World history Notes World War First Second
World history Notes World War First Second
Discuss the political situation during this time.
- USA, Britain and France had democracy.
- Germany had an elected lower house (Reichstag) but real power was in the hands of Chancellor.
- Italy was a monarchy with elected parliament but the franchise was restricted to wealthy people.
- Japan also had elected lower house but the real power was in the hands of the emperor.
- The government in Russia and Austria – Hungary were very different from the democracy of the west. The Tsar (Russia) and Emperor (Austria) were autocratic rulers.
Reasons for the breakout of the war?
- The scramble for colonies led to emergence of conflict between imperialist powers. They tried their best not to escalate the tension into war through mutal understanding and agreements. War was avoided as there was still a possibility of further conquest.
- By the last decade of 19th century almost all areas were under imperialist control and further conquest could only happen by dispossessing some other country.
- Rivalries resulted in attempts to redivide the world creating conditions of war.
- Germany made massive progress after its unification in 1870. It became leading producer of iron, steel and coal and left behind France and Britain.
- Pharmaceutical sector was highly developed and it enjoyed monopoly in the production of artificial dye.
- Imperial Railway Bureau was set up. It joined Baltic Sea and North Sea by Kiel Canal.
- It entered shipping trade in a big way. Imperator a German ship built in 1912 was the largest ship in the world.
- Since Germany was a late comer it could not grab as much colony as it desired. It dreamed of expanding its power. It planned to construct railway from Berlin to Baghdad. Britain and France were alarmed at these developments as the construction of railway would endanger their imperialist ambitions in Ottoman empire.
- In 1888 Germany got a new ruler Kaiser William II who shifted his policy towards Aggressive imperialism. He came up with the concept of Welt Politik. He interfered in Morocco War and gave moral support to Boer War in South Africa.
Clash of interests
- Italy almost became equal of France in power after its unification. It had its target set in Ottoman empire
- Russia wanted to grab Iran and was suspicious of Austrian ambitions in Balkans.
- Japan extended its influence in the far east. It also defeated Russia in 1905 war.
- Britain was desperate to defend its large territory. There was an intense naval rivalry between Germany and Britain. Britain had developed Dreadnought battleship.
- Austria had its ambitions in the Ottoman Empire.
- French resented at the loss of Alsace Lorraine to Germany at the end of Franco Prussian War (1870).
- Primary concern of USA was to safeguard its trade and trade routes.
- Germans accused Britain, Russia and France of trying to ‘encircle’ it.
- Serbian nationalism was a major factor. Serbia had the ambition of uniting all Slavs many of whom lived in Habsburg Empire (Austria – Hungary). The empire consisted of people from different nationalities (Slovaks, Czechs, Italian, Poles etc) and if Serbs left the fold many others would also demand their independence.
- Austria wanted to destroy Serbia before it became strong enough to destroy it.
Formation of opposing groups, spending of vast sums of money to increase size of army and navy and develop deadly weapons. Europe became a vast armed camp. Propaganda for war and projecting own country as superior to other started.
- Triple Alliance (1882) – Gemany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Italy’s loyalty was uncertain as it had fight with Austria.
- Triple Entente or Understanding (1907) – France, Britain and Russia. Loose group based on mutual understanding.
- In 1894 France and Russia signed an alliance. In 1904 Britain and France sign ‘Entente Cordiale’ . In 1907 Britain and Russia signed agreement.
These entered into secret treaties with each other. But WikiLeaks exposed all such treaties causing fear and suspicion.
Discuss important events preceding the War -World history Notes World War First Second
Morocco Crisis (1904)
- Morocco was one of the few African countries not controlled by any European power. Britain and France entered into secret agreement where Britain got Egypt and France retained Morocco.
- Germany felt ignored and stepped in. Germany gave full support to Sultan of Morocco for its independence. The situation was ripe for war but it was averted when in 1911 France gave Germany a part of French Congo.
British – Russia Agreement (1907)
- Russia was keen to attract foreign investment for its modernisation programme. It was not a military alliance.
- Britain considered it safe as Russia had been humiliated in 1905 war by Japan and it was not in a position to pose any threat.
- Germans viewed the entire incident differently. It accused the Entente powers of encircling it.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Problem (1908)
- Austria took advantage of a revolution in Turkey and annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- Serbia also had an aim on these provinces and its claim was backed by Russia. It appealed for help but when it became clear that Germany would support Austria both France and Britain backtracked. Russia although wanted to support Serbia but did not want to risk another war without allies. It caused further enmity between Russia and Germany.
- This led to Serbia becoming bitterly hostile to Austria. Russians were determined to avoid any further humiliation and embarked on massive military build up. They intended to help Serbia should it ever appealed again.
Balkan Wars (1912)
- Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece started a war against the Turks. Turkey lost almost all its possessions in Europe.
- After this Balkan countries fought another war over the question of distributing the former Turkish territory amongst themselves.
- Austria succeeded in making Albania an independent country which was claimed by Serbia.
What led to immediate outbreak of the War
- On 28 June 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was assasinated by a Serbian terrorist Gavrilo Princip at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia (He had decided to spend his honeymoon in this troubled region !).
- Austria saw the hands of Serbia behind this and served Serbia an ultimatum. Serbia refused to accept one of the demands of ultimatum.
- On 28 July 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia.
