The two world wars essay

Essay on WWII

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Battle of Stalingrad. In , the year after the war was over in France, there were 15 women for every man between the ages of 18 and The First World War changed the nature of warfare. Technology became an essential element in the art of war with airplanes, submarines, tanks all playing important new roles.

Africa and World War II edited by Judith A. Byfield

Mass production techniques developed during the war for the building of armaments revolutionised other industries in the post-war years. The first chemical weapons were also used when the Germans used poisonous gas at Ypres in A century later the international community was seeking to prohibit President Assad of Syria from using chemical weapons against his own people. The Great War also led to mass armies based on conscription, a novel concept for Britain, although not on the continent. It is ironic that the principle of universal military service was introduced in Britain without the adoption of universal adult male suffrage.

The war also saw the first propaganda films, some designed to help enlist US support for the Allies.

The Charlie Chaplin film Shoulder Arms offers a vivid illustration of the horrors of life at the front. Propaganda films would later be perfected under the Nazis. Modern surgery was born in the First World War, where civil and military hospitals acted as theatres of experimental medical intervention.

Millions of veterans survived the war but were left maimed, mutilated and disfigured. Blood banks were developed after the discovery in that blood could be prevented from clotting.

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World War II

The First World War also led doctors to start to study the emotional as opposed to the physical stress of war. Shell shock and traumatic shock were identified as common symptoms. But despite these insights and countless more sufferers in the Second World War, it was not until the aftermath of the Vietnam War that this condition was formally recognised as post-traumatic stress disorder. It was also found in troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and was often cited as a cause for many gun killings in the US. The war also had major implications for the class structures in Europe.

The upper classes suffered proportionately greater losses in the fighting than any other class, a fact that ensured that a resumption of the pre-war status quo was impossible. The decline of the upper classes was further hastened by the introduction of broad universal suffrage in Europe. The extension of the franchise, coupled with an explosion in trade unionism, afforded the working classes greater political and social representation. The various armies had also to promote new officers from humble backgrounds who were not willing to continue the culture of deference to the upper classes.

It also forced women into jobs that had previously been a male preserve. Many of the women whom the war effort had forced out of domestic service and into factories found themselves unwilling to relinquish their new independence. The War also sparked a peace movement that had disarmament as its main aim. It flourished briefly in the inter-war years, was reborn during the Vietnam War and found many adherents in Europe e.

Although less formally organised than during the s, the anti-war movement in Europe showed its strength in the mass demonstrations against the US led invasion of Iraq in The war also had major consequences for the European socialist and labour movement. Although well organised in many countries, including Britain, France and Germany, the socialist movement failed to stop the war in Initially skilled workers in the armaments industry were not only exempted from military service but also enjoyed higher wages and better food in return for the banning of strike action.

But as the war continued living and working conditions for factory workers gradually declined. Socialist groups began to agitate for peace, a process that received a boost as a result of the Russian revolution. At the end of the war in the socialist and trade union movement was much stronger than in The Great War also saw the introduction of the planned economy and a much bigger role for the state. Soon after the outbreak of war the German government took control over banks, foreign trade and the production and sale of food as well as armaments. It also set maximum prices for various goods.

When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in they embarked on a vast nationalisation programme and later a comprehensive planned economy. The planned economy also had its adherents in other countries, especially after the twin shocks of hyperinflation in the s and the Great Crisis of The conflict had a global impact.

In the Middle East, for example, the British and French promised different things to the Arabs and the Jews in return for their support against the Ottoman Empire. Under the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, London and Paris carved out respective spheres of influence in what was to become Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. But at the same time the British promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine under the equally infamous Balfour Declaration laying the foundations for the emergence of Israel and the world's most intractable contemporary conflict. When the British deceit was exposed it led to a permanent feeling of mistrust between many Arabs and European colonial powers.

Many analysts point to the European carve up of the Middle East in with the many artificial borders as the root cause of the continuing turmoil in the region today. Ethnic, sectarian and tribal differences were of little concern to the colonial-era map-makers. Iraq was formed by merging three Ottoman provinces - dominated respectively by Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. It was also cut off from Kuwait — the genesis of trouble later. The biggest losers of the post-war lottery in the Middle East were the Kurds.

Nowadays this still stateless people enjoy a high degree of regional autonomy — as well as relative peace — in federal Iraq while their compatriots in Syria and Turkey face challenges from Damascus and Ankara. As regards the map of Europe, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires were broken up and drastically shrunk, while Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were all born or reborn as nation states. Russia underwent the Bolshevik Revolution that would have a major impact on European and world history.

Germany was reduced in size and forced to pay substantial reparations. The Kaiser went into exile, and Germany plunged into economic and political chaos that paved the way for the rise of Hitler. The new countries were poor and often in conflict with each other. US President Wilson had talked about transparent international agreements, unfettered access to the seas and the lifting of trade barriers.

Moving North

These would prove utopian as was his concept of borders based on ethnicity, a concept that would be the precursor to many conflicts. The biggest of the new countries was Poland, which had disap-peared from the map for over a century after being partitioned in In when its bor-ders were finally settled, Poland had relatively good relations with only two neighbours — tiny Latvia to the north and a distant Romania to the south.

If the Treaty of Versailles was deemed harsh then the Treaty of Trianon was arguably much harsher, leaving Hungary as a much reduced state with millions of Hungarians outside its borders. These minority issues were suppressed during the communist era but resurfaced post causing major problems between Romania and Hungary and Slovakia and Hungary. Inevitably the EU was also drawn into attempts to resolve these minority issues.

It was late in entering the war, only in , but emerged far stronger than most other nations as it had not suffered either the bloodletting or the wasted industrial effort of the major European nations.

Their experience and loss of life helped push demands for independence. India alone sent some , troops to fight for Britain. More than 10, never returned home. The First World War also heralded the birth of the League of Nations, a body of nation states to promote international peace and security. In the US would adopt a different approach. The financial crash of brought misery across Europe. Few in Western Europe believed that Hitler was deadly serious about creating a Greater Reich across the European continent. There were also concerns that the reparations that had been demanded by France at Versailles had been too harsh, a view expressed eloquently in The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes.

February 8, The Stars and Stripes begins publication with a first issue of one thousand copies. March 21, Germany begins its final offensive of the war. March American women recruited to serve as bilingual telephone operators for the AEF arrive in Europe. May 28, United States forces are victorious in the Battle of Cantigny, the first independent American operation.

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