Compare and Contrast World War I and World War II
The first and the second world wars are considered landmark events in the contemporary world history (Weiner 2). They are marked by inclusion of the existing world authorities of the day. The First World War had the principal actors being the European authorities of Britain, Austria, Germany, among other states, with insignificant contribution from the United States (US). The Second World War involved participants from the United States of America, which was set to be the leading superpower in the years of post war. Therefore, this essay will compare the two wars.
To begin with, World War I took place between 1914 and 1918 while World War II took place between 1939 and 1945 (Winant 3). The difference in the two wars is brought about by the development and use of military expertise. While military warfare was elementary and easy during the years of the World War I, World War II had significant progress in military technology. For instance, the initiation of Tanks by the Third Reich is considered by specialists to be a critical factor in the dynamics of fight during the World War II. This was in contrast to innovations as the Zeppelin, which was used by the Germany command during the World War I.
The reasons behind the two vicious wars were extremely different in nature. In the case of World War I, the killings of the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian realm acted as a cause in weakening a weak state of political balance in Europe. A mixture of ill-fated timing of the killings along the rising internal anxiety in the European authorities gave voice in a form of a war on a huge scale. World War II though not ascribed to any event of an accidental nature. The brazen and blatant intention of Adolf Hitler, as well as his Third Reich made the succeeding argument almost unavoidable.
World War I was characterized by the extended times spent by the military in “trenches”, making the war to be depicted as trench warfare. This not only indicates lack of complexity in the war at that time but also the “sluggish” nature of the warfare. While duration of World War I was nearly five years (1914-1919), most of this time was spent in “stalemate” battles. Contrastingly, World War II was mainly an aerial war, because most of the tactical advantage was achieved by the state that had a better air force. The most atrocious protests of the strong German air power occurred during the “blitz”. This almost destroyed several cities and towns in Britain.
Another area of a contrasting perspective is the societies’ nature during the two wars and the role that women played. During World War I, women were in the background, and contributed less to the results of the war. However, women suffrage gained momentum during the 1930s, which extended the prospects of the previous traditional societies. This led to better contribution of women during the World War II. For instance, a class of women staff was employed in missiles factories and in rehabilitation centers as doctors (Hynes 19).
In terms of the present economic conditions of America and Europe, there are no big disparities between the periods that led to the two wars. For example, the most successful period of the 1920s in America was headed by uncertainty periods as well as social turmoil in the years that followed the turn of the century. According to Legro (13), the Great Depression was followed by associated poverty, prosperity years, as well as suffering of the Americans. Because America was not a principal player in any of the two wars, its economic situation was an indirect factor in the manner in which things potted out. After the end of economic Depression, America saw a great opportunity in consolidation of their position as a universal power in 1930s and 1940s. This motive was significant in the ultimate results of the war and the founding of a new world order (Womack, Jones and Roos 6).
As sated above, World War I was fundamentally a European conflict but the renewed imperialist desire for Japan made the whole nature of world dealings to change during the late 1930’s. The period of economic constancy and industrial growth made, Japan to dominate the eastern part of the globe. Although its executive reasons for interference with politics in the South East Asian was given as “freedom from western colonialists”, the actual cause is well implicit to the subjects and other competing powers. This imperialist objective of Japan was an insignificant factor to instigate the associated forces in the United States to defend their tactical and financial interests. This is a fundamental difference between the two wars (Hecht and Callon 11).
Finally, the two wars are similar in all-encompassing conflicts. The effect of the war on the civil societies is very philosophical (Goodwin 7). The nations in the clash had no alternative but to presume an emergency state. The economic strategies were steady with those of a war economy, with manufactured services and goods tuned to the soldier’s needs in the frontlines. The destruction scale was also enormous in both wars. However, World War II attested to be all the more bloody and disastrous for all participating nations, particularly the Jewish community. The atrocious German war machinery butchered nearly six million innocent Jews. The Japanese suffered a similar tragedy, when the US under the control of Truman, released two atomic bombs in the towns of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Simon and Schuster, 2013. Print.
Hecht, Gabrielle, and Michel Callon. The radiance of France: Nuclear power and national identity after World War II. MIT press, 2009. Print.
Hynes, Samuel. A war imagined: the First World War and English culture. Random House, 2011. Print.
Legro, Jeffrey W. Cooperation Under Fire: Anglo-German Restraint During World War II. Cornell University Press, 2013. Print.
Weiner, Amir. Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution. Princeton University Press, 2012. Print.
Winant, Howard. The world is a ghetto: Race and democracy since World War II. basic books, 2009. Print.
Womack, James P., Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. The machine that changed the world. Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print.