WWI and WWII Thesis

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WWI & WWII

World War I

Most obviously, World War I differed from other wars in its worldwide scale. Never before had a war been fought on such a large scale, nor had it ever been as brutal to soldier, citizen, and innocent alike. Bernd Huppauf describes the horror so this war in very specific terms when he mentions the return of mutilated soldiers from a war fought with a new category of weapon.

The modernization of weapons also meant a new category of mutilation: limbs were much more easily torn off than were the case before. The sort of survivors was much worse than for previous wars. The wounds were not however only physical. Many soldiers suffered from psychological shock and other mental problems as a result of their war experiences. Spending hours in dugouts for example resulted in a lack of control over extremities, according to the author.

A further element that differentiated WW1 from all wars before it was the fact that soldiers became tragic relics rather than heroes. As a result of their injuries and shock, many were also unable to function in society after their war service was complete. Indeed, this inability was not only the result of the soldiers' own injuries, but also of the wider effect of the war: society in general could not face their crippled bodies as continual reminders of the nature of Word War I. In this way, the returned soldiers were cast out not only for their physical differentiation from society at large, but also as a symbol of the psychologically crippling effect of the war.

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In this way, the soldier served as symbolic of all that was different, eerie, and wrong about the war. It was widescale, cruel, and crippling, with benefits to very few. Indeed, this war changed the thinking about war as a romanticized quest into a reality of horror, shock and injury that is impossible to mitigate and that the world attempts to avoid by any means possible, even if it means demonizing those citizens who were most affected by its cruel nature.

2. WWII: Germany's Success and Defeat

Mental Issues

Thesis on WWI and WWII Assignment

It appears strange perhaps, in retrospect, that the world would choose to engage in a second worldwide conflict after the horrors of the first. The reality is however that certain factors made a second World War unavoidable, complete with its horrific effects upon both the soldier and the citizen, as well as the guilty and the innocent. Germany was an initially powerful force, perpetrating its own brand of horror during he Second World War as during the First. While Germany was initially successful for a variety of reasons, the country became overwhelmed by a variety of factors later, which led to its ultimate defeat.

In terms of its strength, the country had both physical size and historic prowess behind it. Germany won the first few battles simply on the strength of numbers. While the force was considerable, it was however not unified. As Huppauf notes, many German citizens soon became disenchanted with the war and all that was behind it. Indeed, according to the author, they felt that the war had been forced upon them by their leaders. This resulted in a generally negative feeling, and an erosion of Germany's internal strength resources. There were also more concrete reasons for Germany's final defeat.

Military Issues

According to Wolfgang Mommsen, Germany's self-image was the basis of its initial and long-term plans for success. From a military point-of-view, it was seen as vital to invade Belgium, with the defeat of all resistance to this during the first days. The invasion of Belgium however did not go quite as planned, and Germany was considerably slowed by the existence of a completely unsuspected active resistance. This defeated Germany's plan to advance to France before the British Expeditionary Force.

Hitler's arrival on the scene of the Second World War meant the beginning of new and brutal era. He fought the war on the belief of total victory. The impetus of this belief carried the Germans during the beginning of the war, but could not survive the increasing hostility from the allies. In the end, Germany's defeat was the result of the allies withdrawing their loyalty from the country and overriding its aims to become the main victor of the Second World War.

In the light of the massacres and atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis during WWII, it is little wonder that support was withdrawn from the country.

3. WWII Peace Settlement

Ernest R. May addresses the Peace Settlement after WWII. In contrast to WWI, there would not be an immediate conference, but rather preliminary meetings of Foreign Ministers from Great Britain, France, the United States, soviet Union and China. The premise of this preliminary meeting was to avoid reaching hasty conclusions or compromises, the like of which cause WWII. The intention was to avoid further conflicts.

According to the author, however, such meetings bore little fruit as disputes took up most of the time. Issues arising from such disputes included reparations from Italy to the U.S.S.R., the region around Trieste, and whether former Italian colonies on the African continent should be assigned to the Soviet Union. It is also little wonder that these conflicts translated into later conflicts as well.

During 1955, a conference convened in Vienna to sign a treaty on May 15 of that year. While it held Austria as a liberated nation, not many of the specific provisions were very different from those of 1947. however, Austria felt obliged to prevent any further conflicts such as the revival of the Nazi and fascist movements in Germany; discriminatory legislation was therefore prohibited. Other provisions included the use of specific languages in schools, the prohibition of atomic weapons and guided missiles, and limits on Austria's amount of war materials. In return for German assets, the U.S.S.R. was to receive 60% of the country' oil-bearing land. Austria was also to avoid any political or economic union with Germany, and should instead have a government under which free, equal and universal suffrage is possible.

This was however not the beginning of a long-term peace settlement, and further disagreements halted the process. The United States for example disagreed entirely with the U.S.S.R. about Germany, while Germany also experienced internal conflict between its West and East, where an armed truce was at order.

According to May, further discussions were also held in terms of treaties for Germany and Japan, but little progress was made. Indeed, further conflicts were foreshadowed by the attitudes displayed by the U.S.S.R. And the United States. Increasing tension resulted from clashes between 1947 and 1948. These led to the cold war situation, shortly followed by armed conflict in Korea between Communist forces and the United Nations.

In terms of the Japanese peace treaty, this was instigated by the United States' wish to withdraw its forces from Japan. This led to Harry' S. Truman's draft of a Japanese Peace treaty. The terms for this were formulated by a presidential mission to Japan. During a conference ein San Francisco on Sept. 4-9, 1951, only the Soviet, Czechoslovak and Polish delegates out of the 51 attending the conference refused to sign. The terms included that Japan was equal to the other nations, and would apply fro membership in the United Nations as well as adhere to its standards. Furthermore, the treaty stated that Japan would recognized the independence of Korea, dispose of any claims on Taiwan, and several other territories.

While the document then does not place any limits upon the Japanese armed forces, it does prohibit the country from threatening or using force against any other state. Self-defense is however acceptable. No sums were fixed for reparations payments, and the treaty provided that former allies had the right… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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