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First World War, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 714

Essay

Introduction

The start of the First World War (1914-1918) was a complex affair. It started with increased tension between the European powers after the collapse of the Turkish Empire.  During this period the on 28th June 1914 the heir to the Austrian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian terrorist.  Austria was already in a state of hostility with Serbia and this triggered a state of war between the two countries.  This had a domino effect. Russia mobilized its troops, Germany then declared war on Russia. Germany then invaded Luxembourg and moved against Belgium. Germany then declared war on France and Britain then entered in support of Belgium. Finally, on August 5th Austria declared war on Russia and the First World War was underway. (Ross, S. 2003).

The First World  War was noted for the killing fields in Belgium and France and the terrible loss of life in trench warfare. One of the worst Battles being that of the Somme waged between 24th June to 13th November 1916. In the first assault the British lost 19,000 dead and 41,000 seriously wounded.  This being the greatest single loss of the British Army.  At the end of the Battle the British suffered 420,000 casulalties, the French incurred 195,000 casual;ties and the Germans lost 650,000 soldiers.  In all over a million people were killed or seriously wounded. The carnage continued in the trenches with famous battle names like Verdun, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Ypres and Messines to name but a few.  The number of civilian and military casualties was over 37 million, with 16 million dead, 20 million wounded. The most bitter conflict in human history. (Horne, J. 2012)

Adolf Hitler was born in Austria and rose to become both Chancellor of Germany and leader of the tyrannical Nazi party. From a young age he developed a strong hatred of both the Jews and Communists.  He seized power in a constitutional manner using oratory skills to convince the German people to rise from the shackles of the Jewish and Communist peoples and create a new German Reich (empire) that would last 1,000 years.  The rise to power started in 1924 when Hitler re-established the National Socialist Democratic Part in Munich.

In the early days he forged alliances with Unions and created a para military wing to support the party. In re-establishing the party now Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi) he won 800,000 votes in 1928. He began moving the party into a strong military force with storm troopers being the central armed might of the party. By 1930 the party had grown to the second largest in Germany and held over 100 seats in the German Reichstag or Parliament.  Hitler was a great orator and he discovered that he had the ability to capture the minds and hearts of the German people.  He appealed directly to their main concerns and ambitions for social improvement.  He found a logical scapegoat in the Jews whom he blamed for the social ills in Germany.  It was the spread of the depression in 1932 that saw millions of jobless German people. The party flourished by promising a new approach, improved living and more jobs for the people. It was in 1933 that President Von Hindenberg called upon Hitler to form a new Government and take the position of Chancellor of Germany (Rossell, S. 2011). The USA entered the second world war after the Japanese bombing of  Pearl Harbour in Hawaii in 1942.  (Goldstein, M. 2004)

Conclusion

The First World War became known as the Great War and was considered to be the war to end all wars.  Despite this the Germans became embroiled in a Second World War as they looked towards expansion and the conquest of Europe by a Third Reich. The dropping of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA ended WW2 with Japan surrendering in 1946. Since that time there has been no major world conflict other than the major powers flexing power in regional wars like Korea, Vietnam, and the Balkans etc.

References

Goldstein, M. J. (2004). World War II: Europe. Minneapolis MN: Lerner.

Horne, J. (2012). A Companion to World War I. London: Blackwell Publishing.

Ross, S. (2003). Causes and Consequences of the First World War. London : Evans Brothers.

Rossell, S. (2011). Hitlers Rise to Power. Retrieved 10 31, 2011

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