- On 1 August Germany declared war on Russia and on 3rd August on France. On 4 August Britain declared war on Germany.
- Japan declared war on Germany with a view to capture its colonies in the Far East. Turkey and Bulgaria joined on the side of Germany.
- Italy initially remained neutral and later joined the war against Germany in 1915.
Discuss the Course of War
- German hope of securing a lightning victory in France was thwarted and war entered a phase of stalemate. It had to wage battle on two fronts. On West it was fighting in France and in the east it engaged in fierce battle with Russia. Russia made an epic mistake of attacking both Austria and Germany at the same time and it suffered huge losses and was a huge blow to its prestige. Russia never recovered from the losses. German self esteem was boosted.
- War quickly spread to West Asia, Africa and Far East.
- A new type of warfare where trenches were dug started. Earlier method of fighting in the open disappeared. Machine Gun, Liquid fire, aircrafts, U-boats, poison gas.
- Use of troops recruited from their colonies started.
- Japan acquired German possessions in Far East and Britain and France took control of German territories in Africa.
- Protest against Ottoman Empire in Palestine, Mesopotamia, Arabia and against Germany and Turkey in Iran.
- In April 1917 US declared war against Germany. German U-Boats had sunk a British ship Lusiania. Among 1153 passengers killed 128 were Americans. European countries had raised large amounts of loans in US and these loans could be secured and paid back only when these countries won. There was a fear that Germany would emerge a rival to US.
- Withdrawal of Russia after the Russian revolutions. Russia signed a peace treaty with Germany.
How did the war end?
Few socialist parties proposed the convening of an international socialist conference to draft proposals for ending the war without annexations and recognise the right of the people to self determination. The proposals were rejected. Pope also made proposals for peace but these were rejected. There was unrest among people and anti war agitation took place following the success of the Russian revolution.
Britain, France and USA launched an offensive in 1918. Bulgaria withdrew from the war and Turkey surrendered. The emperor of AH surrendered. Revolution broke out in Germany and the emperor Kaiser William II fled to Holland. The new German govt signed an armistice on 11 Nov 1918 and the war was over.
Reasons for loss of Germany?
- Germany had to face war on two fronts.
- Allied sea power was decisive.
- German submarine campaign failed in the face of convoys protected by British.
- Entry of USA brought new resources.
- Allied political leaders Lloyd George and Clemenceau were more competent.
- Germany was badly let down by here allies and had to constantly help out the Austrians and Bulgarians.
Assess the outcome of War
- Unprecedented loss of lives. Close to 53 – 70 million fought in the war and over 9 million people were killed.
- War led to epidemics and famines and various other social problems. Economy of many nations collapsed.
- It transformed the political map of the world. Ruling dynasties were destroyed. Romanov in Russia during the war, Hohenzollern in Germany and Habsburg in Austria-Hungary and the rule of Ottoman Empire came to an end.
- It gave birth of many independent nations and national movement. Strengthening of freedom movement in Africa and Asia. Exploitation of colonies during war, false hope of ushering in democracy.
- It marked an end of European supremacy. It was surpassed by US. Soviet Union was soon to become world power.
- The role played by soldiers from Asia and Africa belied the claims that Europeans soldiers were superior.
- It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”. But it never happened. But imposition of harsh treaties caused further conflict. Imperialism was not destroyed as a result of the war. The victorious powers enlarged their possessions. Fear of redivision of the world remained lurking.
- The emergence of Soviet Union was considered a danger to existing social and economic system. The desire to destroy it influenced the post war policies. These created conditions for another war.
|EVENTS POST WW 1 -World history Notes World War First Second|
What was Woodrow Wilson Programme?
He proposed a Peace Programme. This is known as Woodrow Wilson 14 points. The points were:
- Abolition of secret diplomacy.
- Free navigation at sea for all nations in war and peace.
- Removal of economic barriers between states.
- All round reduction of armaments.
- Impartial adjustment of colonial claims in the interests of the population concerned.
- Evacuation of Russian territory.
- Restoration of Belgium.
- Liberation of France and restoration of Alsace Lorraine.
- Readjustment of Italian frontiers along the lines of nationality.
- Self government for the people of Austria and Hungary.
- Romania, Serbia and Montenegro to be evacuated.
- Self government for the non Turkish people of the Turkish empire
- An independent Poland with secure access to sea.
- A general association of nation to preserve peace.
Give an Account of Peace Treaties
France wanted a harsh peace treaty to ruin Germany. Britain wanted a less severe punishment sot that Germany could act as the major customer for the British goods. USA too was in a favour of a leniant peace.
Victorious power met at Versailles. The number of countries represented was 27. The terms of treaty was decided by Britain (Lloyd George), France (Clemenceau) and USA (Woodrow Wilson). Germany and Russia were excluded. The treaty was not a negotiation but imposition of demands on defeated by the victors. It was one of the most controversial settlements ever signed and it was criticised even in the Allied countries. It was too hard for the Germans, who were bound to object violently.
The main treaty was signed with Germany on 28 June 1919. Germany was compelled to sign under the threat of invasion.
- The War Guilt clause declared Germany and her allies guilty of aggression.
- Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France.
- Coal mines in German area called Saar were ceded to France for 15 years and area to be governed by League of Nations.
- Germany ceded her pre war territories to Denmark, Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
- Rhine valley was to be demilitarized.
