In this article, we will discuss about all the events and timelines that led to World War I and II. The causes of what was in the wider scale, two full World Wars in the twentieth century, lie in their origins within the alliances of the European central powers and their relationships, and who the monarchs were at the time. The matter of whether one power would or could provoke another, remains for history to decide.
The Causes of World War I and II: Origin and History
There were complicated alliances, Nationalism, and Imperialism, of that there are certainly grounds to believe that leaders were still capable of the conflicts in central Europe, in the same way as the French under Napoleon Bonaparte during the times of the First Empire in France, had done with ease. One member state of an alliance may have had internal strife and external provocation, it became quite another circumstance to plunge a continent into global war without any viable reason.
The Franco Prussian War
At the end of the Franco-Prussian War, an uneasy peace existed in central Europe. The war did turn the balance of power around with France’s defeat. Both Britain and France would concentrate on their overseas empires. Russia expanded into Central Asia, Austria was mired in its own internal national tensions and politics, and Germany was a complete border but with fragmented petty states.
Although the war itself did not generate great attention, the most important events were the fall of Napoleon III’s reign, the Paris Commune of 1871, the forming of the Third Republic in France. Trade and Industrial development took the focus away from territorial pre-occupations in Europe amongst the Major Powers at first, and monarchs still associated with alliance states and their monarchs.
Some were married as they had always been into other Royal families, Kings, Princes, cousins, nephews, niece’s, and their kingdoms. The Habsburgs in Austria and England, and the Hohenzollern family in Germany, remnants of the Prussian State but with significant influence in German National life.
The New unified German state was basically under the will of von Bismarck, the ‘blood and Iron, of the Iron Chancellor with King Wilhelm I in tow, between 1864 – 1871. Germanies population would grow to 41 million citizens in the later 1870’s, the dominance of the Junker Officer Corps, which was essentially the Prussian military structure, the Rhine Industrial area in the West of the country and so on.
Germany would become, in half a century the most powerful industrialized country in Europe. The Rhineland singularly became the most industrious region in Europe, which would peak the need for more raw materials. Germany would need the means to gain other market sources, in the Balkans, the Middle East and the greater world. This would lead to tension with the other powers in Europe and elsewhere, which would lead to further arms races and eventual war. France and (Prussia) Germany’s arms race was prevalent during much of the 19th century.
France on the other hand also experienced a surge in its own economy in the 1870’s, not as marked as in Germany, but from an aspect of forging better alliances with reliably stable politically astute nation, ties between France and Britain would forge a new friendship. Britain would sign three Entente Cordials with France as a preventative to hegemony and conflict.
Year of the three Emperors : The Three Kaisers
During the Franco-Prussian period of tensions between the two nations, Emperor Wilhelm resided over Prussian politics as did von Bismarck, but Wilhelm Ist would pass away in March 1888, leaving Bismarck as the senior politician in the German state.
His son Frederick III’rd succeeded him and was crowned Emperor on 09 March 1888, however Frederick’s health was not good, and he would pass away ninety nine days later. Kaiser Frederick Wilhelm Victor Albert II was crowned on 15th June 1888. Wilhelm II was younger, and his personal health was generally good, apart from a small birth defect on his right hand, the hand being slightly withered and some mild brain damage.
The previous Kaisers had become evenly disposed of greater European politics, but were not interested in a greater power dominance, but committed to a strong Prussia and thereafter a united Germany as priority. Economically Germany was well on track with von Bismarck’s goals. The Parliament remained but the approach was conservative.
The March Revolutions of 1848 - 1849, had been instigated as a follow on from the Napoleonic Wars. Certain sectors agitating in the German splinter states were sympathetic to the ideals of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, so the uprising was probably meant to stir up support for another similar Revolution in Central Europe. Von Bismarck although conservative leaning, was shrewd and iron willed and once on a course of political decision, nothing would be changed through chance or disagreement.
