Causes of World War II
While some reasons behind the conflict of 1939 could be considered long-term causes, as they remained unresolved from the time period of World War I, a number of causes were relatively new to the society of that time. The world was unstable from the previous conflicts, with new aggressors gaining more power and followers than ever before. Many countries were left unsatisfied with the new policies and agreements from the League of Nations, which fueled the countries’ rivalry.
A chain of irrational decisions and fear-driven movements, such as the continuation of the policy of appeasement, anti-communist propaganda, racism towards Jews, and targeted aggression from Germany, were some of the causes of World War II.
The policy of appeasement was supported by Britain and France, as these countries decided to agree to Hitler’s demands in order to protect the peace. Their main argument was based on the idea that Hitler had reasonable and logical requests and that by fulfilling them, the countries would be able to maintain order. However, the countries’ decision was perceived as weak and brought more confidence to Hitler and his followers. The rise of fascism and communist critique also influenced the course of actions. Moreover, it is possible that Italian and German movements were created because of the communist uprisings in Russia and neighboring countries.
The militarization of Germany, Italy, and Japan, along with Hitler’s idea of extermination of inferior nations, significantly contributed to the conflict’s progression as well. Nationalism became a political view and was adopted by fascists very quickly. Hitler directed the hatred of the masses, which regarded him as a strong and capable leader, towards Jewish people and made their extermination his ultimate goal. Such nationalist sentiments significantly offset the balance of European society.
The United Nations
The League of Nations, which was founded in 1920 as an organization to maintain peace after World War I, was deemed ineffective because of its limited scope and inability to prevent further conflicts. During the actions of World War II, many countries were determined to create a new organization that would promote peace and security for all nations. The ideas for the future structure and activities were being developed as a part of the cooperation between World War II allies.
For example, in 1942, only a number of countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations, which was created by such state leaders as Roosevelt and Churchill. This declaration discussed the principles of peace, human rights, independence, religious freedom, and economic and political cooperation. While the main purpose of this declaration was to ensure that countries would perform their role in order to stop the war, the idea of an international organization that would exist after the conflict is resolved started to form. Later, more countries signed the Declaration and joined the organization.
In 1945, after the major war events were over, many government representatives and well as some organizations were invited to the United Nations Conference to draft the charter for the organization. The official establishment of the United Nations happened after the charter was reviewed and signed by the participating countries. Most of the goals established by the United Nations remained the same as in the first draft of the Declaration. The main purpose of the organization was to maintain peace. The UN encouraged the countries to discuss and cooperate with each other in order to solve not just military and political conflicts, but also humanitarian, cultural, and economic problems.
The Korean War
The Korean War took place during the period of the Cold War from 1950 to 1953. North Korea invaded South Korea with an intention to reclaim the territory and unite the territories. After World War I, Korea was split into two regions, each of which declared its independence, demanded the right to rule over the whole territory of Korea and refused to recognize the border between the two areas. While the Soviet Union supported the government of North Korea, South Korea was significantly influenced by America. The conflict was not sudden, as both territories were getting support from their allies, who argued about the validity of both regions since separation.
The United Nations, which was created five years before the escalation of this conflict, supported the side of South Korea. It can be argued that the organization chose to provide necessary aid to South Korea in order to fight in the war under the influence of the United States. Although a number of countries provided military troops to fight alongside the South Korean army, most of the resources were supplied by the United States, including personnel, fleet, and weapons.
American political leaders were very involved in every conflict of the Korean War, establishing their authority in the United Nations from the start. Their impact on the actions of the organization is undeniable, as they possibly influenced the speed of the UN’s decision-making process. The eagerness to provide necessary supplies should also be noted because it showed the difference of the current leadership from the leaders, who were active during World War II. It is possible that such an active stance came as a result of the Cold War, which involved Russia and America as the main participants.