World War II
Nov 10, · At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of , the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with. Aug 31, · The release of two atomic bombs on Japan in August helped end World War II but ushered in the Cold War, a conflict between the United States .
President Harry S. Standing in the back row are, left to right, Adm. In the United States, the use of the how to qualify for a mortgage after bankruptcy was widely praised by a public tired of war and high casualties. America heaved a huge sigh of relief that the blasts ended the need to shift hundreds of thousands of troops who had survived Europe to fight yet another bloody war on Japanese soil.
In the decades that followed, however, as the passions of that era have cooled, historians have taken another, dispassionate look at the events of A number have concluded that while the bomb may have helped end the war quickly, it fueled the U. After the surrender of Germany and Japan, the two world powers maneuvered for decades to increase their spheres of influence what grain has the most protein the globe, spurred on by competing ambitions and ideologies of capitalism and communism.
Cold War calculations led to a divided Germany and U. Some form of Cold War would have commenced whether or not the U. Offner, Cornelia F. Hugel professor of history emeritus at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. But some historians cite the explosions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago as among the key events that metastasized the ideological rift between the two powers into a full-blown Cold War dominated by nuclear brinkmanship.
During World War II, they never completely trusted each other even though they were fighting a common enemy. But even into the last year of the war, the nations were in general agreement about postwar power sharing. President Franklin D. The new president, Harry S. Truman, and other U. In Potsdam, the U. Truman, unsophisticated in foreign affairs and greatly influenced by Byrnes, believed using the bombs on Japan would shock Stalin and contain his ambitions, Sherwin said.
And while the U. Devastated by Germany in two world wars — with at least 20 million Russians dead defending against the Nazis — the Soviets took drastic actions to prevent a rising Germany from ever threatening their homeland again. The decision by the Western Allies in to merge their three occupation zones into a single entity — West Germany — was followed months later by the establishment of the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, dividing the country for nearly a half-century.
Four years after Hiroshima, the Soviets successfully tested their first atomic bomb, and by then they had come to view America as a greater threat than a divided Germany. The nuclear arms race that came to define the Cold War was on in earnest. Consider what the world would be like today had the U.
Mar 14, · The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I. The 40,,–50,, deaths incurred in World War II make it the bloodiest conflict, as well as the largest war, in history. World War I was fought from to Learn more about World War I combatants, battles and generals, and what caused World War I. In , many former Western Allies did end their state of war with Germany: Australia (9 July), Canada, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands (26 July), South Africa, the United Kingdom (9 July), and the United States (19 October). The state of war between Germany and the Soviet Union was ended in early
The economic history of World War I covers the methods used by the First World War — , as well as related postwar issues such as war debts and reparations. It also covers the economic mobilization of labor, industry, and agriculture leading to economic failure.
It deals with economic warfare such as the blockade of Germany, and with some issues closely related to the economy, such as military issues of transportation. For a broader perspective see Home front during World War I.
All of the powers in expected a short war; none had made any economic preparations for a long war, such as stockpiling food or critical raw materials. The longer the war went on, the more the advantages went to the Allies , with their larger, deeper, more versatile economies and better access to global supplies. As Stephen Broadberry and Mark Harrison conclude, once stalemate set in late in "The greater Allied capacity for taking risks, absorbing the cost of mistakes, replacing losses, and accumulating overwhelming quantitative superiority should eventually have turned the balance against Germany".
The Allies had much more potential wealth they could spend on the war. Total war demanded total mobilization of all the nation's resources for a common goal. Manpower had to be channeled into the front lines all the powers except the United States and Britain had large trained reserves designed just for that. Behind the lines labour power had to be redirected away from less necessary activities that were luxuries during total war.
In particular, vast munitions industries had to be built up to provide shells, guns, warships, uniforms, airplanes, and a hundred other weapons both old and new. Agriculture had to provide food for both civilians and for soldiers some of whom had been farmers and needed to be replaced by women, children and the elderly who now did the work without animal assistance and for horses to move supplies. Transportation, in general, was a challenge, especially when Britain and Germany each tried to intercept merchant ships headed for the enemy.
Finance was a special challenge. Germany financed the Central Powers. Britain financed the Allies until when it ran out of money and had to borrow from the United States. The U. The victorious Allies looked to defeated Germany in to pay reparations that would cover some of their costs. Above all, it was essential to conduct the mobilization in such a way that the short term confidence of the people was maintained, the long-term power of the political establishment was upheld, and the long-term economic health of the nation was preserved.
In Austria, for example, most pigs were slaughtered, so at war's end there was no meat. The Western Front quickly stabilized, with almost no movement of more than a few hundred yards. The greatest single expenditure on both sides was for artillery shells, the chief weapon in the war. Since the front was highly stable, both sides built elaborate railway networks that brought supplies within a mile or two of the front lines, with horse-drawn wagons used for the final deliveries.
In the ten-month battle at Verdun, the French and Germans fired some 10 million shells in all, weighing 1. The German counter-blockade with U-Boats was defeated by the convoy system and massive American shipbuilding.
Britain paid the war costs of most of its Allies until it ran out of money, then the US took over, funding those Allies and Britain as well.
The War saw a decline of civilian consumption, with a major reallocation to munitions. Despite fears in that munitions production was lagging, in the longer term the output was more than adequate. The annual output of artillery grew from 91 guns in to in Warplanes soared from in to in , while the production of machine guns went from to , By , Britain was funding most of the Empire's war expenditures, all of Italy's and two thirds of the war costs of France and Russia, plus smaller nations as well.