He felt no compunction as President of Germany, to discuss matters of state at length with a parliamentary caucus but rather convinced politicians where they were, that his decisions were sound and applicable, in that sense he was not a dictator but a capable leader. He was not prepared to listen to counter arguments by politicians.
He saw constant debate in parliament with its possible two’s and frows, tedious, timewasting, and inconclusiveness, leaving minor state matters for the Reichstag parliament to act on and resolve. Wilhelm, I found his approach agreeable, but with some reservations, with Germany experiencing economic prosperity.
Von Bismarck’s Realpolitik catered to his political philosophy for the German state, economics and above all peace, the people’s belief in state patriotism, a national spirit that would spread across Germany and a willingness to approach the National life as a disciplined journey.
Political matters were changing as well, Klemens von Metternich made legislation to crush liberalism in Austria, with Frederich Wilhelm blocked any moves to foment revolutionary politics on the streets in Germany. The work of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels in the Communist Manifesto spurred many citizens and certain academics on to Socialist ideals.
Germany was not affected alone as Revolutionary fervor spread across Europe during the same period, a drought and poor crop yield and famine, experienced by many countries in 1848-49, can be considered a catalyst of the uprising, as well as protests against high taxation.
Because of the 1848-49 Revolutions, King Louis Phillipe of France and Klemens von Metternich abdicated and resigned from their states, both going into exile in Britain. Louis-Phillipe would be France’s penultimate monarch.
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Wilhelm as monarch was different from his father and great-uncle before him. He was hot headed and reacted without putting much thought into diplomacy during dialogue. He had a terrible attention span, caused by mild brain damage from a difficult birth in January 1859.
As time went by, his view became based on Germany having its ‘rightful place in the sun’ amongst the Major Powers. To this end he started building up the German navy, as he described it, quote: ‘England has too much power in its Navy and Empire’ end quote, and that: ‘Germany deserves an equal, if not greater power and Empire in Europe’.
It has been commented that his attitude and approach was based on certain rebuffs from his Grand-Mother Queen Victoria whose family found Wilhelm II difficult to deal with and distant. Von Bismarck and Wilhelm II very early on became political foes primarily over national socialist policies, improvement of worker’s rights and organised worker representation, better working wages and conditions, which von Bismarck was not keen on reviewing.
Although Wilhelm respected Bismarck, he could not get a commitment to reformist civil policies and acceptance of new legislation in labour reform. Bismarck remained stubborn but was wary of Wilhelm II’s aggressive international policy, the propensity to use threatening overtures from the young monarch and the need in Germany, to keep the peace in central Europe.
Bismarck’s personal votes in the Reichstag would drop with his popularity. Wilhelm demanded the resignation of Bismarck, effectively removing him from the presidency, and from any further political influence in Germany in 1890. Taking over all vestiges of government as head of state and supreme military commander.
Wilhelm took very little interest in overseeing important issues in Germany, he was retracted and disorganized in his office, his diplomatic gaffs, when he made them were, considered tactless and threatening to other nations in Europe. He sent a massive naval force to contest French control of Morocco and the straits and built a railway line from Southern Europe through Baghdad, that challenged Britain’s dominion in the Persian Gulf.
Several colonial possessions were annexed as part of the German Imperial Empire, some provinces of China, and in the Pacific, such as the Mariana Islands, Kiautschou Bay and the Caroline Islands. Kaiser Wilhelm II attended to matters within his own nation, by relying on the information passed to him by his senior military commanders, he cared nothing about the parliaments purpose in the Reichstag, so would send messages between himself, his officers, and the parliament of his wishes and disagreements.
Matters of state he was not fully involved with from a decision-making standpoint, his army commanders essentially controlled state seniority and were essentially a military dictatorship in Germany. From this position the same commanders first brought the ‘Schlieffen Plan” the work of General Schlieffen – a complete military planned attack on Belgium and into France, to his attention.
