View Poll Results: Could we have avoided WW2?

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  • Yes

    63 41.45%
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Thread: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

  1. #1
    Comrade the Colonel's Avatar For the Motherland!
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    Icon1 Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    World War 2

    Intro

    The purpose of this thread is to debate who is responsible for WW2, and if it could have been avoided. This is not a "my country is better than your country" thread. I ask that we all refrain from personal attacks against other countries/members and that we will keep this thread on topic, and fair.


    My Argument

    The following is my opinion on this matter. There is no way that my views are 100% accurate, but I believe they are close. If you disagree with my views, I would like you to say why. I myself have always kept an open mind on everything.

    I would like to start by introducing the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles ended WW1 between Germany and the Allied nations. The following actions were taken against Germany:



    Article 227 charges former German Emperor, Wilhelm II with supreme offence against international morality. He is to be tried as a war criminal.
    Articles 228-230 tried many other Germans as war criminals.
    Article 231 (the "War Guilt Clause") lays sole responsibility for the war on Germany, which would be accountable for all the damage done to civilian population of the allies.


    According to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was the reason for WW1. I myself disagree, but this is not the part of the debate I will be focusing on.

    The following are military restrictions placed on Germany:





    • The Rhineland will become a demilitarized zone administered by Great Britain and France jointly.
    • German armed forces will number no more than 100,000 troops, and conscription will be abolished.
    • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
    • German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, 6 battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each), 6 cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each), 6 destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each) and 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each). No submarines are to be included.
    • The manufacture, import, and export of weapons and poison gas is prohibited.
    • Armed aircraft, tanks and armored cars are prohibited.
    • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
    • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns (e.g. the Maxim machine gun) and rifles (e.g. Mauser 1898 rifles).

    These restrictions are my main point in the debate. The Allied nations, mostly Britain and France, were to prevent him from violating the Treaty of Versailles, and take action against him if he did. Instead of stopping him, they let it slide. During this time, Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister in Britain. His appeasement policy is probably what he was best known for. He was for peace, which is a good thing, but he took it into extremes.

    When Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles, Britain and France did not stop them, as they were supposed to. The following are some of the violations made by Germany:



    In March 1935 Adolf Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by introducing compulsory military conscription in Germany and rebuilding the armed forces. This included a new Navy (Kriegsmarine), the first full armoured divisions (Panzerwaffe), and an Air Force (Luftwaffe).
    In March 1936 Hitler violated the treaty by reoccupying the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland.
    In March 1938 Hitler violated the treaty by annexing Austria in the Anschluss.
    In September 1938 Hitler with approval of France, Britain and Italy violated the Treaty by annexing Czechoslovak border regions, the Sudetenland
    In March 1939 Hitler violated the treaty by occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia.
    On 1 September 1939 Hitler violated the treaty by invading Poland, thus initiating World War II in Europe.



    Here is what I believe: The German army was not well equiped like the French and British armies, and was small. The first violation of the treaty was when Hitler began building up the armed forces. If they would have stopped him there, I believe WW2 could have been stopped. I did not say that there wouldnt be war with Germany, that could have been a posibility, but it would have been on a smaller scale considering that Britain and France had the military advantage.

    Lets let that first violation slide. When Hitler invaded the Rhineland, they should have stopped him also. His military was recovering, but had not reached the strenght it did when WW2 actually started. Hitler gave his men orders to retreat if the French soldiers made a military stand against him http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/Rhineland_1936.htm .


    If the British and French threatened military action against Hitler for invading the Rhineland, Hitler would have backed down. It is my conclusion that those mostly responsible for WW2 are the British and French governments. As to the question, could it have been prevented, I think so.


    This is my personal belief based on my knowledge of that time. If you disagree please, post why in a non hostile way. I am not trying to bash Britain or France, I mean no offence to any British or French citizens on TWC.

  2. #2
    NONOPUST's Avatar Baitai kihei
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Nice first post. I would have to agree with you as well. I believe the GB and French governments have a big part in the responsibilty department. Many other nations including the US deserve a smaller part of the blame, but some blame nonetheless.

    But to me it was perfectly understandable what GB and France did. WW1 was horrible, and who wanted to start another war after that?

    Benefit of hindsight I guess.

  3. #3
    Comrade the Colonel's Avatar For the Motherland!
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    I agree, the US has some blame as well, but the UK and France were the big contributors.

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    Luger's Avatar Kihei
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    The Entente was trying to prevent war at all cost, so military measures weren't a option.
    Now we can say that it wasn't the best choice.
    I believe the responsibility lies in the Treaty of Versailles, fortunately the Allies solved it better in 45'.
    "The future's uncertain And the end is always near."

  5. #5
    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Simple answer is yes it could have. Had the "Victors" of the Great War not acted as victors then Versailles would have been very different.

    However in asking people who have won a war to not act like victors and respect the cost to the other side too, was an impossibility for the time. You have to remember the last big peace settlement of this kind was the Congress of Vienna where afterwards it was pretty clear who was left in charge.

    After the Great War the British Empire began to cost more than it earned, even though it was enlarged to it's biggest point. What was needed was a partner to shoulder the burden but the only viable option was the US who always has had issues with imperialism.

    With a vacuum emerging and people turning to either the far right or left as possibilities to avoid depression it became inevitable that someone would use fascism or communism to form a new world order under their hegemony. If Hitler hadn't started WWII I wouldn't have been too surprised if Stalin wasn't planning on the spread of communism.

    One of the key differences between Versailles and post 1945 is the participation of the US. Even though they don't like to admit it the US began to take over the reigns of Empire from Britain. The US became an Empire but in a very different form from the British or any other empire to have existed (she's still going today). Obviously it shouldn't be forgotten that MAD is another reason why war has never broken out on the same scale as the Great Wars.

    All in all my opening sentence I shall now reverse and say "NO" it couldn't have been any different as to be so the key players would have to have acted out of their personalities ie. the US take on an imperial role in 1919 instead of 1945.

    Sorry if this doesn't make too much sense as I am a not particularly sober right now.

  6. #6
    Comrade the Colonel's Avatar For the Motherland!
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    I think the entire thing could have been avoided if they didnt blame Germany for WW1.

  7. #7
    patrick1191's Avatar Sōkō yumi
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    France Did invade while Germany was invading Poland, And was doing quite well until they were called back. Fearing that Poland wouldn't last and Germany would bring her full might back on France which happened anyways....

    So Yes i Believe if France and Britain Defended Poland with more than just strong words, there would have been a good chance of WW2 never starting.

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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    As I am a firm believer in predestination, no, this could not have been avoided.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Yes, if Britain and France had intervened earlier the war would probably not nearly have been as bad as it was. You have to keep in mind, however, that Appeasement was in the interests of the majority of both the politicians and the general public of both those countries.
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    Gelgoog's Avatar Jū kihei
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    it could have only been avoided had the versailles treaty not punished Germany so harshly. Only the economic hurt that was put on germany allowed for him to rise to power. Had there been no penalties, its doubtful that he could have gained any support to topple the Weimar Republic. Once hitler was in power, he began the arms buildup that allowed germany to crawl out of the depression. At this point Germany was pretty much forced to go to war because its entire economy hinged on continued military growth. Hitler at this point had no way to keep up the economic prosperity without using this war machine he built, so that made the war unavoidable at that particular point.

    If you really want to blame someone for the war, blame the Vienna art school that denied Hitler acceptance. He could have been another starving artist instead of a fascist. Or we can always blame France, for it was the one that pushed the harsh terms on germany during the treaty, where as both Britain and the US wanted to go easy on them.

    I fail to see where the blame the US crowd comes from, please if someone wants to enlighten me. I hope your not referring to the US not joining the league of nations.

  11. #11
    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by scheuch13 View Post
    I fail to see where the blame the US crowd comes from, please if someone wants to enlighten me. I hope your not referring to the US not joining the league of nations.
    I wouldnt necessarily blame the US as such but imo the Wilsonian view of self determination for ethnic groups didn't help much or the vacuum of power left in Europe when the US wanted to curl back into it's isolationist shell. Had the US acted similarly to post 1945 then things would have been very different. Truth is it took another war for the US and the world to realise this.

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    Gelgoog's Avatar Jū kihei
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by William the Bastard View Post
    I wouldnt necessarily blame the US as such but imo the Wilsonian view of self determination for ethnic groups didn't help much or the vacuum of power left in Europe when the US wanted to curl back into it's isolationist shell. Had the US acted similarly to post 1945 then things would have been very different. Truth is it took another war for the US and the world to realise this.
    well nobody at the time thought another war like WW1 was possible after that carnage. Thats why it was called "the war to end all wars" during the time.

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    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by scheuch13 View Post
    well nobody at the time thought another war like WW1 was possible after that carnage. Thats why it was called "the war to end all wars" during the time.
    Exactly. Which is why everyone/no-one is to blame as naivety was rife. I wouldn't take the view that the US was exempt from any responsibility though as Wilson was sat at the negotiating table too.

