Learning from World War II
Submitted on November 15th, 2004
World War I was a war to end all wars. Before World War I, the common
attitude towards war was that of adventure and excitement. Four months in
to the Great War, the term “war” brought fear, dismay and a sense of loss.
In this war, most people were killed, most property destroyed and the most
lives disrupted in comparison to other wars fought before 1914. A lesson
was learned from this war.
Wars are disruptive, dangerous and unnecessary.
To ensure that conflicts do not arise to a full-scale war, Western leaders
at the Paris Peace Conference established an organization called the League
of Nations as a part of the infamous Treaty of Versailles in 1919. On
September 1st, 1939, a war greater, more terrible and the most destructive
than the War of 1914 to 1918 started. If World War I was a war to end all
wars, why did a second world war many times worse occur? The more important
question is how can we subdue conflicts and avoid wars altogether? In the
following essay, I will explore the lessons that could be learned from
World War II. To do so, I will first investigate roots and causes of the
war. Second, I will critically analyze the causes to understand if and how
they may have been overcome.
Finally, I will state what lessons, in my
opinion, are to be learned from the second war to end all wars.
According to Keith Eubank, the roots of World War II start from the
end of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Relations between the
Allies themselves and the Allies and their defeated enemies deteriorated
furthermore as a consequence of the negotiations and attempts to implement
the Treaty (Bottom). The Treaty of Versailles constitutes of 440 articles
outlining the creation of the League of Nations; political clauses for
Europe; German rights, military; naval and air clauses, prisoners of wars;
penalties; reparations; financial and economic clauses and land and
population distributions. The Treaty of Versailles was also a slap to
Germany’s ‘face’. The Treaty demanded key economic areas from Germany,
place severe military conditions on the German Army, asked the country to
pay war reparations for the entire war and take blame for the cause and
horrible results of the war.
This treaty left Germany not only in economic
shambles and vulnerable to future military intrusions from neighbouring
countries from the lack of a strong army, but also in emotional dismay,
which played a major role in the coming of the Nazi Party and Hitler.
Hitler exploited the popular dissatisfaction stemming from the German
defeat in World War I and more significantly from the disgrace arising from
the terms imposed in German by the treaty of Versailles. Germany was
economical broken at the end of World War I and even more so after the
passing of the Treaty. During the Great Depression, Germany hit rock
bottom. Hitler also exploited this situation and the emotions that arose
from it. It was thus, possible for Hitler to organize his own political
movement, National Socialism, and to build the largest and strongest
political party in Germany in 1933.
Hitler’s well published agenda to the
dissatisfied German population was to reverse the verdict of the Treaty and
break bonds imposed on Germany by this Treaty. Hitler promised Germans that
he would restore Germany to predominance in European affairs. In my
opinion, the events that led to Hitler’s coming of power are the utmost tip
of the root of World War II. At this point of the essay, it is important to
write on Adolph Hitler’s and the Nazi Party’s foreign policy to critically
analyse this major root of World War II.
According to Eubank, Hitler’s ultimate goal was to dominate Europe,
which started with Czechoslovakia and then Poland on September 1, 1939.
Eubank states that Hitler’s objective to expand the third Reich cannot be
In Hossbach memorandum, Hitler states, “We demand…. the
revocation of peace treaties. We demand land and territory to feed our
people and settle our surplus population.
” Wright and Stafford, author of
“A Blueprint for World War?”, write that there can be no argument that
Hitler and the Nazi Party were primarily seeking land. Hitler and the Nazi
Party always had the premise objectives to expand German territory by
principally demolishing the rearmament restrictions. ” For us it is a
matter of expanding our living space in the East and making food .