The plan described a large land force crossing the Belgian border in a surprise attack, moving quickly to take over key Belgian cities and essential infrastructure, and secure the French Belgian border. It was envisaged that the forces necessary must be large and be able to overwhelm the small Belgian Army in under two weeks.
The second phase of the operation would be to prepare the same force with re-enforcements as necessary to cross the border at Sedan, opening out their offensive lines and completely overwhelming any French defensive forces at the border of the two countries. The goal as it always had been in the past, to head straight for Paris, encircle the city and sue for peace.
It was reasoned that the French Government would not be able to react in good time and receive support from other nations nearby such as Britain, and if so, their combined defence could not stop a large offensive. Britain would not be able to mobilise to the greatest extent to support France in a short time and could not declare war in support of France as Great Britain had not been attacked. At the time there were no agreements of mutual support between nations in the time of national emergencies and war between nations.
At first Wilhelm thought the plan too unrealistic and not something that he would consider at all, considering that no declaration of war had been made on either side for the plan to be put into the hands of the military, so that the necessary preparations could be made, force and citizen mobilizations and so on. Wilhelm heard but declined, but he still harbored an aggressive streak towards international politics in Europe.
Foreign Connections and Alliances
The first decade of the 20th Century would see increasing diplomatic tension between the great Powers in Europe. Wilhelm II maintained a close relationship with the Austrian Habsburgs, and Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914. Smaller states such as Serbia and Croatia were under the control of Hungary and Austria, with support from Franz Ferdinand.
Hungary possessed several small states in what became the state of Yugoslavia. Dissidents and political agitators wanted a free independent Serbia and blamed the Austro-Hungarian Empire alliance from granting Serbian-Bosnian autonomy. Political agitators in the state were prepared to join forces and use violence to gain their freedom and the forming of a new Yugoslav state. Wilhelm II had met with Franz Ferdinand in mid-June 1914 to discuss the worsening situation in the Balkans, the Austro-Hungarians, and other Slavic states.
One of the problems that would lead to WWI began 100 years before during the Congress of Vienna, as the Ottoman Empire was weakening and retreating from its annexed states in the Balkans. The Austro-Hungarians would take the opportunities to strengthen their own territorial possessions which was basically exchanging one master for another. The Ottoman Empire although much smaller by 1900, would side with Germany and the Austro-Hungarians.
On the 28th of June 1914, whilst Franz Ferdinand was on a Royal visit to Sarajevo in Serbia, in an open touring car travelling through the city with his wife Sophie, his entourage was attacked by a group of six Serbian-Bosnian plotters under the leadership of Gavrilo Princip. Both Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, were killed in the incident. Princip and his co-conspirators were tried and sentenced to death and imprisonment.
The July 1914 Crisis
The July 1914 crisis of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the 28th of June incident, which received Emperor Wilhelm II’s support for Austria, would trigger a series of military and diplomatic escalations and uncertainty, among the military and political leaders of the major powers by the summer of 1914.
In the complex web of alliances, Russia supported the Serbian-Bosnian state, Austria wanted to crush the Serbians for the incident but were concerned about inciting a war with Russia. Wilhelm II and Germany supported the Austro-Hungarians implicitly. Wilhelm himself had said in the past quote; “Where I go, Germany goes” unquote. This was probably coined in the late 1890’s, the further he consolidated his power in Germany.
Several states saw war as an inevitable outcome, others saw no possibility of war. General miscalculations amongst certain military and political leaders lead to the outbreak of war in August 1914. The First World War was fought between two coalitions, the Allies- consisting of France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy and Japan, with the United States as an associated power in April 1917. The Central Powers of Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires. The war would be fought in most of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and some parts of Asia.
Germany and War
The General Staff of the Imperial German Army personally advised Wilhelm II that the military ‘Plan’ was ready for execution. Wilhelm still needed some convincing but having acknowledging that he needed to protect the Austro-Hungarian Alliance, he signed the executive order to proceed, but informed , Von Hindenburg, Ludendorff, Mackensen and other officers, quote: ‘I warn you gentlemen!’.
