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World War II / The Aftermath of World War II

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Kenneth Bartlett

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HIS109 March 28 , 2011 World War Two • Scholars argue that it was inevitable, & both world wars constitute a single one with a fragile truce in between • Allies in both wars were the same • Defeat of the Triple Alliance & the harsh terms of the Peace Treaty one of the causes of WWII • War to make the world safe for democracy, end all other wars did neither • Unstable states created from the destruction of empires created states that were also unnatural (no long traditions of independence, statesmanship) • Level of suffering of WWI drove many Europeans to believe that it would never happen again, there were conferences held to try to reduce friction between states • Militarism fundamental reason why WWI broke out no armies, weapons = less likely for war to break out Locarno, 1925 • Conference called by the German Weimar to try to reduce some of the tension that seemed to be growing in Europe • Attempt on the part of the Germans by trying to make peace with the French to try to reduce some of the tension on the international scene • Example of socialists & pacifists stabbing Germans in the back Kellogg – Briand Pact (Pact of Paris) 1928 • Attempt to end war altogether by outlawing it • Nations were to sign on to the pact saying that all the peoples of the world would reject war option for national policy, peaceful ways to solve problems • Almost every nation signed on, however it was nothing but wishful thinking (moments in which war is a necessary option) • As long as everything is fine, the pact is fine, however as soon as there is a problem war could be probable League of Nations • Established after WWI, experiment in internationalism • Great place to talk, but not for action • There were problems from the beginning in regards to structure (Italy, Germany, & Bolshevik Russia not allowed to join until their behaviour allowed for them to join) • This exclusion provided opportunities to be outside the general norms of European behaviour (Russia & Germany) • No sanctions available, no instrument to enforce any decision that they might reach • Diplomacy wasn’t enough, wasn’t sufficient to address the problems within Europe between the wars Spanish Civil War • Proxy war to WWII • After the decline of Spain in the late 17 -18 centuries, Spain began to recede in the backwaters of Europe • Wealth concentrated in hands in wealthy landowners, elite paid little attention to the needs of the people • This led to a revolution in 1931, abolished the monarchy • There was also a movement against the church • Inequalities had to be addressed, the concentration of wealth & power • Autonomy given to the Catalans (decentralization of Spain) • Indicated how polarized Europe had become, American industrialists supported Franco, but individuals fought on the side of republicans (reaction against Fascism) Francisco Franco (d. 1975) • Challenged the elected socialist-communists • Group of army officers, those who had support for Fascist ideas • Fulange Spanish equivalent of Fascism • Defeated the republicans • After the Civil War, Spain chose to remain neutral during WWII WWII cont. • New states slipped into dictatorships (easy-picking for the Fascists) • Crusade against Communism • Better to support Hitler than Stalin Many Europeans believed that they had to choose a side • Fear of the Soviet Union was everywhere, especially amongst those who owned property • Hitler disassociated himself from internationalism, rejected the Briand Pact • 1939 Hitler realized the allies were weak & the Soviet Union would collapse • 1939: Hitler invaded Poland, doesn’t respond to ultimatum launching WWII • WWII was different: not as many casualties, Eastern & Central Europe was devastated (Holocaust) HIS109 March 30 , 2011 The Aftermath of World War Two • Reconstruction of Europe began before the hostilities had ended • Repercussions of Versailles learned, shape of Europe decided while the hostilities continued • Allies met in Tehran in December of 1943 to discuss how Germany would be treated (demilitarized, occupied by allies, & a new international organization would be created to replace the League of Nations) • Russian advance against the Germans changed the amicability & tone of these meetings, as German armies retreated it became that clear that the fate on central-east Europe had to addressed F.B. Roosevelt (1882-1945) • Drew up Atlantic Charter with Churchill • Pledged that the US & Britain would give full sovereignty to nations under Nazi occupation • All nations would work together to ensure the wealth & security of the world • Trusted Stalin & believed he was a man of his word, their was a strong political reason didn’t want to blunt the Russian advance into the centre of Berlin (heavy losses, party would have difficulty withstanding the loss of life) however, Stalin would do whatever he wanted • Rejected the provisions he received from Churchill & Stalin after learning of Churchill’s trip to Russia (not modern diplomacy, became quite angry with Churchill saw him as more of a problem than Stalin) • Didn’t want Stalin to pull out of WWII after the defeat of Germany (US was fighting on two fronts) wanted Red Army (Russia) to be used against Japan • Loss of American life would be astronomical (Stalin wouldn’t have to face an election, Roosevelt continued to press that the Red army would be turned against Japan & that the invasion of the highlands would include the Russians) Winston Churchill (1874-1965) • Feared Stalin & the Soviet Union, Stalin not a man of his word & needed to be controlled immediately • If Russia were unchecked by treaties, than Stalin would have whatever he wanted Churchill argued Nazi armies of occupation would be replaced by Soviet ones • Became nervous that Roosevelt did not support him, Britain would not permit Russia to annex Eastern Europe • Went to Russia alone, & made the British
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