World War

 

Introduction

  • World War I, often abbreviated WW1, also known as the First World War and contemporaneously known as the Great War, was an international conflict that began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918
  • The war pitted the Central Powers—mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States
  • It ended with the defeat of the Central Powers.
  • The war was virtually unprecedented in the slaughter, carnage, and destruction it caused.
  • World War I was one of the great watersheds of 20th-century geopolitical history.
    • It led to the fall of four great imperial dynasties (in Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey), resulted in the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and, in its destabilization of European society, laid the groundwork for World War II

 

Timeline

 

WW1: Causes

  • Mutual Defense Alliances
    • Countries throughout the world have always made mutual defense agreements with their neighbours, treaties that could pull them into battle. These treaties meant that if one country was attacked, the allied countries were bound to defend them
    • Hence, as a result of these agreements, many passively affected countries were pulled into the war
  • Imperialism
    • Before World War I, several European countries had made competing imperialistic claims in Africa and parts of Asia, making them points of contention. Because of the raw materials these areas could provide, tensions around which country had the right to exploit these areas ran high.
    • The increasing competition and desire for greater empires led to an increase in confrontation that helped push the world into World War I.
  • Nationalism
    • Much of the origin of the war was based on the desire of the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina to no longer be part of Austria-Hungary, but instead be part of Serbia
    • This specific essentially nationalistic and ethnic revolt led directly to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which was the event that tipped the scales to war
    • But more generally, nationalism in many of the countries throughout Europe contributed not only to the beginning but to the extension of the war across Europe and into Asia

 

World War 1: A Glimpse

  • The Start of the War
    • World War I began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
    • This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in Treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations
  • The Western and Eastern Fronts
    • The first month of combat consisted of bold attacks and rapid troop movements on both fronts.
    • In the west, Germany attacked first Belgium and then France. In the east, Russia attacked both Germany and Austria-Hungary. In the south, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia
    • Following the Battle of the Marne (September 5–9, 1914), the western front became entrenched in central France and remained that way for the rest of the war. The fronts in the east also gradually locked into place.
  • The Ottoman Empire
    • Late in 1914, the Ottoman Empire was brought into the fray as well
    • First, Britain and France launched a failed attack on the Dardanelles. This campaign was followed by the British invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Britain also launched a separate campaign against the Turks in Mesopotamia
  • Trench Warfare
    • The middle part of the war, 1916 and 1917, was dominated by continued Trench Warfare in both the east and the west.
    • Soldiers fought from dug-in positions, striking at each other with Machine Guns, Heavy Artillery, and Chemical Weapons.
    • Though soldiers died by the millions in brutal conditions, neither side had any substantive success or gained any advantage
  • The United States’ Entrance and Russia’s Exit
    • Despite the stalemate on both fronts in Europe, two important developments in the war occurred in 1917
    • In early April, the United States, angered by attacks upon its ships in the Atlantic, declared war on Germany
    • Then, in November, the Bolshevik Revolution prompted Russia to pull out of the war
  • The End of the War and Armistice
    • Although both sides launched Renewed Offensives in 1918 in an all-or-nothing effort to win the war, both efforts failed.
    • A deadly outbreak of Influenza, meanwhile, took heavy tolls on soldiers of both sides.
    • The war ended in the late fall of 1918, after the member countries of the Central Powers signed Armistice Agreements one by one
    • As a result of these agreements, Austria-Hungary was broken up into several smaller countries.
    • Germany, under the Treaty of Versailles, was severely punished with hefty economic reparations, territorial losses, and strict limits on its rights to develop militarily.

 

WW1: Consequences

World War I was the first truly global war and had a profound effect on the 20th century as follows:

