Consequences of World War II Essay Example
For nearly six years, World War II was a global military conflict. For all those who were involved all over the world, the results were massive losses. I will express my opinion in this paper, on what I feel were the two crucial attributes of the Second World War; the reason it was fought and the effects it brought to the whole world.
World War II (1935-1945)
To date, World War II has been by far the bloodiest and deadliest one. By the time it ended, more than 38 million people died, and many of them were innocent civilians. In our current history, the war was the most destructive yet. In many parts of the world, the fighting raged on with the impact of it being in Europe and Japan. Those who took part were more than fifty nations, and this war changed the world forever. World War II for the Americans had a clear-cut motive; they were fighting for conquest tyranny. Nazi Germany, which was under the evil control of Adolf Hitler, had conquered most of Europe. Germany’s unprecedented entry into Poland in 1939 was what brought the war in Europe. The Nazi army came down with a vengeance on the Jews in an area that they went. Anyone who did not fit their idea of the “Master Race” including the Aryans tasted the vengeance.
The Japanese armies in Asia and Pacific invaded islands and countries. The Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor Hawaii on December 7, 1941. War against Japan was then declared within hours by the United States Congress, plunging the U.S. headfirst unto World War II.
What Were the Reasons for World War II?
Today’s historians believe that some traces of World War I (1914-1918) caused World War II. To “Make the world safe for Democracy,” the Americans had fought in World War I. Those were the objectives and the words of President Woodrow Wilson (1913 to 1921). However, many people and governments, bitterness and anger that eventually boiled over because of the peace treaties created that ended the World War I. This ultimately instilled the inevitable beginnings of World War II.
In World War I, Germany and its allies had been defeated. Therefore, Germany was forced to pay enormous reparations (providing payments by a defeated country for the wrong it caused in a war) and also hand over one-sixth of its territory which left a lasting bitterness. It made Germans suffer from significant unemployment and uncontrollable inflation after the World War I. This almost made the German money worthless.
After World War I, the “League of Nations” was set up to try and keep the peace. The other countries were too busy handling their problems, hence could not concern themselves with the Germans and other trouble spots, and the United States did not join. An economic depression hit the world as 1930’s came about. The times were tough during that time and workers all over the globe lost their jobs, and the world trade fell off. There was severe need from people who were looking for world leaders to bring them the change that they badly needed and wanted to have.
In my opinion, there are many numerous causes of the war itself. The common belief is the most important reason was the World War I. There were two groups of nations actively involved after the World War I. There was the Allied Powers which consisted of United States, British Empire, Russia Empire, France, etc., and the Central Powers which had Germany Empire, Austria-Hungary. As well, all the other countries that were not on the winning end of the war. Coming towards the end of World War I, there was the Treaty of Versailles (a peace agreement which held Germany responsible for the war). Military restrictions and disarmament got put on Germany, including harsh penalties made on them. They were supposed to pay a huge fine, and they were to make extensive territorial concessions to the Allied Powers.
In the 1930’s, Germany saw the rise of Adolf Hitler and his concept of Nazism at the end of World War I. National Socialism, which later converted to National Socialist German Workers Party, became quite popular as it was a form of socialism. It was very different from Marxism, which was considered to be expansionism and racism. Obedience to a strong leader was what National Socialism wanted, and so Adolf Hitler portrayed himself as that powerful leader. The rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism was witnessed in Germany while in Italy, the rise of Benito Mussolini and Fascism was also seen. Violence, totalitarianism, and racism were the powers that formed Fascism. There are similarities in both concepts, and this portrayed Hitler and Mussolini as leaders who declared war against Allied Powers.
