WWI is WW2

Discussion in 'History' started by sevenblu, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. sevenblu feeling blu Registered Senior Member

    I am writing a paper that is supposed to show WW1 and WW2 as the same war (or different wars). Is there any information that you can help me with?

    I have to make a decision on whether or not the Great war, in the context of history, is actually one big war with a break in between. Thanks.

    EDIT IN: I finished the paper last night: Scroll down to read and discuss.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
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  3. Harlequin Banned Banned

    Tactically speaking, you could show how the Germans used essentially the same initial battle plan in both wars, only more refined and using better equipment in WW2 than they did/had in WW1, leading to a more dynamic success to begin with.

    Socially speaking, you'd probably be far better off doing a lot of research into the Treaty of Versailles, its effect on the people of Germany, its economy, and how those effects led to Hitler being able to grasp power, and do a whole lot of research into social psychology to boot.

    They probably covered most of it in class, you know, as far as education systems do. Didn't you listen?
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  5. OpteronGuy I just killed you Registered Senior Member

    Eh, if he's here in the states I doubt it. School systems have pretty much given up teaching history it seems like. If it doesn't involve women and civil rights they don't care about teaching it.
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  7. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    They are two different wars with two different reasons, though the result of 1 led directly to 2.
  8. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

    The blitzkreig's of WW2 bore no comparison to anything in WW1 which was a static war. Indeed, the Blitzkreig tactics were not written till the early 30s, by a British tank major, Liddle-Hart. General Heinze Guderian stole the ideas and the rest is history!!
  9. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    The military strategy and tactics are wholly irrelevant to whether or not it was the same war, or different wars. You need to focus on motivation.
    Make two lists, identifying the causes for each war, and the goals of the participants. Then see how matches (and how much doesn't) between the two lists. From that you can make your decision and the paper has virtually written itself.
    In short, this is a simple compare and contrast question.
  10. leopold Valued Senior Member

    do a google search on ww2 causes.
  11. sevenblu feeling blu Registered Senior Member

    Here is a copy of my paper -- any feedback or intelligent discussion would be appriciated..


    A Philosophical Perspective of the World Wars
    by [Deleted at Member Request]


    Humanity has climbed mountains – both literal and figurative – to prove that we stand out amongst the animals. We have demonstrated our ability to persevere in the face of adversity; we have constructed certain ideals such as personal freedom, individuality, love, and altruism. Since the beginning of history, we have struggled to find truth and understanding. People like Jesus Christ, Siddhartha Gautama, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, George Washington (and so many others), have helped to create a model of human ambition, have helped us to better recognize our underlying purpose in the universe. We have in our history the examples of Ancient Greece, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic Movement. We have created music, logic, poetry, art, religion, science, and mathematics in order to assist us in our quest to dissect creation and find some sort of semblance of meaning that might justify our existence. The list of our accomplishments is immeasurably vast. However, man might have proved that he can reach for ideals, but he has not proved that he can maintain them. We may have climbed mountains, but we have not been able to live for long in such high places.

    Despite our accomplishments, humanity’s failings have been just as extensive. Our history is also scarred with a long list of wars, injustices, unnecessary deaths, prejudices, hatreds, and disappointments. The pinnacle of our shortcomings, the end-point to our intellectual development as a species, can best be understood in the context of our World Wars. Although humanity has always lived side-by-side with war, never before in our history has so much widespread violence destroyed so many idyllic hopes and dreams. Never before was there such an example of our ignorance as a species, and blatant disregard for our intellectual successes. Both World Wars demonstrate humanity’s ability to ignore our attributes and focus on our inadequacies. All of our sciences, our logicalities, and our intellectual processes were exhibited in a contradictory display of humanity’s inherent iniquity and naiveté. The World Wars have introduced insidious pessimism in the minds of those who contemplate the future of our species. The World Wars have become the paradigms of our ignorance and our despair.

    Part One: The “First” World War

    August 4th, 1914: Germany invades neutral Belgium; in response the United Kingdom declares war on Germany (Perry 742). These declarations come on the heels of the Austria-Hungary/Serbia conflict; they comes after three days after Germany’s declaration of war against Russia; one day after Germany’s declaration of war against France. What followed was Austra-Hungry’s declaration of war on Russia; the French alliance with the United Kingdom in their war against Austria-Hungry; Japan’s entrance into the war against Germany; the September unity pact of France, Britain and Russia. Two months saw the outbreak of seven wars – or as historians refer to the conflicts – one “Great War” (Perry) And this was not the end of it. In the months to follow, there would be many more declarations of war, many more conflicts, and many more gratuitous deaths. Italy, China, Brazil, and the United States would all enter into violence. The “Great War” engulfed the Western World, and spread destructively into the rest of civilization.

    At the onset of the extensive conflict, it was widely believed that the war would marshal in a new age of humanity. In fact, World War I did break the old world order, underscoring the downfall of the era of absolute monarchy in Europe. The German, the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Russian empires were broken. However, the new world order was neither a time of acceptance nor understanding. The idyllic hopes of many Western leaders were not actualized. The “War to End All Wars” failed to solve most of the problems which had caused it.

    But what did cause this massive onslaught on human achievement? The reasons for the outbreak of the Great War include many interleaving factors. On June 28, 1914, Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was gunned down by a Bosnian Serb student in Sarajevo (Perry 731). Though World War I was prompted by the chain of events this assassination let loose, the war's origins are more complex, concerning ideologies such as nationalism, culturism, and the multifarious network of European alliances that developed between the various countries throughout the course of the nineteenth century, following the 1815 defeat of Napoleon and the subsequent Congress of Vienna (World War I, 2005).

    Social Darwinism, a new ideology that spawned from nationalism, also played an important part in World War I. Whereas earlier forms of nationalism had stressed community and self-determination, Social Darwinism gave emphasis to the struggle between different national groups (World War I, 2005). Inspired by the scientific theory of Charles Darwin, this ideology emphasized the violent struggle for power between "races" or "nations" in which the weaker would unavoidably be destroyed by the stronger in the never-ending cycle of “survival of the fittest. When applied to national politics, this ethical theory became the excuse to assure economic and military strength in order to meet with the stark opposition of its rivals (Perry 594). Certain nations were seen as “stronger” or “better” than others, and the resulting consequence of such an ideology called forth arms races and colonial expansion. Colonialism was seen as natural and unavoidable, justified through Social Darwinian ethics – “stronger” people saw “weaker” natives as being more unfit to survive, and therefore felt warranted in stealing their land, capital, and resources. These ideas were definitely prominent in causing the war; however there is no single reason why the First World War began. Each nation’s individually ideology played a significant role.

    Whatever the individual causes of the war, the effects were experienced collectively. Although Germany was primarily blamed and felt the consequences of the war by way of the Treaty of Versailles, every nation involved had pangs of desperation and depression due to the large number of casualties suffered and the financial stresses that the war had affected. Economic instability of world’s governments dominated the post-war era along with pessimistic attitudes toward reconciliation. Many scholars refer to that period in history as “The Lost Generation.” The "Lost Generation" was said to be disillusioned, cynical, and disdainful of the pervious notions of morality and respect of their elders. Philosophically, the “New Era” that was promised at the onset of World War I was an age of dejection, melancholy, and extreme doubt.

    Part Two: The “Second” World War

    Many people see the Second World War as a continuation of the first (World War II, 2005); a lot of the causes of the Second World War are related to, if not rooted in the “Great War.” The Treaty of Versailles that placed guilt on Germany for causing the First World War helped to fuel the country’s fervent nationalism, which aided the rise of Fascism and the “nation state,” is in line with the socialistic philosophies of World War I. Militarism, especially when considering the countries of Germany and the Soviet Union, played a significant role in the Second World War. Also, there were territorial disputes that arose out of the first war. For example, the creation of Poland was never received by German officials. The Polish Corridor was not the only issue, for Germany wanted to see the entire nation dissolved into its own, such as what had been done with Eastern Czechoslovakia following the signing of the Munich Agreement (Perry 843). Anti-Semitism and Anti-Communism were also vital at the onset of German advancement – these issues can be associated with the theory of Social Darwinism that was a prevalent cause of World War I. The widespread pessimism and want of prevention following World War One can also be blamed. A considerable amount of culpability can be placed on British and French officials, who followed a policy of appeasement in a failed effort to prevent another global disaster.

    If the First World War killed off the idyllic hopes and dreams of humanity, then the Second World War simply defaced and mutilated the remains. The conflict overwhelmed much of the world and was the deadliest war in all of human history. World War II resulted in the deaths of anywhere from 50 to 60 million people, most of which were civilians, over 3% of the world population at that time (World War II, 2005). It was the first time that nuclear weapons were used to settle conflicts. And the estimated cost was about 1 trillion 1945 US dollars [nearly 11 trillion dollars by today’s standards], not including the cost of reconstruction (World War II, 2005). World War II was truly as worldwide disaster with consequences that are still felt by many people today.

    Too often Germany is accused of being the primary facet in the causation of the Second World War. Although it is true that the rise of Hitler was made possible by the Germanic people’s desire break away from the bonds of the Treaty of Versailles, attributing just one cause [or one country] to the war is unjustified. There was a complex web of “reasons” why the Second World War came to fruition, including, but not limited to the Russian Revolution and the Great Depression. It is impossible to pinpoint a single cause or country that can be blamed for the outbreak of World War II.

    Despite the confusion over causation, the effects of the war were felt in all countries that participated – especially in countries that were affected by the Holocaust. Again, widespread depression and pessimism seemed to be the philosophy of the post-war period. The use of nuclear weapons for the first time marked man’s ability to destroy entire civilizations in the span of a single day. Man had acquired the capacity to wipe out all of humanity in a single stroke. At the end of the war, millions of people were left homeless, the European economic system had crumpled, and the industrial infrastructure was devastated (World War II, 2005). Out of the ruins of the Second World War came two global superpowers, Russia and the United States of America. A nuclear arms race ensued, which ultimately became labeled the Cold War. The Cold war was marked by intimidation, propaganda, government assassinations, and even more nuclear armament. Although there was no direct armed conflict between the two superpowers, much of the world learned to live in fear of “the bomb” and that terror continues to this day.
    Part Three: Reconciliation

    Many scholars have begun to think of World War I and World War II as World War Part 1 and 2 with a great armistice in the middle. When looking at the war from a socio-political standpoint, it is all-together apparent that many of the cause of WWI were the very same which set the foundation for the second great battle. For instance: the ardent nationalism of separate countries, Social Darwinism [which led to racism], the convoluted system of alliances, and the rigidity of governmental planning all played an important role in both wars. The Treaty of Versailles, which limited the military build-up and land acquisition of Germany, undoubtedly bound the two wars in a political and psychological knot. The constraints that Germany faced after the First World War, and the “war-guilt” clause which delineated Germany solely responsible for the Allie’s losses, set the pyre on which the spark of Nazism was allowed to smolder and then relentlessly burn.

    Still, although the wars were fought on the same worldwide field – and many of the social politics remained the same – the military and technical aspects of each separate war were varied; the First World War being fought in the trenches and the Second World War being fought with more ferocious weapons and techniques. The “blitzkrieg” style of warfare, which Germany employed in WWII, prevented the country from making many of the mistakes that led to the lengthy and blood-spattered standoffs of the First World War. From a technological perspective, the two wars were fought in different fashions, using different types of armaments and vehicles as weapons (such as the use of airplanes in WW2).

    Yet the armistice in the middle of the two wars is a justified theory, especially when you look at the results and philosophical judgments of the wars. What the two wars had most in common was this: The widespread pessimism and utter disillusionment for humanity’s ability to sustain itself following a massive and violent debacle of worldwide warfare. Both wars set a miserable example of what will become of the human race if we continue to develop technologies that we are not fit to use. Both wars say more about the failings of the human race than about our accomplishments. It now seems like we are headed backward, rather then forward in our intellectual development. The ideas set forth in our golden ages are swept away and replaced with fear and cynicism. Instead of searching for truth and understanding, we are merely seeking for a way to reconcile the darker side of our species with future endeavors in a way wherein we won’t destroy ourselves. The two World Wars have ushered in a new age of man – the age of horror and misery. From now on we will have to think about the possibility of total annihilation before we engage in any sort of military conflict. And if there is any hope, it lies in the abolition of state interest, and the supplication for a free society in which human brotherhood and mutual aid are the new dominant forces (Warbasse 4).

    Works Cited

    Perry, Marvin, Myrna Chase, James R. Jacob, Margaret C. Jacob, and Theodore H. Von Laue. Western Civilization Volume II. 2004. MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

    Warbasse, James Peter.“Concerning Atrocities.” The History Collection. 2001. UWDC. 01 Dec. 2005. < http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu >.

    "World War I" Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 2005. Wikipedia.org. 04 Dec. 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_French_Revolution >.

