Second World War
World War II was one of the greatest struggles humanity has ever seen. This Second World War caused many lives to be lost, damaged personal properties and was expensive, for a great deal of money was required to maintain a country’s military strength. The numbers for those that have passed, been wounded or gone missing during the war could never be calculated precisely; though it has been estimated that more than 55 million lives perished. Many historians have traced the causes of World War II to the problems left unsolved by the First World War (1914-1918). World War I and the treaties that ended it also created new political and economic problems. Forceful leaders and dictators in several countries (Germany, Italy, and Japan) took advantage of these problems to seize power and to conquer additional territory were brought into conflict with the democratic nations. After World War I ended, representatives of the victorious nations met in Paris in 1919 to draw up peace treaties for the defeated countries. These treaties, known as the Peace of Paris, followed a long and bitter war. They were worked out in haste by these countries with opposing goals, and failed to satisfy even the victors. Of all the countries on the winning side, Italy and Japan left the peace conference most dissatisfied. Italy gained less territory than it felt it deserved and vowed to take action on its own. On the other hand Japan was angered by the peacemakers' failure to support the principle of the equality of all races, therefore Japan launched a program of expansion and in the process they gained control of German territories in the Pacific. Also the countries that lost World War I (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey) were especially dissatisfied with another treaty, named the Peace of Paris. These countries were stripped of territories, arms and were required to make reparations (payments for war damages). Another treaty called, The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed with Germany, punished Germany severely. The German government agreed to sign the treaty only after the victorious powers threatened to invade. Many Germans particularly resented the idea that forced Germany to accept responsibility for causing World War I. World War I seriously damaged the economies of the European countries resulting in both the winners and the losers’ large debt after the First World War. The defeated powers had difficulty paying reparations to the victors, and the victors had difficulty repaying their loans to the United States. The shift from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy caused further problems. Italy and Japan suffered from too many people and too few resources after World War I. They eventually tried to solve their problems by territorial expansion. In Germany, runaway inflation destroyed the value of money and wiped out the savings of millions of people. In 1923, the German economy neared collapse, though loans from the United States helped Germany's government restore order. By the late 1920's, Europe appeared to be entering a period of economic stability. Then a worldwide business slump known as The Great Depression began in the United States in 1929. By the early 1930's, it had halted Europe's economic recovery for The Great Depression caused mass unemployment, wide spread poverty and misery. It weakened democratic governments and in the process it strengthened extreme political movements that promised to end the economic problems. Two movements in particular, Communists and Fascists, gained strength. The forces of Communism, known as the Left, called for the revolution by the workers; while the forces of fascism, called the Right, favored strong national government. Throughout Europe, the forces of the Left clashed with the forces of the Right. The political extremes gained the most support in countries with the greatest economic problems and the deepest resentment of the Peace of Paris. Nationalism was an...
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