    • New technology
      • One of the most significant impacts of World War One was huge advances in technology, which would transform the way that people all around the world travelled and communicated, in particular, in the years after the conflict
      • New weapons and technologies were developed and used that led to more destruction than any war had seen in the past
        • The scientists and engineers worked hard to develop planes that were stronger, quicker and capable of being used in battle
        • The first bombs were dropped from the air (by hand at first by the pilot!) and planes were used to spy on enemy territory.
        • Also, tanks were also used for the first time, which could drive across muddy battlefields and fire lethal weapons
        • New methods of photography, sound recording and ways to communicate were developed during the war, which had a long-lasting impact
    • Medical innovation
      • The war meant that medicine had to catch up to be able to deal with new Medical problems
      • Donating and giving blood started during World War One during need of intense causalities
      • A special rod called a Thomas splint, which was used on soldiers who had broken their leg, was also developed
    • Role of women
      • Up until the war, women were perceived in a certain way in society. Their role was traditionally to stay in the home.
      • When war broke out and the men went off to fight, it was women who took on their jobs and kept things running back in Britain.
        • By late 1918, nine in every ten workers in the munitions industry were female – jobs which traditionally would have been done by men
      • Many women also had to return to a more domestic life when the men came home as a result of a law called 1919 Restoration of Pre-War Practices Act.
      • So, there was a long way to go for Women Equality
    • Reshaping of politics
      • World War One spelled the end of the Ottoman Turkish empire and also contributed to the Russian revolution, which marked the beginning of a new politics system in action – communism.
    • Contribution to World War Two
      • It is accepted that the punishments put on Germany a result of the Treaty of Versailles after World War One contributed to WW2
        • In 1919, this treaty imposed harsh terms on Germany forcing them to accept the blame for the war and pay huge sums for the damages of the war
        • Thus ,at a time when the country was politically unstable and extremely poor, it was the perfect climate for Adolf Hitler

 

WW1 and India

    • India’s contribution
      • India made a huge contribution to Britain’s war effort. It sent staggering numbers of volunteers to fight and die on behalf of the allied forces
      • The country also supplied 170,000 animals, 3,7 million tonnes of supplies, jute for sandbags, and a large loan (the equivalent of about £2 billion today) to the British government
    • India’s reaction to the War
      • The nationalist response to British participation in the First World War was three-fold:
        • the Moderates supported the empire in the war as a matter of duty
        • the Extremists, including Tilak (who was released in June 1914), supported the war efforts in the mistaken belief that Britain would repay India’s loyalty with gratitude in the form of self-government
        • the revolutionaries decided to utilise the opportunity to wage a war on British rule and liberate the country
    • Impact of WW1 on India
      • Political influence
        • The withdrawal of Punjabi troops into India after the end of the war stimulated political activities against colonial rule in the province which later took the form of widespread protests. Also after the war, a large section of soldiers became active in Punjab to spread nationalism in a big way
        • Nationalism and mass civil disobedience emerged in India when the 1919 Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms failed to meet the expectations of ‘home rule’.
        • The resentment generated by the forced recruitment of soldiers for the war set the backdrop for the promotion of nationalism
      • Social Impact
        • Between 1911 and 1921, there was a significant increase in the literacy rate among the enlisted military communities. In those days, soldiers learned to read and write for their foreign campaigns
        • In addition, a large number of non-combatants were also recruited from India – such as nurses, doctors, etc. Therefore, during this war, the work area of ​​women also expanded and they also gained social importance
      • Economic impact
        • The demand for Indian goods in Britain increased rapidly as the war on production capabilities in Britain was adversely affected
        • Although the war caused a disruption in the shipping lanes, it meant that Indian industries had to suffer inconvenience due to the lack of inputs previously imported from Britain and Germany. Hence supply constraints were present along with additional demand
        • Inflation was a consequence of war as well
          • Industrial prices almost doubled in the six years after 1914 and the rise in rising prices benefited Indian industries.
        • Food inflation also increased drastically due to an increase in demand for food supplies, especially grain.
        • Export of cash crops like jute also suffered heavy losses due to loss of European market
          • It is noteworthy that in the meantime there was a shortage of workers engaged in jute production in India due to increase in the demands of the soldiers and the production of jute mills of Bengal was also damaged
        • At the same time, the decline in British products in domestic manufacturing sectors like cotton also benefited which dominated the pre-war market.

 

 

Introduction

  • World War II, also called Second World War, was a conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45
  • The principal belligerents were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and the Allies—France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China
  • The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy 20-year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I

 

WW2: Timeline

 

