The World between Wars 1900-1950 Part-I
- Industrial capitalism has changed the way many people earned their livelihood but only in the western countries.
- Eric Hobsbawm, a renowned British Marxist historian, called the 20th century ‘The Age of Extremes’. Politically the world saw shoots of democratic aspirations grow amidst the rise of Fascist dominations.
- This was also an age of great experiment as people strove to build socialist societies based on the principles of equality and fraternity.
- The ‘Great depression’ causing massive unemployment and economic breakdown.
- The immediate provocation for World War-I was the murder of Ferdinand of Austria by a Serbian on 28th June 1914 and for World War-II war the invasion of Poland by Hitler as a punishment for refusing to handover the port of Danzig to Germany.
- The Treaty of Versailles setup the League of Nations to prevent wars in the future and the United Nations organization (UN) was formed after world war-II.
- The two wars established a regime of lethal arms race, particularly of nuclear and chemical weapons.
- With the process of decolonization after World War-II, the colonies rose to independence and several of new countries were born across Asia and Africa.
- UN is a kind of world government based on four principles, viz, preserve peace, uphold human rights, respect international law and promote social progress.
- After a long struggle for political right like right to vote- British women got these rights in 1913. It was a big step in achieving enfranchisement of women.
- Industrial Capitalism: Industrial capitalism is characterized by the increasing use of machinery to maintain an economic balance through its production processes.
- Alliances: A union or association formed for mutual benefit between countries, made in order to advance common goal. It is a political agreement between countries to support each other in disputes.
- Aggressive Nationalism: It is the extreme belief that one’s home country is better and more important than any nation in the world. It is the ideology of having pride in oneself and hatred against neighboring countries.
- Militarism: The belief that a country should maintain a strong military capacity and be prepared to use it aggressively to depend or promote national interest.
- Fascism : It is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th century Italy.
- Imperialism: Imperialism is the polity of extending a nation authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.
1. How did the idea of nation states and nationalism influence desire for war during world wars?
- Nationalism is a belief creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with or becoming attached to one’s nation.
- The ideology of nationalism was a positive impulse. It was the foundation of modern nation states and the force behind the unification of Germany and Italy.
- This ideology could be used to create pride in oneself and hatred against neighbours. This was used to build up hatred in the states of Europe during 19th century.
- Aggressive nationalism had grown is countries like Germany and Italy.
- Europeans become convinced of two things that their nations and government were right and that their military would win any conflict.
- The nationalist pride of the France was hurt by Germany.
- This nationalism influenced nation states to go for wars to show their nation pride and patriotism in the world wars.
2. Write a short note on various causes of two world wars? Do you think any of these are prevailed even today in countries around the world? How?
- Even though there were immediate causes for broke out the two world wars, there were many other causes that contribute for these world wars.
- The immediate provocation for world war-I was the murder on 28th June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferolin of Austria by a Serbian nationalist. Austria had immediately declared war on Serbia. Hitler’s invasion of Poland as punishment for refusing to handover the port of Danzig to Germany was the immediate cause for world war-II.
- Causes such as aggressive nationalism, imperialism, militarism, secret alliances and ideological failure of League of Nations had mainly contributed for these wars.
- After World War –I, these causes continued to push the world to war. Origination of new causes also added fuel to the situation and resulted in World War-II. One of such causes was the dissatisfaction of Germany with the legacy of World War-I.
- A large industrial complex producing arms emerged which constantly promoted the idea of using war as a solution to diplomatic problems.
- Most of these causes are prevalent even today in countries around the world.
- The world wars have a long lasting impact on the politics, society and economy of the world.
- The first consequence of the wars was widespread deaths and injuries. About 10 million people were killed in the World War-I and 20-25 million in the World War -II.
- The two wars also established a regime of lethal arms race particularly that of nuclear and chemical weapons.
- The two wars also brought home the dangers of having undemocratic governments and greatly strengthened the case for democratisation of power.
- With World War-I, several empires have also ended. Russia saw a socialist revolution. Germany became Weimar Republic.
- The Ottoman Empire was replaced by a democratic and secular state in Turkey.
- After World War-II, the colonies rose to independence and hundreds of new countries were born across the Asia and the Africa.
- After World War-II United Nations Organization (UNO) was formed to resolve disputes among the countries peacefully.
- After a long struggle for political rights, like right to vote, British women got the voting rights in 1918. Beginning with the confidence of being bread-winners, women began raising their voice for equality is all walks of life. Getting the right to vote was a big step in that direction.
1. Correct the false statements.
i) At the beginning of 20th century disparity across the world was marked by the west and the rest.
A. The statement is correct.
ii) 20th century saw the rise of democracy and instances of dictatorship as well as making of new kingdoms.
A. The statement is right.
iii) Socialist societies wanted to build on the idea of equality and fraternity.
A. The socialism spread in Eastern Europe and socialist countries wanted to build their
societies on the ideas of equality and fraternity. Hence this statement is also correct.
iv) Army members of countries fighting belonged to many different countries and not just
those which directly participated in the war.
A. This statement is right.
v) After or during the First World War, many countries changed over from monarchy rule to democracy.
A. This statement is wrong. Only after the World War-II, many countries switched over from monarchy to democracy.
2. Make a table to show Allies, Axis and Central powers, not participated with following countries on different sides of the world wars. Austria, USSR, Germany, Britain, Japan, France, Italy, USA.
Allies Powers in World War-I
Central Powers in World War-I
Allies Powers in World War-II
Axis Powers in World War-II
These countries were also joined by associate powers with them during the wars.