The 20th century was rich for events putsches, revolutions, civil wars and other big and small conflicts of local and universal meaning. The first great shock of the last century came on June 28th 1914, when Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed in Sarajevo, which initiated World War I. Until World War II this conflict was considered the greatest one and was called The Great War. This war was the first in many cases there was the first gas attack, the first tank battle ever, it had the biggest amount of victims. Moreover, this war caused irreversible changes in many countries, first of all in Europe the biggest empires were internally destroyed and many new states appeared on their places.
World War I finished, but the source of conflicts did not exhaust as Germany, which had been defeated, got into the state of deep crisis, political, economic and social. People started seeking revenge for what had happened to their country and their lives and it was very fruitful soil for revanchist ideas brought by Adolf Hitler. In 1934 he became sole leader of the German fuehrer and the Third Reich, as Germany was called during his rule, began gaining weapon, strong army navy and air forces. At the same time, the whole folk believed the idea of superiority of the German over other forces. In 1938 Germany annexed Czecho-Slovakian Republic and in 1939 annexed Austria. This process resulted in the beginning of the new war on September 1, 1939 Germany attacked Poland. German army required less than one month to conquer Poland, after which it went on arming and preparing for future battles.
On April 9, 1940 Germany attacked Denmark and Norway, on May 10 the Third Reich invaded Western Europe Luxemburg surrendered on the same day, the Netherlands on May 14, Belgium on May 28. On June 10 Italy invaded South of France, supporting Germany, which led to signing the peace treaty on June 22. Soon afterwards the battle for Britain started, which lasted from July 10 till October 31, 1940 and finished in the first defeat of Germany in the war, which lately would be called World War II.
In September 1940 the war expanded to Africa, when Italy attacked British Egypt from the territory of Italian Livia. Thereafter Greece was invaded by Italy from the territory of Albania. On September 27, 1940 the pact about the forming of coalition between Germany, Italy and Japan, which was supported by Slovakia, Romania and Hungary in November 1940 and Bulgaria in 1941. In April 1941 Yugoslavia was invaded.
The next period of war started on June 22, 1941, when Germany and its allies (except Bulgaria) invaded the USSR. Finland, which had lost part of its lands because of the Winter War 1939-1940, sought revenge and attacked Soviet Union from the North. December 7, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, USA, therefore two more sides of the war appeared. Starting from this date the USSR, Great Britain and the USA became the main participants of the future Anti-Hitler coalition.
Therefore, during World War II the humanity was divided into three parts Axis countries, Anti-Hitler coalition and those states, which remained neutral. As for the first group, it was made up by the following countries Germany, Italy supported by Livia and Italian Somali, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Finland, Croatia in Europe and Japan and Thailand in Asia. Anti-Hitler coalition was initially formed by the USSR, the USA and Great Britain (and its colonies), later joined by Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Czecho-Slovakia, Greece, Yugoslavia, France (and its colonies), the Netherlands in Europe, as well as Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China etc.
What is NATO?
Despite the fact, that the USSR, the USA and Great Britain fought together in World War II, after the war the relations between the winning countries worsened. On March 5, 1946 at Westminster college in Fulton, Missouri, the USA Winston Churchill gave his famous speech about the division of world into two parts and the start of the new opposition between the USSR and the Western countries the Cold war. In order to maintain balance between the two sides was created the military alliance called NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO was created in 1949 by signing the North Atlantic Treaty by the UK, the USA, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, and Luxembourg. Mentioned countries are considered the founding members of NATO, unlike Greece, Turkey, Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, which became members of the alliance later.
The main goal of NATO at the moment of creation was self-defense against Soviet Union, which was building up its military power as well. It remained as the major aim of the alliance during the times of Cold war, but after the terroristic attacks on September 11, 2001 it has shifted to defense and struggle against world terrorism. Nowadays struggle against different terroristic organizations is held all over the world on different levels.
Bevans, Charles I. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America: 1776 - 1949. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969. Print.
Commager, Henry Steele. Henry Steele Commager's the Story of the Second World War. Washington: Brassey's (US), 1991. Print.
Murray, Williamson, and Allan Reed. Millett. A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2000. Print.
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