WW2: Causes

  • The Treaty of Versailles
    • In 1919, representatives from more than two dozen countries gathered in France to draft peace treaties that would set the terms for the end of World War I
    • Negotiations dragged on for months, but in the end, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept blame for the conflict, give up its overseas colonies and 13 percent of its European territory, limit the size of its army and navy, and pay reparations (financial damages) to the war’s winners.
    • Germans were incensed and staged protests over what they saw as harsh and humiliating terms
      • Further, one of the central tenets of the Nazi party was to undo the deal, and campaign promises like those helped the group gain followers.
  • The League of Nations and Diplomatic Idealism
    • The League of Nations emerged from the Treaty of Versailles with thirty-two member countries, including most of the victors of World War I, and eventually expanded to include Germany and the other defeated nations
      • Under the organization’s founding agreement, these countries promised not to resort to war again
    • Traumatized and weakened from the First World War, the League’s great powers proved not only unable to respond to these security threats but uninterested in addressing them
    • By the onset of World War II, the League had been effectively side-lined from international politics
      • The League’s powers were limited to persuasion and various levels of moral and economic sanctions that the members were free to carry out as they saw fit
  • The Rise of Hitler
    • Back-to-back crises hit the German economy
      • In the early 1920s, the country experienced hyperinflation, a situation in which prices skyrocketed so quickly that German currency lost much of its value
      • After a period of economic recovery—and a moment in which it seemed democracy could take hold in Germany—the Great Depression kicked off a new era of financial and political turmoil.
      • Between 1929 and 1932, German unemployment skyrocketed nearly fivefold, eventually affecting a quarter of the labour force.
    • At this moment, the Nazi party capitalised the situation, and promised to undo the Treaty of Versailles
      • They also sought to create a much larger, racially pure Germany. Under Nazi ideology, Germans were racially superior and entitled to greater territory or lebensraum (living space) in the east
    • The appointment of Hitler as Chancellor further, poised the situation for racism and extremism in politics eventually setting up for War
  • Japanese Imperialism
    • Japan had long sought to accumulate imperial power.
      • Taiwan became Japan’s first colony in 1895, and more territory followed.
      • In 1931, Japan invaded China’s Manchuria region
    • But Japan’s ascendancy and the conflict in Europe concerned USA
    • So, the United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, one day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour

 

WW2: A Glimpse

  • German Aggression
    • The war in Europe began in September 1939, when Germany, under Chancellor Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany
    • Consequently, Germany launched attacked on Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Greece
  • The USSR
    • Later in 1941, Germany began its most ambitious action yet, by invading the Soviet Union.
    • Although the Germans initially made swift progress and advanced deep into the Russian heartland, the invasion of the USSR would prove to be the downfall of Germany’s war effort.
    • In 1943, after the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, Germany was forced into a full-scale retreat
  • The Normandy Invasion
    • In June 1944, British and American forces launched the D-Day Invasion, landing in German-occupied France via the coast of Normandy.
    • Soon the German army was forced into retreat from that side as well.
  • The Pacific Theatre
    • The war in the Pacific began on December 7, 1941, when warplanes from Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbour
    • In late spring of 1942, the United States and Japan engaged in a series of naval battles, climaxing in the Battle of Midway on June 3–6, 1942, in which Japan suffered a catastrophic defeat.
    • This process continued through the summer of 1945 until finally, in early August, the United States dropped two Atomic Bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Stunned by the unexpected devastation, Japan surrendered a few days later.
  • The surrender
    • The German Instrument of Surrender ended World War II in Europe in 1945
    • Also, the surrender of Japan was announced by Imperial Japan on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close.
    • Further, The Treaty of Peace with Italy (one of the Paris Peace Treaties) was signed on February 10, 1947 between Italy and the victorious powers of World War II, formally ending hostilities. It came into general effect on September 15, 1947

 

WW2: Aftermath

  • Around 75 million people died in World War II, including about 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate genocide, massacres, mass-bombings, disease, and starvation
  • A denazification programme in Germany led to the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in the Nuremberg trials
    • Germany lost a quarter of its pre-war (1937) territory
  • Post-war division of the world was formalised by two international military alliances, the United States-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact
  • In Asia, the United States led the occupation of Japan and administered Japan’s former islands in the Western Pacific, while the Soviets annexed South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands
  • In China, nationalist and communist forces resumed the civil war in June 1946. Communist forces were victorious and established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, while nationalist forces retreated to Taiwan in 1949
  • The global economy suffered heavily from the war, although participating nations were affected differently.
    • The United States emerged much richer than any other nation and it dominated the world economy
  • Recovery began with the mid-1948 currency reform in Western Germany, and was sped up by the liberalisation of European economic policy that the Marshall Plan (1948–1951) both directly and indirectly caused
  • The Soviet Union, despite enormous human and material losses, also experienced rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era

 

