Like World War I, there are series of related events that led to World War II. These include formation of military alliances, arms race that made various nations feel that they could win the war and the rise of class of dictators like Mussolini, Stalin and Adolf Hitler. However, Germany committed a single mistake that sparked off the world war through attacking neutral Poland. From the beginning, Britain, America, and France sat back as German subdued countries like Czechoslovakia and Austria. Britain and France excuse for failing to defend such nation’s sovereignty was that they wanted to appease Hitler. American Culture and legislation of non-interference in international affairs and conflict restrained America from fighting Germany. This did not only encourage Germany, but also gave her adequate time to reorganize its weapons and mobilize its forces making her a world threat.
Hitler designed Germans` ambitions, which were to unite all Europeans nations of German origin under one German empire. Germans also supported General Francisco Franco to overturn the democratic elect a government of Spain through giving the weapons to test their might. Germany also desired to expand to the East of Europe. Therefore, Germany launched its attacks on countries like Czechoslovakia and Austria (Foner, 799). Britain and France were silent in what they referred to as appeasement of the dictator in an attempt to avoid war. After gaining control over these countries, encouraged Hitler went further on attacking Poland. However, when Hitler invaded neutral Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany, because they had sworn to protect Poland from aggression. On the other end, Japan emperor led his army in subduing most parts of Manchuria and pacific island. The emperor sought an extension of his empire. The emperor also led some of its military men in attacking most parts of China.
During these attacks, the US congress opted that the USA has to stay neutral and will not support any side of the war because most of its citizens of German and Japanese origin were glad that their countries of origin were expanding its territory. Moreover, the US also felt that involvement in World War I was a mistake. Therefore, it sought to establish a new culture of non-involvement in international conflict. The US was also in active business with the warring countries. For instance, it supplied 80% of oil that Japan used and had its firms in German supplied with forced labor (Foner, 801). It also traded with France and Britain. Therefore, the US did not want to displease its business partners.
The Involvement of the U.S in WWII
USA government hoped that their country would stay out of the war both directly and indirectly. The public opinion from freedom house (consisting university presidents, leading Businessmen, labor leaders and ministers) encouraged the government to join forces with other freedom fighters and defend the world from dictators by declaring immediate war with Germany (Foner, 804). The factor that led to immediate declaration of war and involvement of the US in the world War was the attack of the US naval base, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by Japanese forces. This led to immediate declaration of war on Japan and her allies marking the beginning of the pacific war and sinking of German and Japanese ship.
After the declaration of war by president, Roosevelt, America was unwilling to engage in the European war. However, it financed weapons to most of the powers struggling against dictatorship like Russia and Britain. With newer and better weaponry and financial support, Russia was able to defeat and make most German soldiers surrender, and retreat to the main homeland Germany. On the other end, while France was effortless after German forces subdued Paris, British royal forces counter attacked Germans with air strikes and defeated them. By then, America was out of depression and investment in military industry helped her create more jobs for the citizen and create a stronger economy compared to other countries in the world. Moreover, it loaned the countries that were able to pay back during the after war period.
The Pacific War
At the beginning of the pacific war, America experienced a series of military disasters, which made 78,000 of its soldiers surrender to Japanese and others died of hunger on their way to Japanese camp (Foner, ). However, in June 1942, America defeated Japanese navy in Midway Islands. This encouraged Americans to open firepower that drove Japanese forces from most of the pacific Islands. On 6 August 1945, American plane drop an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, a Japanese city that had not suffered any impacts of the World War. On the ninth of the same month, America dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. With Russian attack’s impact on Manchuria, Japan surrendered the war. The atomic bombs had devastating effects. They destroyed all the houses in the city and killed almost two hundred thousand Japanese people.
Foner (812) argues that the Federal government was able to deal with the economic depression of the 1930s through the creation of greater job opportunities in the industries and the military; USA was able to improve the levels of its per capita income. This reduced the unemployment rates from 14% to 1%. Moreover, the federal ordered most domestic industries to commence production of military equipment and vehicle after the increased demand for military products in Europe and some parts of Africa. Massive production of aircrafts, military vehicles and equipments boosted the growth of US gross domestic product, and improved its economy, which made the US overcome the economic depression of 1930s.
The levels of income among the citizens increased compared to the previous centuries as the workers did more jobs and industries had more incomes and large marginal profits. Moreover, the workers demanded higher salaries and better working conditions, hence the government shifted from class taxation to income taxation where it taxed the citizens depending on the amount of revenue earned (Foner, 808). After the air strike attack on the naval base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the country became suspicious of some of its citizens. Therefore, it separated its citizens of Japanese origin from other citizens and moved them into the internment camps. The federal government also adopted the G. I. bill during the Service men readjustment Act of 1944 that gave ex-service men and women a broad range of settlements including lower mortgages, loans to stabilize themselves economically, payment for college and high school fees, and one-year compensation of lack of work among other financial benefits.
After the war, Britain and Germany had a disagreement over territorial expansion. Britain was unwilling to let its colonies go. The end of the war was accompanied by a notional event: the establishment of the new world peace organization: the United Nations. They argued that colonization was unnecessary, because strivings to dominate over other nations is the crucial factor that leads to war. Therefore, Britain had to set free its colonies. This war killed 50 million people with help of inventions and use of newer weapons. Holocaust also took place during the war: German soldiers’ massively murdered undesired people like the Slavs, homosexuals, gypsies and the Jews. The end of World War II also marked the beginning of ideological war where USA supported capitalism while Soviet Union held on communism. This ideological war developed into the Cold War.