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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................... i
ORIGINS OF WWII .................................................................................................................................... 1
Versailles Treaty as a Cause ....................................................................................................................... 1
Weakness of League of Nations ................................................................................................................. 2
Appeasement .............................................................................................................................................. 2
The Great Depression (GD) ....................................................................................................................... 2
Ideologies ................................................................................................................................................... 2
Diplomacy .................................................................................................................................................. 3
Different Views .......................................................................................................................................... 3
PRACTICES OF WWI ................................................................................................................................ 4
Nature of WWII.......................................................................................................................................... 4
Counter-Attacks by The Allies ................................................................................................................... 5
Other War Tactics ...................................................................................................................................... 5
The End of WWII ....................................................................................................................................... 5
EFFECTS OF WWI ..................................................................................................................................... 6
Social Changes ........................................................................................................................................... 6
Political, Economic Changes & International Relations ............................................................................ 6

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium


IB History SL Notes (May 2014 Exam Session)

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)

INTRODUCTION
This is part of my series of detailed IB History SL notes that I took during my history course at Kungsholmens
Gymnasium. The study guide covers WWII, thus can be used to study the topic Causes, Practices, & Effects of
Wars in the IB History Syllabus. In order to make the guide unbiased as much as possible, Ive decided to include
mainly facts, and historical interpretations that are taken from many different perspectives. However, be aware that
the sources that I used can never be 100 percent unbiased!
Words or phrases, which are emphasized throughout the guide, can be divided into 3 types:
-

Bold: means that the phrase is either a headline or a key terminology

Bold & Italic: means important phrases

Bold, Italic, & Underlined: means vitally important key words

This guide is not for commercial use; hence, the information presented here (in which most are taken from the
internet, from The Origins of the First and Second World Wars, written by Frank McDonough; from the History for
The IB Diploma: Causes, Practices and Effects of Wars, written by Mike Wells; or from my teachers lectures at
school) will not be formally referenced.
Please feel free to contact me through email (my email address is dinhsyhai@yahoo.com.vn) if you have any
questions regarding this study guide. Thank you!

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)

TIMELINE of Main Events


1933
1934
1935
1936
1937-45
1938

1939
Sept 1939
Sept 1939
1940
Dec 1941
1945
Sept 1939
1940
Dec 1941
June 1941
1942 1943
1943
1944

Germany left LoN


Italy brought troops to prevent Germany from taking over Austria
Anglo-German Naval Treaty a British move to control over German navy, but at the same time
gives Germany an opportunity to revise Versailles Treaty
Germany re-militarizes the Rhineland; Rome-Berlin Axis (a limited treaty)
Chinese-Japanese War
German annexation of Austria; Germany also wanted to invade Sudentenland of Czechoslovakia,
which angered France & worried GB finally France & GB allowed Germany to do that in
Munich Conference Hitler then became more aggressive & continued with rearmament
Germany took Czechoslovakia, Bohemia & Moravia worried GB GB-Polish guarantee of
independence; GB also started negotiations with Russia
German-USSR deal to not attack each other in case of war
War started with German invasion of Poland France & GB declared war
Italy joined on Germanys side
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor US joined on Alliess side
Russia declared war on Japan
Without helps from UK, Poland got blitzkrieg attacked by Germany & USSR
Battle of Britain
Pearl Harbor attack Blitzkrieg + air forces
Operation Barbarossa (invasion of USSR)
Battle of Stalingrad, Midway & El Alamein counter-attacks
The fall of Italy
D-Day invasion seaborne warfare

ORIGINS OF WWII

Versailles Treaty as a Cause


-

Germany was forced to sign Versailles treaty as a diktat, even though it got victory in Eastern Front it was
forced to reduce its military (a humiliation), demilitarization of Rhineland (an insult to German independence),
& lost territories (Alsace-Lorrain, Polish Corridors) hatred for Poles & French

Encirclement France in the West, Communists in the East (that tried to spread communism)

War Guilt Clause & huge reparations humiliation and economically threatened

Two solutions were either to go to another war, or to negotiate with the victors however, negotiations failed
during Golden Age of Germany the only solution left was to go to another war (which was indeed WWII)

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)

Weakness of League of Nations


-

WWII was initially started (193339) by a series of attacks by Japan, Germany & Italy on other lands to gain
territories; however resistance from League of Nations (LoNs) & the rest of the world was weak

LoNs failed to prevent big disputes realizing the ineffectiveness of LoNs, powers such as US, GB, or France
decided to go their own ways, while aggressors (e.g. Japan, Italy & Germany) left LoNs

Appeasement
Reasons for appeasement policy by GB & France:
-

Internal economic problems, Great Depression (GD) Debate: appeasement to buy time for GB & France, or
to hope Germany to recover after the war for better co-operation?

