- 1st WW end 1918 – Paris Peace conference - held in 1919 - treaties including the Treaty of Versailles -signed
- Conference -only victorious nations – invited- meeting of the victors to share the spoils of the war-Defeated countries -badly treated- Discussed - establishment of permanent peace in the world.
- To solve mutual problems among nations- US initiative (President Woodrow Wilson) the League of Nations – established- League failed – maintain- expected international peace.
- Rise of dictatorships in Germany, Italy and Japan.
- Formation of Rome, Berlin, Tokyo Axis led to the Second World War.
Causes of the Second World War
1) Treaty of Versailles
- Germany - defeated in -1st WW- not invited to Paris Peace Conference.
- Germany forced to sign - harsh and humiliating treaty – its territories taken away- deprived of her colonies.
- Navy completely disbanded- army was reduced considerably.
- Weimar Republic - not in a position to solve post war problems.
- German people - revenge for their humiliation- therefore 2nd WW - war of retaliation.
- Treaty of Versailles had in itself the seeds of the Second World War.
2) Rise of Dictatorships
- Inter-war period - rise of dictatorships (Europe) - therefore - period of dictators- Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan
- Germany- Weimar Republic (Republican Government) was weak- Hitler (leader - Nazi Party) took advantage - brought government under his control - captured Austria and Czechoslovakia. At last he attacked Poland and World War II started.
- Italy felt - deceived in Paris Peace Conference. Mussolini started Fascist Party- 1922 he captured power -became a dictator- followed -aggressive foreign policy.
- Spain-General Franco defeated the Republican Government -established dictatorship-was assisted by the armies of Hitler and Mussolini.
- Japan became a partner of Hitler and Mussolini by signing the Rome- Berlin –Tokyo Axis.
- This alliance disturbed world peace and the Second World War started.
Failure of disarmament efforts after 1st WW - major reason - outbreak of a new War.
Paris Peace conference - Germany - forced to disarm itself- German Government demanded disarmament of - victorious powers- they refused- dictatorship of Hitler increased its military strength-immense increase in armaments -development of militarism, the Second World War
- Policy of imperialism - cause for the 2nd WW. It was this same feeling of imperialism which played a dominant role during the 1st WW.
- Germany and Japan, -more imperialistic than the Allied powers- ignored - decisions of the Paris Peace Conference - expanded their territories.
- Hitler occupied Rhineland, Austria, Memel, Czechoslovakia into German territory.
- Japan attacked Manchuria and captured it from China.
- Mussolini occupied Abyssinia and launched - series of aggressive activities
- Race for colonies – European countries -to obtain raw materials and markets for their industrial growth - continued even after 1st WW.
- Germany - deprived of all her colonies at the Paris Peace Conference.
- Italy was dissatisfied with the treatment of Allied Powers.
- Japan, a powerful Asiatic country wanted to have colonies to enrich its resources.
- Germany, Italy and Japan decided to follow aggressive foreign policy.
- These aggressive actions ultimately led to the Second World War.
5) Failure of the League of Nations
- After 1st WW- League of Nations - established - to solve controversies among the nations and to maintain permanent peace and order in the world.
- Members of the League failed to respect the provisions of - covenant of the League - Those who violated the provisions - walked out of the League without any punishment.
- League could not contain - Japanese annexation of Manchuria , Italian invasion of Abyssinia and Hitler's activities
- Failure of the League of Nations to control aggressive countries - major cause for 2nd WW
6) Dissatisfaction of National Minorities
The Allied powers though posed themselves as the champions of the principle of self-determination, in actual practice that principle was not followed by them. In some parts of Central Europe, the problem of national minorities existed. It is these minority groups which became the hot beds of discontent and dissatisfaction. German annexation of Austria and Sudetenland and attack on Poland was based on this policy of reunion of National minorities.
7) Mutual differences of the Allies
There was no collective cooperation among the Allies. England followed a policy appeasement towards Germany. France's fear of Germany was opposed by England. The U.S.A., the architect of the League of Nations, did not join the League. These differences among the allies failed to check the increasing strength of the dictators.
Course of the War
- In Paris Peace Conference- Poland -made - independent kingdom-East Prussia -separated from Germany. Hitler wanted to unite East Prussia with Germany- invaded Poland - September 1, 1939-Great Britain declared war against Germany on September 3- 2nd WW started.
- April 1940, Germany captured Denmark and Norway.
- May 1940, Holland and Belgium were conquered.
- June 1940- Germany attacked France and captured it
- Italy fought against the British forces in North Africa Mussolini attacked Greece and captured it with German support.
- Yugoslavia and Crete were occupied by the Germans.
- Fall of France, Britain was left alone- Hitler wanted to attack England by air- continuous air force attack on Britain. But - dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Churchill saved England. Germany could not conquer Britain.
- Germany made a mistake of invading the Soviet Union, despite a non-aggression pact. One of the important battles was the Battle of Stalingrad. For five months the battle went on. It involved 2 million men, 2000 tanks and 2000 aero-planes. The invading German army was driven back- February1943-about 90,000 German soldiers surrendered. This was a turning point of the war.
- December 1941, Japan attacked the Pearl Harbour. This tragedy dragged the U.S.A. into the war. General Mac Arther was made the supreme commander of the Pacific region. Lord Mountbatten, the Commander of South East Asia drove the Japanese from Burma.
- In Africa, Abyssinia was conquered by the U.S.A. from Italy. The Italian Somaliland was also conquered. The British General Montgomery captured Libya from Germans. He also conquered Tripoli and entered Tunisia. In 1942 Algeria fell. In 1943 Sicily was captured by the British and U.S. troops. North Africa was cleared of Italian and German troops. The mainland of Italy was attacked. There was a revolt in Italy and Mussolini was arrested, but he managed to escape with German help. In September 1943, Italy surrendered unconditionally. Mussolini was captured and killed by his own people in April 1945.
- In 1944 the Allied forces entered into France and expelled the German army from France. After that the Allied forces attacked Germany from the Southwest. Russia invaded Germany from the East. On 2 May 1945 Russian army entered Berlin. Hitler committed suicide. Germany surrendered.
- Even after the surrender of Germany, Japan continued the war. USA dropped two atom bombs on Hiroshima (6th August) and on Nagasaki (9th August). Following this Japan surrendered on 14th August 1945 The Second World War was over.
- At the end of the war, some 13 million Europeans were killed and 17 million civilians had died as a result of the fighting. All major cities were in ruins. Agriculture was ruined. People of the entire world had to face untold miseries, directly or indirectly.
Results of the Second World War
- About 15 Million soldiers - 10 million civilians lost lives.
- An important result of the Second World War was that it brought to an end the colonial Empire of the European countries in Asia and Africa.
- Multi-polar world became bi-polar world.
- The USA and USSR emerged as Super Powers.
- Cold War started as an ideological war between USA and USSR