The Causes and Effects of World War II Essay
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World War II was fought between two main opposing forces, the Allies and the Axis forces. The Axis powers consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan being the most dominant. On the other hand, some of the countries in the Allied powers were Great Britain, the United States, France, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, Canada, and Greece. Adolph Hitler became head of Germany’s National Socialists Party in July of 1921. By 1933 the once unknown Hitler was given dictatorial power. As his power grew the new dictator grew more restrictive and power hungry. Books were burned, Jewish-owned businesses were boycotted, the Nazi Party was made the only party, and concentration camps were opened, all in the first year of Hitler’s…show more content…
In 1940 Italy declared war on France and Britain, the first air raids took place, and many countries were invaded and alliances were formed. The first gas chambers were used at Auschwitz, and 33,771 Jews were killed at Kiev in 1941(“World War II in Europe”). On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the next day the United States entered the war; Britain joined the U.S. in declaring war on Japan. By the 11th, Germany declared war on the United States. The Declaration of the United Nations was signed by the 26 Allied nations on the first day of 1942. Also in 1942, mass murder began happening at Auschwitz. In 1943 Germany was defeated at Stalingrad, and Italy surrendered during invasion, although Germany then took control of the battle. Throughout 1944 Germany began retreating and surrendering from many stands and battles. The Allies invaded France on June 6, 1944 and Paris was liberated by August. The last gas chambers at Auschwitz were used in late October. Hitler committed suicide on May 7, 1945 and German forces surrendered to the Allies. An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, and a second was dropped on Nagasaki on the 9th. Japan agreed to surrender on August 14th. In October of 1945, the United Nations was officially created. Due the scale of World War II, each country that fought had a large amount of men who were in battle. This, of course, included the
World War II can be rightly called one of the most significant events in the history of humanity. It had a significant impact on the development of the entire world, and resulted in the revision of many socio-political doctrines, policies, and principles of international relations.
World War II had many consequences. The USSR lost over 24 million people, both military and civilians, and over 21 million people were left homeless and in poor conditions (Fussell 745). Great Britain and France had both collapsed as empires, and European boundaries had been literally redrawn. The United States of America claimed to lead the reconstruction efforts and started to conduct policy, directed to establishing itself as a new superpower. Thus, modern geopolitical balance of power in the world can also be considered as one of the direct consequences of World War II. Among many others, several consequences of this war are felt even today, such as the increase in baby boomers in the U.S., which has a continued effect on the economy; cold wars and war sensitivity, including the nuclear arms race today; and the establishment of the U.S. as a leading power in the world.
Between the years 1946 and 1964, a sudden and large increase in birthrate was detected in the U.S. The reason for such a dramatic growth in population is still a disputed subject among experts. At first, the U.S. welcomed this phenomenon by passing GI bills to improve education, skills and income. Now, the generation of baby boomers is already retiring, or fast approaching retirement age. Currently, the cost of Social Security is rising faster than the taxed income of the working population (Lavery 56). Due to this fact, nowadays, it has become questionable whether the American economy will be able to afford the future cost of Social Security, as the baby boomer generation continues to retire.
Another consequence of World War II is the continuing Cold War. One might say that it had ended several decades ago, but actually, it still goes on, though now it is not so intense (Lavery 76). Nation states spend billions of dollars to increase military power. Nuclear weapons today have become the weapons of choice. Diplomacy, combined with a demonstration of military power, is often used to pressure leaders who conduct policies which are different from those which the world’s superpowers consider desirable. Wars continue to influence domestic policies and define the full meaning of conflicts.
World War II hit the U.S. economy—the expenditure on military action approximated over 95 million dollars. After it ended, the United States established itself as a superpower and assumed the leading role in post-war reconstruction (Lavery 86). Today, the United States continues to play the role of global benefactor, whether or not their help is required, interfering in domestic policies of a number of states and nations. This results in many government leaders resenting U.S. policy and its superpower status.
After World War II, international conflicts have been perceived differently. A century ago, a war was mostly a local event, concerning only its direct participants (Fussell 87). Now, a war is a process which involves multiple sides, and has consequences which are often difficult to predict. Nuclear arms seem to be the weapon of choice, and nations often feel empowered by displaying their arms for the entire world to see. To promote peace and understanding among nations, a special organization, the United Nations, was established.
The world continues to feel the consequential tremors of World War II through financial and economic woes. Among the most obvious consequences of this war, one can point out an effect of the baby boomers generation on the economy of the U.S., cold wars, nuclear weapon races, and the establishment of the U.S. as a leading power in the world.
Fussell, Jeremy. The War Bible. New York: Penguin Publishers, 2009. Print.
Lavery, Vanessa. One Long Kill. Seattle: Rain City Press, 2011. Print.
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