What are your opinions on the world wars?What are your opinions on the world wars? Were either of them avoidable? Could it happen again?

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not believe that World War I was avoidable by the turn of the 20th century.  The term "powder keg" is often used to describe the situation in Europe at the time and since Europeans had colonies all around the world, the explosion of this powder keg was bound to effect the entire world.  While the trigger for the conflict for World War I was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, the real causes lie in the militaristic build-up of Europe, imperialistic policies that set European nations at each other's throats all over the world, secret alliances that required parties to attack if other parties were attacked, and a rampant nationalism that made each nation think they were better than the other. 

If World War I had reached a better settlement and had followed the recommendations of Woodrow Wilson and had not required punitive reparations from Germany it is possible that World War II may never have been fought.  However, once Hitler became an established power, I believe, there is no way we could have avoided war because no matter what Japan did, if Hitler had conquered all of Europe, it would have had dire consequences for the United States, because he would have not stopped with Europe.  Further, I believe that Hitler's racist evil needed to be stopped or whole peoples would have been wiped off the face of the earth.  There are times when war is just and righteous and WWII was one of those times.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In reply to #4 - In time to come, historians will view 1914 -1945 as one long war with a 20 year truce. Because WWI ended badly, WWII became unavoidable.  Could WWI have been avoided?  Probably not. Warfare has existed as long as people have; Only with the end of people will there be the end of warfare. Since both countries, Germany and England, were ruled by the same royal family, it appears the primary cause of WWI was a family squabble, which expressed itself in German-English rivalry. As long as there've been people, there's been families, and as long as there's been families there's been family squabbles.  One can only hope, after the resutling destruction, we are finally on our way to distancing ourselves from the primitive response of always resolving conflict by force. Sometimes it's necessary, and is the only way -- but our very survival requires those times be rare indeed. Certainly what caused Wars I and II would not be the same causes of another world conflict, but that's not to say it can't happen.  The possibility still exists.  The probability has been decreasing steadily, as the world around knows that the world will not survive another all out war.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a difficult question to answer because I was not there and did not live during this time.  I cannot second-guess what our leaders decided to do.  Much of the world was in turmoil, thus the terms "World Wars" came to be.  Many countries lost so many people in World War I and II.  Did good come out of them, absolutely.  History is what it is, and I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason, so obviously, these wars did happen for reasons that we may never know.  Perhaps it was to show us how horrible and destructive it is.  

I have hope that there will not be any more wars of this magnitude for my children's sake.  I won't ever give up that hope.  If we all give up hope and see war as inevitable, then we're simply giving up, which I cannot and will not do. :)

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

War is not always avoidable, unfortunately.  Countries react to direct threats to their sovereignty and security, and there is no clearer definition of threat than World War I and World War II.  Nations had a choice as to whether or not to start those wars, but the instigators of these wars in both cases were dictators who did not answer to popular will.

World War is much less likely to happen than before nuclear weapons were invented.  The possibility of mutual destruction on an apocalyptic scale is a serious and effective deterrent to war in the modern day, and so we have greater cause to avoid conflicts on the scale of the World Wars that involve major powers fighting one another.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course they're avoidable...the question is why did the government choose to get involved?  During WWII, our government knew that the Japanese were on the way to bomb Pearl Harbor, but because a war was seen to be a good way to boost the economy, the bombing and all those innocent sleeping lives were sacrificed.  The government knew that the public did not want a war, but something like the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers would anger the public enough to get its support when the declaration of war was made.

Could it happen again?  Absolutely.  When?  Who knows...but I promise you there will be another world war, and I hope I'm dead and gone by then.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think the wars were inevitable. Since Germany was so hell-bent on taking over other countries, war would likely result. Unfortunately, nothing was resolved, including the economy. Thus war number 2. Since WW I devastated the economy in Germany and other counties, the rise of Hitler was possible.
audie | Student
What are your opinions on the world wars?

What are your opinions on the world wars? Were either of them avoidable? Could it happen again?

The Great War [as world war 1 was called at the time of its outbreak] would have happened even if Gavrilo Princip had not killed the archduke Franz Ferdinand. It may not have happened in 1914, and it may not have occurred on the same scale, because there is much evidence to support the hypothesis that Wilhemine Germany was plotting for such a conflict in Europe. I know that historians are not supposed to analyse 'what if' situations since no one can accurately predict the 'future'; nonetheless, the Germans had been preparing for European conflict since the 1890's. Historiography has shown how complicated this topic is, but it is fair to say that most historians/scholars have traditionally focussed on Germany when assessing the causation issues linked to this war. The Germans had been building up an impressive navy of dreadnouhgt and super-dreadnought battleships. By the late nineteenth century, the Germans had developed a navy that could rival that of [the then] England. The formation of the great alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy was a cause of concern to other European nations. However, one cannot blame Germany entirely,  for the outbreak of war because there were many other stakeholders who were also to be blamed for the conflict and controversy that had existed then. The Serbs also played a significant role and the mere fact that Serbians were allies of Russia and France is an issue that needs to be debated carefully. 

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