The attack by the Imperial German Army on Belgium moved very quickly. The bridges, towns, forested areas, and rivers slowed movement somewhat for large scale forces, but the Belgian military and population were prepared. The going became slower as the Belgians resisted. The final battles of capitulation and Belgium’s surrender took more than five weeks.
France mobilized militarily, in liaison with the Belgians and the British Government sent a British Army Expeditionary force in good time, with the delays in Belgium. The amount of time taken to subdue Belgium, ensured that a capable defence of the French and British forces in France, were able to meet the Imperial German Army whilst trying to cross the French border.
The British Regular Army soldiers were able with their French Army combatants, to inflict heavy casualties on the masses of German troops, casualties being high on both sides. The effort put into defence by both the Allies and Belgium, meant that the element of surprise was lost for the Germans.
The Imperial German Army would advance into France, but were held up during many major battles, experiencing high levels of casualties. The war would expand to bring , Italy, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria into the conflict, in the Balkans, Middle East, Alps and Asia Pacific theatres.
Russia would fight Germany in the Balkans phase of the war, but with the disorganization of the Russian State, the implied indecisiveness of Tsar Nicholas II and political upheaval in Russia, Nicholas’s Army lost the war, with the October Communist Revolution effectively ending WWI for Russia in the Allied Alliance. Tsar Nicholas and his family being forcibly removed by the Red Revolutionary leaders.
With the German Army Being unable to ever reach Paris, both alliances would fight a protracted trench war for four and a half years. By late 1917, with America joining the conflict and the already advancing Allies taking advantage of a recentred alliance without Russia, the tide started to turn against Imperial Germany in Belgium and France, the deciding front.
The German forces released from the victorious Russia-Balkans campaign, could not check nor turn back the Allied advances, the Imperial German Army being soundly defeated by stronger allied offensives, to role the exhausted IGA over. Exhausted, and with signs of mutiny evident amongst his troops, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the German thrown on 9th November 1918.
The Armistice ending World War I, was signed on 11th of November 1918, at Versailles France, and named the Nov 1918 Treaty of Versailles. Wilhelm II would go into exile at Huis Doorn in Holland a few days before it was signed. The end of World War I effectively ended the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Habsburg Dynasty, the Tsars of Russia, and the Romanov family line, with the abdication of Wilhelm II, the last of the Hohenzollern family ending 300 years of Prussian aristocracy.
The Weimar Republic(1918-1933)
The Weimar Republic was the first recognised political government and title used in Germany in its history, a constitutional Federal Republic. From this point Germany would be the German Republic. It was also referred to as the Reich. By way of exact explanation, there were three Reich’s in Germany’s history. The First was considered the forming of the German Empire at Versailles in March 1871.
The second was during the Reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II leading to WWI and the third would be Hitler's Nazi Germany. More often referred to as the Third Reich. The city of Weimar was the source from which the Republic got its name, after the meeting of the constituent assembly held there, establishing its government. It was officially proclaimed on 9th of November 1918.
The Weimar government had to deal with many issues left over in the German state. The expectations of the victorious allies, reparations to Belgium, France, Britain, and other states. Hyperinflation and political extremism were further grave matters for the Weimar government, including political murders and two attempts to seize power by competing fringe paramilitary groups.
The German Republic also found itself isolated diplomatically in Europe amongst the Major Powers and Internationally at first. By 1924 the economy had started to rejuvenate, prosperity was on the rise and relatively good international relations and peace developed for a further five years, once the Republic had assured the other powers that there would be no more wars. The Republic even joined the league of nations.
In 1929 the Wall Street crash occurred in New York America and with it, came the world wide depression. From March 1930 General Paul von Hindenburg used emergency powers to support Republic Chancellors, Heinrich Bruning, Frans von Papen, and General von Schleiger. Bruning’s policy of deflation would exacerbate the effects of the depression, leading to increased unemployment.
