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Second World War Part I

Second World War, global war, based on National Socialist Germany, in the years 1939–45.

Prehistory

The political order of Europe and East Asia created after the First World War, which was based on the economic and power-political preponderance of the victorious powers Great Britain, France and the USA as well as the extensive isolation of the USSR, came to an end at the beginning of the 1930s as a result of the global economic crisis and the internal weakness of the Western European leading powers in a crisis and was then badly shaken by the aggressive expansion policy of three revisionist states, National Socialist Germany under Hitler (from 1933), Fascist Italy under B. Mussolini and militaristic-nationalist Japan.

Germany, on which the Versailles Treaty imposed particularly harsh conditions, as well as Italy and Japan, all three of whom saw themselves as international “have-nots”, strove to redistribute the spheres of power and influence, the sources of raw materials, taking advantage of the international constellations that were favorable to them and sales markets.

In 1931 Japan, whose policy was aimed at the domination of Asia, took advantage of the weakness of the international system to occupy Manchuria (1932 establishment of the puppet state of Manchukuo), whereby the principle of collective security institutionalized in the League of Nations proved to be inoperable. Accused of being an aggressor, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations on March 27, 1933. In 1937 Japan started a war to rule all of China (1938 proclamation of the “East Asian Prosperity Sphere”).

In 1935/36 Italy, which under Mussolini had been striving for supremacy in the Mediterranean and the restoration of imperial size as early as the 1920s, conquered Abyssinia (Ethiopia, history) and together with Libya owned two large contiguous colonial areas in Africa. The economic sanctions imposed by the League of Nations remained largely ineffective because National Socialist Germany supported the politically courted Italy with the necessary raw materials. In April 1939 Albania was occupied and annexed by Italy. Mussolini opened Hitler with his imperialist policythe possibility of occupying the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936. In this way the “Duce” gave the “Fuehrer” the necessary backing for the realization of National Socialist expansion plans. At the same time, the isolation of foreign policy into which Hitler had steered Germany from 1933–35 was broken.

According to ITYPEUSA,the foreign policy of National Socialist Germany was based on the racially ideologically justified program that Hitler had developed in 1919-26 / 28 (especially in his book Mein Kampf, but also in his second book, which was written in 1928, but was not published): Rear Armament and winning of Great Britain and Italy as allies and smaller, regionally limited wars (“lightning wars”) in the west (especially against France) to secure the expansion to the east, which is seen as the main goal, a war of conquest against the communist USSR with its “inferior” population was to be waged to create new living space for the German people and to gain autarky in a blockade-proof “large-scale economy”; at the same time the Jews were to be exterminated in Europe ruled by Germany. The aim was to achieve a world power position for a “racially pure Germanic empire of the German nation”.

Oriented towards this program, National Socialist Germany initially pursued a policy based on the traditional demands for a revision of the Versailles Treaty to shield the political and armaments industry preparations for aggression. From 1935 it took advantage of the relocation of global political hotspots to Africa, to the Mediterranean (German interference in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39) as well as to South and East Asia and thus the binding of Great Britain, which was also heavily burdened domestically, to a forced revision policy, which with the breach of the treaties of Versailles and Locarno went hand in hand (including reintroduction of general conscription in 1935, invasion of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland in 1936).

Germany had left the League of Nations as early as 1933 and had ended its participation in the disarmament conference. While Hitler ‘s alliance with Great Britain, the v. a. was interested in maintaining the continental balance of power, due to the conflict of interests did not materialize, National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy – despite Italy’s initial distrust of German ambitions in Austria and Southeast Europe – united in 1936 in the Berlin-Rome axis, which in 1939 in the steel pact and was expanded, especially by the Tripartite Pact (1940), to form the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis. The Anti-Comintern Pact concluded between Germany and Japan in November 1936, which Italy joined in 1937, nominally aimed to build an ideological bulwark to contain so-called world Bolshevism, but de facto Great Britain should in future be obliged at least to neutrality. In the meantime, the alliance system that the domestically unstable and politically weak France had built up with Eastern European partners to protect against a re-strengthened Germany disintegrated. The centerpiece of the French “encirclement” – Poland – had already been paralyzed by Hitler in 1934 with a surprisingly concluded non-aggression treaty. Hitler recommended himself to the other states as a “bulwark against Bolshevism” and offered advantageous trade relations. Overall, British policies encouraged the Appeasement, the conflict-avoiding attitude of France as well as the isolationism of the USA the National Socialist Germany in the pursuit of its goals.

Second World War 1