Causes of the 1st and 2nd World Wars Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 October 2016

Causes of the 1st and 2nd World Wars

The causes of World War one and World War two share shared both differences and similarities, but overall there were more differences between the two. The social, political and economic circumstances of the times varied, though at times correlated with each other, but there are extreme differences that help create a different atmosphere for each war. The First World War was fought between the years 1914 to 1918 and the second was fought from1939 to 1945. Both wars involved military alliances between different groups of countries. The World War 1 was centered on Europe. The word warring nations were divided into two groups, the central powers and the allied powers. The central powers consisted of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. The allied powers group consisted of France, Britain, Russia, Italy, and Japan and (from 1917) the U.S. In the Second World War, the opposing alliances are now referred to as the axis and the allies.

The axis group consisted of Germany, Italy and Japan. The allies group consisted of France, Britain, the U.S., the Soviet Union and China. The thing that triggered the coming about of the First World War was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28th June 1914, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. He was killed by Siberian nationalists. Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia. At the same time Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Russia attacked Germany. Several alliances formed over the past decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; as all had colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world. The Second World War on the other hand was caused by treaty violations and acts of aggression on various fonts.

Political and economic instability in Germany, combined bitterness over its defeat in World War 1 and the harsh conditions of the treaty of Versailles. The Versailles Treaty signed at the end of World war 1 not only lay the moral blame of the conflict on Germany but also forced Germans to make huge payments to the victors of the war. France and Britain needed these reparations payments in order to pay their own debts. But they were highly onerous, arguably unjustifiably so, and were deeply unpopular in Germany. In fact, the payments demanded were so large that Germany was able to repay the final installment of interest on this debt only on October 3, 2010. Another cause of the Second World War was the rise of power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. In the mid-1930’s Hitler began secretly to rearm Germany, in violation of the treaty.

Hitler seized on his growing resentment and promised to “undo this injustice and tear up this treaty and restore Germany to its old greatness”. Adolf Hitler signed alliances with Italy and Japan to oppose the Soviet Union. Imperialism was a cause of both World War 1 and the Second World War. In the First World War, there are disputes over the Balkans between Austria-Hungary and Russia, Morocco between France and Germany, Tunisia between France and Italy, and the Middle East by Germany, Britain and Russia.

Whereas, in the Second World War, Germany obtains the Saar Valley, remilitarizes the Rhineland, annexes Austria, Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. He then takes over much of Europe. Italy takes over Ethiopia and Japan invades China. On August 6th 1945 due to their refusal to give into the US’s ultimatum, the B-29 American bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, America dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, after Japanese leaders failed to respond to the first bombing. On September 2nd, 1945, Japan finally gave in and signed a statement of surrender ending the Second World War.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 17 October 2016

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