In January 1933, Paul von Hindenburg would appoint Adolf Hitler of the German Workers Socialist Party – NSDAP, as chancellor of the Republic, von Papen as deputy chancellor would be the eminence grise, a capable advisor in the background of the chancellor Hitler, the idea was to control Hitler, but his political capabilities were underestimated by von Papen and von Hindenburg.
The Deutscher Freikorp
Before going forward into the machinery of the NSDAP, Adolf Hitler's journey must be mentioned. Adolf Hitler was Austrian born, and of working-class parents. He had moved to Germany as he thought it a better place as a young man to find work and he admired the German way of life compared to that in his native Austria. He moved to Munich and tried his hand at odd jobs there but found nothing that appealed to him long term.
He was artistic and wanted to be registered as an artist. He joined the Munich Academy of fine arts. Although capable as an artist, his capabilities were entirely suited to architectural drawings on buildings and the like. He disliked the new interest in modern art and thought it meaningless. He was not able to gain a diploma in art as a result of his limited artistic capability.
The year was early 1914, Hitler got caught up in the fervor of the rising politics of the time and the possibility of war between France and Germany. With nothing else to do, he very soon applied to join the Imperial Army and was accepted, enlisting as a Private in one of the Bavarian Reserve Regiments.
His service saw him serving in the trenches during WWI, facing the British, he was an odd sort amongst his fellow soldiers, who thought him strange with unusual viewpoints with generally surly demeanor, not mixing much in his platoon. He would rise to the rank of corporal and distinguished himself by capturing several British soldiers during an offensive, for which he was awarded an Iron Cross 2nd Class.
At the end of the war, he became disillusioned with the defeat of Germany and felt as others did that the country had not lost the war and that traitors at home were responsible for Germanies position. The Jewish population were also blamed for the country’s problems. A general backstabbing mentality pervaded amongst many involved.
The German Freikorp was an organisation formed in 1919 of ex-soldiers and some officers who as veterans, did not want the Weimar government to control Germany’s destiny, they were thought too liberal and weak and acceptant of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Prominent members of the Freikorps were General Erich Ludendorff, who associated with Hitler at first in the Korps.
The Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 in Munich was a failed coup d’état by Adolf Hitler, Erich von Ludendorff as Generalquatiermeister and other kampfbund members to overthrow the Weimar Parliament. The army were sent into breakup the armed insurrection with several members being shot and arrested. Hitler was charged and sentenced for treason spending time in Langsdorf Prison during 1923.
On his release nine months later, due to external political posturing, Hitler continued anew with the biography he had narrated whilst in jail, Mein Kampf and his time to practice his political oratory. He joined the NSDAP which he helped to build, holding NSDAP meetings and rallies during the following years, with Herman Goering, Rudolf Hess, and other senior members in attendance. The NSDAP gained in popularity in Berlin as well as Munich, Hitler was promoted leader giving many speeches at large rallies.
The NSDAP had promised to create jobs, repair the economy from 1932 onwards, just before Hitler had been made Chancellor by Hindenburg. The economy was however on an upwards turn in any event despite the work of Hitler and the NSDAP, out of the depression. The NSDAP would later take advantage of the better conditions with the implementation of a massive labour work plan, building the new Autobahns country wide and so on. By the end of 1933, the Weimar government was expended, through NSDAP political expediency and general unpopularity.
At the 1934 general elections, the NSDAP swept the board with a 90 percent margin. Hitler then made himself Head of State, Chancellor, supreme military commander and reverted all politics solely in the NSDAP at the Reichstag. The aging General and statesman, Paul von Hindenburg announced Hitler’s position as First Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Hindenburg would pass away later that year.
Other political parties were banned outright. Hitler also forged ties with Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini, the de facto Italian dictator, and forged tentative ties with the Spanish Nationalist leader General Franco, by sending German Luftwaffe air units, called the Blue Division to assist Franco’s Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.
