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The History Of World War Ii

1187 words - 5 pages

World War II was the bloodiest global war ever exposed to simple society. It is generally considered to have lasted from 1939 to 1945, although several conflicts in Asia that are commonly linked as contributing factors towards the war had begun earlier than 1939. It concerned the vast majority of the world’s nations, including all of the great powers, finally forming two opposing military alliances: the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers. It was the most widespread war in history with fighting that raged constantly between fifty nations. In a state of total war, the major participating countries threw their entire social, political, and economic capabilities behind the war effort, eliminating the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked tragically by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust forced by Nazi Germany and the first use of nuclear weapons in combat, it resulted in approximately 50 million to 85 million fatalities, many of them innocent civilians, making World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.
Most historians believe World War II can be traced to World War I which lasted from 1914 to 1918. Americans had fought in that earlier war to “make the world safe for democracy.” Those were the words and hopes of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. But the peace treaties that ended World War I did not make the world safe for democracy. Instead, they caused erratic bitterness and anger that led to World War II. Germany and allies were the losers of World War I. Germany was stripped of one sixth of its territory and was forced to pay large reparations. Germany then suffered from high unemployment and runaway inflation; money became almost worthless and many Germans seethed in anger at the peace treaty. The League of Nations was established after World War II to keep the peace. The United States did not join and other countries were too occupied with their own complications to concern about Germany and other troubled spots. Then, in the early 1930s, an international economic depression hit the world. Workers lost jobs, trade fell off, and times were hard. People looked towards leaders who promised change. Italy, Japan, and Germany all came under the rule of dictators or military leaders. These leaders promised to restore their countries to greatness. However, they set up totalitarian governments, a government controlled by a single political party that allows no opposition and tightly controls people’s lives. None of the world’s democracies attempted to stop these dictators who shattered the peace. In Italy, Benito Mussolini, the leader of the National Fascist Party, took power in 1922. He sent Italian troops to conquer Ethiopia. Military leaders took control of Japan in the early 1930s leading the invasion of China. Meanwhile, in Germany, Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, gained power in 1933. Hitler possessed a primary desire and ability to dominate Europe and gain control...

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