Conflict Managment In World War II

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The Second World War is recognized in world history as one of the most influential conflicts that has ever occurred. This conflict involved the most powerful nations at the time, which were divided into two alliances called the allies, which was formed by: Great Britain, USSR, France and the U.S and the Axis power which was formed by Germany, Japan and Austro Hungarian Empire.

''It all began when Poland was invaded by Germany, due to Germanys expansionist wills. So, when Poland got invaded, France came to help Poland, and within a week, many other nations where involved in the conflict in order to help Poland, and to stop Germanys expansionist wills as well'' [1] . This conflict took place in many sceneries, land, air and water. Poles, fought against Germans, Americans fought against Italians and Japanese fought Australians, and it all ended with use of nuclear weapons. ''This conflict started in September 1 of 1939 and more than 60 million lives were lost, due to the fight for global power, this conflict led many nations in ruins'' [2] .

The war ended when the allies had a victory over the Germans in 1945. This conflict led to many social and political changes. On the other hand, ´´North Americans and the Soviet Union where now super powers, which led to a new conflict, called the cold war that lasted for the next forty six years." [3] 


The main causes of the conflict where very easy to code. And many of those causes where because the First World War left many problems behind, and some of them were political tensions, unresolved issues in addition of the consequences of the great depression in the thirties.

''The WWII, was a conflict with worldwide ramifications, which was initially to separate two conflicts, this first one occurred in Asia in 1937 with the second Sino-Japanese war and the second one took place in 1939 with the invasion of Poland from Germany'' [4] . WWII separated the nations in two groups, The Allies and the Axis powers. ''These groups mobilized over a 100 million personnel, making this war, the biggest widespread war in history, and placed both parties in a state of total war'' [5] 

The allies were formed by: England, North America, Soviet Union and France, the other group that was the axis was formed by Japan, Germany and Italy.

Before this all happened, the allied group was only formed by Poland, Great Britain and France. And the axis group was formed only by Germany and Italy.


WWII was obvious a military conflict, not a dispute. People tend to say that this was a dispute for power and territories, and it's true, however, ´´in this conflict 60 million people were killed" [6] . So we can define this conflict as intractable due to the fact that the murders spread all over the globe and the hostilities still hold nowadays.

And if we take a closer look to this conflict, from a conflict management view, we can involve many concepts like:

Parties: the axis group and the allies.

Interest: both groups were interested in different ideals, and both groups wanted power and control.

Communication: This principle was not used properly in the WWII, because communication between the two parties was null, negotiations did not exist between parties that's why they never reach an arrangement, the only negotiations between the parties happened when the war was over.

Multiparty conflict: It was clearly a multiparty conflict, because many countries were involve, even though they divided themselves in two parties.


There are three of the most important causes that are:

"Prussian militarism: developed in 200 years of history, it was the force that made Germany so powerful, and made it possible for a man like Adolf Hitler to gain total control of it.

Adolf Hitler was a political genius and geek in terms of persuading people and that was what he did in Germany.

Appeasent: France and Britain had the power to stop Hitler when his army was still weak, however, the war traumatized the wills for pacific desire, and this gave a little breath to Hitler, which was fundamental to reconstruct his army. And after he did it, it was too late to stop him." [7] 

In addition these are some secondary causes:

The hostilities from the first WW remained and played an important role to trigger the second war.

Germany was the first to invade Poland, which was the first event to invoque the other parties.

The League of Nations failed to keep the peace.


Violent: Because of the human rights violation, the damage that was done to the population, in general to economy, the political terms, and the most important aspect the development of the world, by using weapons.

Intractable: This conflict was destructive during a long period of time; the resolution was hard, because of the factors that contain the issue, economical and political factors basically. Apart from this, the parties had their own interests.

Direct: The use of weapons and declarations of war made by countries, Allies Vs Axis, involved almost all the nations in the world.


Systematic: Includes global issues like human massive murders around the world and the participation of many countries.


Real conflict: Its escalation caused a war that affected the entire world.


Political: Different ideologies of the parties involved Allies and Axis.

Economic: Domination and control of the world.


Destructive: The principal consequence of World War II was the human losses which were estimated approximately in 60 million.

Retributive conflict: To hurt the opponent.

Organizational levels

Intergroup: It was between two parties or groups of countries.


At the beginning, this conflict was an intractable conflict because it was very deep, where the violence was involved, it was formed by a many influences worldwide, it was difficult to resolve and it involved a lot of deaths and monetary costs.

There were a lot of different ideas between the parties and all of the countries that were involved in this war. Some countries like Germany and Japan had the interest to expand their territories to gain more power around the world, but the other countries like England and France did not want these countries to expand and gain more power.

We could see a lot of different values, thinking's and cultures, what made the conflict more difficult to resolve. In this conflict there were a lot of incompatible differences and one of the most important thing, they fought for power, without thinking in the well being of society.