Military Material limitations of the Versailles Treaty
The Treaty of Versailles forbad Germany from building a defence greater than 100,000 men. The navy was restricted to 15,000 men. The manufacturing of military equipment such as submarines, aircraft, tanks, and poison gas was forbidden. Adolf Hitler went on a complete rejuvenation and military equipment build up, of the German Army Navy and particularly the air force. His plan would vastly exceed these restrictions before going to war.
Hitler was clearly set on German state domination everywhere in Europe, he thought that the Nazi Reich would last 1000 years, in his own words. Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister of Britain, met with Hitler in Berlin to get assurances of no expansionist conflict in Europe – the effort became deceptive and inconclusive, based on a piece of paper signed in assurance by Hitler.
Hitler moved land forces into Austria in 1938, in an act of joining the two states in the so called ‘Anschluss’, a bloodless take over invasion. He ordered the first major operation to be planned and conducted by invading Poland in 1st of September 1939 with a substantial land army with many armor, infantry, and artillery divisions, with substantial air force support. Britain protested in vain and declared war with Germany a few days later. The Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia would meet the same fate.
A short period of inactivity proceeded after this called the ‘Phoney War’ in Britain. In 1940 the low countries were attacked and occupied by the Nazi German Army, Belgium, Holland and finally France was overrun and surrendered on 10th of May 1940, despite the combined efforts of the French and British expeditionary forces. All the British Expeditionary force, some 330,000 men and some French Divisions would be evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk to England.
France surrendered, and Hitler would get his ‘revenge’ at the woods in Compiegne in Versailles where the Nov 1918 armistice was signed, using the same railway carriage there, to receive the French surrender. He later ordered the site destroyed after the signing. France would become completely complicit with the German occupation but as Vichy France.
Britain would stand alone as Europe sank into a new dark period. With unrestricted submarine warfare in the English Channel and the central Atlantic, supplies to Britain from the United States would be very challenging, costly but necessary if Britain was to survive.
Nazi Germany did not rule the oceans in the same manner that the Kaiserliche Marine had also not been able to do in the Great War. The Royal Navy still held the upper hand in both conflicts, a position that would eventually contribute greatly to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Britain would be next after France, but invasion plans became confused, the use of Amphibious forces and the inability to provide fully for such an operation, Operation Sea Lion was shelved as an unworkable multi force option.
The Luftwaffe under Herman Goering assured Hitler that they could subdue Britain in the same year on their own, the Battle of Britain would commence in May 1940 between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe, ending in September 1940 with victory for the Royal Air Force. This battle would usher in the limitations of the Nazi German war machine and its eventual defeat.
Conflict in North Africa between the German Army Afrika Korps and the British commonwealth forces would drag on in the deserts of North Africa without a decisive conclusion, until the allied victory at El Alamein which brought an end to the Axis, German and Italian coalition involvement, bringing an end to the conflict some months later in early 1943.
America would join the war in December 1941 after the attack by Japan’s Naval Air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th. America declaring war on Japan starting the Pacific campaign for both America and Britain against Japan, after a poor start by both countries in Southeast Asia of Borneo, Burma, the Philippines, and many smaller Islands in the greater Pacific Basin during 1940 – 1942. Japan would occupy these territories for four years.
American Army forces would land in North Africa during Operation Torch, to subdue the pro-Nazi French Vichy forces and assist during the final stages of the North African campaign, closing off any escape by General Erwin Rommel’s Axis forces.
Nazi Germany would conduct the largest land assault in history to date on Russia. After initial success and one year, due to tactical indecisiveness and meddling on the part of Adolf Hitler, the Red Army gained the upper hand at the siege of the city of Stalingrad, the Russians destroying a whole army.
By late 1942 and into early 1943, three vast Nazi German armies would be encircled and pushed out of Russian territory, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Prussia and into the German border. In the Pacific war the tide would start to turn with American Naval victory at the Battle of Midway Island in 1942. Japan was aware that once America’s industrial might had been fully activated, Japan would inevitably lose the war.
