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Week 8- Road to the Second World War

by: Austin McManus

Week 8- Road to the Second World War HIST 370

Marketplace > George Mason University > History > HIST 370 > Week 8 Road to the Second World War
Austin McManus
GPA 3.78
War in American Society
Zayna Bizri

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About this Document

This week's set of notes focuses on how the First World War and the events of the 1920s and 1930s led up to the Second World War, both in Europe and the United States. Includes discussion of the Pa...
War in American Society
Zayna Bizri
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Austin McManus on Friday October 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 370 at George Mason University taught by Zayna Bizri in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 26 views. For similar materials see War in American Society in History at George Mason University.


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Date Created: 10/23/15
HIST 370 Notes Week 8 Road to the Second World War 19191941 A The Paris Peace Conference 1919 Historical consensus asserts that the seeds of Second World War were planted in the events of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 where the heads of state of Britain France Italy and the United States met nearly 150 times to lay out peace terms for the Central Powers primarily Germany to concede to However there is significant divide amongst historians today as to whether or not the world wars were distinct events but related or was it the modern Thirty Years War that stretched from 1914 to 1945 de ned by turmoil in Europe and boilingbursting hostilities between the European powers Each Allied country had a specific approach to how to handle the postwar world 0 Britain the primary aims of Prime Minister David Lloyd George going into the Peace Conference were centered on maintaining the integrity of the British Empire and eliminating the future potential threat of Germany to France and the rest of Europe 0 France having taken the most significant toll in WWI both in casualties and to the country overall economy infrastructure George Clemenceau s primary goal during the Peace Conference was to demilitarize Germany to prevent the destruction of WWI from happening again in France 0 Italy Vittorio Orlando Prime Minister of Italy desired to gain the territories promised to Italy in the Treaty of London in 1915 ie Trentino Tyrol Trieste Istria 0 United States summarized in Woodrow Wilson s Fourteen Points that aimed to solidify world peace and prevent another war AT ALL not just a war in comparison to scale of WWI included freedom of trade and of the seas selfdetermination for former colonial possessions of Austria Hungary and the Ottoman Empire These concessions and the results placing the war blamereparations on Germany support the historical argument that Europe and the world were entangled in a decadeslong modern war during the early 20th century that spanned from 1914 to 1945 B The Great Depression 19291941 The economic collapse following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 was did not produce isolated results the interdependence of the global economy particularly between Europe and North America set off a chain of events that caused the collapse of virtually the entire Western economy for over a decade The Crash affected countries like Britain Germany and the United States fairly similarly in how they reacted but what came about after each nation s reaction arguably set the stage for a global con ict within the coming years 0 Germany 1 Having a gradually declining economy already due to the Treaty of Versailles dictating the payment of massive war reparations to the Allies the Crash of 29 exacerbated Germany s presently declining economy to the extreme ie hyperin ation 40 unemployment by 1933 The sociocultural atmosphere that came about due to the Crash cemented the foundation for a charismatic WWI veteran and member of the German Socialist Workers Nazi Party Adolf Hitler to come to power in early 1933 Hitler s policies instated in Germany from 19331939 laid the groundwork for victimizing the Aryan race by blaming all of Germany s problems on the European but more broadly global Jewish community and directing Germans efforts into creating a fascist military state that upstarted the economy by militarizing production and industry to be utilized in enacting Hitler s imperialist tendencies during the latter 1930s 0 Britain 1 Despite being well aware of the growing threat of Nazi Germany by 1935 the British government had other problems to deal with namely maintaining their overseas empire in India and Africa which prevented them from being actively resistant to Germany expansion that equated to Chamberlain s appeasement at the Munich Conference in 1938 While unable to isolate themselves from the situation in mainland Europe Britain s geopolitical signi cance forced their hand in doing something even though it was too little too late 0 United States 1 While having similar economic and sociocultural circumstances as in Germany following the Crash of 29 ie mass unemployment aggravated citizenry the United States dealt with the Great Depression in an almost entirely opposite way than what occurred in Germany In fact an interesting parallel can be drawn between how Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR and Hitler came to power in strikingly comparable circumstances yet took their countries in starkly different directions While Germany reinvigorated its industry through militarization in order to create jobs the United States looked to expanding federal power by way of creating an economic safety net ie Social Security providing livable wages for the elderly and handicapped Works Progress Administration providing employment for public works programs for the American public that would give people enough to live off of and hold out until the economy restabilized 4 Simply put while Germany politically traveled farright to fascism the United States leaned left by introducing a number of social programs in order to relieve the public of some of the hardships caused by the Great Depression C Rampage of Imperialism 19311939 The militant fascism rampant in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s brought about expansions of the German and Italian empires as well as the raging nationalism in Japan that culminated in an Asiatic Empire and a war with China by 1937 0 Germany serious expansion began in 1936 with the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 followed by the conquest of Austria amp the annexation of the Sudetenland outer rim of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and the remainder of Czechoslovakia in 1939 Italy by the end of the 1920s Italians became more and more eager to expand their borders and create an empire claiming territories in North Africa in 1932 and conquering Ethiopia through war in 1935 later Italy invaded and conquered Albania in 1939 J apan since the mid19th century Japan had been militarizing its society modeling its army after the Prussian model and its navy after the British model and subsequent nationalism and imperialism fervor spread through the Japanese population the Asian power expanded its empire with relative ease conquering Manchuria at the time a northern province of China in 1931 facing minimal resistance and engaging in outright war with China in 1937 D The United States amp Prequel to World War II Early 1900s PreWar 0 Prior to the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 the United States had been preparing for hostilities coming from Japan in the Pacific for some time in the 20th century in the case of War Plan ORANGE officially adopted by the Joint Army amp Navy Board in 1924 although informal planning for war with Japan had been happening as early as 1906 In contrast to previous plans which assumed that the United States would have allies ORANGE was predicated on the possibility that the US would be fighting Japan alone Basically ORANGE entailed focusing the overwhelming majority of the Navy at its California bases to defend the West Coast of North America and the Panama Canal simultaneously Only after securing the West Coast would the Navy send reinforcements to its holdings overseas namely Guam and the Philippines to fend off Japan from the islands before going on the offensive against Japan in an attempt to blockade the Japanese mainland Of course this changed following Japan s attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 at which point the Navy adopted the contending war plan conceived by Raymond P Rodgers in 1911 of going on the offensive from the getgo via island hopping or conquering Japanese holdings in the Pacific one by one until Japan was unable to continue fighting due to being cut off from its raw materials necessary for engaging in war 0 Early Years of the War 0 Following the outbreak of war in Europe the US govemment s actions as well as the highly positive relationship between FDR and Winston Churchill Prime Minister of Britain suggest that the country s priority was to stay out of the war directly while simultaneously jumpstarting the mobilization process Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 and providing war materials to the Allied Powers specifically Britain Lend Lease Act of 1941


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