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World War II -- a Catastrophic Event that Changed the World
What was the most crucial and important cause of World War II?
It would be fair to look to the Nazis and Hitler's fanaticism as the most crucial and important cause of World War II. And certainly historians and scholars have few doubts as to Hitler's accountability in the tragic, bloody and catastrophic slaughter in Europe. But what were the events and issues that allowed the Nazis to come to power? What propaganda did the Nazis use to seal their hold on Germany? Other causes need to be weighed in the matrix of WWII prior to making the judgment that the Nazi obsession for expansion and for building an Aryan race constituted the most crucial cause of the war.
Thesis: The main, the most crucial and important underlying cause of WWII was the Treaty of Versailles. This paper will detail the specific parts of the treaty that the Germans considered grossly unfair and which led to Hitler's effective use of propaganda to promote nationalism and his own demonic strategies.
Main Causes of WWII -- Treaty of Versailles: Meantime there were other important causes that led to the carnage of WWII. The Treaty of Versailles, a very harsh treaty that officially brought an end to WWII but paved the way for a lingering bitterness toward the allies by Germany. The treaty was "ruinous to Germany in many ways," according to Angelfire.com. Article 231 of the Treaty dumped all the financial reparation responsibilities on the backs of the Germans. This was an unreasonable demand as an end-of-war sanction, and what it actually produced was a "war-guilt clause" Angelfire.com reports. The enormous amount of money that it would have taken to rebuild all the structures (bridges, roads, buildings, rail lines, factories and more) damaged during the war was beyond what Germany could muster. The Treaty also called for the purging of the German air force, a huge cutback in German naval resources, and a "maximum allowance of 100,000 troops for the army in Germany.
Beyond those reparations, Germany was forced to give up territories to France, to Poland, and to change its form of government to a democracy. Moreover the Treaty was so brutally harsh on Germany it provided ample fuel for Hitler's promotion of aggressive nationalism through brilliantly conceived propaganda. According to Alan Sharp, writing in the journal Diplomacy and Statecraft, France insisted on reparations because by forcing Germany to pay costs of reconstruction it would "…also diminish Germany's ability to seek revenge" (Sharp, 2005, p. 434). The allies were driven by the notion that if Germany was not forced to pick up the tab for the wartime damage, the only available avenue to the allies should Germany refuse to live up to the treaty was more war, Sharp explains.
The Treaty's participants had many contentious moments during deliberations, and Sharp asserted that the "economics and technicalities of reparations probably defeated the ability of most politicians to understand them" (p. 434). On page 435 Sharp concluded his article by identifying the "deeper problem" from the Treaty: the "failure" of both Britain and France to "agree on a common strategy and then to abide by it." Not being able to agree on a strategy to punish Germany was one part of the problem, the other was that France and England could not agree on how to "enforce the Treaty, nor to redraft it" (Sharp. 435). These failures on the part of European allies contributed to the conditions "that created, ultimately, what neither wanted, a renewal of hostilities on a continental and world scale" (Sharp, 435).
According to John D. Clare the German people insisted they were not the cause of the war and they believed "France and Britain were trying to starve their children to death." Also the German people were outraged at having to give up about a tenth of its territory, and the "way the two German representatives were treated" upon being forced to sign the Treaty "made things worse." The German Chancellor at the time was Frederick Scheidemann, and he resigned instead of being obliged to sign the Treaty; according to John D. Clare Scheidemann said: "May the hand wither that signs this treaty" (www.johndclare.net).
Main Causes of WWII -- Adolph Hitler: Hitler made good use of "Article 48" in the Weimar Constitution as he come to power in Germany;…[continue]
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