War and Society in Europe 1870 – 1970. Fontana Paperbacks. 1998. Eubank, Keith. The Origins of World War II Queens College of the City University of New York, 1990 Haines, C. Grove.
The causes of the Second World War truly are numerous. There were several steps to war, and according to various sources, most were associated with Germany. Hitler’s first attempt to gain worldly power was to rearm Germany. The German rearmament began after Hitler left the 1932-34 Geneva Disarmament Conference, where it was decided as a unanimous British option, that all nations should “disarm to the German level, as a first step to total disarmament.” By 1935, rearmament was well underway. This involved conscription and munitions factories.
The Cult of Offensive was “a military strategy of constantly attacking the enemy that was believed to be the key to winning World War One but that brought great loss of life while failing to bring decisive victory” (Hunt, 803). This strategy made the citizens ready and wanting to go to war. Also employs German propaganda and quick wars. Another key cause was Nationalism. Nationalism is “an ideology that arose in the nineteenth century and that holds that all peoples derive their identities from their nations, which are defined by common language, shared cultural traditions, and sometimes religion” (Hunt, G-4).
Hitler believed that propaganda from the allies was the main reason that the Germans lost during World War I and felt that this form of warfare needed to be a primary tool in modern warfare. He spoke of this belief in his book Mein Kampf well before the start of the second World War. Hitler felt that the public needed to be inundated with the ideology of the state at all times and through all mediums (Jowett and O'Donnell 2). "To do this," he said "everything from child's story-book to the last newspaper, every theater, every cinema and every advertisement must be brought into the service of this single mission" (qt. in Qualter ix).
The whole population was mobilized towards the war effort and everyone’s attention concentrated on winning the war. Being one of the first total wars in history, it showed that wars are not always conflicts of armies against armies, but rather conflicts of societies fighting societies. Britain had to create harsh laws, mobilize the entire population and use all accessible resources to defeat the triple alliance. Therefore, there is no doubt that World War I fulfilled all characteristics of a total war
It was thought that a war would be decided in the opening phases and therefore who ever got into the field first and assembled the largest army in the sh... ... middle of paper ... ...;By 1914 the system of diplomacy in Europe had broken down. Statesmen were thinking of war as a preventative measure rather than a last resort. Lloyd George remarked that Europe “stumbled and staggered into war” (Reasons for War 3). World War 1 was a result of aggression and tension in Europe; all of Europe played a part in the outbreak of war not just Germany. World War 1 had many complex causes rather than one main one.
The United States was in dire need for material support to win the war, material support from its citizens which were scarce given the condition of the world at the period. But to get Americans to give up their normal lives and precious belonging, they needed convincing. This led to the creation of the Office of War Information. OWI, Office of War Information, was so effective in the war efforts. It convinced American citizens that they needed to sacrifice everything for their country.
"The Central Powers" were "Germany and Austria-Hungary" (Westwell 8). "The Triple Entente" were "Britain, France, and Russia" (8). All of the countries and citizens believed in the cause of the war from the very beginning (9). That enthusiasm would quickly change once the introduction of new weapons and strategies were revealed (9). Every country involved was seeking ways to improve on the resources they needed to fight, and hopefully win the war.
Although all these factors contributed tremendously to the break out of WW1, Nationalism is the primary cause that instigated global tension. As new countries such as Germany were unified it brought a threat to the current balance of power in the early 20th century. This caused a domino effect as the thirst for power and independence rose. Long term causes Imperialism occurs as a nation gains power through controlling and exploiting smaller nations by the acts of colonization1. The power nation claims control over these smaller nations through acts of invasion, political pressure, war and military conquest.