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Discussion in 'General' started by alecras234, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  2. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Most of us don't have to overcome problems as severe as yours and even we find aspects of WW2 difficult to understand!

    It's not easy to break down 6 years of fighting across the World into one sentence topics.

    It might be easier to put WW2 into some sort of context.

    In history there have always been "major powers" and lesser ones.
    • Think of the Pharoahs in Egypt, the Greeks and then the Romans, all controlled vast areas of the known world.
    • Skip forward to say 1100 AD, England ruled by the Normans who also controlled most of France; then Spain became strong enough and send out ships to plunder the South Americas.
    • Much of the growth was controlled by control of trade routes where wealth came from outside and made that Nation stronger.
    • Great Britain eventually won the Wars against Napoleon and his Allies and set up a buffer Country of Belgium to keep France separated from other parts of Europe.
    • There was a large collection of small States that came together to form Germany.
    • There was a War in 1870 when the French were humiliated and lost two provinces to Germany, Alsace and Lorriane.
    • That caused France to want a War with Germany and formed an Alliance with Russia, which although terribly backward had the largest manpower.
    • Britain wanted to maintain er global presence won by the Royal Navy under Nelson and when steam engines allowed ships to sail in any direction independent of the wind, the Royal Navy needed to build up to prevent a sudden invasion from the Continent, principally from France.
    • We could have kept out of any European War but we had guaranteed the existence of Belgium to ensure France and Germany were kept apart.
    • The french reinforced their common border leaving the Germans with the only other route to France being through Belgium.
    • Feeling threatened by having two Powers of France on one side and Russia on the other, the Germans calculated that it would take the Russians a long time to mobilise their armies, allowing enough time for a rapid defeat of France and then turn towards Russia.
    • That's how the First World War started.
    • The Peace negotiations turned into a demand for reparations to pay the cost, which had virtually drained the british and French economies and manpower.
    • The Germans felt that they had been unfairly starved into submission and not actually defeated, as they still were on foreign soil when the Armistice came on 11 November 1918.
    • That resentment fuelled WW2.
    • This time round, the Germans calmed the threat from Russia with a Non Aggression Pact which secretly allowed both Countries to swallow chunks of other Countries such as Poland as buffer zones, leaving the Germans able to concentrate on conquering France, which they rapidly did in 1940, leaving Britain and the Commonwealth alone to fight the Germans.
    • The Battle of Britain was when the RAF successfully defended against the German Air Force, which needed to control the skies if an invasion of England was to be successful. It didn't succeed, fortunately for us.
    • Hitler, the German leader or Fuhrer, then turned against Russia and launched an attack which almost beat the Russians, but there was a stubborn defence at Stalingrad which combined with the ferocious Russian winter, enabled the Russians to begin to recover lost territory.
    • To distract the Russians, the Germans enticed the Japanese to attack from the rear, but the Japanese had their own plans to control the Pacific, which meant taking control away from America.
    • They planned a surprise attack on the US Navy at their main base in Hawaii, at Pearl Harbor (American spelling)
    • That destroyed much of the main American fleet but didn't get the aircraft carriers.
    • The prepared Japanese swept through much of the Pacific, beating poorly prepared troops and capturing hundreds of thousands of prisoners which they treated extremely badly.
    • The moral outrage of the surprise attack brought America into the War as Allies of Britain, with all the ability to produce thousands of aircraft, tanks and ships as well as a huge new pool of manpower. That turned the tide of the War.
    • Britain beat the Germans and Italians out of North Africa where they were trying to get control of the vital supplies of oil
    • Italy was then invaded and forced out of the War from the German side.
    • We tried to get into the mid parts of Europe by fighting up through Italy but the terrain and dogged defences held things up.
    • An invasion of Europe was needed to defeat the Germans on their own soil.
    • RAF Bomber Command attacked German war production almost every night, preventing much needed war material and men being used to shore up the weakening defences against the Russians, especially oil and petrol supplies. It was costly but the only way to directly attack Germany.
    • On 6th June 1944 D Day the Allies landed in Normandy, and eventually broke through the German defences, pushing into Germany in early 1945.
    • The Russians had also pushed into Germany and finally captured Berlin after Hitler had killed himself.
    • The Americans continued against the Japanese but their fanatical resistance when they preferred death to surrender made the Allies believe that an invasion of the main Japanese islands would not only result in the death of all the Prisoners of War but be extremely costly.
    • They resolved to use a new weapon of enormous power to force the Japanese to surrender and in August 1945, they dropped two powerful bombs which on their own destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese could see the next bomb would be on Tokyo and immediately surrendered.
    Sorry, it's a lot to take in but may give you anchor points from which you can focus to get a better understanding along the way!
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