“A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will not be erased” (Hans Frank quotes 1). This quote by Hans Frank, a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany, accurately captured the world-view of Germany at the conclusion of the Second World War. Frank was later convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Nuremberg trials and executed; however, his meaningful statement will live on. Germany tore the world apart during the Second World War, but their aggression can be traced back to the early 1870’s. German actions, from the Franco-Prussian War to the formation of the Nazi Party, plunged Europe and the rest of the world into the chaos of WWII. The man that united Germany and bestowed this destruction to Europe was none other than Adolf Hitler, one of the most diabolical men to walk this planet. Germany’s blatant disregard for world peace and quest for world dominance holds them responsible for the devastating actions that took place during the Second World War.
Beginning with the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Germany led the world down a dark road to global turmoil. Bismarck initiated the Franco-Prussian War in order to form a unified Germany. He began this conflict by releasing a statement to the press known as the Ems Dispatch. This dispatch caused tension between France and Prussia which ultimately resulted in the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War. In this short war, Prussia was supported by the southern German states against the un-allied French forces. At the end of the conflict, Bismarck demanded a war indemnity from France: 5 billion francs. The newly established German Empire quickly rose to become the “strongest state on the continent of Europe” (Colton 533). Basically, the Franco-Prussian war caused the German Empire to become the most powerful nation on the continent. Moreover, Europe’s “balance of power,” established by the Congress of Vienna, failed after Germany’s unification. Countries previously without a military staff or a system of national service soon adopted both, along with crucial developments in logistics, military use of railways, and telegraph systems. With one of the most powerful armies in the world, Germany established itself as the main authority in continental Europe. Furthermore, limited British involvement in European affairs during the late 19th century allowed Germany to “exercise great influence over the European mainland” (Franco-Prussian War 1).
Prior to 1871, Germany comprised of independent states, but the desire to unify made these regions unite through warfare. In order to show their power in Europe and the world, Germany wanted to create a respectable empire constructed of colonies. These actions led to competition, mainly with Britain, and contributed a great deal to the outbreak of the First World War.
World War One left Germany with nothing except debt and blame for initiating the conflict. This embarrassing German defeat brought about the...