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POL207Y1 (41)
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Europe After the War

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Political Science
Prof Hilz

Week 2 LectureEurope After WWII Legacy of CatastropheEuropes chance to develop to into a unified political entity arrived directly before the greatest catastrophe on the continentWWI was accepted and even willingly triggered by the European powers who grossly over estimated the national power they possessedThe post war order of 1919 was characterized by a sense of superiority on the part of thevictors nothing truly changedThe division of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires payed norespect to deeply fundamental cleavages in the ethnic groupsThe treatment of Germany was based on a similar Great Power logic occupation reparation etcIt was designed to prevent the Germans from ever starting another war in EuropeA large part of West Germany was occupied by the FrenchThe West also created a land gap in the east separating Danzig and Konigsberg from mainland Germany by granting the territory to PolandMore conservative minds like that of Briand the French foreign minister were ignoredHe wanted reconciliation with Germany but that was rebuffedHe succeeded in reconciling Germany but that was eventually rolled back by his successorsThe US and Woodrow Wilson were the greatest supporters of a united European postwar order but they were forced to withdrawHis League of Nations was created by the US legislature refused to participate and thus the LoN was left to the Europeans who saw it as a way to persue personal interestThe Europeans wished to maintain their colonial empires more than long term settlements of continental quarrelsThe post war order was thus characterized by nationalism and old ideasThe US once again retreated to isolationismThis was irresponsible because it was the US who had been able to break the trench warfare in the WestContinued American involvement in Europe might not have prevented the rise of Communism but it could have have mitigated the rise of fascism through stronger economies in Europe and less nationalismThe Americans did not want to take on Hitler but when they did it was too late and they had to fight him in a World WarAt Munich in 1938 Chamberlain granted Hitler the right to unrestrained annexation because America had left appeasement policies in his incapable handsEuropean reconciliation failed the LoN failed and the world economy failed so no one wanted to oppose Hitlers remilitarizationThe regions surrounding Germany are full of strong large nation states while ancient Germany thhad no unity until the end of the 19 CAs such Germany has been a perpetual issue since the high middle agesIn 1870 Germany was united much like its neighbours France and Italy wereBetween 1870 and 1914 there were no large wars in continental EuropeWWII in EuropeAnnexation of Austria and the Sudetenland was met with no military resistanceGermany belligerent expansion in the 30s was unopposed because no one wanted another major warGermany blitzkrieg of Poland and France were humiliating defeats for the WWI victors and was a demonstration of power by the Germans
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