Throughout European history, nations and empires have risen and fallen. Much of the modern political world is the aftermath of the European colonial powers collapsing and their colonies declaring their independence. That being said, the Europeans had very different responses to wars of aggression waged on non-European, “uncivilized” nation-states compared to continental wars of aggression fought between two European powers. The 20th century was the climax of European imperialism and annexation of neighboring powers. The rise and fall of German Third Reich during the 1930’s and 40’s caused much turmoil in European politics and international relations. For the 20th century European powers, the annexation of territory from a fellow European sovereign nation demanded a response, but their reaction varied depending on the situation. The major nations of France and United Kingdom were crippled by the stalemate of WWI and both wanted to avoid fighting another major war on the continent. The countries of Belgium and Poland sought to gain protection from France and Britain in order to maintain their independence, while Denmark gave into German demands in order to prevent war with the Reich. A similar situation has occurred on the world stage with Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. Just as in the 20th century, the 21st century world powers have each reacted to Russian expansion in their own unique way. The US has embargoed and sanctioned its former Cold War rival. The leaders of the United Kingdom and Germany have both publicly denounced Russian actions in Ukraine, but the European Union is hesitant to sanction one of its largest suppliers of natural gas. This raises the question, did the great powers of world le...
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