“World its debts, and the violation of human

“World War II is the greatest drama in human history, the biggest war ever and a true battle of good and evil. ” says the Welsch author Ken Follet who believes the war changed completely not only people’s lives but the whole world. Innocent people, forced to experience such a violence and brutality, were part of the largest and the most devastating war in the history. World War II – one of the most global terrific events ever happened brought over 55 million victims, majority of people imprisoned, injured and tortured. Nonetheless, who ought to be blamed for the outbreak of the most horrifying conflict in human history? Many years after billions of speculations and discussions, there is no clear answer to who exactly should be blamed for the outbreak of such a tragedy. However,  significant events throughout the century placed the base for the war’s eruption. Events such as the inability of the League of Nations to take control over the world and its conflicts, the Treaty of Versailles and its decisions concerning Germany and its debts, and the violation of human rights throughout the reign of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany had such a great impact over the government and its politics that they were the ones without which World War II will not have ever existed.The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, was a political agreement between the Allies in the First World War and Germany which ended WWI supposed to maintain peace and prevent the outbreak of another war (BBC, 2016). The Treaty of Versailles’ purpose was to negotiate the European future, especially this of Germany after four years, which brought only death and annihilating people’s lives. Countries like Britain and France wanted revenge and Germany to pay them reparations for what they had lost throughout the war. A German newspaper, published right after the sign of the Treaty, wrote: “We will never stop until we win back what we deserve.” (Hofmann, 1945, p.4).  The emotion and the determination seen through these lines symbolize how the whole German population felt about the Treaty – they felt the sanctions enforced on them are unjust and they would do whatever it takes to get back what they were required to give. Assigning the full responsibility for the damages of WWI to Germany, the European Allies were determined to impose rigorous and strict obligations on Germans. The Treaty, made its government to sign on May 7, 1919, forcing the Germans to “grant” lands to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. They were required to give back Alsace and Lorraine, occupied during the Franco-Prussian War during 1871, to the French. Another stringent obligation of the Treaty was the demilitarization of the German army. With such an obligation they thought that the lowered number of soldiers would result in peace within Europe and eventually would prevent another war. Their army had to be limited to 100,000 men, and  restricted the vessels to under 10,000 tons, with a ban on the supply and maintenance of a submarine fleet and airforce. However, the most humiliating part of the agreement for the German society was Article 231, also known as the “War Guilt Clause,” that made Germany accept full responsibility for the outbreak of World War I. Forced to do this, Germany was legally answerable for all material destructions, and French premier Georges Clemenceau particularly emphasized on enforce enormous reparation payments. Knowing that Germans will not probably be able to repay such a debt, Clemenceau and the French nevertheless were afraid of  the possible rapid German recovery and the outbreak of a new war against France. Hence, the French aimed by all means  to limit Germany’s opportunity to regain its economic power and to rearm. The newly established German democratic government found the Treaty as a “dictated peace”. Despite the fact that France suffered the most in terms of material damages in comparison to the rest of the “Big Four”, insisted on harsh penalties, the agreement did not eventually managed to resolve the international conflicts, initiating WWII (United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, 2014). The Germans protested against the amount of money that should be repaid and the bereaved colonies, realizing that losing territories and payment of such a debt would destroy their economy and leave permanent “scars” on the general development of the country. The League of Nations –  an international group of countries, organized at the end of World War I (1919), was supposed to maintain peace within the world, to resolve territorial and political conflicts through peaceful discussions instead of using force, and most importantly to make sure another war is not going to erupt. Although the purpose of the organization was to prevent war and to ensure a better life for all people, it did not manage to find a solution to serious territorial issues and this way it became one of the main contributors to the outbreak of the war. The main problem the League of Nations struggled with, was their lack of power and inability to exercise control over its members. The major mistakes, led to its failure, were the fact that they did not have an army to rely on, their meetings were relatively rare which slowered their reaction to crucial events, and the condition that every decision made had to be unanimous was a very rare and difficult task since each member has different interests. The only type of control it was able to exercise was imposing economic sanctions on the given country but often such a threat was completely ignored. The first “test” to the League’s true power were the late 1930’s when an economic depression, mainly affecting US and Japan, occured. Japan did not succeed in overcoming the Depression and they deduced that the only possible way to establish their own empire was to siege