Origins of the Second World War in Europe

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To uncover the origins of the Second World War is a difficult task and to summarize it, even more so, but this is exactly what historian P.M.H. Bell does in his astounding book The Origins of the Second World War in Europe. Although Bell does a great job of providing accounts on both sides of the debate on the origins of the Second World War, he does have his own mindset about it. In his eyes, Bell sees the Second World War as being a thirty year war, driven by the ideology and economics of Germany, which was not preplanned by blueprint. He outlines this very clearly in the conclusion of his book, basing it on knowledge that he interlaid throughout.

Bell begins this read by illustrating the theory of the thirty years war. This, according to Bell, is the belief that the Second World War was a continuation of the First. Proof for which, is that after the First World War Europe was caught in a quicksand of tensions between states1. This was a result of the great cataclysm that the First World War created in Europe, both physical and psychological. Physically, the war completely changed the map of Eastern Europe. The outcome of which meant that over 19 million people were forced to live as national minorities in nine nation-states2. This made Europe unstable, as different nationalist movements rose up across the East. Psychologically, a growing movement of pacifists began to show its face in both Britain and especially France. As the numbers of dead and wounded kept growing people began asking "wozu?" -"what's it all for?"3 The result of these feelings led to the hope that another horrible war will not engulf Europe – "never again"4. In response, France, whom was struck the worst in terms of population rates, revealed the harsh Versailles Treaty of 19195.

This treaty, which essentially drained Germany of its power to recover to its prewar state, created feelings of hate and mistrust among its populace. It forced the Germans to lose territory, limit its army...
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