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Compare and Contrast the Causes of the First and second world wars

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Compare and Contrast the Causes of the First and Second World Wars Both the First World War and the Second World War broke out for various reasons. Both can be seen as similar in some places, and different in others. For example, many people have placed the cause of World War One upon the shoulders of nationalism. Some historians have argued that it was Germany's sudden explosion into Europe that caused other countries to panic, and feel the need to create the best army or navy. As well as this, nations such as the Serbs desired their own country, and to be free from Austro-Hungarian intervention. This led to strong nationalistic groups to be formed, such as the notorious Serbian "Black Hand". The German's desire for "a place in the sun" left many of the other European countries feeling threatened. As a result, the alliance system was formed. The alliance system was an agreement set up between two or more countries, stating that in the event of an attack, help would be given. Needless to say, these alliances helped create an air of confidence between the countries, as they felt that with their support, they were almost unbeatable! ...read more.


Between the years of 1924 to 1934, the Germans saw Adolf Hitler come to power, and take over as the dictator. The reason for his climb to power was as a result of the Paris Peace Treaty. The treaty, (signed in 1919) forced the Germans to pay large reparations and take complete blame for the war. Needless to say, this caused an immense feeling of hatred towards the German government. When Hitler began his election campaign, he promised that he would overturn the harsh terms. Obviously, this appealed to the German citizens. Contrasting to this, was the First World War. By this, I mean that there was no rise to power by a powerful man in any country, adding to tensions between the countries. Also, another contrast was that of the state of each countries economy. Before World War one broke out, each economy was in one of the strongest positions ever. However, the inter-war period between the first and second world wars was economically crippling. The United States of America loaned huge amounts to Germany to pay off the compensation forced upon them. ...read more.


The reason for this was Japan's illegal invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and their desire to conquer China in 1936. Also, Germany's rearmament and gain of the Saar Valley and the Rhineland. Mussolini took over the Abyssinia in 1936, showing the participants in the League of Nations, that they really had no control over any countries. This led to Britain and France adopting a policy of appeasement in the late 1930s. These tensions can also been seen before the First World War. The sudden desire to have the most powerful army/navy etc is due to tensions between various countries. (In particular, Germany, Britain and France.) Similarly, the tensions between the Serbs and the Austrians can be argued to be the trigger, which began the First World War! It was the tensions between these two countries also, which led to the July crisis. All in all, I believe there are more differences between the causes of the First and Second World Wars then there are similarities. Although some parallels can be drawn, they are somewhat implausible. By this, I mean that the only real similarity I can see is that of the rearmament of certain countries, and vaguely some tensions between themselves. Rochelle Enticknap 29th January 2003 History: -Mr Chan ...read more.

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