How did the second world war begin?

More and more parallels are drawn between Russia’s gratuitous invasion of Ukraine and the series of events that triggered World War II.

By Vladimir Putin justification to start war against Kyiv Putting Russian-speaking people in the East of the country into Moscow’s orbit was compared to Adolf Hitler’s demand for self-determination for all German-speaking citizens of the Sudetenland in the late 1930s.

Over the course of six years, from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945, more than 80 million men and women were killed when war broke out between the Axis and Allies, wiping out much of Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

Characterized by countless massacres, the Holocaust, civilian bombing, famine, and the first deployment of nuclear weapons, the war helped shape the international law that would determine the future of global politics. . It led to the formation of the United Nations, and at the same time brought the United States and the newly formed Soviet Union into one The Cold War lasted for decades.

But how did the war – the most destructive conflict in human history – begin?

‘The seed was sown’ at the end of WW1

Most historians agree that the seeds for the second great war of the 20th century were sown at the end First World War.

The “War Sins Clause” of the Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1918, held Germany and Austria-Hungary accountable for the entire conflict and imposed crippling, dismembering financial sanctions territory and isolation from both powers.

For example, Germany was forced to demilitarize the Rhineland and abolish its air force.

Some scholars say that the treaty’s terms were unnecessarily harsh and led to an increase in anger in Germany in particular in the decades that followed.

But, said BBC“It would be a mistake to imagine that the Treaty of Versailles was the direct cause of World War II.”

The Rise of Hitler

With no lifelong military aspirations, Hitler was a painter in his youth and only joined the Bavarian army at the age of 25 after the outbreak of World War I. He continues to serve primarily as a messenger runner.

He was twice honored for his bravery, and was wounded on two separate occasions – once when he was shot in the thigh in 1916, and again when he was temporarily blinded by mustard vapor in the end. war.

Germany’s surrender at the end of the war “leaved Hitler to the ground and needed a new focus”, says walkie talkie. He became an intelligence agent in Germany’s much dwindling army and was sent to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party. There he found himself inspired by Anton Drexler’s anti-communist, anti-Semitic doctrine and eventually developed his own line of anti-Semitism.

In September 1919, he published his first commentary on the “Jewish Question”, stating that “the ultimate goal must certainly be the complete elimination of the Jews”.

Swastika Adoption

Gradually Hitler began to rise in the ranks of the German Workers’ Party, eventually renaming it the National Socialist German Workers Party, adopting the swastika as his symbol.

He won widespread public support, attracted large donations, and developed a reputation as an accomplished orator. “He has found a willing audience for his view that the Jews are responsible for Germany’s political instability and economic catastrophe,” The Telegraph reported.

Over the course of the next decade, he climbed the ladder of German politics, eventually becoming chancellor in 1933 after a series of electoral victories by his fledgling Nazi Party. When President Paul Von Hindenburg died, Hitler made himself Führer – supreme commander of all Nazi paramilitary organizations in the country.

Hitler denounced the Treaty of Versailles, fiercely attacking the unfair terms of the agreement. The treaty delighted the Germans, but it failed to curb Germany’s potential, and by the mid-1930s the country was besieged by weak, divided nations. This presents a golden opportunity for Germany in a second attempt to dominate Europe.

The events of 1939

Throughout the 1930s, a number of events conspired to push the world back to the brink of war. The Spanish Civil War, the Austrian Anschluss, the occupation of the Sudetenland, and the subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia all became important components of the European power of the late 1930s.

The immediate cause of World War II was the German invasion of Poland on September 1. The invasion became the model for how Germany would wage the war for the next six years, says history.comwith a tactic called Strategy “blitzkrieg”.

“This is characterized by extensive bombings from the outset to destroy the enemy’s air, rail, communication lines and ammunition dumps, followed by a ground invasion. large with overwhelming numbers, tanks and artillery,” the history page said. “Once the German forces had plowed their way, ravaging a swath of territory, infantry would move in, eliminating any remaining resistance.”

Germany’s superior military technology, coupled with Poland’s catastrophic early strategic miscalculations, meant that Hitler was able to claim a swift victory.

Appeasement strategy

Nazi leadership was confident that the invasion would be successful for two important reasons, BBC. “First, he believed that the deployment of the world’s first armored corps would quickly defeat the Polish armed forces” and “second, he assessed the British and French prime ministers, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier, are weak, indecisive leaders who will choose a peaceful solution over war. ”

Neville Chamberlain has been derided by many historians for his stance on Nazi Germany, just as he offered many opportunities for Hitler to fulfill his commitments and curb his expansionist ambitions. In retrospect, the policy of “appeasement” seems unreasonably hopeful, but, as William Rees-Mogg argued in Time in 2009, “at the time there seemed to be a realistic chance of peace”.

After the invasion of Poland, that opportunity began to thin and thin, and Chamberlain determined that he could no longer stand by and watch while the situation on the continent continued to deteriorate. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days after Germany entered Poland, but due to their slow mobilization, they provided little concrete support to their allies, which collapsed before the German blitzkrieg. .

Decades later, in February 2022, when Putin gathered troops and tanks to the border and recognized two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the West of pursuing similar appeasement tactics.

And, three weeks later, after Russia’s attack on a building in Kyiv’s Obolon district in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a shaken resident echoed Zelenskyy’s criticism, recounting Sky News: “This is the result of appeasement.”

Now, with US intelligence officials warning that China planning to provide financial and military aid to a nuclear-armed Russia, fear of a conflict drags the world’s superpowers is back on the agenda. How did the second world war begin?

Fry Electronics Team

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