Causes Of The Second World War

World War II causes are fivefold. From these five causes we can differentiate four immediate ones from one deep root cause. The four immediate or direct causes which are commonly attributed to as the triggering historical agents of World War II are 1) the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed in 1919 just after World War I; 2) the bad economic situation (depression plus hyperinflation) the German lower classes suffered in the 1920’s and early 1930’s as a result of the Treaty of Versailles (the Germans had been forced to pay a huge war indemnity to the Allies); 3) the unsolved territorial disputes; 4) the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, whose high rank members were World War I veterans.

The fifth cause is the root cause of Word War II. It is Romanticism. Romanticism was an intellectual and artistic movement which started in Germany at the beginning of the 19th century and spread throughout Europe. One facet of Romanticism was nationalism. And nationalism in Germany took on a racial hue. And the nationalistic feelings in Germany had two underlying causes, for history is a chain of cause-and-effect events. The Thirty Years War, and the Napoleonic Invasion of Germany.

The Thirty Years War was a 17th Century war that began in 1618 as a religious conflict in Germany between Protestants and Catholics but the fighting eventually involved almost every European power, who, like vultures allied to one or other German prince, made forays into German territory to see what they could get. This long cruel fratricidal war finally ended in 1648 with the signing of treaties in the Westphalian towns of Osnabrück and Münster. France came away from the negotiations with major territorial gains, including the German territories of Alsace and Lorraine, and the authority to garrison the right bank of the Rhine. The German states came out weaker and more disunited. The long struggle had ravaged their lands and, by some estimates, wiped out as much as two-thirds of the population.

The German writer Hans von Grimmelshausen articulated the sentiments of many survivors through the voice of the main character in The Adventure Life of Simplicius Simplicissimus, a novel based on his own childhood experiences. After Simplicius’ farm was sacked, and his wife and daughters raped by French soldiers, he joined a band of German soldiers. He sustained himself with a dream, that one day a German hero would establish a glorious Reich. This great leader would generously let the kings of England, Sweden, and Denmark, who are of German descent, keep their lands as German fiefdoms, but he would wreak havoc upon every other European nation. The capital of this fanciful Reich was to be a glorious new city, Germania. During the next century, a measure of this dream came true, through the efforts of the House of Hohenzollern, the royal family that united and transformed the minor states of Brandenburg and Prussia into a major European Power; the kingdom of Prussia, who later became the Prussian Empire.

In 1805, Napoleon defeated the Austrian Army at the Battle of Austerlitz and, a year later, the Prussians at Jena. All Germany lay at the French emperor’s feet. The French Army swept across German territory, defeating both the Prussian Hohenzollerns and the Austrian Habsburgs. As they went more than five hundred thousand French soldiers lived off the land, plundering, raping, and murdering as they marched across Germany. Napoleon shattered the old order. He did away with the moribund Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and, to consolidate his holdings, reduced the number of German states from more than 300 to about 30, yoking most of them to France.

Although many Germans grudgingly admired the modernizing reforms brought by Napoleonic rule, they resented their powerlessness. Soon German intellectuals began preaching and spreading the new movement known as Romanticism. In other countries Romanticism remained largely a literary and artistic movement, but in Germany it took a political twist.

One of the progenitors of these new ideas was the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, rector of the University of Berlin. His addresses to the German Nation fired the imagination of his youthful audiences. The German people, Fichte argued, was a chosen race with unique genius and a special right to fulfill their destiny. He infused his followers with a determination to drive out the French and forge a united nation out of the separate states. Like Grimmelshausen’s fictional character, he called for a great leader to create a Reich by uniting all the German states, including Prussia and Austria. Another avid francophobe and anti-Semite was the German poet Ernst Moritz Arndt; in an address delivered in 1810, he called for a man of action; he stated that what Germany needed was a great military leader capable of giving back to Germany what had been stolen from her.

Christian Friedrich Rühs, a history profesor at the University of Berlin, called the French a “villainous race” and demanded that French be banned from schools and courts of law. Rühs especially resented the imposition of the Code Napoleon, for it made Jews and ethnic Germans equal before the law. He wanted to force all German Jews to wear a yellow patch so that ethnic Germans could recognize the “Hebrew enemy.”

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Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'

Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'


Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
Read More


Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city


Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]


Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians