World economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war

World
War II also known as the Second World War,
was a global war that lasted from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. The
war conflicts began earlier, it involved the vast majority of the world’s
countries.  They formed two opposing
military alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in
history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30
countries. In a state of total war, the major participants threw their entire
economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort,
erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. The Allies
leaders were Joseph Stalin from Russia, Franklin D. Roosevelt from United
States of America, Winston Churchill from Great Britain And Chiang Kai-Shek
from the Republic of China. The Axis leaders were Adolf Hitler from Germany,
Hirohito from Japan and Benito Mussolini from Italy.

 

    Before
the war, there were a few events that occurred. The first one was the Invasion
of Ethiopia in 1935. Before the war began, the invasion of the Ethiopian Empire
was commited by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy, which was launched
from Italian Somaliland and Eritrea. The event resulted in the military
occupation of Ethiopia and its annexation into the newly created colony of
Italian East Africa in addition it exposed the weakness of the League of
Nations as a force to preserve peace. Both Italy and Ethiopia were member
nations, but the League did nothing when the former clearly violated the
League’s Article X.  Germany was the only
major European nation to support the invasion. Italy subsequently dropped its
objections to Germany’s goal of absorbing Austria.

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The
Second event was the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to 1939. When the civil war
broke out in Spain, Hitler and Mussolini lent military support to the
Nationalist rebels, led by General Francisco Franco. The Soviet Union supported
the existing government, the Spanish Republic. Over 30,000 foreign volunteers,
known as the International Brigades, also fought against the Nationalists. Both
Germany and the USSR used this war as an opportunity to test in combat their
most advanced weapons and tactics. The Nationalists won the civil war in April
1939; Franco, now dictator, remained officially neutral during World War II but
generally favoured the Axis.  His
greatest collaboration with Germany was the sending of volunteers to fight on
the Eastern Front.

 

 The third event was the Japanese Invasion of
China. In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of
Peking after instigating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which culminated in
the Japanese campaign to invade all of China.  The Soviets quickly signed a non-aggression
pact with China to lend materiel support, effectively ending China’s prior cooperation
with Germany. From September to November, the Japanese attacked Taiyuan as well
as engaging the Kuomintang Army around Xinkou and Communist forces in
Pingxingguan. General Chiang Kai-shek deployed his best army to defend
Shanghai, but, after three months of fighting, Shanghai fell. The Japanese
continued to push the Chinese forces back, capturing the capital Nanking in
December 1937. After the fall of Nanking, thousands of Chinese civilians and
disarmed combatants were murdered by the Japanese in that invasion.

 

The
fourth event was the Soviet and Japanese border conflict. During 1930 to 1939,
Japanese forces in Manchukuo had border clashes with the Soviet Union and the
Mongolian Republic. The Japanese doctrine of Hokushin-ron, which highlight
Japan’s expansion, was favoured by the Imperial Army during this time. The
Japanese defeat at Khalkin Gol in 1939, the ongoing Second Sino-Japanese War
and ally Nazi Germany pursuing neutrality with the Soviets, this policy would
prove difficult to maintain. Japan and the Soviet Union eventually signed a
Neutrality Pact in April 1941, and Japan adopted the doctrine of Nanshin-ron,
promoted by the Navy, which took its focus to the south, eventually leading to
its war with the United States and the Allies

     

 The fifth event was European occupations and
agreements. In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming more aggressive. In
March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, again provoking little response from other
European powers. Hitler began pressing German claims on the Sudetenland, an
area of Czechoslovakia with a predominantly ethnic German population. Later, Britain
and France followed the counsel of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
and conceded this territory to Germany in the Munich Agreement, which was made
against the wishes of the Czechoslovak government, in exchange for a promise of
no further territorial demands. Soon afterwards, Germany and Italy forced
Czechoslovakia to cede additional territory to Hungary and Poland annexed
Czechoslovakia’s Zaolzie region.

 

During
the war, in Europe, occupation came under two forms. In Western, Northern, and
Central Europe Germany established economic policies through which it collected
roughly 69.5 billion reichmarks by the end of the war, this figure does not
include the sizeable plunder of industrial products, military equipment, raw
materials and other goods. Thus, the income from occupied nations was over 40
per cent of the income Germany collected from taxation, a figure which
increased to nearly 40 per cent of total German income as the war went on.

 

In
the East, the intended gains of Lebensraum were never attained as fluctuating
front-lines and Soviet scorched earth policies denied resources to the German
invaders. Unlike in the West, the Nazi racial policy encouraged extreme
brutality against what it considered to be the “inferior people” of
Slavic descent. Most German advances were thus followed by mass executions. Although
resistance groups formed in most occupied territories, they did not
significantly hamper German operations in either the East or the West until
late 1943.

 

In
Asia, Japan termed nations under its occupation as being part of the Greater
East Asia Cooprosperity Sphere, essentially a Japanese hegemony which it
claimed was for purposes of liberating colonised peoples. Although, Japanese
forces were originally welcomed as liberators from European domination in some
territories, their excessive brutality turned local public opinion against them
within weeks. During Japan’s initial conquest it captured 4,000,000 barrels of oil
left behind by retreating Allied forces and by 1943 they were able to get
production in the Dutch East Indies up to 50 million barrels, 76 per cent of
its 1940 output rate.

 

During
the war, there were a lot of advanced technology aircraft used for
reconnaissance, as fighters, bombers, and ground-support, and each role was
advanced considerably. Innovation included airlift and strategic bombing. Anti-aircraft
weaponry also advanced, including defenses such as radar and surface-to-air
artillery, such as the German 88 mm gun. The use of the jet aircraft was
pioneered and, though late introduction meant it had little impact, it led to
jets becoming standard in air forces worldwide.

 

Advances
were made in nearly every aspect of naval warfare, most notably with aircraft
carriers and submarines. Although aeronautical warfare had relatively little
success at the start of the war, actions at Taranto, Pearl Harbor, and the
Coral Sea established the carrier as the dominant capital ship in place of the
battleship.

 

      The aftermath of World War II was the
beginning of an era defined by the decline of the old great powers and the rise
of two superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Allies
during World War II, the USA and the USSR became competitors on the world stage
and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt,
declared hot war between the two powers but was instead characterized by
espionage, political subversion and proxy wars. Western Europe and Japan were
rebuilt through the American Marshall Plan whereas Eastern Europe fell under
the Soviet sphere of influence and eventually an “Iron Curtain”.
Europe was divided into a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc.
Internationally, alliances with the two blocs gradually shifted, with some
nations trying to stay out of the Cold War through the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Cold War also saw a nuclear arms race between the two superpowers; part of
the reason that the Cold War never became a “hot” war was that the
Soviet Union and the United States had nuclear deterrents against each other, leading
to a mutually assured destruction standoff.