Origin of World War II
The Second World War was one of the most devastating events of the twentieth century. It was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945, and it brought death and destruction to all corners of the world. The war began with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, and reached its climax when the Allies, led by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union, defeated Nazi Germany.
The war was caused by a number of factors, including political and economic instability in Europe in the 1930s, the rise of Nazi Germany and the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Hitler, who became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, was a radical nationalist who saw his country as a victim of the rest of Europe. He wanted to reverse the terms of Germany’s surrender in World War I, and to create a “Greater Germany” by conquering countries in Europe, such as Austria and Czechoslovakia.
Hitler also denounced the Treaty of Versailles, which had been imposed on Germany at the end of the First World War. He blamed the treaty for weakening Germany and punishing it for something it had not done. Hitler decided to build up the German army, despite the terms of the treaty, and made aggressive demands on its neighbours. He also declared the unification of Austria and Germany in 1938, when he annexed Austria in a bloodless conquest.
Hitler also sought to create a “Greater Germany” by expanding German territory in Europe. In 1939, he set his sights on Poland, and on 1 September, he ordered an invasion of the country. On 3 September, Britain and France declared war on Germany, marking the start of the Second World War in Europe. The war would eventually involve most of the world’s nations, causing the deaths of over 60 million people.
Hitler’s policies triggered a global conflict that was the largest in history. He sought to expand the German Empire and create an Aryan race that would dominate the world. He drove his people to desperation, and his actions created a climate of fear and hatred that led to the start of World War II.
Nazi Goals and Motivations
Hitler’s Nazi party had its own goals and motivations for starting World War II. Their main goal was to restore Germany to a position of power and dominance in the world by obliterating its enemies and gaining more land for a ‘Greater Germany.’ Nazi leaders also wanted to establish an Aryan race that would dominate the world connected to a superhuman leader. They sought to weaken or completely eliminate any “inferior” races or religions. Hitler was a supremacist who viewed Jews as a threat to Germany, and as a result, one of the primary goals of the Nazis was to rid Germany of Jews by genocide.
Hitler and the Nazis believed in an ideology of racial superiority and sought to create a master race that could rule the world. To this end, they were willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals, including military force. Hitlers’s policies of expansionism, militarism, and racism led to the start of World War II.
Hitler sought to dominate Europe and encourage German populations living in other countries to be a part of his Nazi state. He tried to bring about a ‘unification’ of all German people and, as such, annexed Austria in 1938 and invaded Poland a year later, in 1939.
The Nazis also sought to gain control of the world’s resources, and this meant that they needed to conquer countries and territories beyond Europe. Hitler wanted Germany to become a world power and had grandiose visions of military conquest. He believed that by invading and conquering other countries, he could create a ‘Greater Germany’ that would be the master of the world.
German Army and Invasion of Poland
The German army, led by Adolf Hitler, was perfectly prepared for war by 1939. In the years leading up to the war, Hitler had built up the German army and ignored the restrictions imposed on it by the Treaty of Versailles. He had seen the army as the ultimate tool for creating a ‘Greater Germany’ and had equipped it with the most powerful and technologically advanced weapons available. The German army was considered to be one of the most formidable forces in Europe by 1939.
Hitler used this strong, well-prepared army to invade Poland on 1 September 1939. Hitler justified the invasion of Poland by claiming that the Poles were oppressing members of the German minority living in the area. This was false, as the Poles had not taken any such action. Hitler also made other territorial demands on Poland before the invasion, but these were declined. The Polish government were not willing to give in to Hitler’s demands, and so he invaded the country.
The German army invaded Poland with overwhelming force. The Poles were ill-prepared for the attack, as they had not received much support from the Western powers, who had declared non-intervention. The German army quickly overran the country and captured the city of Warsaw on 27 September 1939. This marked the official beginning of World War II.
Nazi Propaganda and War Crimes
The Nazis used a wide range of propaganda to justify their actions and rally the people of Germany behind their cause. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, used films, radio and newspapers to portray the Nazis as heroic figures and the victims of other countries’ aggression. The Nazis also used propaganda to demonize the Jews and spread hatred towards them.
The Nazis were also guilty of a wide range of war crimes during the war. Hitler’s policies of mass extermination, forced labour, and the creation of concentration camps led to the deaths of millions of innocent people. Jews were the primary targets of the Nazis’ campaign of genocide, as they were seen by the Nazi regime as a threat to German racial purity.
The Nazis used a policy of total war, in which civilian populations were targeted for terror, enslavement and extermination. They encouraged their troops to commit atrocities against civilians in occupied territories, including mass killings and the deportation of millions of people to concentration camps. These actions were carried out with impunity, as the victims were often too powerless to resist.
Allied Response and End of the War
The Allied Powers responded to Hitler’s aggression by launching a series of campaigns and invasions that eventually led to the defeat of Nazi Germany. The Allies, led by Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, sought to rid Europe of the Nazi regime and to bring peace and stability to the region. The United States, Britain and the Soviet Union created the Grand Alliance which was the basis of the Allied victory.
The Allied Powers launched a series of campaigns against the Germans and Japanese in the years after 1939. These campaigns included a massive aerial bombing campaign against Germany, the storming of the beaches of Normandy, and the liberation of Europe from Nazi rule. The Allies also launched an invasion of Japan in 1945, which led to the surrender of the Japanese government.
By 1945, Nazi Germany had been defeated and the Allies had achieved their goal of defeating Hitler and restoring peace and stability to the region. On 8 May 1945, Germany officially surrendered and World War II had come to an end.
Aftermath of World War II
The aftermath of World War II was far-reaching. The war crippled much of Europe and caused millions of deaths and millions more injuries. The conflict also brought about a historic change in political power, as the Allied Powers emerged victorious and the old empires of Europe were destroyed. World War II also marked the beginning of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, who were the two great superpowers of the post-war era.
The war also exposed the horror of the Nazi regime and its horrific policies of genocide and mass extermination. The victorious Allies held the Nazi leaders accountable for their crimes, and war criminals were brought to justice. The Holocaust, which was a genocide against the Jews, was recognized as one of the worst crimes in human history.
World War II had a lasting impact on the world and shaped the modern era. It changed the face of Europe and the shape of the global geopolitical landscape. The conflict also brought about an end to colonialism, as many of the European nations that had held colonies were weakened by the war.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were the ultimate cause of World War II. Hitler’s policies of expansionism, militarism, and racism, coupled with his desire to create a ‘Greater Germany’, led to the start of the war in Europe. When Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany, thus starting the most destructive conflict in human history. Nazi Germany was ultimately defeated by the Allies in 1945, and the world was changed forever.