Europe in the Twentieth Century
Dr. Courtney Smith
World Wars and Leadership Essay
World War II was born and formed by the strength and weaknesses of leaders. Analyzation of the years between 1919 and 1938 truly prove that, particularly of the leaders (or dictators) that made their mark on this time in history. Even groups of leaders, such as the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson, and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain but focus can be mainly directed on the leadership of the infamous Adolf Hitler. He was a leader determined to see his goals take form and knew how to play on the weaknesses of his enemies and his nation in spite of their own shortcomings. Pride is the fuel of war, and a leader like Hitler had a thirst to prove himself and his nation as the ultimate power by any means necessary. Adolf Hitler’s strength outweighed his weaknesses at the time of his rise to power. He was stimulated by revenge, pride and insecurity, sometimes two of the most dangerous ingredients within a powerful man. With these qualities and Germany’s humiliation, his poison spread like wildfire. His rise to infamy, however, would have never come without the strength and weaknesses of his enemies. The Contemporary World1 of the twentieth century within Europe had faced a great number of fatalities. The world seemed to be in a deadlock, and questions of reconstruction and advancement in progress were unceasing. What was happening to the world after the end of the Great War, how was it building itself back up? What was taking it right back down? After the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The building blocks to recovery still left nations such as France lacking in satisfaction over their loss and Germany’s punishment. They wanted the Germans to feel shame and pay for the damages in full. Nevertheless, the world had transformed. The civil war in Russia was soon ending. Leaders like Prince Faisal of Syria abdicated and became part of a French mandate, making the French feel stronger, slowly quenching their thirst for revenge. The French and British continued to acquire new mandates across Africa and the Middle East. Slowly building themselves back up to the positions of superpowers. The Treaty of Versailles2 marked the end of physical bloodshed and began the bleeding of the German wallet. It was included in the League of Nations proposed by United States President Woodrow Wilson for all nations to come together and resolve problems amicably and without violence or malice. The Treaty was enacted in order to finally draw the Great War to a close and create order, peace, and prosperity for all. But it was also a contract made to express the consequences the Germans would face and resulted in generating shame and resentment in the entire German people. The Treaty required that the German nation take full blame for the damage and loss inflicted upon the Allies and their government systems. Such was expressed in Article 231 of the Treaty stating, “The Associated and Allied Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.” Their military was to be stripped and downsized followed by the release of territory and restrictions. The Rhineland was confiscated, the German armies fortresses, field works and such within fifty kilometers of the Rhine were to be, “disarmed and dismantled” (Article 180). Their army a fading symbol of strength, “The armed forces of Germany must not include any military or naval air forces (Article 198)….Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty the personnel of air forces on the rolls of the German land and sea forces shall be demobilized. (Article 199) Compensation was to be paid to the full amount of...
Cited: History Documents Collection. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2013.
“The Kellogg-Briand Pact.” In American History Documents Collection. New York:
McGraw-Hill Education, 2013.
Accessed February 3, 2014.
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