WW2: Outcomes

  • The Atlantic Charter
    • The Atlantic Charter set goals for the post-war world and inspired many of the international agreements that shaped the world thereafter, most notably the United Nations.
    • The Charter stated the ideal goals of the war with eight principal points:
      • No territorial gains were to be sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
      • Territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned;
      • All people had a right to self-determination;
      • Trade barriers were to be lowered;
      • There was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
      • The participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
      • The participants would work for freedom of the seas;
      • There was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a post-war common disarmament.
    • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the post-war independence of European colonies, and many other key policies are derived from the Atlantic Charter
  • The United Nations
    • As a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the United Nations organization was established after World War II to prevent another such conflict
    • The United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect October 24, 1945, and the UN began operation
    • The great powers that were the victors of the war—France, China, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States—became the permanent members of the UN’s Security Council
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a non-binding declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, partly in response to the barbarism of World War II.
      • The UDHR urged member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic, and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
  • Advances in technology and warfare
    • During the War, Aircraft were used for reconnaissance, as fighters, bombers, and ground-support, and each role was advanced considerably
      • Innovation included airlift (the capability to quickly move limited high-priority supplies, equipment, and personnel); and of strategic bombing
      • Anti-aircraft weaponry also advanced, including defences such as radar and surface-to-air artillery
      • Advances were made in nearly every aspect of naval warfare, most notably with aircraft carriers and submarines
    • Land warfare changed from the static front lines of trench warfare of World War I, which had relied on improved artillery that outmatched the speed of both infantry and cavalry, to increased mobility and combined arms
      • The tank, which had been used predominantly for infantry support in the First World War, had evolved into the primary weapon
    • Most major belligerents attempted to solve the problems of complexity and security involved in using large codebooks for cryptography by designing ciphering machines, the most well-known being the German Enigma machine
    • Other technological and engineering feats achieved during, or as a result of, the war include the world’s first programmable computers (Z3, Colossus, and ENIAC), guided missiles and modern rockets, the Manhattan Project’s development of nuclear weapons, operations research and the development of artificial harbours and oil pipelines under the English Channel

World War 2 and India

  • During the Second World War (1939–1945), India was a part of the British Empire, with the British holding territories in India that included over six hundred autonomous Princely States
    • So, the British Raj, as part of the Allied Nations, sent over two and a half million soldiers to fight under British command against the Axis powers
  • Indians fought with distinction throughout the world, including in the European theatre against Germany, in North Africa against Germany and Italy, in the South Asian region defending India against the Japanese and fighting the Japanese in Burma
  • At the height of the second World War, more than 5 million Indian troops were fighting Axis forces around the globe
    • Further, About 15 percent of all the Victoria Crosses — Britain’s highest decoration for valour — awarded during the Second World War went to Indian and Nepalese troops.
  • Also, India’s strategic location at the tip of the Indian Ocean, its large production of armaments, and its huge armed forces played a decisive role in halting the progress of Imperial Japan in the South-East Asian theatre
  • Reaction from Indians
    • Viceroy Linlithgow declared that India was at war with Germany without consultations with Indian politicians
    • Political parties such as the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha supported the British war effort
    • While the Indian National Congress, demanded independence before it would help Britain
  • Impact on India
    • Marks of Progress
      • In India, there were massive training, airfield-construction and port-development efforts, which completely transformed the dockyards of Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin and Trincomalee
      • The number of airfields in the country increased from less than a dozen at the start of the war to over 200. Most airports in India today are legacies of that effort
    • Ruination of Rural economies
      • Period of WW2 was a period of utter ruination of rural economies in India, partly because of the diversion of food to the war effort
      • A great example could be of the Bengal Famine in 1943, which was devastating for the Indian people but with the British refusing to stop supplies from India in favour of those suffering in the country, only strengthened the resolve of the nationalists in their call for freedom.
      • Some of the key reasons for this famine are:
        • British export of food and material for the war in Europe;
        • Japanese invasion of Burma which cut off food and other essential supplies to the region;
        • British denial orders destroying essential food transportation throughout the Eastern region;
        • British banned transfer of grain from other provinces, turning down offers of grain from Australia;
        • mismanagement by British Indian regional governments;
        • constructing 900 airfields (2000 acres each) taking that huge amount of land out of agriculture in a time of dire need;
        • price inflation caused by war production
        • Increase in demand partially as a result of refugees from Burma and Bengal.
    • Congress Resignation from Provincial Government
      • Indian National Congress(INC) expected that the British would consult them in any decision regarding the role of Indian troops in the war
      • But the British did not bother to take Congress into confidence and declared Indian troops at war with Germany
      • Congress members got offended and resigned from its ministries at the provincial level in protest
    • Grant of Independence to India
      • The British had crushed the agitation and kept tight grip on India till end of the war
      • But, they could not hold on to their colonies after war
        • They had to focus on rebuilding their Economy from scratch again
      • Also, the British failed in its Cripps Mission, failed to reconciliate in Cabinet Mission as well
      • This compelled the British to finally announce the partition of India into Pakistan in 1947