The Most Deadly War History Essay
World War II was the deadliest and the most widespread war ever to be had, that included most of the nations in the world. The United States, didn’t want to be part of this war, but were put in it after the unexpected bombing of Pearl Harbor. This war had with roughly 50 to 60 million deaths, and over 100 million mobilized from around the world. It was a powerful military conflict that lasted between 1939 and 1945. The war included most of the nations of the world, which were broken down into two opposing alliances. These alliances were called the Allies and the Axis.
World War II has been said to have been caused by World War I in part, or by more accurate judgments, by the failure of World War I and by the Treaty of Versailles failing to resolve the issues among all the major power nations. This, Treaty of Versailles, was set by the Allies after their victory in World War I over Germany. The treaty was set up to punish Germany for, their actions dealing with World War I. Germany was to surrender territories to Czechoslovakia, Poland and France. They were to admit guilt for starting the war, and pay reparations for the damages caused. The treaty never really held Germany to their requirements, and the treaty was eventually repudiated fully by Germany’s Adolf Hitler
Some say the start of the war was recalled to, September 1st 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. And then two days later Britain, France and other countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany to try and control the German power. But this was just the Europe side of the war. There was also another side of the War that happened in Asia. This was also a prior conflict going on between the Chinese and Japanese. This conflict was started in 1937 when the Empire of Japan invaded the Republic of China, to overthrow the government standing.
With the two powers of Japan and Germany fighting their wars, there was another nation that would end up as an Axis power. This nation would be Italy, which official joined up with the two powers in 1940 when they signed the Tripartite Pact, to form the Axis powers. Italy had not wanted to enter the war, because they felt like they couldn’t afford it economically until at least December 1942, but they did and was led by the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. And by the end of 1941, they had lost many of their military battles and Italy would have faced a major military collapse if it wasn’t for the help of their Axis ally of Germany that helped to overcome some of their battles. But by the time of 1943, the people of Italy had lost all faith in the war and in the leadership of Mussolini, who would be forced from authority position and arrested in Italy. By the end of 1943, Italy still being a part of the Tripartite Pact, had signed an armistice with Allies.
While these countries had declared war on each other, the United States was trying to stay out of anymore foreign wars that were going on. Many Americans felt that our involvement in WWI had been a mistake, and therefore were against us getting involved in the war with Japan and Germany. There was also a strong belief that the Japanese and Germans were not a real threat to the U.S. at that time. We were involved with Government and Emperor of Japan at the time dealing with peace talks over the Pacific Islands .While we were not officially in the war, we were helping our Allies with the supplies they needed. “President Roosevelt and his top advisers early decided that a Nazi-dominated Europe would be intolerable--a moral abomination as well as a direct threat to the security and national interests of the United States. The administration resolved to do everything possible, short of entering the war, to assist
the anti-Axis coalition.”(4) With the many supplies that were being sold and dealt off to the Allie powers, the nations started running short on funds for the supplies. The nations of the allies started having to make request for supplies on credit basis. With Roosevelt’s famous saying “The United States should loan what articles were needed, as a man would loan his garden hose to help his neighbor put out a fire without reference to payment, but with the expectation that the hose itself would be returned”, (5) the lend lease act came about to help the nations to get their supplies on a lend, or a trading basis.
Roosevelt had “hoped that the Lend-Lease would suffice to ensure victory for the Allies and avoid full-scale American intervention, but such hopes were dashed. The Allies saw Lend-Lease as a giant step toward American entry into the war, and demanded still further aid.”(4) Roosevelt still felt able not to enter into the war, but be able to assist the allies to victory. He had decided that the United States would not be the one to enter the war that an opposing nation would have to start a war against us. Germany’s Adolf Hitler already saw the lend lease as a sign of declaring war against Germany. Hitler felt that if a nation was to help another nation defeat Germany, then both nations were in war against Germany. So as fall of 1941 came, the nations saw a state of an undeclared war with Germany, but Roosevelt still would not push for a declaration of War.
