. Later with the Second Balkan War the tension between these countries increased.
6. No International Organization for Peace
There was no effective International Machinery to enforce law and peace among these nations. Two attempts were made to form an agreement for limitation of armaments but they were failed to secure the desired results.
7. Sarajevo Crisis
The crown prince of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and was planned in Serbia by “Black Hand’ a secret society of Patriotic terrorists. The assassin was the first student revolutionary who changed the history of Europe and after that Austria declared war on Serbia, Russia helped to defend Serbia and warned Austria of the consequences.
Germany declared war on Russia and France. Great Britain declared war on Germany when the German army invaded Belgium, Turkey and Bulgaria joined the side of Germany, Italy joined the war against Germany.
Due to the involvement of five powers Austria, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain World War, I was made. The great war was fought on all three continents on land, on and undersea using and caused heavy causality and large destruction. The war ended with the entry of the USA which led to a loss for Germans the German Emperor abdicated the throne and fled to the Netherlands while Germany became a Republic and signed an agreement on 11th November 1918 thus ending the Great War.
The first world war ended in November 1918 brought a great relief all over the world but twenty years later the world was again plunged into a terrible war that resulted in the loss of billions of dollars and millions of human lives.
After the first world war, the League of Nations was formed which agreed that international disputes will be settled peacefully, but due to the effect of so many events happening that led to the Second World War.
Causes for the Second World War
1. The decline of Democracy and Aggressive Nationalism.
Due to the First world war, there was an economic crisis in many nations of the world, and they were not able to face the challenges effectively. People lost hope from the democratically elected government as the dictators were taking advantage of aggressive nationalism to build up support for their respective parties.
2. Treaty of Versailles
The peace settlement in Paris was done in a spirit of revenge and Germans believed they were treated unfairly and Hitler entered upon a career of aggression. Italians were also dissatisfied with the peace settlement.
3. Italy Fascist movement
With the first world war Italy was left in heavy debt there was a problem of poverty, hunger, disease, and unemployment all over the country. Italy turned toward Germany and Japan for help and the three signed a friendship treaty leading to Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis in opposition to the France-British alliance.
4. Breaking of Treaty of Versailles
Hitler preached ‘Victorious Sword’ he broke the Treaty of Versailles and began to build German’s armed forces. Hitler move to occupy Rhineland, Vienna and soon he moved to conquest Sudetenland. The heads of four nations Germany, Italy, Britain, and France decided to hand over Sudetenland to Germany.
5. Policy of Appeasement
Britain and France followed the policy of Appeasement towards Germany. But Hitler demands grew excessive and he was aiming to conquer Europe, Italy was trying to establish their supremacy in Africa and Balkans while Japan was trying to master South-East Asia and with the aims of these three countries resulted into another destructive war for the world.
6. Failure of the League of Nations
The league can’t do anything when weaker nations appealed them against the aggressors. Has the league taken some firm action that time the world would have been spared from another war? The Germans aggressors occupy Austria, Poland which led to the second world war.
7. Japan invasion of China
Invasion of China by Japan was important aggression after the first world war, China appealed to the league of nations for help but Britain and France the leading members didn’t pay attention to the appeal and Japan occupied Britain and American properties in China.
8. Ideological difference
USA, Britain, and France had a liberal democracy while Germany and Italy were dominant by one political party and due to Hitler rule, there was no election in Germany. There were two different worlds and compromise between them was not possible and the war was inevitable.
9. Immediate cause
The main cause for second world war was the Germans invasion of Poland and demand for Danzig corridor by Hitler. On 1st September 1939 German troops stormed Poland and on 3rd September Britain and France declared war on Germany thus beginning of Second World War.
Hitler adopted a new method called “Blitzkrieg” means “lightning attack” where the German army attacked and captured Poland, later Denmark, Norway, Holland, Luxembourg, and Belgium were forced to surrender. Paris was too occupied by German forces. Britain was also attacked by Germans at that time the United States was not in war but as Japan attacked vessels of the United States which brought the United States into World War II.
Japan captured Thailand, Malaya, Burma, Philippines and continued to fight with Americans. On 6th August 1945, America dropped atomic bombs at Hiroshima and on 9th August they attacked again at Nagasaki which was the deadliest weapon used by humans.
Within a few seconds, nearly 80,000 lives were lost and another 70,000 wounded lakhs of people lost their lives and rest were crippled for their whole life, and the future generations were also doomed. With such a destructive weapon in America possession, Japan lost hopes of winning the war. Which resulted in the end for World War II, Japan surrendered on 15th August and the war came to an end. It became the most devastating war in human history with death and devastation at an unprecedented scale.
The United States and Russia emerged as two great powers in the world the entire world was divided into two power blocs. This led to the Cold war between western powers led by the USA and communist Bloc led by Russia. Cold war neither a war nor a condition of peace, it was a state of uneasy peace. It led to a mad race for armaments it was only ended when the two superpowers agreed for Peaceful Co-existence to a Nuclear War and formation of United Nation Organization on 24th October 1945.
United Nation lays down ‘Peace’, ‘Security’ and ‘Faith in Human Dignity’ as its major principles and objectives. A Nuclear War means the destruction of the human race and it must be stopped for that Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was formed where the non-nuclear states should not manufacture nuclear weapons. India, however, rejected it, as there is no time frame layed when all nuclear weapons will be eliminated from the earth.