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

The Revolutions of 1848

I am going to discuss four different revolutions, or attempts at revolution, during the year 1848.

The French revolution of 1848 began under the reign of King Louis-Philippe. It began because the government had banned public political meetings of more than twenty people. The people got around this law by having banquets at which they would talk about politics. When the government found out and attempted to prevent such a banquet, revolts broke out. With the revolution upon him Louis-Philippe left the throne and fled France.

The Second Republic of France was then established as the government. Socialists and liberals* worked side by side in this new republic. However, the liberals wanted to get rid of the socialists and therefore gave them useless jobs to keep them busy. Continue reading

The Abolition of Slavery

Slavery first began in the West when Portuguese slave-trading ships, loaded with captured African men, women and children, landed in the harbors of the Americas. Although this trade was begun by Portugal, England, Holland and France joined in the 17th century.

The slaves were taken on ships from West Africa to Brazil, the Caribbean Islands and British North America. Continue reading

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) was a French official and a commander of the French army after the French Revolution. He was appointed first consul by the French government. Soon after, a new constitution was passed, which gave Napoleon absolute power over France. In 1802, he was appointed consul for life. Two years later, he created the Code Napoléon, wherein were listed new laws, traditions and customs.

One major step taken by Napoleon after the disastrous French Revolution was to reunite the Catholic Church and France. In 1801 Pope Pius VII and Napoleon came to an agreement, closing the gap between them. Some of the terms were:

  • Catholicism would be acknowledged as the official religion of France
  • Bishops would be chosen by Napoleon and approved by the Pope
  • Priests would be selected by the bishops from government pre-approved lists

However, there were concessions made by the Pope. Two of these were that the priests would remain government employed (government would pay their salaries), and that the church lands that had been confiscated during the Revolution would not be returned to the pope.

In 1802, Napoleon Continue reading