The alliances, the totalitarian states grew stronger
The Second World War broke out in 1939 between the Axis and the Allied due to German invasion in Poland. There were many causes that led to the outbreak of the war.
In my opinion, Second World War, in a large extent, was the continuation of the First World War. In this essay, I am going to elaborate my point of view. The Second World War shared some similarities with the First World War, for example, extreme nationalism, alliance system and armament race.
To begin with, extreme nationalism was the major cause of the First World War. Similarly, it was also found in the cause of the Second World War.In Germany, Nazism emphasized that Germany should fight for their living space as found in the Nazi Bible, My Struggle, so Hitler promoted Pan- Germanism.
That resembled what Kaiser William II promoted before the First World War. Besides, Italy could not get what she wanted after First World War and thus she became a totalitarian state. Later, Mussolini always emphasized to revive the past glory of Roman Empire.
Both Germany and Italy encouraged foreign expansionist policy and they even started the Second World War due to the revengeful movement.Consequently, extreme nationalism worsened the international relationship and brought the world into another world war. Second, alliance system was a factor which was found in both world wars. Alliance system played a significant role in leading to the outbreak of First World War. During the inter-war period, several totalitarian states formed different military alliances. Nazi Germany formed Berlin- Rome Axis with Fascist Italy to fight in Spanish Civil War in 1936.
Later, this alliance became a military alliance as The Pact of Steel in 1939.By forming these alliances, the totalitarian states grew stronger and more aggressive, so they started their invasions and extend their influence. Therefore, alliance system brought the world into the outbreak of the Second World War. Third, armament race was also a reason which caused the both world wars. In the First World War, armament race created more mutual suspicion and fear, so the international tension increased. It even complicated the alliance system as Britain ended its splendid isolation policy.
In the Second World War, armament race was caused due to the distrust between powers.Although three disarmament conferences were held to solve the arm race which was complicated by the First World War, armament race could not still be prevented. Take Geneva Conference as an example, Germany withdrew from the conference as France distrusted Germany.
Later, Germany started a massive rearmament programme, so armament race intensified. Besides, the armament race encouraged the expansionism because the totalitarian states required a large amount of weapons to support their expansionist policy. Hence, armament race sped up the totalitarian states to start the Second World War by increasing the tension.Apart form the above causes which resembled the First World War, there were some causes that were created after the First World War led to the Second World War. First, the revengeful attitude towards the Treaty of Versailles was one of the factors that directly led to the Second World War.
The Paris Peace Conference was held in order to decide the post-war settlement. In the conference, the defeated countries, especially Germany, they did not have much say and had to unwillingly to accept this harsh treaty. Germany had to bear the War-guilt Clause which was the most humiliated the Germans.On the other hand, Italy was ignored that she could not get the lands which she wanted.
Both Germany and Italy had resentments towards the treaty because they thought it was a huge national humiliation. Afterwards, the resentments became the revengeful movement. Also, because of the revengeful attitude, Germany and Italy promoted the expansionist policy and later even started the Second World War so as to dominate the world.
In addition, the socio-economic problems brought by the First World War played part in causing the Second World War too. Since the First World War was a very destructive war, many socio-economic problems arose after it.Many European countries suffered from inflation, unemployment, social unrest, etc. Most of the countries had a very hard time after the war.
Because of these problems, Mussolini seized the chance to rise to power. Also, as Britain and France were busy to reconstruct their countries, they spent less attention on checking the aggressions of the totalitarian states. Thus, it provided an opportunity for Hitler and Mussolini to invade other countries and that finally led to the outbreak of the Second World War. Furthermore, the failure of collective security was another factor in resulting in the Second World War.
The League of Nations was formed in order to keep peace. However, this organization failed to preserve peace as it was lack of enforcement power and representatives. The powers also signed several peace treaties, for instance, Locarno Treaties and Kellogg- Briand Pact. Yet, these peace treaties were lack of enforcement power and the term “self-defence” was too vague that provided the powers an excuse to start war. Therefore, even on the eve of the Second World War, the collective security could not contribute anything in stopping the aggression of Germany, Italy and Japan.
Moreover, the appeasement policy was an important cause that led to the outbreak of the Second World War. Since Britain felt guilty of German harsh treatment in the Versailles Settlement, and she and France were alarmed by the disastrous effects caused by the First World War, they adopted the appeasement policy. The appeasement policy was a fatal mistake that encouraged Hitler to expand more, so Italy and Germany grew stronger. It also played as an impetuous cause of the Second World War, so the appeasement policy directly led to the Second World War. However, the consequences of the Great Depression could not be underestimated.The Great Depression destroyed German economy in the way that providing Hitler a chance to rise. It also made France and Britain more concerned about their internal and economic problems instead of checking aggressions.
The Great Depression even sowed the seeds for Britain and France later adopted the appeasement policy. Yet, comparing to the problems caused by the First World War, the Great Depression was not as important as that. Without the Great Depression, the Second World War could still break out. In this way, Great Depression only sped up the speed in causing the Second World War.To conclude, it was appropriate to say that the Second World War was a continuation of the First World War because they shared similar causes, such as extreme nationalism, armament race and alliance system. Also, the First World War brought different problems, like resentment towards the Versailles Settlement, socio-economic problems, appeasement policy, etc. The effects of the Great Depression were relatively less important, but still could not be neglected.
Thus, it was to say the consequences of the First World War finally led to the outbreak of the Second World War.