- Union between Germany and Austria was forbidden.
- Germany was to be disarmed. The strength of the army was capped at 1,00,00.
- She was required to have no air force and submarines.
- Dispossessed of all her colonies. Togo and Cameroon were shared between Britain and France. South West Africa was given to Britain. Pacific and Western Hemisphere were given to Japan
- Although China was present during the negotiations her areas under German were given to Japan and not restored to her.
- Germany was required to pay for war damages. An enormous figure of $6600 million Pounds was levied.
- A League of Nation was set up and its aims and organisations were set out in the League covenant.
Under separate treaties with Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Poland became independent. Baltic states which were earlier under Russia became independent. Complete dismemberment of Ottoman Empire took place. Britain was given Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq). France got Syria. These were called ‘mandates’ as mandatory powers i.e. Britain and France were to look after the interests of the people of the mandates but in reality they were governend as colonies. Most of the Turkish territory was given to Greece and Italy and Turkey was reduced to a small state. Soon after, under Mustapha Kemal Turkey underwent a revolution and it became republic in 1922. It regained control over Asia Minor and city of Constantinople and the Allies were forced to abandon earlier treaty.
Discuss the achievements and failures of League of Nations?
League of Nations was a brainchild of Woodrow Wilson and formed part of his famous 14 point peace initiative.
- Preservation of peace and security and peaceful settlements of international conflicts and bound members not to resort to war.
- One of its important provision was with regard to sanction under which economic and military action would be taken against any country which committed aggression.
- Contained provision to improve labour, economic and social conditions in their countries. International Labour Organisation was set up.
- Hope was short lived. It lacked enforceable rights.
- Germany and Russia were not part of the league whereas India which was not even an independent country was made a member.
- US which played the leading role did not join it.
- It was never an effective organisation. In the 1930s when many countries resorted to aggression, the League was ignored or defied. It did not come forward in case Japanese attack on China in 1931 and Italy attack on Ethiopia in 1936.
- It did not have military force of its won.
- It recognised the division of spoils of the war and most of the colonies were transferred as mandates i.e not to be annexed thus undermining the very ideals with which it was formed.
- Wilson had earlier said that the war was fought to make the world safe for democracy. The Allies had entered into many secret agreements for dividing the spoils of war. The Soviet Govt exposed these secret treaties.
- Solved the dispute of smaller countries like Finland, Poland, Albania and Czech.
- Settlement of refugee.
- Minority proposal with the objective of protecting culture, religion and language of minorities in the entire world.
- A health organisation a subunit succeeded in handling diseases like Chickenpox, Malaria etc. This body turned into WHO in 1948.
- ILO success.
Discuss the political situation in Europe post WWI -World history Notes World War First Second
- Growth of socialist and communist party took place in almost every country of Europe. However, soon the socialist movements were defeated and dictatorial government came to power. These govt destroyed democracy and had dangerous consequences for the whole world.
- Germany became a republic.
- Inspired by Russian Revolutions there were revolutions in Finland, Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania which were earlier part of Russian empire.
- Britain witnessed decline after the war. The Labour party came to power in 1924. The year 1926 saw the biggest strike in British history. In 1929 more than 3 million workers were left unemployed. However, the Facist movement could not make much headway and Britain continued to be democratic.
- In France many government came and fell. The country suffered from severe economic crisis and there was widespread corruption. There was considerable leftward trend. Radical Socialist and Communist Party was formed in 1936.
- USSR launched New Economic Policy and Five Year Plans.
Discuss the steps taken and their success to improve the situation after the First WW
- League of Nations.
- Washington Conference was held to improve relations between USA and Japan. USA grew suspicious of Japanese power in the far east and in China. It was agreed that Japanese navy would be restricted to 60% of American and British. Japan withdrew from Kiaochow and Shantung province of China. The western powers agreed not to build any more naval bases near Japan.
- Under The Dawes Plan it was agreed that Germany should annually pay only what she could afford. France agreed to withdraw troops from Ruhr region.
- Under Locarno Treaties Germany, France and Belgium promised to respect their joint frontiers. If one of them broke the agreement Britian and Italy would come to rescue. The treaty had a major flaw as no guarantee was made regarding Germany’s eastern frontier with Czechoslovakia and Poland.
- Kellogg – Briand Pact was signed by 65 countries. Countries agreed to renounce war as an instrument of national policy. It was a completely useless plan.
- Under Young Plan Germany’s reparations were reduced from 6600 million to 2000 million pounds.
- A World Disarmament Conference was held to work out a formula for scaling down armaments. The French refused to disarm or allow Germany to have equality in armaments.
- These were mere symbolic gesture and held no weight.
- The member states of these treaties flouted the norms as and when they liked.
Discuss the political and economic situation in US
US Emerged as the richest and the most powerful country. It underwent tremendous industrial progress and made heavy investments in Europe.
In October 1929, the entire economy began to collapse. The stock market crashed. Created panic and shares held by people became totally worthless. More than 9,000 American Banks closed down. Closing down of thousands of factories due to lack of demand. The depression spread to all the capitalist countries of Europe. The number of unemployed in US alone crossed 15 million. The industrial production fell by 35 per cent.
The crisis was a result of over production. Demand was less. Factory stopped producing. While on one hand people starved on the other wheat was burnt in order to prevent fall in prices.
