Term Paper: Germany Invades Poland

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Germany Invades Poland

The Second World War represented one of the most important events in the history of our world. It marked the emergence, peak, and decline of some of the most powerful state forces the world has ever known. The conflict started by Germany's Hitler with traditional conventional forces resulted in the end in the use of the most destructive weapon even produced or used by the human being. The atomic bomb and the tragedies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed precisely the range of war waged with different weaponry and using different tactics. However, the war began as World War One had begun, it the traditional way of aggression. The present paper will argue the fact that Germany invaded Poland and thus World War Two began. There are several points-of-view concerning this matter which deal with opinions supporting this assessment and those which oppose it. In order to demonstrate the fact that indeed, the element which triggered the start of the war was the invasion of Poland by the German state, both perspectives will be taken into consideration as well as other important factors which contributed to the start of the military operations in Poland such as the German Army.

The historical background of the Second World War is extremely important for the way in which the events of 1939 came to being. In this sense, one of the most important aspects was the immediate situation of Germany and the U.S.S.R. after the end of the first world conflagration (Kissinger, 1995). More precisely, the peace talks which took place at Versailles represented the moment in which both the Russian state as well as the German one were excluded from the future of the international system (Kissinger, 1995). Therefore, the Covenant of the League of Nations considered that these states had been outside the international system and were thus outside the League of Nations as well. Still, many analysts subsequently believed that the exclusion of two of the most important states in Europe and in the world represented a crucial mistake in the way in which the interwar period would develop. Henry Kissinger argued that in fact their exclusion allowed them the possibility to prove their own independent foreign policy and to act in accordance to their own self imposed limits of politics and violence (1995). From this point-of-view, it can be said that the lack of cooperation between the two states and Europe gave the two the possibility to interact in a revanchist use of the military, the secret diplomacy, as well as the political connections between the German leader and the Soviet one.

The interwar period represented in theory an era in which secret diplomacy was no longer a means to discuss political matters. Therefore, according to the 14 Points presented in 1918 by President Wilson, the decades to follow the Great War would be characterized by "open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view." (Yale Law School, 2008) it is precisely on this aspect of the entire post war order did the relations of power between the states was based from an official point-of-view. However, history would prove that in fact this aspect of the international politics conducted by the European states in particular was far from being respected and contributed to the creation of the proper environment for the Second World War.

Given the fact that the U.S.S.R. And Germany were totally excluded from the League of Nations and the international scene, the two had sufficient knowledge about the leadership in both countries to discuss secret understandings and concessions that would lead to a political reconsideration of the map of Europe.

The failure of the winners of the war to include Germany and the U.S.S.R. In an institutional system such as the League of Nations may be interpreted as being crucial for the background of the Second World War. It is argued that the exclusion from one group of countries determined them to form another group (Kissinger, 1995). Indeed, the French and the British were rather reluctant to cooperate at the international level with their former enemies. Yet a similar situation occurred after the Second World War when Germany this time was not excluded from the diplomatic table; moreover, it was included in the most successful political construction for centuries now, the European Union. By comparison the Second World Was constructed on the increased tensions and dissatisfactions of the two excluded states, an element which contributed to the constant increase in the reasons which conducted to war.

As it happens in any other war, there needs to be an incentive which triggers the violence. In the First World War, the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian royalty gave rise to the series of events which ended in the victory of the Allied forces. In the case of the Second World War, the invasion of Poland can be seen both as the element which started the war and at the same time the peak of the tensions which mounted to conflict.

From the point-of-view of the official declaration, it is clear that the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 was the catalyst for the start of the war, taking into consideration the fact that there had been several previous engagements which in the end would bring Great Britain and France at war with Germany. The statement of British Prime Minister Chamberlain following the German invasion of Poland pointed out a situation that was imminent. More precisely, when war was officially declared to Germany, the British considered that it was inevitable, taking into account the engagements Britain had agreed upon in the last days of the previous month. More precisely, "Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, announced the British deadline for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland had expired. He said the British ambassador to Berlin had handed a final note to the German government this morning saying unless it announced plans to withdraw from Poland by 1100, a state of war would exist between the two countries. Mr. Chamberlain continued: "I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is at war with Germany." Similarly the French issued an ultimatum, which was presented in Berlin at 1230, saying France would be at war unless a 1700 deadline for the troops' withdrawal was adhered to" (BBC, n.d)

The issue of the actual events that took place is extremely important for the way in which the invasion of Poland was perceived at the time and for the way in which the period preceding World War Two developed. Great Britain and France were relatively confused over the actual dangers of the interwar period. Both of them suffered immensely from Germany as well from the U.S.S.R. which decided to abandon the front in 1917. Under these circumstances, the politics of conciliation was very common among Europeans and in respect to the two countries outside the international system. This is why the interwar period can also be characterized by a series of conventional and unconventional discussions with each of the two leaders. Therefore, concerning the idea of the sums of money the Germans would have to pay for the damages caused by the war, the Dawes Plan was one of the most important reconstruction initiatives undergone during the interwar period. More precisely, it offered Germany the chance to financially recover from the debts it was supposed to respect. In this sense, "the Dawes Plan, adopted in August 1924, fitted perfectly into the plans of the German General Staffs military economists" (Sutton, 2000). This was an evident issue that the most important powers in Europe manifested a conciliatory attitude towards the German side, despite the fact that it was clear the German threat was present on the European continent.

The Army of the German state played a crucial role in staging the invasion of Poland because the event in itself was the needed sparkle which would unleash the war. In this sense, "the ingredients for the failure of peace were present from the moment the armistice was signed; the inconclusive end to World War I, with the German Army still on foreign territory made another European war inevitable. The appointment as chancellor of Germany in January 1933 and the ensuing Nazi revolution ensured war on a major scale, involving nothing less than a bid for German hegemony over the entire continent" (Williamson and Millet, 2000). The army in general represents a major issue in every military operation or in the attempt to conquer or influence a certain situation. In this sense, it is relevant the experience of the Red Army during the early years of the communist rule. The U.S.S.R. maintained its troops on the East European territory in order to better control the countries through fear. Similarly the Nazi armies remained on foreign territory in order to obtain certain leverage over the possible new… [END OF PREVIEW]

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