Treasury in — The financing was generally successful,  as the City's strong financial position minimized the damaging effects of inflation, as opposed to much worse conditions in Germany.
Trade unions were encouraged as membership grew from 4. Energy was a critical factor for the British war effort. Most of the energy supplies came from coal mines in Britain, where the issue was labour supply. Critical however was the flow of oil for ships, lorries and industrial use.
There were no oil wells in Britain so everything was imported. In , total British consumption was million barrels, of which 85 percent was supplied by the United States, and 6 percent by Mexico. Convoys and the construction of new tankers solved the German threat, while tight government controls guaranteed that all essential needs were covered. An oil crisis occurred in Britain due to the German submarine campaign.
Archbold between May and September. The only solution to the crisis lay with increased oil shipment from America. The close working relationship that evolved was in marked contrast to the feud between the government and Standard Oil years earlier. In and , there was increased domestic demand for oil partly due to the cold winter that created a shortage of coal. Inventories and imported oil from Mexico were used to close the gap. In January , the U. Fuel Administrator ordered industrial plants east of Mississippi to close for a week to free up oil for Europe.
Fuel oil for the Royal Navy was the highest priority. In , the Royal Navy consumed 12, tons a month, but had a supply of 30, tons a month from the Anglo-Persian Oil Company , using their oil wells in Persia. Clydeside shipyards before had been the busiest in the world, turning out more than a third of the entire British output. They expanded by a third during the war, primarily to produce transports of the sort that German U-boats were busy sinking. But after the war, employment tumbled as the yards proved too big, too expensive, and too inefficient; in any case world demand was down.
The most skilled craftsmen were especially hard hit, because there were few alternative uses for their specialized skills. Ireland was on the verge of civil war in after Parliament voted a home rule law that was intensely opposed by Unionists, especially those in Ulster. When the war broke out the law was suspended and Protestants gave very strong support for the war in terms of military service and industrial output. Occurring during Ireland's Revolutionary period , the Irish Nationalist experience of the war was complex and its memory of it divisive.
At the outbreak of the war, most Irish people, regardless of political affiliation, supported the war in much the same way as their British counterparts,  and both nationalist and unionist leaders initially backed the British war effort. Their followers, both Catholic and Protestant, served extensively in the British forces, many in three specially raised divisions.
Over , Irishmen fought in the war, in several theatres with 30, deaths. In , supporters of Irish independence from the United Kingdom took the opportunity of the ongoing war to proclaim an Irish Republic and to defend it in an armed rebellion against British rule in Dublin. The rebellion was poorly planned and quickly suppressed. After summary Courts Martial, the British executed 15 of the prisoners  which caused public opinion to surge in favour of independence. Britain's intention to impose conscription in Ireland in provoked widespread resistance and as a result remained unimplemented.
The Commonwealth nations and India all played major roles. The Asian and African colonies provided large numbers of civilian workers, as well as some soldiers. Over one million Indian troops served overseas, of whom 62, died and another 67, were wounded.
Canada was prosperous during the war but ethnic conflict escalated almost out of control. In terms of long-run economic trends, the war hardly affected the direction or the speed of change. The trajectory of the main economic factors, the business and financial system, and the technology continued on their way. Women temporarily took war jobs, and at the end of the war there was a great deal of unrest among union members and farmers for a few years. Billy Hughes , prime minister from October , expanded the government's role in the economy, while dealing with intense debates over the issue of conscription.
However, Fischer also says it was done by means of exclusion and repression. He says the war turned a peaceful nation into "one that was violent, aggressive, angst- and conflict-ridden, torn apart by invisible front lines of sectarian division, ethnic conflict and socio-economic and political upheaval.
In the Australian economy was small but the population of five million was very nearly the most prosperous in the world per capita. The nation depended on the export of wool, mutton, wheat and minerals. London provided assurances that it would underwrite the war risk insurance for shipping in order to allow trade amongst the Commonwealth to continue in the face of the German u-boat threat.
London imposed controls so that no exports would wind up in German hands. The British government protected prices by buying Australian products even though the shortage of shipping meant that there was no chance that they would ever receive them.
On the whole Australian commerce expanded. Iron mining and steel manufacture grew enormously. As a result, the cost of living for many average Australians was increased. The trade union movement, already powerful grew rapidly, though the movement split on the political question of conscription. Despite the considerable rises in the costs of many basic items, the government sought to stabilize wages, much to the anger of unionists.
Not all of these disputes were due to economic factors, and indeed in some part they were the result of violent opposition to the issue of conscription, which many trade unionists were opposed to. Meanwhile, although population growth continued during the war years, it was only half that of the prewar rate.
Per capita incomes also declined sharply, failing by 16 percent. South Africa's main economic role was in the supply of two-thirds of the gold production in the British Empire most of the remainder came from Australia. When the war began Bank of England officials worked with the government of South Africa to block any gold shipments to Germany, and force the mine owners to sell only to the Treasury, at prices set by the Treasury. This facilitated purchases of munitions and food in the U.
S, and other neutrals. By London lost control to the mining companies which were now backed by the South African government. They wanted the higher prices and sales to New York that a free market would provide. The Germans invaded Belgium at the start of the war and Belgium remained occupied for the entire war. There was both large-scale spontaneous militant and passive resistance. Over a 1.
Belgium was heavily industrialized; while farms operated and small shops stayed open some large establishments shut down or drastically reduced their output. The faculty closed the universities; many publishers shut down their newspapers.