Franklin Roosevelt came to power and under him a new programme of economic and social development started. His programme is also known as New Deal. Conditions of workers were improved.
- Deficit Financing.
- Promotion to public works like infra development e.g roadways, railways etc.
- Welfarism was added to capitalism. Promotion to health, education
Keynesian theory was applied. Steps were taken to improve the conditions of workers. As a result US recovered from the crisis.
Discuss the foreign policy of US during this time
- Woodrow Wilson played a key role in the peace conference.
- American public grew tired of war. The Republican party believed in a policy of isolation.
- US didn’t join LoN.
- It tried to increase its trade and profits by investing abroad.
- Washington Conference.
- US was more concerned in getting back the $12 billion loan it had given to Britain and France during the war. It agreed to take part in Young and Dawes Plan because Britain’s ability to pay loan was dependent on the ability of Germans to pay reparations ! This led to a situation where America -> Germany -> France -> America. The whole set up was one of the causes of economic crisis.
- Kellog Brian Pact.
- USA kept itself away when Japan attacked China in 1931. It remained determined not to be drawn into a conflict.
Discuss the Nationalist Movement in Asia and Africa during this Phase?
Inspiration from Russian Revolution and decline of European powers and support by Soviet Union led to rise of nationalist movement in these states.
- Iran: Soviet Union gave up its claim on Iran after the war. Power was seized by Reza Khan who in 1925 became the emperor. The British troops left Iran and modernisation of Iran began.
- Afghanistan: In 1919 King was assassinated and his son Amanullah came to power and proclaimed complete independence. It was immediately recognised by Soviet Union. Britain waged a war but in the end recognised its independence
- Egypt: Britain was forced in 1922 to grant independence.
- Syria: Syria passed on to France. Protests against French rule took place. France resorted to bombing and shelling of Damascus.
- Turkey: Mass upsurge in India in the form of Khilafat Movement. Mustafa Kamal came to power. Signed a treaty of friendship with Soviet government. Turkey was invaded by Greece but Kamal Pesha resisted and Allies were forced to repudiate the earlier treaty, allied troops were withdrawn from Turkey and independence was complete.Turkey was proclaimed a republic. The institution of Caliph was abolished. Education was out of the hands of religious leaders. Religion was separated from the state.It became a source of movement for freedom in Asia. Helped in promoting the idea of social reform and modernisation.
- Indonesia: Uprising against Dutch Rule.
- Korea: Movement for independence from Japan.
- China: Revolution in 1911 led to the establishment of republic. However, power passed into the hands of warlords and corrupt governors. National movement agains warlords and overthrow of foreign rule. Its founder was Sun Yat-Sen. He set up a govt at Canton in South China. The party was called Kuomintang. RR had a great impact on China. USSR renounced its earlier claims on China and pledged full support. Communist Party of China was formed in 1921. In 1924 Kuomintang and CPC decided to work together and received training and aids from Soviet Union. With the death of SYS in 1925 the unity between them was broken. Japan attacked China in 1930 and CPC played leading role in combating the threat.
- Africa: Pan African Movement. African National Congress formed in 1912. Ethiopia defeated Italy in 1935-36.
What is Fascism?
The word fascist means bundle of rods with protruding axe which used to symbolise the authority and power of ancient Roman consuls. Nowadays there is an increasing tendency among the left to label as ‘fascist’ anybody who holds right wing views. It involves:
- Extreme Nationalism: Emphasis on rebirth of nation. Building up greatness and prestige of the state with the propaganda that one’s own nation is superior to all others.
- Totalitarian Government: Government control on all aspects of lives. Promote greatness of the state which was more important than the interests of the individual.
- One Party State: There was no place for democracy. It was especially hostile to communism. Great emphasis is laid on the cult of the leader who would win mass support by giving thrilling speeches and skilful propaganda.
- Economic Self Sufficiency (Autarchy): The government must direct the economic life of the nation.
- Military Strength and Violence: It was an integral part of way of life. Mussolini had remarked, ‘Peace is absurd: fascism does not believe in it’
What led to growth of Fascism in Italy?
- Disillusionment of Italy’s gains from peace settlement: During WW1 Italy had been prmoised protectorate over Albania and some Aegean island. However Albania later became independent. Italian thus felt cheated in view of their effort in war and loss of 700,000 soldiers.
- Economic Crisis: The effects of war on economy and living standard was disastrous. The government was under heavy debt from USA. There was massive unemployment as heavy industry cut back its wartime production.
- Failure of Parliamentary System: There were large number of parties in parliament. In the era of coalitition government no consensus was possible and within few years 5 different cabinet came and went. There was growing impatience with system and people desired decisive government.
- Wave of strikes: Large scale looting, rioting and occupation of factories by workers took place. Italian Communist Party was formed in 1921 and capitalist feared that a left wing revolution was imminent in the country.
How Mussolini captured power?
- Mussolini aimed to rescue Italy from weak and unstable government. In 1919 he formed the fascist party with a socialist and republican programme.
- He projected himself as the defender of private enterprise and property, thus attracting much needed financial support from wealthy business interests. Black Shirted Squads of fascist attacked and burned socialist headquarters.
- Mussolini also made conciliatory speeches about the Roman Catholic Church. He swung the support of Pope in his favour. He was seen as a good anti communist weapon.
- Moreover, his opposition turned out to be weak. The anti fascist group failed to cooperate with each other. The communist refused to cooperate with socialist.