Underestimation of Hitler & Nazi GB & France thought that they could negotiate with Hitler

GB & France lost faith in LoNs took little effort to restrain Hitler
Against Appeasement:
-

Churchill criticized appeasement as it made war more likely GB & France should have stopped Hitler during
events in 1936-7 for Hitler to lose supports due to humiliating defeats

After Abyssinian Crisis, GB & France lost Italian support without Italy, Hitler could militarize Rhineland
and invaded Austria and Czechoslovakia a chain reaction

Stalin viewed appeasement as hostile towards USSR reason for German-USSR Deal

The Great Depression (GD)


-

GD created huge difficulties for German economies; it also prevented other nations from helping Germany
rise of Nazi aimed to end reparations and economic crises

German farmers had not shared 1920s-boom in economy suffered greatly from GD

Ideologies
Totalitarianism was new political phenomenon confusions among democratic politicians
Fascist Ideology as a cause:
-

Manchuria invasion; Abyssinian Crisis showed aggression, expansionist & nationalistic policies

Nazi ideology Lebensraum, a racial state, destruction Versailles & Communism documented in Mein
Kamp & Hossbach Memorandum; Germany invaded USSR in 1941 an ideological war

WWII as a racial war Einsatssgruppen

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)


Democracy & Communism:
-

As nobody wanted to have another war democracy led to adoption of appeasement

Democracy was hostile towards USSR The West were happy as long as Germany moved East

USSR was excluded in Munich Conference (to settle problem with German annexation of Czechoslovakia)
interpreted by Stalin as a movement to cut USSR off from European politics

Stalin chose to be friendlier with Germany Rapallo Treaty (1922), Non-Aggression Pact (1939)

Diplomacy
USSR:
-

Stuck in the middle of the Axis powers (Japan in the East, Germany in the West) while being treated badly by
democratic countries defensive foreign policies Non-Aggression Pact (Marriage for Convenience)

US & GB:
-

Due to common fear of German rise which might interrupt balance of power or influence the free market in
Europe no chance for isolationism Roosevelt & Churchill showed good friendship

US declared its neutrality in 1939, but really still had aid agreements with GB

After Pearl Harbor attack, Germany declared war on US even though it had no obligation to do so

Italy & Japan:


-

Italy supported Franco during Spanish Civil War ideological?

Japan was led by the emperor and legacy of samurai militarism, nationalism, fascism & expansionism
due to the unfair Paris peace settlement, Japan decided to invade Manchuria 1931, and attacked Pearl Harbor
to push Western influence out of Asia & for its dream of Asian domination

Different Views
Orthodox view:
-

Hitler (due to his fascist, nazi ideas), totalitarianism & appeasement were all to blame

Japan cold-bloodedly planned war; US was the injured party

Revisionist Views:
-

Hitler was opportunistic rather than driven by his ideology; he simply wanted to revise Versailles Treaty and
diverted attention of German populations towards foreign problems to gain supports Inter-war peace
settlement should ultimately be blamed

Appeasement, Axis foreign policies (defensive) were not to blamed

Stalin wanted a European War Non-Aggression Pact clearly showed his intentions

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)

PRACTICES OF WWI

Nature of WWII
-

Total War fought between major industrial nations, but bigger scale than WWI

Technology & weapons were vitally important for victories depended heavily on industries & mobilization
of resources industrial cities, factories & workers were targeted Modern Warfare

Unlike WWI, the civilian casualties were much greater in WWII, with the powers trying to exterminate the
basis of society (the people) a racial war (Einsatzgruppen as special death squads which tried to kill as many
Jews, Communists & Gypsies as possible)

Huge causalities made a peaceful settlement even more difficult to achieve

3 Phases of War:
o

Blitzkrieg & Phoney War (Sep 1939 Dec 1940)

Counter-attacks by the Allies

The end of WWII

Blitzkrieg & Phoney War


Unlike WWI (in which Schlieffen Plan failed due to strong Belgian & British resistance), the Allies quickly lost in
the beginning of WWII due to the Blitzkrieg Tactics
Blitzkrieg Tactics:
-

Rapid attacks of the Axis (on e.g. Poland, Denmark, France & USSR)

Relied on technologies to avoid costly frontal attacks fast moving tanks, air attacks, artilleries

Aim to create chaos cities bombed, refugees attacked, rumors and false messages sent

German army was well trained make decisions without orders from above flexible

Weaknesses of the Allies:


-

Phoney War nobody wanted to start fighting GB & France only conveyed a propaganda-war by dropping
leaflets on German lands to persuade people to revolt against the Nazis

