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The Great Depression and World War II have marked and changed the course of history on worldwide arena. The world community was still recovering from devastating consequences of World War I, slowly trying to rebuild wobbled economies. Both WWII and the Great Depression left own footprints in history of many nations and countries across the globe.
The stepping-stone for the Depression was connected with the “Great Crush” of American stock market in 1929 and had been echoed worldwide. US participation in WWI was indirect and thus, after it had been over, the US Government protected American market from foreign vendors via Fordney-McCumber Tariff. In addition, the US Treasury fund loans granted to Europe were supposed to be reimbursed in full by European loaners. Thus, the shaking economic pre-conditions and the collapse of the US stock market inevitably led to the instability of political authorities of that time Europe.
The causes of the WWII were just a matter of time. Big developing countries have set onward the principles of democracy and granted the degree of freedom to its citizens who had right for strikes and can freely defend own point of view, as opposed to totalitarian regimes in the Soviet Union and Italy where different “thinking” was quickly eliminated. Unhappy citizens of democratic countries sought for those who could change the situation and reinstate the welfare. During the period of the Great depression, 25 countries had turned into dictatorship states.
Largely supported policies of German, Japanese and Soviet Union authorities had prepared grounds for expanding territories and building new empires, consequently leading to inter-nation tensions and escalation of laissez-faire principle. The ideal cooperation algorithm under the umbrella of the League of Nation vanished by economic instability and failure of this alliance to cope with rising dictatorships. A proof of inability of the League of Nations to oppose conquering moods of three big dictatorships was reflected in non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union – the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact.
The Great Depression was a triggering event that enabled favorable pre-war conditions. European community was not ready to combat escalating powers as they had to tackle a number of domestic issues and the probability of another war enveloping Europe was negligible.
It is common to compare Word War II with a “good war”. The essence of “good” hides behind military conflict aimed to fight against evil. Dwight Eisenhower called the fight against Nazi Germany “the Great Crusade” (Eisenhower, 1944). According to more recent thoughts, the US “saved the world from tyranny” (Weber, 1997). Franklin Roosevelt called WWII a fighting for four freedoms – “freedom of religion and speech, freedom from fear and want”( Smith, 2000). That day propaganda emphasized the importance of war, as it was an inevitable and necessary tool to fight against cruelty and ruthlessness of dictatorships.
The “good” of the WWII was connected with spreading and establishment of democracy on the territories that were enslaved by totalitarian regimes. It was a “good” reason to fight against Nazism and fascism. Nonetheless, the essence and justification of war had changed throughout its course. The Soviet Union, who had allied with Germany, was heavily embraced by Stalin’s unquestionable dictatorship regime. After the invasion of Polish territories in 1939, the escalation of conflict was hard to avoid and eventually the world community had to react on invasive moods. It was a cause for protecting vulnerable Europe that was in the process of WWI and Great Depression recovery. The League of Nation participants wanted to reinstate the peace. However, the invasion of Soviet borders in 1941 had changed the course of the war, and from that moment on it was not a struggle for democracy it was an independent battle of so-called allies against fascists and Nazis. Each of the allying parties had personal interests in the war and thus, it was easier to maintain than seek ways to avoid it.
Heavy involvement into war was also a remedy from internal economic problems with reasonable aims at fighting the “evil”. The rise of democracy abroad was not justified by internal policies. Aristocratic countries like England, Holland, Belgium and France were pursuing enslavement of colonial countries, restricting democratic freedoms but at the same time they were encouraging war means to establish democracy in Europe.
As Roosevelt said, the defeat of Germany would mean the defeat of Japan, but defeat of Japan would not mean the defeat of Germany. (Kennedy, 2009). The war against Japan had a very specific aim. The battlefields were located in Europe and after the events in Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway, the Pacific region was a vulnerable territory, where the US could protect the rest of the world from invasive Japanese Navy forces and deploy different offensive military operations. The highlight of the battle for the Pacific region was a deployment of two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs were dropped in August 1945, almost three months later after the triumph over German surrendering. Detonation of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” atomic bombs was a driving force for Japanese surrender. The explosion of bombs was justified, but cruel means to finalize the war. It had established brand new perception of war and outlined new potential dangers and key players in post-war global arena.
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The WWII had changed its direction throughout the whole its course. Its origin closely relates to WWI slightly transforming its way into ramshackle economic situation that had led to the biggest battlefield in the human history. The WWII had divided the world into allies and counter forces; established strong and weak political powers and spheres of influence; had changed the course of history into pre- and post-war periods.