Second World War Causes Essay

Second World War Causes Essay-81
A further weakening of the position of Europe came with the diminuendo of the colonial empires of Britain, France and the Netherlands.

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Such an interpretation of the dark history of Europe in the twentieth century does, of course, downgrade the importance of ideology and of the "great dictators" and has been attacked on the grounds that the coming to power of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) was, not only the major cause of World War II, but that his hysterical and paranoid agenda gave that war its own unique and horrific nature.

Acceptance of the "long war" thesis would tend to shift enquiry from the particularity of World War II as an engine of change to longer term European developments, problems and rivalries.

If the conduct of the western Allies was far superior, total war cannot be waged without leaving desolation and a huge loss of civilian life in its wake and, what one author has called, "collective amnesia",and France was better only in comparison.

Victorious but battered, Britain was, a threadbare and austere country with an exhausted economy, now that American aid was withdrawn, and the French economy was dislocated: "food was scarce in the winter of 1944-5, and there were virtually no reserves of gold or foreign currency".

Although celebrated with justice by the victors, it was gained at an enormous cost to all of Europe.

The excesses of the Soviet forces, which raped and looted their way through but for many years this went unrecognised by western writers.

This is most obviously the case when we consider the redrawing of the map of Europe in the immediate post war period.

The war ended with what in historical terms was an odd peace, for there was no peace treaty with Germany, in part because the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers had left no authority to conclude peace with, and also because of the disintegration of the alliance of the victorious powers shortly after the moment of victory.

The major problem is that of distinguishing between pre-war influences, the experience of the war, its result, and the Cold War, which followed so swiftly.

The relentless advance of Allied forces in 19 achieved a victory, so complete as to prevent any revival of the defeated regimes.

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