In late 1941 is when we would get our formal invitation to World War II. The United States were at the time in peace talks with the Empire of Japan. And when, “Japan had invaded Manchuria. Roosevelt reacted by shutting off American trade with Japan.”(2) After shutting off trade with Japan, the Japanese government was planning on invading the southeast of Asia for their resources. At this time they had planned attacking the United States Pacific fleet to keep us from intervening with the South East Asia takeover. It was on December 7th, 1941, when the Japanese naval and air forces made simultaneous attacks on the British and Americans in the Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific. It was “the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II”.(1) The attack wiped out most of the United States naval fleet, and saw deaths of more than 2,500 Americans. It was a mere day later when President Roosevelt stood before congress to retell the horrific event of the attack, and ask for Congress for immediate and massive expansion of the armed forces. “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan”.(1) He made a clear point that this wasn’t an accidental attack on Americans. With the how far Pearl Harbor was from Japan, and how many other attacks went on simultaneous with this attack, was enough to prove that this was a deliberate attack on Americans. This was the day that the United States declared war on Japan and Germany and officially entered World War II.
The Tripartite Pact, that the Axis powers signed, had an agreement that if one of the nations were attacked upon, then the other nations would come to aid and declare war on the attackers. But since Japan was the attacker in Pearl Harbor, Hitler didn’t after to declare war upon the United States. But it was Hitler’s thought that Japan had done enough damage to the United States with their attack that it would lessen our forces, and the fact that if the US had to fight a battle on two different fronts that Germany would have a greater chance to overpower the United States. So four days after the Pearl Harbor attack, on December 11, 1941, Germany official declared war up on the US, and the United States declared war upon them.
By now this was a full global war, with all the power nations involved in the war. This war was as a very costly war, for the United States and the allies nations. While the US had to support its own military expansion, it was also helping to support the Allies nations as well. “World War II cost the United States over $130 billion, and wartime finance soon proved to be an issue where the federal government excelled.”(6)
With the first US troops landing in the British Isle in January of 1942, it was still nearly another year before they were involved in a battle against the Axis. There were many battles fought between 1942 and 1945, which some were won by the Allies, and some by the Axis. One of the most significant battles came in Berlin, when on April 30, 1945, when Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his wife, Eva Braun, Hitler by gunshot to temple, and Braun by taking cyanide poison. Hitler was afraid of capture, and didn’t want to risk dying the way his friend Mussolini had, so he chose to die on his terms. So with the death of the government leader, “German forces in Italy surrendered effective May 2 and those in the Netherlands, northwestern Germany, and Denmark on May 4.”(7) And “on 7 May the German High Command surrendered all its forces unconditionally, and 8 May was officially proclaimed V-E Day.”(7) This would mark the end of the war in Europe.
“President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American military chiefs had agreed on a common strategy with Great Britain: Germany, the most powerful and dangerous of the Axis powers, must be defeated first.”(8) And now with the German forces surrendered, the United States could focus all their attention on one single front against Japan. The war in the Pacific also featured many battles between Japan and the United States. But probably the most significant was the Battle of Midway in the Coral Sea. This was when the United States was able to defeat the Japanese and gain a stronghold over the islands. The Japanese were defeated from a stand point. They had lost most of the air and sea forces throughout the war from the raids and bombings. In one last effort to scare the Allie forces away, Japan sent kamikaze suicide missions to the air to try and take out as many of the Allied forces as possible. In the end it wasn’t enough stop the powerful Allies. “On 6 August 1945 the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan. When American demands for the unconditional surrender of Japan went unanswered, the second bomb was dropped on 9 August.”(9) With the bombings and the declaration of war by the Soviets on August 8th, the leaders of Japan finally recognized the inevitable. “On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender and ordered Japanese forces to lay down their arms. Since the war in Europe had already been won, V-J Day, September 2, 1945, marked the end of the greatest war in human history.”(10)
1-Johnson book pg 187
4- Source Citation: "American Intervention Short of War, September, 1939-December,
1941." Discovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History
Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: BT2104241284
6. Source Citation: "Economy, World War II."Americans at War. John P. Resch,ed. 4 vols. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. Reproduced in HistoryResource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: BT3427300242
9- Source Citation: "Instrument of Surrender (Japan)." American Decades CD-ROM.
Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington
Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/ Document
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