- He led a March on Rome. Mussolini was able to pose as the saviour of the nation from communism. His 50,000 blackshirted supporters converged on the capital. The King decided not to take action against them and instead invited Mussolini to form the government.
Discuss the policies of Mussolini
- All parties except the fascists were suppressed.
- The PM was responsible only to the king not to the parliament. He could rule by decree which meant new law did not need sanction of the parliament.
- The franchise was reduced from 10 million to 3 million.
- Elected town councils and mayors were abolished and towns were run by officials appointed from Rome.
- A strict censorship was enforced in which anti facist newspapers and magazines were banned or their editors replaced by fascist supporters.
- Radio, films and theatres were controlled in the same way.
- Education was closely supervised. Teachers had to wear uniforms and new textbooks were written to glorify the fascist system.
- Children and young people were forced to join the government youth organisation. The other main was total obedience to authority. The motto was – ‘Believe, Obey, Fight’
- Government tried to promote cooperation between employers and workers and end class warfare. Fascist controlled union had to sole right to negotiate with the workers.
- Strikes and lockouts were not allowed. However they were assured of benefits such as free Sundays, annual holidays, social security, sports etc.
- The Papacy had been hostile to Italy since 1870 when all territories belonging to Papal state had been incorporated into new Italy.
- Mussolini was an atheist yet he saw the powerful role played by the Church. He recognised Vatican City as a sovereign state, paid the Pope a large sum of money and accepted Catholic faith as the official state religion and made religious instruction compulsory in all schools. In return Pope recognised the kingdom of Italy.
Assessment of Mussolini Policies?
What really mattered to ordinary people was whether the regime’s policies were effective or not.
- Industry was encouraged with government subsidies. Iron, steel production by 1930 and hydro electricity by 1937 had been doubled.
- Battle of Wheat encouraged farmers to concentrate on wheat production as part of self sufficiency. By 1935 wheat import had been cut by 75%.
- A programme of land reclamation was launched to improve agricultural yield.
- An impressive Public Works Programme was designed. Building of motorways, bridges, railway stations, schools were built. Trains ran on time. Even the Football team won World cup twice in 1934 and 1938!
- The after work (Dopalovoro) organisation provided Italian people social benefits such as cheap holidays, tours, cruises etc.
His programmes were launched with much fanfare but several of them did not yield the expected results.
- Basic shortage of raw material was still an issue. Italy could not match even Belgium in iron and steel production.
- Increase in wheat production was at the expense of dairy and arable farming. Agriculture remained inefficient. Farm wages fell drastically.
- North South divide persisted. North Italy was industrialised and prosperous while south was agricultural, backward and poor.
- Lira was revalued too high in an attempt to show that Italy had strong currency. This backfired as export became expensive and lost its competitiveness.
- Economic crisis on 1929 made the matters worse.
- The government hardly resembled a welfare state. There was no official government health insurance till 1943.
- The regime was highly corrupt and inefficent. Many of its policies were not carried out. Mussolini developed a distrust for everyone around and tried to do everything by himself. It was impossible for one man to do so much.
What led to Mussolini’s downfall?
- Entry into the WW II was a disastrous mistake. The public opinion was against it. Italy was simply not economically strong to wage the war. It had few thousand planes and no heavy tanks.
- General public suffered hardships. Taxes were increased to pay for the war.
- Italian suffered humiliating defeats in the war and all Italian troops had to surrender in 1943.
- Mussolini seemed to have lost his touch and all he could do was to sack some minister. He refused to make peace and continued the war.
- Finally Fascist Grand Council turned against Musslolini and king dismissed him.
|NAZISM IN DEUTSCHLAND -World history Notes World War First Second|
What was the political situation in Germany after World War 1?
After the world war general elections were held in 1919. It was the first democratic elections ever to take place in Germany. A new constitution was by National Assembly which met at Weimar. The Social Democrat policy came to power. The Weimer constitution gave its name to Weimer republic which lasted till 1933. Meanwhile Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazis) had been carrying out great propaganda blaming the Government and the Jews for all ills of the country.
What were the failures of Weimar Republic?
- It had accepted the humiliating and unpopular Versailles Treaty. It was always associated with defeat and dishonour. German nationalists could never forgive it for that.
- Germans had a traditional lack of respect for democratic government and great admiration for army.
- The parliamentary system was based on proportional representation which led to too many parties in the parliament. No party could ever win a majority. This led to policy paralysis and programmes were not implemented.
- Communists and Nationalists did not believe in republic and refused to support the Social Democrats. There was always a threat of civil war.
- In 1919 Germany was close to bankruptcy due to heavy expense of war.
- Reparations imposed by Versailles treaty exacted heavy toll on German economy.
- In January 1923 French troops occupied Ruhr which was an important German industrial area. This led to collapse of the German currency Deutschmark. The situation was so worse that children made kites out of devalued currency. The rate of exchange went down to 1$ = 2.1 billion Deutschmark.
- The economy was heavily dependent on American loans. During 1929 America itself faced crisis and as a result there German economy faced futher hardships.
What made Nazis popular?
Hitler and Nazis offered attractive alternative. The more unstable the economy the more seats Nazis won in the Reichstag.
- They offered national unity, prosperity and full employment.
- They promised to overthrow the Versailles settlement.
