World War II: A World At War
The so-called war to end all wars, the First World War, did not solve almost any of the problems which had caused it. For this reason, it wasn't such a surprise that not too long after the end of World War I another one followed. The Great Depression crippled the economies of Europe and the United States. That, combined with the outcome of World War I, led to major repositioning of world power and influence. That was fertile ground for the emergence of various forms of totalitarian governments in the Soviet Union, Japan, Italy, and Germany, as well as other countries.
After the First World War, also known as the Great War, many of the countries that were ...view middle of the document...
The big four Allied powers were England, the United States of America, the Soviet Union, and France among other countries. The Allies fought to preserve their countries and stabilize Europe, as well as destroy Nazism and establish democracy. The Soviet aim was to drive out the Nazis and emerge strong enough to continue communization of the world. The goal of the Axis powers was simple. Germany intended to build up a powerful empire by occupying territory to the east and south. Then, after overrunning France, it would use air assaults to force Britain to make peace. German troops would then defeat the Soviet Union, capture the Caucasus oilfields, and implement Hitler’s plan for a European New Order.
Hitler had two aims: the first to seize all of Europe and North Africa so he could dominate the Mediterranean, and the second to wipe out Communism and eliminate the Jews. His ally, Benito Mussolini, had his own aims: domination of both the Mediterranean and the Balkans. Italy hoped to take advantage of German successes to grab territory for itself.
Japan intended to cripple the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, then quickly overrun Thailand, Malaya, the Philippines, and the Netherlands East Indies. It would then complete its conquest of China, and unite all East Asia under Japanese domination in a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japan had no plans for invading the United States mainland.
The Germans were still angry and wanted revenge after losing World War I and being forced to give up some territory and losing much of its wealth when signing the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was already in debt on its own after the end of the war in the amount of over 100 billion dollars independent of any reparations. The Versailles Treaty would then add on 22 billion more dollars to pay in reparations. The result was hyperinflation in which completely collapsed the German currency and economy. The German Mark was their official currency at the time. To put the financial crisis into perspective, before WWI the exchange rate from Marks to dollars was approximately 4 Marks to every dollar. However, one U.S. dollar would convert to 4.2 trillion Marks by the end of November in 1923. Some would say that the result of this treaty was even the start of the next war. Saying that it wasn't a fix to any problem but rather added tension to a preexisting problem.
Germany was looking for a fix to their problem. They sought leadership in a man named Adolf Hitler. Hitler was born in Austria. By the time World War I started in 1914 he was living in Germany. He did time in the German Army and earned a medal for his bravery. He started to take up politics by the end of the war and by 1921 he was the founding leader of the Nazi party. Hitler was an amazing public speaker and was able to convince people of his idealistic beliefs. He blamed the Jews for German hard times. He said that the Jews were the cause of all their money problems because most were bankers...