الأحد، 20 نوفمبر، 2011

The World Wars

The World Wars
Nationalism and imperialism of the great European powers push them to an arms race and the formation of two large opposing military alliances, the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente. If the desire for revenge of France, eager to recover Alsace-Lorraine was annexed by Germany in 1871, is powerful, it's another national issue that triggers the conflict. Following the assassination in Sarajevo (June 28, 1914), Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, but the war extends to most of Europe by the play of alliances. This conflict as opinions and media imagined short (but the military-industrial complex has made it very long) is a terrible slaughter that lasts more than four years since the First World War is a war of position, a trench warfare, which caused the death of nine million soldiers and deeply traumatized an entire generation. It is the intervention of the United States that allows the agreement to finally defeat Germany and its allies (the Central Powers) in 1918, Italy had changed sides in between.
In addition to the human and material damage it caused, the "Great War" has radicalized some political movements of both right and left, and shook Europe:
  • the map of Europe has been heavily modified by the peace treaties that followed the conflict (Treaty of Versailles, 1919): Germany and Russia lost territories, the Austro-Hungarian Empire disappeared, and many people achieve independence (roughly following the right of peoples to self-determination and the 14 points of President Woodrow Wilson), with the formation of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the Baltic states , Finland;
  • this conflict has been an opportunity for the Ottoman government of Young Turks to carry out the Armenian Genocide (1915-1916), certainly the first modern company planned with a view to destroy all human group identified as such;
  • Another major consequence of the war, the Russian Revolution in Russia (February 1917) shows for the first time a communist regime to settle permanently in power (from October 1917)
  • the seizure of power by the fascists in Italy (1922) is a reaction to the revolutionary wave that hit Europe after the war.

If democracy is progressing with the disappearance of authoritarian monarchies defeated in 1918, this is not always the case (a dictatorship based on a concentration camp system is set up in Russia) and it does not last. Between the wars, authoritarian regimes (conservative dictatorships), are set up in most of Central and Eastern Europe (except Romania and Czechoslovakia, which succumb respectively in February 1938 and March 1939). Xenophobia and antisemitism rise, eventually to be translated into discriminatory laws. The shock of the global economic crisis of the thirties, which brings misery and insecurity with massive unemployment, reinforces this trend. In 1933, Hitler came to power in Germany, to establish the Third Reich, and also sets up a concentration camp system. After a long civil war (1936-1939), Franco established his dictatorship in Spain.
Nazism is the direct cause of World War II: Adolf Hitler wants to erase the "diktat" of Versailles and win a "living space". It is primarily an agitator marginal and poor, and served time in prison after a failed coup in 1923. But from 1929 it has support and funding, and he was elected chancellor in 1933: German democracy collapsed in a few months, a totalitarian state goes into place17. Hitler first produced a series of coups, that enlarge Germany without having to fight (annexation of Austria in 1938 and the western part of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939), the Memel Territory also in 1939, in the absence of reaction of Western democracies. Then on 1 September 1939, Germany and the USSR invaded Poland alliées18: September 3 France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.

    The German army won a first series of dazzling victories, thanks to the "blitzkrieg" conquest of Poland (1939), Denmark and Norway (April 1940), the Netherlands, Luxembourg, of Belgium and France (May-June 1940), Yugoslavia and Greece (April 1941). But despite a major air offensive, Britain, only now in the running resistance. The first turning point of the war occurs lorsqu'Hitler decided to attack its own ally, the USSR, June 22, 1941 (Operation Barbarossa): England now has a powerful ally in the east, although Germany seized vast territories in 1941-1942. A second turning point is taken when the Japanese decided to attack the United States December 7, 1941: the resources of the British colonial empire and men of the Soviet Union, now adds the productivity of industries américaines19. But, until all that can be coordinated throughout Nazi-occupied Europe lived under the terror the Germans requisitioned crops and industrial production and are subject to the civilian population terrible reprisals, especially in the east where the convention Geneva is not applied. Millions of people were deported to concentration camps. The Nazis implement an extermination policy "races" that their doctrine considers "inferior and harmful" Slavic (4.2 million Poles, Serbs 1,280,000, 7,500,000 Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians) 20, Roma ( between 50,000 and 220,000) and 21 Jews (from 1942, the Nazis implement the only industrialized genocide in history: the "final solution" that will almost 6 million victims). But Nazi Germany was finally defeated, the way to the Allied victory is marked by the Soviet victories at Stalingrad (February 1943, the third great turning point of the war) and Kursk (July 1943), and Anglo-American landings North Africa (November 1942), Italy (1943) and France (1944). Germany surrendered May 8, 1945, but the war has killed millions of people (fifty million in total), including many civilians, because of the extent of areas of fighting, bombing and deportations.

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