- The Nazi private army called the SA was attractive to young people out of work. It gave them a small wage and a uniform.
- Wealthy landowners and industrialists encouraged the Nazis because they feared communist revolution.
- Hitler had extraordinary political abilities. He had tremendous will power and remarkable gift for public speaking. He was seen as a Messiah. His autobiography Mein Kampf became highly popular among masses.
- There was a striking contrast between the Weimar government and Nazis. While the former was dull, unable to maintain law and order; the latter was strong, decisive and promised restoration of national pride.
What did National Socialism stood for?
The word socialism did not imply nationalisation and redistribution of wealth. It was included only to attract the workers. The general principles were:
- It was a way of life dedicated to the rebirth of the nation. The aim was to make Germany a great nation and restore national pride. The entire state was organised on a military footing.
- Great emphasis was laid on the ruthlessly efficient organisation of all aspects of the lives of the masses. The state was supreme, the interests of the individuals were always second to that of the state. It was a totalitarian state
- Propaganda played an important role. Joseph Goebbels was the propaganda minister of Nazis. According to him “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people assume it to be truth”
- The race theory was vitally important. Hitler divided mankind into two groups Aryans and Non-Aryans. The Aryans were Germans and they were the master race, destined to rule the world. All the rest particularly Jews were inferior and were to become slave races of the Germans.
Discuss the policies of Hitler?
- The legal basis of his power was the Enabling Law which stated that government could introduce laws without the approval of the Reichstag and could ignore the constitution. This meant that Hitler was to become the complete dictator.
- He followed a policy of forcible coordination. The govt tried to control as many aspects of life as possible using polic force and State Secret Police, Gestapo.
- All parties except National Socialists were banned.
- Civil services was purged of all Jews and other suspected ‘enemies of the state’
- Trade unions were abolished.
- The education system was closely controlled. Nazi propaganda was taught in school. Human biology was dominated by Nazi race theory.
- Hitler assumed the title of Fuhrer and favourite slogan was ‘the Fuhrer is always right’.
The religion was brought under the state control. The worst aspect was his anti Jewish policy. Jews were sent to concentration camps like Auschwitz where they were made subject to chemical test, tortured and finally exterminated. Millions of jews lost their lives. Nuremberg Laws of 1935 deprived Jews of their citizenship. The camps came to be known as Holocaust and was probably the worst and most shocking crimes ever committed on humanity.
The economic life was closely organised. Food prices were controlled. vast schemes of public works were introduced.
Discuss the success of Hitler policies.
- Coming of Hitler caused great enthusiasm among people.
- He was successful in eliminating unemployment. The public works programme provided thousands of jobs.
- Care was taken to keep the support of the workers. Joy Organisations provided benefits such as subsidized holidays, cheap theatre etc.
- Wealthy capitalists and industrialised were delighted with Nazis as it promised communist free environment.
- Nazis aimed to achieve self sufficiency in food production. Farms were declared hereditary and this received huge support from the farmers as they no longer faced the threat of eviction.
- Hitler gained the support of Reichswehr (army) which was crucial. His military policies were highly popular with army.
- Hitler built the largest network of highways called Autobahn and set up a company Volkswagen (People’s Car) to produce low cost automobile for the masses. These two exists even today and are highly efficient and successful.
Comparison of Fascism vs Nazism? -World history Notes World War First Second
- Both were anti communist and supported by wealthy capitalist and industrialists.
- Both aimed for totalitarian state and controlled industry, agriculture and the way of life of the people.
- Attempted to make the country self sufficient.
- Emphasized the supremacy of the state. Glorified war, nationalism and cult of the leader. Rebirth of the nation was given prime importance.
- Education was highly supervised. Indoctrination of young mind and blind obedience to state was taught.
- Fascism never seemed to take deep roots in Italy as it did in Germany.
- Italian system was not as efficient as Germany. Italians could not achieve the stated goals of self sufficiency and removal of unemployment.
- Italian system was not as ruthless as that in Germany and there were no mass atrocities.
- Italian fascism was not anti Jewish or racist.
- Mussolini was more successful with his religious policies.
- Monarchy still played a role in Italy and in 1943 King dismissed Mussolini. Unfortunately there was no one in Germany to dismiss Hitler.
Major factors leading up to the war
- Failure of League of Nations.
- Extreme nationalism.
- Policy of appeasement by Britain and France.
- Every country for itself.
- Great Depression had made took weak to take any proactive steps.
Discuss Major violations of International norms during this time.
Italy, Germany and Japan started their aggression. They were united in Anti Comintern Pact. They declared their war against communism. Comintern advocated uniting all anti-fascist forces.
- Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. It was an important trading port and Japan had invested millions of dollars here. China a member of LoN appealed for help but Britain, France were completely indifferent to the appeal. Japan occupied Manchuria and installed a puppet govt. In 1933 Japan quit LoN and started acquiring British and American property in China.
- Japan captured Shanghai, Nanking and committed terrible atrocities. USSR did not come to rescue as it did not want full scale war with China.
- Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. LoN passed a resolution condemning the attack but no further action was taken. The motives were as follows: Italy’s existing colonies were not profitable, to avenge the 1896 defeat and divert attention from internal economic crisis caused due to Great Depression.
- Sent extensive help durint Spanish Civil War (1936)
- Mussolini signed Pact of Steel (1939) in which he promised a full military support in case of war.