There was domestic and economic trouble of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The United States found itself concerned, even with international crises which emerged in Europe and Asia. There was the war waging in Ethiopia which Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, began. He used chemical weapons such as mustard gas to kill, and he slaughtered many innocent people. In Spain, a violent and civil war erupted. General Francisco Franco staged the fascists against a variegated alliance of Democrats and Communists. In Russia, Josef Stalin had risen in absolute power. He imprisoned and executed several of his political enemies. Adolf Hitler became a new hero and leader, and those downtrodden Germans rallied against him. After Germany’s humiliation in World War I, Adolf Hitler called for Aryan deliverance and launched an aggressive campaign to unify the German Race throughout Europe. Meanwhile, Japan had invaded Manchuria in the East. They even threatened to conquer China because the western powers had virtually unchecked them. The Westerners were busily preoccupied with the problems closer to home.
Americans did their very best so that they could avoid getting drawn into these growing conflicts abroad in the troubled years of the late 1930s. It proved impossible staying out of World War II. President Roosevelt committed American ships to an undeclared naval war with Germany in the North Atlantic in 1941. America’s neutrality ended on December 7, 1941, with the mortifying surprise attack by the Japanese against the American naval station at Pearl Harbor. Japan was hoping to destroy America’s Pacific fleet to stop United States interference in the Pacific. It caused the U.S to declare war on Japan.
What Were The Impacts Of World War II?
In comparison to World War I, significant effects were way worse in World War II. The number of people who lost their lives paled in correlation to the number of people who were left homeless. In Europe, the end of World War II marked the end of the dictatorship. The US and the Soviet Union became the superpowers of the world. There was the formation of United Nations as a result which was created to promote peace and security across the globe. The chief instigator of the covenant of the United Nations was the U.S. An immediate change occurred in the new unification of nations and expansion of members. On February 10th 1947, the Paris Peace Treaty was signed to allow countries like Finland, Italy, and Bulgaria to resume as sovereign states in international matters. Thus, they were allowed to become members of the United Nations. Provisions for the repayment for the cost of war were also included in that treaty as well as aid in repairing the devastation to many nations, cities, and towns. Postwar territorial adjustments also got included.
When territorial borders of European countries got redrawn, some states had to bear the impact of the Second World War. The Soviet Union was the most prominent of beneficiaries regarding territorial expansion. It occupied parts of Germany, Finland, Japan, Poland and several independent states to its territories. Germany was by far affected the most, and it got divided into four parts. It was controlled individually by United States of America, Soviet Union, Great Britain and Finland. While the United States first plans put forth for Germany were very harsh, they later refined them. It was after the realization that without the revival of the German industrial base, then it was not possible to revive Europe. However, it was the 2nd World War, which laid a foundation for the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, and everything was not all right. The cold war between those two nations lasted for 44 years (1947-1991).
There were some positives as far as the economics of World War II is concerned. But, compared to the chaos that the war created, they were by no means a match. That war created numerous jobs which ended the crisis of unemployment during the Great Depression. Some industries flourished as they manufactured various products needed during this war, while other sectors suffered significant setbacks. During the Second World War, the European economy got almost brought to a standstill. The World took a few years to revive after the end of the war in 1945. In the end, many lives were lost on both sides as many as 24,000,000 soldiers and 49,000,000 civilians lost their lives.
A New Era
On May 7, 1945, Germany admitted defeat ending the war in Europe. When the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, that’s when the war ended in the Pacific. This was the only time ever that bombs got used in war. On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered.
During wartime, the US leader was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who did not live to see peace. In his speech written but never delivered, however, he spoke of the need to preserve peace. He said, “Today we face the preeminent (above all other) fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace.”
The world changed forever during the aftermath of World War II. Mankind understood wholly the disasters and horrors brought by this war. During that time, over 60 million people lost their lives. Both the victors and losers underwent thorough staggering losses. The physical and economic damages of the war were massive, but the most damaged country was Poland. Economic and destruction dislocation characterized much of Southern Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. Most of the states took a lot of time to recover. This balance of power changed after the war. World War II caused the fall of Germany and the rise of America and the Soviet Union. Additionally, the war created a massive population movement. Reconstruction of countries began, and the defeated nations had to pay reparations, and war criminals received punishment. New developments in technology and medicine were also brought about by the way life had transformed post-war.