How has World War II impacted on Trinidad and Tobago?
This essay explores the impact of World War II on the development of Trinidad and Tobago. World War II played a very important role in the development of Trinidad and Tobago in terms of social, cultural, economic and political changes. World War II began in the year 1939 and continued to the year of 1945 in which the Allies that consisted of Britain, Soviet Union and the US, defeated the Axis powers that included Germany, Italy and Japan. World War II began in September of 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany following the Germany's invasion of Poland. Although the outbreak of war was triggered by Germany's invasion of Poland, the causes of the war were more complex. Based on my research there were four main reasons why there was a World War II. These include that of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1919, Lloyd George of England, Orlando of Italy, Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson from the US met to discuss how Germany would pay for the damages that World War I had caused. The German people were very unhappy about the treaty and thought that it was too harsh. They then voted for a man who would have ripped the treaty apart.
This led to the second reason which was Adolf Hitler’s action (see figure 1). Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Almost immediately he began secretly building up Germany's army and weapons. In 1934 he had increased the size of the army; he began building warships and created a German air force. The third reason was the Failure of Appeasement. Appeasement meant giving into someone, provided their demands are seen as reasonable. During the 1930s, many politicians in both Britain and France came to see that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles had placed many restrictions on Germany that were unfair. The fourth reason was the Failure of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was an international organisation set up in 1919 to help keep world peace. This failed due to a number of reasons: not all countries had joined, it had no power, no army and it was unable to act quickly. FIGURE 1
Before World War II had occurred, Trinidad and Tobago faced an unprecedented situation. It was the time of the great depression. The great depression was a time where a worldwide economic downturn had begun. It started in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. This caused many problems in Trinidad and Tobago. Working conditions had become extremely difficult where slaves had to work long hours and little pay. Workers where paid 35cents a day, this proved to have being insufficient because of the climbing inflation rates. Unemployment had reached an enormous height of 20%. At this time, health conditions were very poor. Infant mortality rate had reached 127 persons per thousand and the hookworm epidemic had infected close to 80% of the population in rural communities. Malaria had become prevalent due to the disease carried on the female mosquito. Remember, working condition was unfair and little money was paid. This led to extensive malnutrition in the population because money paid was not enough to buy the required food for proper health. Poor housing conditions were also prevalent. Worker houses had become extensively bad in quality and not easy to live in. The houses on the sugar estates and oilfields were said to be dilapidated and lacked sanitary conditions. This meant that the houses were in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect. Toilets, washing facilities, changing rooms and a place for rest were inadequate. This led to the formation of the Shanty Town in Sea Lots located in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The struggle for survival had led to the labour riots of 1937, which was led by Grenadian born Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler. The labour riots of 1937 led to the...
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