These actions made Mussolini unpopular in Italy and disillusionment with him began to spread.
Hitler aimed to annex Austria and territory from Czechoslovakia and Polan which had large German minorities. He hoped for Lebensraum (living space).
- He withdrew form World Disarmament Conference and LoN on the issue that France didn’t agree to Germany having equality of armaments.
- He reintroduced conscription in 1935 and built an army of 8,00,000 men.
- Signed Anglo German Naval Agreement where he was allowed to build submarines.
- He sent troops into Rhineland (1936)
- Helped Franco in Spanish Civil War. Bombing of defenceless town of Guernica.
- He invaded Austria and made it a part of Third Reich.
Discuss the policy of Appeasement
Western government followed a policy of appeasement. It meant avoiding war with fascist powers and conceding to their not so unreasonable demands.
- Avoding war at any cost as to avoid any repeat of World War I like scenario.
- Fear of communist Russia. Fascist were the perfect antidote to communist agenda. The danger from communism was greater than Hitler. They wanted to use Germany as a buffer state.
- Great Depression made these countries economically and militarily weak to take any action. Britain and France were totally unprepared for any full scale war.
- Strongly pacifist public opinion.
- Feeling that Germany and Italy had genuine grievances. Versailles treaty was condemned to be too harsh on Germans.
- Economic cooperation between Germany and Britain would be win win scenario for both countries.
- Dawes, Young Plan and Locarno Treaties.
- Not taking any action during Chinese, Italian and German invasion and in Spanish Civil War.
- German attack on Austria was seen as a natural union between two German areas.
- Height of appeasement reached at Munich Conference where Britain and France handed over Sudetenland to Germany.
- Germany was willing to take risk of attacking Poland. It convinced him of the complacency and weakness of Britain and France.
Fascism could not have survived as long as it did and would not have led to the WWII. Western countries were haunted by danger of communism and they hoped that fascist countries would rid them of this danger.
Discuss German attack on Czechoslovakia and Poland
- Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia to fulfil his ambition of Lebensraum (living space). He claimed Sudetenland an area known for her industries and strategic importance. He hated democracy in Czech and for the fact that it had been set up by Versailles treaty.
- Czech had a large German minority. Nazi started a propaganda that Germans were facing discrimination and they organised huge protest demonstration.
- Munich Pact : Chamberlain (Britain), Daladier (France), Hitler and Mussolini met at Munich. Czechs and Russians were not invited to the conference. Sudetenland was handed over to the Germany. This was done to avert the war. Chamberlain said – “I believe it is a peace for our time”.
- In 1939 Germans occupied whole of Czechoslovakia. For the first time the invasion led to widespread criticism and it was felt that Germany was going too far.
- The Versailles Treaty took away Danzing which was a German speaking area from Germany. In 1939 buoyed by his success in Czech Hitler demanded return of Danzing so that he could construct a railway line between East Prussia and rest of Germany. Poles feared another Munich Conference and refused to surrender.
- Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Russia and agreed to divided Poland between Germany and USSR.
- Britain after much hesitation declared support to Poland. Hitler didn’t take it seriously and launched a full scale attack on Poland.
- This led to break out of 2nd WW.
Hitler wanted to remove the stigma of defeat in the First World War. The only antidote to defeat in one war is the victory in the next.
Give an account of Spanish Civil War ?
Reasons for crisis?
- In 1936 a Popular Front comprising the Socialist, Communist and other democratic and anti-fascist parties came to power.
- The new republic faced serious problems. Roman Catholic Church was hostile to the republic. Army had to too much influence in the politics.
- Depression of 1930s took its toll. Exports declined and unemployment rose.
- There was a right wing opposition to the left’s solutions to these problems. On the other hand left-wing groups like anarchists and syndicates favoured strikes and overthrow of capitalist system.
Course of civil war
- There was a struggle for power between nationalists and republicans. The nationalists received help from Germany and Italy. The republicans received help from Russia but France and Britain refused to intervene.
- The nationalists captured Barcelona and the whole of Catalonia and the war ended with the capture of Madrid.
- It evoked a sharp international response. JLN expressed solidarity with Spain and thousands of anti fascist joined Spanish agitation. Finest example of internationalism in history.
Reasons for Franco victory
- Held together various right wing groups whereas republicans were less united and groups like anarchists and communists fought amongst themselves.
- Substantial help from Germany and Italy tipped the scale in their favour. German bombed defenceless town of Guernica.
Franco in Power
- His government was somewhat similar to those of Hitler and Mussolini. However, it was not a fascist as it supported the Church.
- He kept Spain out of the 2nd World War and ruled Spain till 1975.
- He took steps to modernise industry and the economy was helped by booming tourism industry.
WORLD WAR II (1939-45) -World history Notes World War First Second
Discuss the course of events
Defeat of Poland
Invasion of Poland marked the beginning of the Second World War. Poles were defeated because of German Blitzkreig (lightning war). It consisted of rapid thrusts by motorised division and tanks and supported by Luftwaffe (German air force). Britain and France were of little help. French mobilisation was slow and out of date. Meanwhile Russia invaded eastern Poland. Finally Poland was divided up between Germany and USSR.