Poor cooperation with inadequate preparedness among the Allies due to sudden attacks from Axis power

Australia & GB reacted very slowly against the Blitzkrieg attacks by Japan due to untrained army

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)


Reasons for German Invasion of USSR (Operation Barbarossa):
-

Nazi Ideology against Communism showing strength of Nazi over the corrupted communists

Great economic gain (oil, food & raw materials)

Exhaustion of USSRs troops after Russo-Finnish War great opportunity

Counter-Attacks by The Allies


USSR took huge victory in Battle of Stalingrad; GB pushed Germany out of North Africa (after German defeat in El
Alamein); US took victory in the Battle of Midway against Japan; while Italy fell easily in 1943, Japan & Germany
still held strong resistance (e.g. kamikaze suicide bombers)
Battle of Stalingrad (1943)
-

Huge casualties for both sides; however USSR got advantages because they were fighting in their home

Biggest Battle; 1st time that Germany failed against the Soviet attacks

Other War Tactics


Sea Invasion:
-

The biggest invasion by the sea came on 6th June 1944 with the invasion of Normandy D-Day a symbol
of hopes for a free France & for an invasion of Germany

Island hopping attacks of the Allies on islands conquered b Japan

Air-force:
-

Radar proved to be vitally important to track air attacks

Bombing on Japan & Germany atomic bomb in 1945

The End of WWII


Axis War Failure:
-

Axis plans showed short-term weaknesses & long-term miscalculations all should be blamed on the lacks of
economic resources compared to the Allies underestimating costs of modern warfare

Germany failed to destroy GB forces at Dunkirk, lost control in the air and the navy (especially the Channel &
North Sea which protected the GB) long-term fighting against GB

Assuming US isolationism Germany continued to attack US supplies to GB a miscalculation

Battles against USSR were total failures due to bad weather; Stalin was as ruthless as Hitler

Allies Successes: Co-operation of US & GB (Roosevelt & Churchill) provided more resources; while the ruthless
communist regime in USSR was determined to continue the war with the new economic plan

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)

EFFECTS OF WWI

Social Changes
Total War required high level of commitment from both populations & government distinction between homefront & battle fields were blurred bigger scale than WWI
Government Control & Propaganda:
-

Censorship & Repressions were imposed, even in democratic countries

Propaganda was more sophisticated than WWI due to strong ideological elements radio, films, TV

Challenge to Tradition:
-

Women took a greater role in society due to womens participation in WWII & due to the loss of men
expansion of female education; availability of contraception; more jobs offered for women

Due to technological advances, highly-trained people from all backgrounds were needed

War-Crimes (Holocaust, Genocides) & Racism:


-

People who had relations with the enemies were treated badly in the liberation, especially women in Norway

The war permitted mass murder (Holocaust, Genocide) & rapes to be proceeded unchecked

However, WWII could not end ethnic conflicts Anti-Semitism was still strong among some Europeans

Political, Economic Changes & International Relations


Peace Conferences & International Relations:
-

Yalta & Potsdam 4 occupations zones in Germany for UK, France, US & USSR (for reparations & to deNazify German people) while USSR Sphere of Influence extended to all Eastern Europe

While USSR took reparations from its conquered enemies, the West didnt (due to humanitarian reasons)

Japan became occupied while Korea gained independence but was divided into North & South

Failure of Fascism, success of democracy & communism

The beginning of Cold War Truman Doctrine (1947) introduced Containment policy to prevent the spread
of communism US gave massive economic aid to Europe in Marshall Plan to show its generosity

Establishment of UN, NATO (1947), Warsaw Pact (1955) greater sense of internationalism

Nuclear Age: In 1945, nuclear weapons long-term effects on human health were unknown nations used them
extensively as a tool for their defenses Cold War nuclear threat, Cuban Missile Crisis

Sy Hai Dinh Kungsholmens Gymnasium (2014)


Economic Changes:
-

Destructive powers of WWII encouraged people to work together to rebuild (with the lesson of WWI in mind)
great prosperity & economic growth with the greatest thanks to US (unlike US isolationism after WWI)

Technological progress (cheap powers) helped encourage production & economic recovery

EEC (EU), International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (the World Bank) & IMF were formed
reducing tariffs between countries and providing loans for reconstruction Marshall Aid

Anti-imperialism
-

The lost of Axis Powers in their conquering areas created a great opportunity for independence movement

Economically, it was costly for European countries to keep their colonies after WWII

Anti-Imperialism racist & greedy nationalists (fascist states) were criticized

Some European countries promised their colonies independence if they were to fight on the same side

Indian (1947), Palestine (1948), Vietnam (1954) Independence!!!