Manchuria, China. The siege would ensure that Japan has an access to China’s essential resources of coal and iron in a time where it was hard to buy any raw materials. By having access to such rare materials, Japan would significantly better their economic development and thus improve the quality of people’s lives. In the first monograph describing Japan’s political and military system from from the attack of Manchuria to the Pacific War, written on December 12, 1945, it is illustrated that the main factor leading to the invasion of Manchuria was the economic panic spreading among the world during 1929. On 18th September 1931, the Manchurian incident took place carefully planned by the army of Japan and being a pretext to siege China. The Japanese society (owner of the railway) accused the chinese nationalists using the opportunity to invade China. After the war between the two Eastern powers erupted, the League of Nations tried to stop the Japanese soldiers by putting economic sanctions, however, they ignored it determined to turn their country into a prosperous and successful empire. An exclusion from the League followed Japan, illustrating its inability to take control over the tensions within the world and thus becoming a premise for World War II. The second example revealing how the League failed and why its establishing was one of the reasons for WWII is the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. During 1922, the Italian leader Benito Mussolini brought the belief of fascism. In one of his speeches as a politician Mussolini states: “It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do.” These lines are an illustration of his identity and specifically his thirst for becoming famous and expanding his territories gaining as much money as he could. He was ready to humiliate and terror his population, to force them to go on a battle and conquer foreign lands. Italy’s aim was to gain its national pride back since they felt “wounded” after the Ethiopian attack during the Battle of Adowa in 19th century preventing Italy from colonisation. Similarly to the case with Manchuria, in 1935 the League attempting to maintain peace, enforced economic sanctions on Italy, but unfortunately for Ethiopia, Italy ignored the penalty again showing the League lack of power. In both cases, it is clearly showed how the strategies of the League to vote unanimous turned out to be not in a best interest for one of the leading powers and to be a catalyst for an outbreak of a war ending with a great terror and loss of innocent lives. From these arguments it might be concluded, that the League of Nations failed not for its intentions and its aims but due to its strategies to reach them. Adolf Hitler, also known as Der Führer was leader of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party from 1920 and chancellor of Germany rising to the throne during 1933 for 12 years (Lukacs). Hitler was in control of all German forces during World War II. Determined to make the whole world obey him, being an absolute nationalist and racist, he turned Germany into a totalitarian fascist country. Hitler’s attempts to expand his country territorially and make it ethnically purer resulted in the most devastating war and the brutality of the Holocaust (Jason). “I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it…” – these were the desperate words of one jewish boy, survivor of the Holocaust atrocities, who later in his life wrote a book entitled “Night” revealing the humiliating and terrific treatment of Nazi Germany towards the Jewish nation (Wiesel, 1956, p.54). Through the violence and torture which he exercised on innocent people, he gained the hatred of almost the whole world. The Holocaust – transforming over 6 millions of people from different ethnicities into animals, changed the world forever, becoming one of the ultimate factors for the outbreak of WWII. The final contribution, after which a war was unavoidable, was the German attack on Poland in 1939. One of the Hitler’s major goals after raising to power was to sign a treaty (nonaggression pact) with Poland at the beginning of 1934. Such an action did not seem usual to many who supported Hitler but they did not want to accept the fact that Poland had received the former German provinces of West Prussia and Upper Silesia after World War I according to Treaty of Versailles. However, Hitler signed the pact so as to neutralize the opportunity of a French-Polish military alliance against Germany before Germany had a chance to recover from the demilitarization. Britain and France essentially agreed to Germany’s rearmament in the period of 1935 to 1937, remilitarization of the Rhineland (1936). On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland and annihilated the Polish navy for 2-3 weeks. From East Prussia and Germany in the north and Silesia and Slovakia in the south, German units, Prepared with over  2,000 tanks and 1,000 planes, the German soldiers defeated the Polish defenses at the border, reaching the capital  Warsaw in a massive and unescapable siege.  Due to the undefeatable army and the heavy bombing, the capital surrendered in September 1939. Britain and France,  being safe due to the guarantee of the Poland’s border, declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939 marking the beginning of WWII.(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2014). In conclusion, all the events happened within the years between the wars and during WW1 have their place in the causes of the World War 2. Starting from the failure of the organization supposed to maintain peace and to resolve problems, through the angry countries in result of the Treaty of Versailles and finishing with a horrific and devastate animalization of human and violation of their rights- all of them give a “highlighted” sign for the outbreak of a second and more destructive World War.


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