Russia took over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and invaded Finland. France and Germany manned their respective defences. Germany took a pause as Hilter hoped that this would compel France and Britain to negotiate peace. This period is known as ‘phoney war’
Invasion of Denmark and Norway
Hitler occupied Denmark and Norway and thus ended the phoney war. In Denmark Germans were assisted by Quisling, leader of Norway’s fascist party. The word Quisling means traitor who collaborates with enemy. Control of Norway was important as it was the outlet for Swedish iron ore which was vital for armaments industry. Fjords of Norway proved to be excellent naval base.
Attack on Holland, Belgium and France
There was simultaneous attack on all three and resulted in swift victories. Paris was captured and France surrendered. Germans occupied northern France and Atlantic coast. It gave them vital submarine bases.
Why was France defeated so easily?
- They were psychologically not prepared for war and were divided between pro-facist and anti-fascist camp. The communist were also against the war.
- France suffered from serious military weakness. Its forces were divided whereas it had to face full might of combined German force. There was poor communication between army and air force.
Battle of Britain
- Germany failed to defeat Britain. Although it bombed harbours, radar stations, munitions factories in Britain.
- Royal Air Force (RAF) played a heroic role in repelling the German air attacks and inflicted heavy losses on Luftwaffe.
- Winston Churchill inspired people to resist the attacks. He paid tribute to British fighter pilots: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.
- The battle of Britain was the turning point of the World War II.
Invasion of Egypt
- Not wanting to be outdone by Hitler, Mussolini sent an army to Libya while another army invaded Greece. However, British soon drove them out of Egypt. British navy sank half the Italian fleet.
- Mussolini became embarassment to Hitler. Hitler finally came to rescue. Together with Italians they drove British out of Libya and finally captured Greece.
- Due to incompetency of Italy the German attacked on Russia was delayed by few months and this was to have grave consequences for Hitler.
Invasion of Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa)
Hitler violated the treaty and invaded Soviet Union. Thre reasons for attack were:
- Fear that Russia might attack first while Germany was busy fighting in the West frontier.
- Hitler hoped that Japan would attack Russia in the Far East and the more powerful Japan became, the less chance that there was of USA entering the war.
- Hatred of communism and his desire for Lebensraum (living space). He always wanted to conquer Russia.
He repeated the mistakes of Napolean Bonaparte. He grossly underestimated the strength of Soviet forces. Germany did secure initial success but the tide turned in Soviet favour at the landmark Battle of Stalingrad where Red Army defeated Germans. Meanwhile Churchill and Roosevelt declared support to Soviet Union. The civilian population of Stalingrad joined the soldiers in the defence of the city. German army could not withstand the bitter cold and perished.
Entry of USA
Uncle Sam entered the war as a consequence of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Until then America was still intent on isolation and had remained neutral though US had provided massive financial aid to Britain. Japanese were determined to conquer Asia and the pacific. With entry of US the war truly became global. The US declared war on Japan in December 1941.
Beginning of the End
- Japan failed to capture Australia.
- In North Africa, German and Italian forces were routed by early 1943.
- Many sections in Italy turned against Mussolini and he was arrested and a new govt was formed. The new govt joined the war against Germany.
American troops landed on coast of Normandy in France. This is known as opening of Second Front. Germans were surrounded from all sides now.
End of War
On 2 May 1945 Soviet armies entered Berlin. Hitler committed suicide on the morning of the same day. On 7th May 1945 Germany surrendered. Atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima (6 May) and Nagasaki (9 May) led to surrender by Japan.
Reasons for Defeat of Germany?
- Shortage of Raw materials: Both Italy and Japan had to import supplies and Germany was short of rubber, cotton, nickel and oil. On the other hand Britain received supplies from USA
- Allies learnt from their mistakes: By 1942 they understood the mechanism of Blitzkreig. They built up an air and naval superiority which won them battles in Atlantic and Pacific
- Axis Powers simply took on too much: By attacking Britain Germany had spread its troops too far and too thin. It was fighting war on all fronts (East – Russia, both sides of mediterranean, western coastline of France)
- Combined resources of Britain, USA and USSR: The Russian rapidly moved their industry east of Ural mountains and were able to continue production even when German attacked on western front. By 1945 they had 4 times as many tanks as Germans. With help from America, Germany and Japan could not match.
- Serious Tactical mistakes: Japan relied too much on battleships and did not focus on aircraft. Hitler should have called back his army from Russian front but his obstinacy cost him the war.
- Incompetent Allies: In Europe Germany alone had to deal with Russia, France and Britain. Italy under Mussolini proved to be a liablility than asset.
Discuss the outcome of the War
- Enormous destruction
- End of supremacy of Europe.
- Emergence of Two power blocks.
- Development and use of nuclear weapons
- Process of decolonization
- United Nations Organisation
World War II saw resistance movement in many countries. Discuss them.
In many countries the government capitulated but people fought heroically.
- French army fought outside France under the leadership of General de Gaulle.
- Popular Front was formed in many countries. In France it prevented a fascist takeover. It created worlwide awareness of the danger that fascism posed to all the countries. The leader was Georgi Demitrov, a Bulgarian Communist.
- Guerilla forces were set up in Greece and in Yugoslavia under the leadership of Marshall Tito.
- Heroic uprising of people in Warsaw is a glorious chapter in the history of resistance movement.
- Resistance movement within fascist country as well. Anti-fascist forces in Italy were very powerful which brought the downfall of Mussolini.
World history Notes World War First Second