After years of battle, the conflict became tractable because it was developing into a win-lose situation, which meant that the parties were able to resolve the conflict by imposing the strategy of contending in the war, one of the parties was the winner, leaving behind a lot of deaths and a lot of economical losses. A significant fact of this war is that in this war nearly the 2% of the population of that time was death because of the conflict. [8] 

At the end of the war the successful party, the Allies made a significant change in the social structure of the world, creating the United Nations, to avoid future conflicts.


Stages of the conflict:

Latent conflict: The most important situation is that Germany wanted to recover the territories that they lost after the World War I. The political movement, the Nazism wanted to recover all the things that they lost with the Versailles agreement. [9] 

One of the most important things that the pact, was that Germany had to take responsibility for causing the war and pay reparations to some countries.

It means a considerably lost for Germany because they had to pay the other countries and give a lot of the territories they owned.

The Germans were not very happy with the agreement, so their leader, Adolf Hitler, wanted to adopt a policy to recover all the social issues in his country and recover all the territories that were lost.

They presented as a movement that wanted to recover the peace, the strong and the progress to the nation.

Conflict emergence: the Second World War really started when Germany invaded Poland and the Japanese attacked China, United States and the British colonies in Asia. The conflict started when those countries that were attacked, declared the war. The other countries that were not allied with Germany didn´t want the expansion of Germany and were not willing to accept it.

Conflict escalation: the conflict started only in Europe, but when it started to escalate more parties became involved. When the war was growing more countries became involved, in a voluntary way or if they were attacked in some way by any country. The countries allied to one of the bands, depending in their interests. They could ally with the Allied leaders or with the Axis leaders.

Stalemate: The most important part of this conflict was the actual war, where there was a lot of violence and deaths.

Adolf Hitler´s objective was to eliminate the Soviet Union as a military power, exterminate the communism and generate what he means as "living space" [10] , also to guarantee the defeat of the rivals.

France and England were worried because they were seeing how Germany was gaining territory and it´s expansion was successful.

Japan decided to make a surprise attack to USA in Pearl Harbor that is how USA started participating in the Second World War.

Escalation: This conflict did reach an escalated form because at first it was only an intra-European conflict, but with the time the conflict was getting bigger, deeper and involved not only countries of Europe, but countries in Asia and America. It became a worldwide conflict, where there were two different bands that were fighting for the same thing.

Conditions that encourage escalation: There were some conditions that encourage escalation, the most important were:

The need or want of Germany to expand their territories, they wanted to become again a world powerful country, and they needed to recover from the world war one.

The conflict became worldwide when Japan attacked China, USA and the British colonies in Asia. In this part USA decided to contra-attack Japan and became a part of the war.

Also some other countries like Cuba decided after the attack to Perl Harbor in USA to declare the war, as Cuba many other countries helped but other countries also were attacked like Mexico where Germany attacked their petroleum boats. Also Colombia declared the war because Germany attacked one of the boats where they were transporting British soldiers. The other countries just finished their diplomatic relationships.


The escalation of this conflict, we can said that was both, rational and inadvertent because the countries that started the conflict as Germany did not premeditate that it was going to be a worldwide conflict, the attacks of Japan to USA for example did not were planned by Germany or the other countries.

Also it was rational because some countries had to take care of their national security and after some of the attacks they had to declare war to defend their countries and their security, for example for USA it was based on a reason for they to attack and to get involved in the world war two.

The conflict was escalating most of the time, which was a very important fact because the conflict was getting bigger and bigger and a lot of countries were involved.

Negotiation or de-escalation and post conflict: Adolf Hitler was the first part for the de-escalation process. Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin reach an agreement for the post war; they wanted to establish some agreement to avoid future problems in the international environment. This agreement was settled In the Yalta conference in 1945, this lead to the formation of the United Nations.

The president of USA, Harry Truman decided to through an atomic bomb to Hiroshima to put an end to war and after that, they through another bomb to Nagasaki. This and the soviet attack hurry the Japanese government to put an end to the war.

The Marshall plan helped to the reconstruction of Germany after the war, although Germany was the looser of the war. In retribution Germany helped in technological advances and industrial knowledge.


Contending was the strategy used by both parties to approach this conflict, the strategy of contending is defined as "trying to impose ones preferred solution on the other" from the slides of Daniel Green class number two. World War II was a conflict where both parties approached the situation with an attitude that they were going to impose their interest and ideas over the other party. The strategy of contending was used from the beginning of the conflict until the end, since both parties were looking for the same outcome of winning the conflict and destroying the opponent.


