How World War II Became Global

World War II (1939-1945) began with the German invasion of Poland, and its subsequent division between the Soviets and the Germans. On the Eastern front, the war began with full-time Japanese vs. Chinese war. The Soviets then tried to invade Finland in what is known as the Winter War. They failed.

The next step was the invasion of Western Europe by Hitler and his Nazis. He invaded Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Holland and northern France. (Southern France had a government sympathetic and controlled by Hitler). The Germans also tried to takeover Britain in the Battle of Britain—an aerial battle in 1940. The Germans met with defeat in Britain. Italy then entered on the side of Hitler and took another part of France. The Germans then invaded Yugoslavia.

Throughout WWII Spain under the dictatorship of Franco remained neutral. The other countries that remained neutral throughout WWII were Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Andorra, Liechtenstein, the Vatican City and Switzerland.

The two main events that led to the globalization of WWII were the attack on Pearl Harbor and Operation Barbarossa. Continue reading

The Coming of World War I

World War I’s origins were in the Serbian nationalists under Austrian-Hungarian rule. These nationalists wanted freedom for the Serbs from foreign rule. This movement was called pan-slavism and was primarily aimed at freeing the Serbs and creating a new independent country for them.

In the West, France wanted certain territories back from Germany, and was nursing grievances against it. Therefore, Germany, with the French on one side and the Russians (allies of the Serbs) on the other, began to fear encirclement and a two-front war. A two-front war would be a situation in which Russia and France would fight as allies against Germany.

The prime minister of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, in anticipation of a two-front war, made an alliance with Russia—a re-insurance treaty. He also made alliances with Austria (1879) and Italy (1882). Italy however, later broke this treaty and joined France, Britain and Russia. Continue reading