    “World War II" Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 2005. Wikipedia.org. 09 Dec. 2005
    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_French_Revolution >.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2007
  12. glenn239 Registered Senior Member

    I'm unclear as to what you feel caused World War One, and how this causation percolated through to World War Two. For instance, you mention Bosnian Serbs killing the heir as the immediate trigger - were the motivations most important to this a sense of pan-Serb nationalism, or the more mundane fact that they were recruited as agents of the Serb army? You mention Versailles - how specifically did the treaty fit into the situation? Was it territorial, the war guilt thing, or the disarmament clauses?
  13. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    Were you asked to provide a Philosophical Perspective?
    If I set someone a history essay, I sure as hell wouldn't want a piece of philosophy as an answer.
    I'd want meat and no fat!
    Nor would I be much impressed by wikipedia as a reference.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh. Wish I had had time to make a swift response to your original post.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2005
  14. mountainhare Banned Banned

    River Ape:
    As long as Wikipedia has sources to the information it has published, I don't see anything wrong with using it in an essay.
  15. glenn239 Registered Senior Member

    Presumably it's not the accuracy of the source, merely it's effortlessness.
  16. mountainhare Banned Banned

    Effortlessness? Huh?

    Wikipedia is great when you want a general overview of a topic or historical event. It isn't great on the detail, but nevertheless, it's a helpful source with interesting contribution. I usually prefer reading wikipedia over the traditional encyclopaedia's, since it isn't cluttered with technical, irrelevant crap.
  17. devils_reject Registered Senior Member

    Extremist Germany single handedly led to WW2 in my opinion and a lot of people underrate how powerful Germany was during those times. The same country was just as powerful during the first war, of cause the first was caused by many reasons but can be narrowed down to alliances and power. In war as in all conflicts nobody ever really wins, the loser never really forgets and even the victor is perplexed. In fact at the end of WW2 Russian soldiers told Ameican soldiers "you are next", this I think has something to do with a little thing called the cold war. Anyway all this emotions erupted during and after WW1 and lead to revolutions, enlightenments, and new socio-political ideology and perspective. Arguably extremist Germany never felt remorse for the first war otherwise they would have learned their lesson. What amazes me the most is how Germany managed to recover financially from WW1 and go on to stage WW2, can anyone give me insight on this? What kind of treaty favored such events, surely not one of any sort of punishment? This always amazes me. Were they going around embezzling during the war? Anyway if you know anything about WW2 you know that at least 80% of Hitler's doctrine was based on propaganda, which makes it hard to tell what his real motives and reasons were sometimes. So I can't really tell what screw fell off Hitler's brain to mastermind a genius war but I can tell you that he saw much of Europe in his grasp, the grasp of Germany, a higher Germany most likely from the consequences of WW1.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  18. glenn239 Registered Senior Member

    It would never occur to me to use a source such as Wikipedia while researching a paper – as you say, it’s too generalized. If on the internet, spending some quality time with Google is necessary to find good sites. Or hopping in the car to go to the library. But either of those options take more effort….

    The second half of this quote contradicts the first half – if Russia was in any way expansionist, then German aggression isn’t going to fully explain the wars. Never the less, it’s a direct answer to the question and therefore superior to the paper posted previously. With the ‘philosophical’ approach one suspects (because it’s fluffy and lacking specific details) that the base motive is to evade addressing the question.

    See Strachan, or Ferguson (‘how not to pay for a war’). Essentially, the European powers borrowed money to the hilt, then welched on paying it back. With regards for Germany – I find it interesting that in both wars it was essentially the same alliances fighting each other. The Entente powers on one side, the Triple Alliance on the other. This suggests deeper causation than German ambition. That is, if the wars were a German bid for hegemony, then how did Germany manage to drag Austria-Hungary and Italy onto their sides before each of the wars? (Italy defecting in 1914, of course)
  19. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    I deleted a key post by the OP (which was his paper on WWI/WWII) at the OP's request. Its a shame really. This thread had a 10 rating. So few threads get rated. I didn't read the paper, but the concept was interesting.

    Perhaps sevenblu might share with us his reason for wanting it deleted, though it isn't necessary. I'm happy to delete the post or even un-delete it later should he request since it was his own original work.
  20. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    I think he mainly just wanted his name erased.
  21. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    In that case, mission accomplished. His name was on the paper that was the post formerly known as #8, but not in the OP.
  22. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    Stephen Ambrose made the argument first I think that WWI and WWII are really the same war, with a long ceasefire 1918-1939.

    Specifically he makes the comments in episode 25 - Reckoning (April 1945) of the near perfect documentary series "World at War". Interviewees include Charles Bohlen, Stephen Ambrose, Lord Avon, Lord Mountbatten and Noble Frankland.

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