World War II

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Analyze how World War II was a truly global war and why it led to the end of a European-dominated world. How did the war challenge the ideological justifications for imperialism?

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The instability that took place all over Europe, and the overall unresolved problems of the First World War, paved the way for what would become known as the most devastating international disaster in world history—World War II. In politically and economically unstable Germany, Hitler and his National Socialist party were on the rise, signing treaties with Japan’s and Italy’s leaders, to strengthen Hitler’s vile and immoral plans and ambitions to, basically, rule the world.

Thus, in September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, which prompted France and Great Britain to declare war on Germany. This key event officially marked the beginning of the Second World War. On one side, the Axis (mainly Germany, Italy, and Japan) were fighting for world dominance, and on the other side, the Allies (mainly the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States) were fighting to stop them.

As time went by, more countries and nations from all around the globe joined the conflict. In the fighting and violence that followed, over eighty million people lost their lives, millions continued to live in horrifying conditions, and hundreds of mega-structures, villages, and even cities were destroyed.

In 1941, World War II transformed into a global war. Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the United States officially entered the war. Over seventy countries and nations decided to participate in the war, and the fighting took place all over the world. Over seventy million soldiers were mobilized, and civilians either were transformed into war workers and soldiers or died at the hands of their oppressors.

By the time the Allied forces declared their victory, and Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, the world was left in devastation and chaos, as the war had an enormous and irreversible impact on the political, social, economic, and cultural climate of almost every nation.

As far as imperialism is concerned, the Second World War did not exactly end it, but it certainly changed its course. All of the empires that had existed before the twentieth century were basically gone, and the attempts to create new ones (mainly by Germany, Italy, and Japan) were unsuccessful. People feared control and oppression, and the world changed its opinions on politics and economics. Thus, trade and capital became the more favored policies for achieving stability and economic welfare.

Furthermore, the technological advances of the war and the twentieth century in general branded imperialism as an inefficient and undesirable political system, as people began to realize that it did little to help the political and socioeconomic growth of their countries.

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