  14. #14
    Claudius Gothicus's Avatar Petit Burguťs
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    I am not sure, European societies really needed to behold their countries destroyed to understand that in such a small continent constant warfare was detrimental and cooperation was needed between countries.

    On the other hand the Versailles treaty was the one that allowed for Hitler to rise, impositions were far too extreme and at the same time humiliating for a country that wasn't really to blame for the war as it had been everyones fault.

    Overall idealists will say that yeah it could have been avoided but really extreme nationalism had to die and the only way to do it was by showing the populations the consequences of such an ideology.
    Last edited by Claudius Gothicus; July 28, 2009 at 08:21 PM.
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    Gelgoog's Avatar Jū kihei
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by William the Bastard View Post
    Exactly. Which is why everyone/no-one is to blame as naivety was rife. I wouldn't take the view that the US was exempt from any responsibility though as Wilson was sat at the negotiating table too.
    Despite considerable debate, Wilson refused to support the treaty with any of the reservations imposed by the Senate. [19] As a result, the United States did not join the League of Nations, despite Wilson's claims that he could "predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it."[20]

    Wilson's friend Edward Mandell House, present at the negotiations, wrote in his diary on 29 June 1919:

    "I am leaving Paris, after eight fateful months, with conflicting emotions. Looking at the conference in retrospect, there is much to approve and yet much to regret. It is easy to say what should have been done, but more difficult to have found a way of doing it. To those who are saying that the treaty is bad and should never have been made and that it will involve Europe in infinite difficulties in its enforcement, I feel like admitting it. But I would also say in reply that empires cannot be shattered, and new states raised upon their ruins without disturbance. To create new boundaries is to create new troubles. The one follows the other. While I should have preferred a different peace, I doubt very much whether it could have been made, for the ingredients required for such a peace as I would have were lacking at Paris."

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    Comrade the Colonel's Avatar For the Motherland!
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flogger View Post
    Yes, if Britain and France had intervened earlier the war would probably not nearly have been as bad as it was. You have to keep in mind, however, that Appeasement was in the interests of the majority of both the politicians and the general public of both those countries.
    thats where i am kinda 50/50 , I think if they intervened like they were supposed to, there could have been a small war with Germany, if they resisted, or there could have been none at all. The Rhineland is where most of Germany's factories were, so they definitely needed it to be succesful.

  17. #17
    antaeus's Avatar neon
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    its a current trend to take a devils advocate viewpoint with historical situations...

    however i tend to think this is revisionism for its own sake. hitler crossed the polish border when he knew britain and france had committed to come to their aid. he wasnt being provocative because of the versailles treaty, he had already gone beyond recovering german losses after ww1 when he took the rhineland.. and gone well beyond that when he confronted the czechs and added austria to his tally.

    japan may have retaliated against american provocation, but it was still their choice to attack rather than to continue the diplomatic dance... their confrontation with the united states was ultimately a result of their own actions in china and south asia - a situation which they walked into of their own accord.

    ultimately it was the governments of japan and germany who chose the path of aggression, they weren't forced into war... no matter how many revisions of the aftermath of ww1 we do.

    could it have been avoided? thats a butterflies in africa situation to which there is far too many variables to ever come to a conclusion which everyone would consider reasonable.
    Last edited by antea; July 28, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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    bushbush's Avatar Hime
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    if i can add, i would argue the inability of governments around the world to revive the flourishing late 19th century global trade and economic integration led to the inter-war economic downturn, and which in turn created social instability, prompting extremist ideologies to take over in countries like germany and japan, who finally went to war. I thikn that's one of the underlying causes.
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    Hippolord's Avatar Shusai
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    IT was inevitable to ahppen at one point in time or another, i think the best we could have done is turn the Long Weekend into the Long Vacation...

    I wanna lie, lie to myself, myself and someone else. Cause itís the lying that hurts, and itís the hurt that lets me know Iím alive.Ē

  20. #20
    aduellist's Avatar Push the button Max!
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    Default Re: Who Is Responsible for World War 2? Could It Have Been Avoided?

    I think it could have been avoided, but that it was highly unlikely that it would have been avoided. It required leaders of greater vision and intestinal fortitude than were present upon the world stage at the time. France and Britain were both still traumatized by the Great War and the US was isolationist. Germany suffered from the harsh penalties applied by the Treaty of Versailles while also keeping alive the tradition that Germany's armies had not been defeated in the Great War, which left the people feeling doubly betrayed. And Stalin was simply looking out for the Main Chance to expand Soviet influence.

    There's a lot more to it, of course. Those are just the broad strokes, imo.
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