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“Peace was merely an interval between wars,” Erich Ludendorff, a Germany general who was mainly responsible for Germany’s military policy and strategy in the latter years of WWI and later became part of Nazi, once argued. As he once said, not so long after storming a tempest on the world, possibly much worse tempest of which his nation had provoked again shocked the world into the chaos. The Second World War was inevitable considering the complexity of various factors that led to the war.
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First, treatment toward defeated nations that had seemed to be unreasonable drove to their economic crisis and resentment toward Allies so that it turned the throne over a jingoistic power. Since Germany was imposed to pay huge reparations under the Treaty of Versailles, obviously, lethal inflation occurred, and as this vicious circle was repeated, the economy became inexorably deteriorated. It had also admitted by Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, leader of the German delegation to Versailles, who said that ‘Those who signed this treaty, would sign the death sentence of many millions of German men, women, and children.’ Weimar Republic run by then Presidents Friedrich Ebert and Paul von Hindenburg were not even grabbing their thrones well; they were condemned as betrayers that had sold the nation under the Treaty by tying up with foreign powers.
Moreover, most Germans still were not willing to admit that the nation was devastated either defeated while being emerged that it was a conspiracy. Deutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper, reported about the treaty with resentment that might have been the representative of the German public at that time. “Today in the Hall of Mirrors, the An Armistice Between World Wars 3 disgraceful Treaty is being signed. Do not forget it. The German people will, with unceasing labor press, forward to reconquer the place among nations to which it is entitled. Then will come vengeance for the shame of 1919.” As the situation was scolding away, they were not able to properly exercise their power. And the economy got worse. The value of one gold mark in paper marks had increased through the years since 1918; it started from around 1 in 1918, it goes up to a trillion in 1923. As a value of one gold mark soared, while singular mark slumped severely so that it shows how hyperinflation in Germany had gone on. Although the Weimar Republic had continuously complained about imposing too much compensation, France captured Ruhr Industrial Area in 1923 as a way to be compensated completely.
In 1924, according to the Dawes Plan, the United States offered a huge loan to the Weimar for which it flourished again until 1929 when the Great Depression was suddenly broken. Worried American bankers demanded repayment of their overseas loans, and American investors withdrew their money from Europe. The US Congress imposed a higher rate of tariffs on goods so that it shook the global economy, including Weimar’s. Along with the Great Depression and the global economic crisis that followed up, unemployment rates suddenly rose to more than 20% in Germany, the US, and Great Britain and especially 30% in Germany. World trade also got worse; had started from 30 billion dollars in 1929, it marked around 10 billion dollars in 1933. As this evidence directly show, Subsequent national economic collapses have caused turmoil all over the world, which has deepened hopelessness and hurt even in a society that has only found stability at that An Armistice Between World Wars 4 time. And Nazi that was led by Adolf Hitler intervened in this gap, appealing to the conservatives by striking communists in Germany, and with their upholds, it emerged as a huge party and took political influence by occupying most of the parliamentary seats. A cartoon that was drawn in 1938, just before the war, support this statement that the Versailles Treaty conclusively led to the rise of totalitarian by describing a man wearing a helmet with Hitler’s name slowly slips out of a paper that the treaty is written on.
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Not only Germany was puffing out due to the Treaty, but also other nations that would be standing for Axis during the upcoming war. Austria had to Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye that was contracted between Allies and Austria coerced not to merge again with Germany amid a loss of major part of its territory. Considering these situations, jingoistic powers that just had started to emerge who were already aware of the fact that the public was enraged by defeat incited the public the necessity of regaining their land lost due to WWI, and what they finally practiced to do so was to begin a new war.
Second, the Allies neither preferred to war again nor prepared to cope with an outbreak from Germany. Especially, France and Great Britain that had led the Allied forces during the previous war against Germany were devastated and never wanted to be involved in the war again. Even at first, Allied leaders even saw he was radical, so that he would protect Westers from Communists – USSR- and thought that if Germany could be a bulwark of Western against Communism, it would not be a loss to leave Germany to be totalitarian. Allied leaders set a value on what Hitler did for the development of Germany and they perceived the Versailles Treaty as a failure of which did not work as a punishment nor appeasement. However, at that moment, based on what he secretly had been doing, Hitler was just merging Austria with Germany with a justification that they were the same race. Just then, most german races were enthused about Hitler’s plan to unify the germans and stood for it. And did so those in Czechoslovakia. As they had seemed to rise in revolt, the government asked for assist in France. But, France was reluctant to get involved in that issue because Great Britain was tepid about supporting it. Great Britain was still in the process of rebuilding the military force and did not have enough power to get into the war.
To bring the issue to an end, then Prime Minister Nevile Chamberlain went to Munich to meet with Hitler and he promised Hitler that the german territory in Czechoslovakia would be given to Germany. However, as Hitler wanted was to be alienated from the whole Czechoslovakia to him, France and Great Britain refused it. But while the touch-and-go situation was going on, France and Great Britain had a misjudgment that German would not dare to resume a war because they had had a tragedy before. Considering how Hitler was making the public to be advocates for him, however, there was no other way, but the war for Hitler. Fortunately, with Mussolini’s arbitration, they concluded that there would be a cession of Sudetenland to Germany, while Hitler promised that he would respect the territory of Czechoslovakia. (Paul, 2004) Once Chamberlain arrived, he spoke to the crowd upon arrival at Great Britain that he was guaranteed “peace for our time”. Later on, he was ridiculed that he gave Hitler time to rearm and prepare for the war. In a cartoon at that time published in magazine, Chamberlain was described as who protects Hitler – a baby – that is fed with Munich Conference, and Added Concessions from awakening up. As it sarcastically portrait, Chamberlain gave causes to Hitler safely expand the armaments, regarding Hitler would keep the peace. Leaders of Allied nations had felt relieved for the very moment that there would be no more disastrous scene, but they soon realized that rearmament was necessary for them because they could not interrupt Hitler from getting closer to the war.
The Second World War was an expression of the zenith of greed. What definite about the causes of that expression was that the international situation made this war inevitable, the anti-war forces and the Allies neglected to effectively control the war and prevent the spread of war while bellicose forces were strengthening its position as a major political force and once again preparing for a terrible war. What many of the texts and photographs that testify to the devastation of war tell us is that this terrible, self-deleting war must not be iterated.
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