Comparing the Reasons for the Outbreak of World War 2 in Asia and Europe

Comparing the Reasons for the Outbreak of World War 2 in Asia and Europe

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Comparing the Reasons for the Outbreak of World War 2 in Asia and Europe

Anger and resentment, ethnocentrism, Expansion, beliefs, economics, weak vs. strong and power are the reasons I believe World War 2 broke out. I do not place the blame at the feet of one country I believe this was a world problem that went un-checked for too long there were significant policies and choices made by leading powers that placed countries in a role to battle.

Prior to the treaty of Versailles the Allies (Britain, America, France) and other large nations were struggling economically and did not feel that they should bare the burden of a war debt that another country had caused. They also wanted to keep what economical gains they had made thus; the Allies drafted a treaty that forced an all-ready-struggling Germany to pay an astronomical sum of money as retribution for world war 1, the treaty placed a limit on Germany’s military strength, The League also stripped Germany of lands they had gained in recent wars. The Allies further the humiliation by denying Germany entry into the League of Nations until they could prove themselves a peaceful nation. This plunged the German spirit and economy into further despair and caused the German people who resented these, in their eyes, unfair demands upon their nation to harbor resentment toward the League of Nations and the Allies. This hatred along with a growing nationalism presented an opportunity for a single monster, which had been sitting in the shadows awaiting his chance, to once again step into the nations light. When Hitler stepped into the German peoples light, he was able to elevate his down trodden countrymen in spirit, economy and power. Hitler’s plan was to conquer Europe, by force and by manipulation.

People, in general, rally behind their nation displaying a sense of pride, nationalism and racism. However, this ideology caused Germany and Japan to aggress on other countries. The Japanese believed that country’s that fell victim to western ideology were weak i.e., China and Korea. (Introduction page 1, paragraph 6) The Germans/Hitler believed that strength is what made a country strong or weak. Unlike Japan the Germans based their standards on a nations economy and military strength. (Hillgruber introduction, page 1 paragraph 2). This belief in superiority pushed these nations to expand believing that it was their inalienable right to do so.

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The Japanese, like Germany was struggling during this time but for different reasons, Japan was going through a change from their traditional government to a centralized government, the Meiji restoration. (Written lecture part A. Page 2, paragraph 6). Germany was also struggling to find a stable government, after World War 1 and the Treaty of Shame acceptance; many Germans were experiencing harder times then prior to the World War 1. Unemployment rates were rising and the average citizen was now experiencing hunger. This was causing an inner turmoil within the Nation. Many Germans believed that democracy had to go, while others believed that communism was not going to improve the nations status. Like in Japan prior to the Meiji restoration, small factions sprouted up and battled for power.

The Japanese shift of power was generated, like Germany’s, by a desire to become a world-economic-leader. Japan was also battling to expand due to limited resources, population and land problems, economic despair, and a mixture of nationalism, and ethnocentrism. However, the Japanese unlike the Germans had a group of men making the decisions for the masses. The Japanese military worked as one power, after politically castrating the government, this set the stage for aggressive Japanese expansion. Unlike Germany, Japan had a strong economy but mirrored the German belief that their country was superior to other nations.

The German army mapped out their plan of expansion and targeted countries, they believed, would offer little resistance. Because of their military limitations and economics Hitler’s plan was to take small pieces of land and quickly prepare and move on to conquer the next. Hitler, also, desired to make Allies of large nations. This friendship would offer protection while they gained power and economical backing. The Japanese, because they believed they were superior to many nations including western chose their target and moved in. Because Japan was economically sound and supported the economy, through trade, of other nations the Allies did very little to stop there movements east. Japan had the strength and the manpower to work solo with or without acceptance of the World leaders.

This lack of “world policing” may be why these countries continued to move unchecked for over a decade. Americans for the most part did not want to interfere in European matters so they spoke out against German expansion but they did not participate in aggressive measures to stop them. America also, did not agree with Japans movements but following the majority’s belief that we should not involve ourselves with foreign affairs they did nothing (Written lecture part A, page 10 paragraph 5).
France and Great Britain wanted to put a stop to German expansion however; they lacked the finances and manpower to undertake such a mission at first. Germany and Japan were allowed to continue their aggressive actions against neighboring country’s for so long it may have fostered the belief that they were “unstoppable”. (Written lecture part A. page 11 paragraph 6 states that ).

The Second World War, John Keegan 1999.
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