When a soldier enlists into the military forces they know they are going in to fight for their country and freedom for everyone. They spend months training and preparing for the war and what to come. They learn to fight, shoot, and kill enemies, but what they do not learn is how to cope with the after math of the war. Soldiers in war every year come home with many post traumatic effects from what they had witnessed. During world war two this was known as shell shock; however what can be concluded is that world war two impacted the soldiers emotionally and physiologically from the time they entered to post war.
World War Two was one of the biggest struggles nations everywhere have ever seen. “It killed more people, costs more money, damaged more property, and affected more people…than any other war in history” (The History on the Net Group). People everywhere were in panic when the War started. With all the damage done during the war it can be imagined how the soldiers were traumatized by losing their fellow soldiers. “The number of people killed, wounded, or missing between September 1939 and September 1945 can never be calculated, but it is estimated that more than 55 million people perished” (The History on the Net Group). Soldiers were devastated by the tragedies that occurred at the time of war. However, before the war started there were a lot of causes that went into why everything ended up in war. World War Two began in September 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany following Germany’s invasion of Poland.
The war was triggered by Germany’s invasion of Poland but the causes of the war are far beyond this fact. After World War One had occurred Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States of America wanted to make a treaty on his four point plan to bring peace to Europe. Other countries involved in this treaty did not have the same idea as President Wilson. George Clemenceau wanted revenged. He wanted to make sure Germany would never be able to start a war again. When Germany received this treaty they were very surprised with the terms. The terms included, war guilt clause, which meant Germany accepted all the blame for World War One. Reparations, Germany had to pay millions in damage from the war. Disarmament, Germany could not have tanks or air force and land was taken away from them and given to other countries.
The Germans were not happy with this treaty and thought of it as very harsh. However the Germans took responsibility and continued on in hope to get revenge later. In 1919, to help keep the world safe for democracy the League of Nations was set up. League of Nations would intend that if there were disagreements between countries they would negotiate rather than fight. The failure of the League of Nation can be summarized by points such as, not all countries joining in such as Germany as a punishment and Russia because of the spread of communism. The League of Nations had no power or any army. Countries were hesitant to get involved with an aggressive country and taking direct action against them. These things led to the fall of the League of Nations.
People were angry because they did not want to cut off resources with other countries, even if they were aggressive because during the late 1920’s depression hit most of them. “The depression destroyed the market for imported silk from Japan, which had provided the country with two fifths of its export income’’ (The History on the Net Group). Economic problems played a fundamental part in the cause of World War 2. Germany, one of the poor countries became crippled in power and vulnerable. When Adolf Hitler came into power he immediately began placing blame on other countries and making Germany at the top of resources again. All these aspects lead to the start of World War two in Europe.
As the war in Europe continued President Franklin D. Roosevelt told America he did not want to get involved. He thought it was better to stay neutral in this matter and let them handle their own battle. The United States decided to eventually join the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however the issues had started years before Pearl Harbor was attacked. It starts with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, China. The Japanese invade Manchuria on September 18th, 1931. China was in the middle of a depression, so the Japanese had the upper hand. When Russia found this out they were enraged meaning America was as well, being alliances with Russia. Also, “the Japanese invading China violated the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 which renounced war as national policy” (Ketchum).
The United states told Japan if they don’t get out of China, they would stop trading oil with them. Japan stayed in China so the U.S stopped trading oil. Japan disliked this and held a grudge on America for years. Besides this, The US was already trading with other countries through the Lend-Lease Act, a document allowing the US to lend countries like Britain war materials in exchange for money. Germany was also angry that America was helping their enemies. As a result the Nazi’s decide to sink the U.S supply ships to help keep them from sending resources to other countries.
However, President Roosevelt did not want to enter war until the attack of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii occurred. This pushed the United States into the war officially on December 8, 1941. Right after we entered the war Hitler declared war on the United States. Followed by a United States declaration of war against Germany, and then the United States was fully involved in the war. America did not want to go to war but when America was targeted they decided to counter attack, however they did not plan on going to war with Germany but once they did it lead to one of the biggest and bloodiest wars of all time in history.
My grandfather, Edward Weil was lucky and un lucky enough to be able to experience World War 2. As a veteran of war he tells me all his stories about what the war was like. “The war was a very hard time.” He tells me, “it was rough but it also brought the nation closer together and America’s pride shined.” When I asked my grandfather why he joined the war he has told me about the attack of pearl harbor and how everyone had to stand for the pledge of allegiance out of respect and when he put his hand to his heart a navy officer came up to him and told him, “You would look very good in a uniform.” It really made my grandfather look at what he wanted to do and how he wanted to protect his nation. At the same time joining the war also impacted him in a negative way.
During the war my grandfather was nervous but knew this was what he wanted to do. He saw the Japanese bomb his mother ship and his sailors being killed and put on the edge of the deck to take back and bury. These experiences get scarred into soldiers minds forever. They cannot escape what they saw and those horrific actions done to one another. My grandfather was only 17 years old when he entered war. He wanted freedom and security for the American people.
However, as a young teenage boy still the war affected his emotions and to this day it is still a very sentimental and emotional topic to him. During my interview with my grandfather as I talked about what he wished he could change about the war, he started to tear up and told me about all the people lost to the war and his friends. His ship pulled next to another ship while it was burning and the people were asking for help and they tried to save as many people as they could. My grandfather even lost his left hearing due to the war. He is very proud to show his metals from the war and how he helped our nation. My grandfather is very proud to be a world war to veteran.