The Road to World War II
The Road to World War II
The end of the First World War left those on both sides tired, bitter, and disillusioned with the war itself. For the Americans, who had no wish to go in the first place, the effect of the death toll would weigh heavily upon their souls. The German soldiers, on the other hand, were bitter and angry by the outcome of the war, feeling they were forced to surrender against their will by their government. These details will play a major role in the long road toward the Second World War.
Americans in the aftermath of the war had no wish to enter into another, and openly expressed their views about how they felt. Many did view going to war and doing their duty by serving their country as the honorable thing to do. Nobody was planning on it being so horrible though. Patriotism had a positive flare to it, but they were starting to consider the negative aspects. Was being patriotic worth it? There were many who were starting to think that it was not worth the risk of losing their life.
The reality of those who decided to go to war and then those who actually had to fight the war was becoming noticed. The novel, “Johnny Got His Gun” written by Dalton Trumbo right before the start of the Second World War brought these thoughts out in the open for all to view. The nation suddenly sat up and took notice of what actually happens to a young man in wartime. Those who did the fighting were trying to decide what was worth fighting for. Was a word, something the soldier could not see and touch, worth dying for? Those who read the novel did not think so and would protest the coming of war, refusing to participate.
On the other side was the German Freikorp, a hungry group of young men who considered war to be their destiny. These men were bitter and angry with the end of the First World War for they felt betrayed by the middle class society who decided to surrender on the battlefield against their wishes. To these men, war was a religion to them for it is what they do and they do it well. They feel disconnected from real life for they did not consider themselves to be a part of society.
To them, the middle class society of Germany abandoned them on the battlefield, making them surrender, then expected them to march home and become like them once again. To the Friekorp this would be unacceptable. These soldiers were accustomed to death and did not fear it. They welcomed it with open arms for they had seen it all and nothing bothered them. The thought of marching home to what they despised and had lost all respect for sickened them. They thought of themselves as the new generation of war machines. By the 1930’s, these soldiers would become the backbone of Hitler’s army, ready to cause mass destruction.
Given the mindset of each party involved, I would have to think that the Germans were more prepared going into war. They wanted war and would do anything to make it happen. Hitler knew that heavy industry would get the economy moving again. He knew that there would be a ready buyer for all the products being made which would be the government and military. This in turn would produce more jobs for the military would need men to operate the equipment. When the war did begin, Germany already had the supplies they needed and the soldiers trained to perform the jobs needed to get the ball moving in their favor.