Changes in WWII Essay

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WW2 Momentum Shift 1942-1944


One of the events that rocked the world and consequently shaped the world was the WWII that commenced effectively in 1939 and ended in 1945. It is however worth noting that some of the conflicts that eventually ended up in the culmination of the WWII started much earlier. The WWII parse involved majority of the nations, including the powerful nations at that time taking sides and aligning themselves and their military and diplomatic allegiance to either the Allies or the Axis, each side forming their combined forces. The commanding forces in the Allies were France, Great Britain, Soviet Union, United States and to some little extent China (Rodye-Smith J., 2014). One the other side of the divide the Axis were Italy, Germany and Japan. This war was largely seen as a continuation of the WWI bearing the 20 years of unresolved disputes that emanated from WWI came back to haunt the same nations there after. The war culminated in the death of between 40 million people to 50 million from direct or indirect contacts with the firepower in the battle field. This paper will hence concentrate more on the later years of the WWII where the tides had started turning and the allegiances were being formed as each country sought to align itself with some center of power. These were the sunset years of the WWII starting from 1942 to 1944 where the nations involved in the war aligned themselves in order to win the war and agreed on strategic decisions and actions that would see the other side suffer to point of surrender. Apart from examination of the alliances and the reasoning behind the alliances, this paper will look at the Japanese expansion efforts and the strategic bombings carried out by the Allied forces that saw the destruction of the Axis war industries and the supply routes of the Axis, marking a total turnaround in the course of the WWII.

Creation of the alliances

When Germany under Hitler decided to attack Poland and occupy it in 1939 despite the various urge from different countries not to invade Poland, it was inevitable that the countries that supported Poland stand would align themselves to Poland and fight off Germany troops and the same would be the case with the countries that chose to fight alongside Germany. This was however the earlier stages of formation of alliances. At this stage, once Germany had launched and offensive against Poland, Britain and France came together to fight alongside Poland. Together, they were evidently superior in industrial resources to Germany, had a greater population as well as better military manpower. This however did not count much since Germany had the advantage of better training in arms, had the discipline and loyalty that was more of a doctrine and had the fighting spirit.

In the middle years of the war, there were significant changes that were experienced in the coalitions, Britain which was seen to be relatively weaker in terms of number of soldiers in relation to Russia and the U.S.A. had to make up for this through their sophisticated weaponry and full mobilization efforts. In the 1942 to 1943, Britain dominated the coalition trough her experience, seniority and expertise. This however changed in 1944 into 1945 with Russia surviving to lead the coalition to victory, with the successful mobilization of the U.S.A. power to take an active role in the war. At this point, there was the turning point in several aspect, mot significant being that the British interests became less important in the war once Russia was in the lead and also the active participation of the U.S.A. In the war, different from the previous times that she wanted to play neutral, meant that things took a turn towards the ending of the war. On the side of the Axis too there were major changes that were experienced since despite not being prepared to join in the war, Italy was pushed to join Germany in 1940 after several years of hesitation. This was informed by the fact that Mussolini of Italy found it worth the befit to join the war before Germany could single-handedly defeat the Allies, Italy, having seen the inevitable defeat of France decided to join the war on the side of Germany declaring France the enemy. Japan also joined the Axis in 1941 after it considered that with the victory of Germany, she would gain by expanding her influence over the Indian Ocean and taking over the IndoChina interests and colonies in the region once the two were driven away. Initially there were resistance from within the powerful Germany circles but at last Hitler approved the expansion bid of Japan and placed Japan in charge of the sea attacks and neutralizing the enemy at sea, essentially Japan joined the Axis in order to take care of their expansion vision once the came their way (Rodye-Smith J., 2014).

Extreme Japanese territorial expansion

Japan joined the war on the side of Germany with an expansion mentality and looked at the pacific area as the best to conduct its raids and put under their control. Upon joining the WWII in 1941, in December of the same year they attacked the Pearl Harbor in the U.S.A. As a way of incapacitating the sea response of the U.S.A. And later on concentrated in their expansion in the South East Asia. They conquered the Malaya Peninsula as well as the Dutch East Indies. The other expansion direction that Japan took was towards the Southeastern side as they occupied Philippines and Formosa in order to meet the western brigade in the islands of the Indies. The other thrust would see the occupation of Marianas, Wake Island and also the Gilbert Islands and put Japan in proper control in that region. These drives were geared towards destroying the Allied forces that were in these regions, they also sought to isolate China and also subject the Southeast Asia islands to the exploitation of Japan. Japan was not done with the conquest of Southeast Asia but went further to have Singapore under their command, and made inroads into Thailand and also into the Gulf of Siam. Japan had a great appetite for expansion of their territories and asserting their powers over the Pacific region. This caused discomfort within the U.S.A. And other allied forces and bearing the history of japan having bombed USA naval harbor. In 1945 August, the U.S.A. carried out an atomic bomb attack and hit Nagasaki and Hiroshima, this shook the world and essentially brought an end to the WWII, though the effects of these atomic bombs were to be felt decades later (Yale Law School, 2008).

Allied strategic bombing campaigns

As the years progressed in the war and more forces came to join either side, there was need to opt for change in tact. With the joining of USA actively in 1941, there was change of tact where massive bombings were carried out from England. The industrial muscle that the U.S.A. had and came in with into the Allies forces gave the Allies the strategic bombing campaigns over the Germany and the Axis in general. The Allied strategy mainly shifted to the air campaign. In 1942 they went for precision targets, with the first significant being the Lubeck city which was reduced to ashes overnight in March 28, 1942. American forces effectively joined the British in the airstrikes in 1943 and conducted their air raids during the day with the Wilhelmshaven being their first significant casualty and here there were serious civilian casualties. The reason why the Americans conducted their bombings by day unlike Britain that carried out their attacks at night was to be able to hit specific targets unlike night attacks that could only hit particular city in general and not target within the city. In these bombing campaigns, large number of Germans was killed, maimed and some displaced from their homes. The Allied forces, in May of the same year started targeting the industries within German but also on the other hand, many allied forces faced death and casualties from the Germany anti-aircraft guns. The counter measures that the Germans took were lethal to an extent that it was almost impossible to proceed with the campaign due to the heavy casualties experienced. The bombing campaign also targeted the supply routes that were used to replenish the Germany supplies in order to render the Germans hungry and vulnerable. However, the spirits of the Germans did not dampen even with the bombings. The allied forces also had a challenge in hitting the specific targets they intended to hit like the industries. However, the result of this bombing campaign saw Germans divert their efforts from the Eastern front and the expansion bids, to concentrating on defending the Germany cities. The trained pilots were getting gunned down by the Allied forces and the enormous number of artillery that was meant to be used against the Russian tanks were consequently diverted to be used…[continue]

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