It is very hard to find any kind of trust between the allies and the axis since they were two completely different groups with different type of ideologies and interests. Trust does not exist in a conflict where contending is the strategy used, and where the only solution found to this conflict was to go to war, and it finished being one the deadliest and bloodiest conflict in human history. However, we can analyze how trust was used between group members such the trust that developed Great Britain, France and the U.S between each other and Germany, Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The trust that developed these super powers was key for the outcome of the conflict; nations such as France and Great Britain who for most of the history have been battling for supremacy in Europe now had to develop an alliance in order to protect each other from Germany who wanted to take control and change the natural order of thing in Europe. In the other hand, the axis allies who were Germany, Japan and Italy among others did not focus that much on the trust that they had on each other and it ended up becoming a cause of them losing the war. It occurred when Italy backed down from the war and left Germany and the other axis allies very weak and in a bad position in the war. Trust was a very important factor among allies' members in order to conduct a well performed process to come out with the victory. Trust is defined by R.J Lewicki and C.J Wiethoff as "an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another" (p. 87) [11] , ''this definition supports the fact that the leaders from each nation had to basically trust its allies based on their words and actions." Calculus Based Trust was used the kind of trust used throughout this conflict, In CBT, which is most often related to the workplace, people tend to operate on a reward/punishment system. The value in completing a task or goal is not seen as personal satisfaction, but rather because of consequences of doing so. People may also perform in order to protect their reputations. In CBT, trust is built very slowly, one step at a time. However, if one mistake happens, it is possible for an individual to slip back several steps at once and need to begin to rebuild the trust again" [12] .(Lewicki & Whiethoff.) Throughout the war allies trusted each other based on their actions and decisions during the conflict, and trust was calculated every inch by the leaders of the conflict.

Particularly conflict was too important to build some trust because the build of trust is the begging of relationships and important negotiations, also in this particularly conflict were involved frontiers and neighbors friendship so trust is a determinant point to have in a conflict of this type.


Unethical tactics were often used in the WWII, The Axis attacked and did horrifying things to innocent people by using tactics such as intimidation, terror and fear, they created concentration camps were people was tortured and victims of all kinds of punishments.

Antagonist nation in this case Germany always developed huge propaganda trying to justify their actions, Hitler developed lots of propaganda in order to stereotype human race, and promote the Arian race.

The German strategy was designed by Adolf Hitler and his crew, eccentric and hostile strategies, in military and politics, the main point was the "living space" for Germany and a unique Arian race. What they applied to achieve those goals ''were a series of short wars, employing attacks that didn't last long, tactics to defeat one opponent at a time and save more land step by step'' [13] . With the past of the time, Hitler's strategy became more based on mistrust, instinct, flawed logic, and unrealistic assumptions.

The principal strategy of the Axis party was the lightning wars were they used artillery, tanks, and mobile infantry, their strategy was to attack with all of their power to exterminate everything that crossed their way.

The Allies strategy was primarily to end with the Germans military power and exterminate Hitler and all of his ideas, one of the strategies used by the allies was the attacks to Japan called 'island-hopping' [14] the strategy allowed the allies to gain a better position in the pacific, that was the main goal because there were a series of air fields on the islands that would allowed the Allies to firebomb Japan easily, in that way they would gain control over the Pacific. ''Also In the air war there was superior and launched a strategic bombing campaign against Germany. After initial emphasis on economic targets (factories, infrastructure, etc), the Allies turned more and more towards terror bombing of German cities.'' [15] 


In the WWII negotiations between parties did happen but only at the end when Germany lost the war, we can say that negotiation was used as domination because in this specific case there were impositions of one of the parties involved for example the allies who were the winners imposed a lot of conditions to the Germans who were the principal losers in the war, as losers they had to accept everything the allies imposed them, also internal negotiations happened, for example when the allies needed to implement certain strategies to the field of battle, they had to negotiate in between the militaries to choose which strategy would fit better and was going to have better results.


Our recommendation is to avoid wars, especially those that have such an impact in human and economic cost, what we really need is to implement new forms of conflict resolutions that not necessarily mean war or violence, we need peaceful solutions that help us strengthen the relations between nations and make trust an important issue in the international agenda, another recommendation would be to assure the role of international organizations that help regulate those relations such as UN, WTO, and others.


This war implicated a lot of costs especially in human life, also monetary and structural costs, many cities were destroyed and lots of issues came after this one.

The reconfiguration of Europe, the birth of the United Kingdom's welfare state, the communism ideas spreading through the world, the creation of new countries such as Israel, the division of countries such as Korea, Germany and later on Vietnam all of this issues where the result of the WWII.

Many Organizations were created after the WWII for example, ''the IMF, the UN, the WTO, and the World Bank. '' [16] 

Many innovations took place in the WWII some of them were: ''the computer, the submarine as we know it, the nuclear fission, and the nuclear bomb, the penicillin'' [17] 

The power of the world changed from a multipolar to a bipolar world dominated by the two most powerful nations, the USA and Soviet Union, that later on would they be known as superpowers.