Americas great materials contribution before December 7th, 1942, and beyond, would ensure that the Axis powers could not possibly prevail. The U-Boat menace would be reduced and eventually destroyed with more submarines being lost by the German Kriegsmarine than allied Merchant ships being sunk by German torpedoes.
The Kriegsmarine would never control any North Sea, Mediterranean or the English Channel waterways throughout World War II. Their four biggest capital ships including the Tirpitz and Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were sunk by mid-1942 and late 1944 respectively.
Joseph Stalin of Russia had been pushing Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to start a second front against Nazi Germany as early as June 1941. A trial operation was attempted at Dieppe France by the British high command and Winston Churchill, called the Dieppe Raid by commonwealth and British forces in August 1942, the operation, once landed in France, did not get off the Dieppe beaches and was a disaster.
Many valuable lessons were learned from it though, when Operation Overlord was planned and executed from Britain, this time consisting of the landing of 1,452,000 allied soldiers on the Normandy coastline from 06 June – 25 July 1944. A further force making a total of over 2,000,000 men would be landed in Normandy by August.
After the 6th June Normandy landings, the war would reach its penultimate battles in April 1945, with the final Russian assaults on the centre of the capital of Nazi Germany, Berlin and the Allied forces Western encirclement of Berlin at roughly the same time, accepting the surrender of Nazi Germany officially on 10th May 1945.
Italy would be knocked effectively out of the war by mid-1943, and the capture of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, but fighting into the North of Italy would continue until early 1945, before all German forces were cleared entirely from the Italian mainland.
Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun would take their own lives in the Fuhrer Bunker in Berlin by late April 1945. Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci would be captured by Italian partisans and killed outright together on 25th April 1945. The war in the Pacific however was not over and would continue until 8th August 1945.
The US Pacific fleet being the most mobile and capable force to take many of the smaller Islands and atolls from the Imperial Japanese Empire, pushed Japanese land army and remaining Naval forces into the inner circle of the Japanese homeland. The USA suspected that Japan would put up a mainland do or die defence of the Japanese homeland and were concerned about the high casualty rate should such an assault be conducted.
The USA had secretly been developing atomic super explosive devices during the war – the first nuclear weapons held by any nation on the planet. So, to save further loss of life, two atomic/hydrogen bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on mainland Japan. The devastation of both cities and their inhabitants was catastrophic.
Soon afterwards the Japanese Emperor Hirohito informed the Japanese war cabinet and ministers that communications should be made with the American forces that Japan wished to surrender to the Allies thus officially drawing an end to the Second World War.
Four independent German academics between 1924 until the death of the last academic in 1964 unequivocally blamed the responsibility for both devastating World Wars on Germany. Many believe there is much truth in this analysis. Kaiser Wilhelm II had some mild mental disability in that he was unable to reason with and make sensible decisions using thought out and controlled logic. This affected his social skills as well.
Most German and even European citizens did not believe at the beginning of the 1900’s that in less that fifteen years the biggest world conflict in history would start, and end in the defeat of Imperial Germany. Many in Germany thereafter believed that it was Germany that had been wronged, the inability to install a responsible democratic government in a country that had always been ruled by patriarchal means, by the Prussian and German monarchs, in a state that could not believe such devastation could be wrought upon it.
Germany up until 1919 had never had a proper accountable Government, with Kaiser Wilhelm II sanctioning the war as a quick means to a hegemonic end. He must be considered unfit to have ruled as monarch in the first place.
Adolf Hitler was considered a megalomaniac by many academics, a dictator, with his closest followers, who spun many lies, in fact so many lies, that the Nazi propaganda minister Doctor. Josef Goebbels put it in propaganda terms : ‘the people will eventually believe anything that they are told by the authority.’
The German states before the wars of unification were supportive of the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s wars of aggression during the Seven Wars of the Coalition in 1815, helping to decisively win at Waterloo, bringing a tyrant down.