Here is a term paper on the ‘Second World War’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘Second World War’ especially written for school and college students.
Term Paper on the Second World War
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Introduction to Second World War
- Term Paper on the Causes of Second World War
- Term Paper on the Effects of the Second World War
- Term Paper on the Post Second World War Period and Peace Settlement
1. Term Paper on the Introduction to Second World War:
More than fifty years has elapsed after the Second World War, yet the responsibility of waging the war has not been fixed; on the contrary, there are widespread controversies on the subject. Most of the authors raised their fingers pointing that Hitler, was responsible for the war and he had design to conquer Europe. Some of the authors have cited “Mein Kampf “, where Hitler, the author, according to them, has indicated his intention to make Germany as the greatest nation.
To do this he wanted to go as far as to wage world war. If we accept this version, no question arises about the responsibility of the Allied Powers who eventually were victorious and Germany faced the fate of defeat. Now, regarding “Mein Kampf, on which much importance is given to find the culprit by the English and American historians — Hitler himself later dismissed “Mein Kampf as “fantasies between bars”. He later told “If I had any inkling in 1924 that I should become Reich Chancellor, I should never have written the book”.
Let us now find the credibility of the book and whether the book should be taken as evidence or not. Partly a biography, partly an ideology, partly a plan of action, in spite of all its demonstrable dishonesty, contradictory myth-making and transfiguration of its author, it nevertheless contains much involuntary truth and gives his vision, where he has never referred to war that should be waged to fulfill his vision.
But Ketelbey concludes that war was the goal of the Third Reich. “The Third Reich was perfectly geared to war”. At the same time he admits that “many contemporaries tried to avoid the conclusion”. This view is manufactured because of Hitler’s theory of Lebensraum — Germany, Hitler said bluntly, “must expand in the East — largely at the expense of Russia.” Hitler in his Second Book made himself entirely clear, when he says “we must hold unflinchingly to our aim to secure for the German people the land and soil to which they are entitled…..”
The Soviet authors, quoting the above impression, have come to the conclusion that the war was preplanned. At the same time they made England and France responsible along with Hitler, for England and France pushed Hitler towards East so that Hitler could destroy Soviet Union as they thought Bolshevism was greater danger to civilised society. Soviet scholars think that the British government and the capitalist class — knowingly and intentionally drove Hitler towards East and Russia. The Soviet scholars were partially supported by J. W. Wheeler Bennett.
Bennett alleges that the appeasement policy followed by Anglo-French powers kindled a fire in Hitler to pursue the policy of expansion. The policy of appeasement has been widely criticised by the Western scholars. Churchill cautioned British leaders long before the war about Hitler’s sinister motive. Churchill repeatedly urged the need to form a grand alliance to oppose Hitler at the outset.
But this prediction was not given due importance by the then British government. Russian scholars condemned Munich Pact which, according to them, was the greatest folly of the Western powers. British government did not pay due attention to the need of forming an Anglo-Russian alliance directed against Germany for which Russia asked repeatedly. On the contrary, Britain accepted ever-increasing demands of Hitler which, in fact, threatened Russia who was then unprepared to shoulder the burden of war and, therefore, was compelled to conclude a non-aggression pact with Germany.
But Western scholar William L. Langer refutes the charge and alleges that Russia was not very much sincere in forming alliance with Britain against Germany. The evidence makes it clear that British government nurtured an ugly and evil design against Russia and clandestinely helped Italo-German front.
Samuel Hoare and Pierre Laval, the British and French Foreign Ministers, respectively tried to win over Mussolini so that he changed side and deserts Hitler, was not approved by the British government. Baldwin, the British Prime Minister, disavowed them and forced Hoare to resign.
Economic sanctions imposed by the League against Italy, now it is well- known, could not be enforced effectively because Britain did not want it. On the contrary, in May 1936 the Emperor of Abyssinia was obliged to go into exile, and in June the sanctions against Italy were rescinded. Meanwhile, just as Hoare and Laval had feared.
Hitler had been able to take advantage of the conflict between the other European powers. In March 1936 he sent German troops to reoccupy the Rhineland, which was demilitarized under the Versailles Treaty. The attitude of the British government to the Versailles Treaty had been demonstrated by the Anglo-German naval agreement of 1935, which indicated Britain’s acceptance of an expansion of German naval power well beyond the Versailles limit.
But the occupation of the Rhineland also breached the Locarno Treaty of 1925, which had been freely entered into by the German government. There were at least some French leaders who realized that Hitler must be opposed now before it is too late to prevent Germany from dominating Europe. The French Foreign Minister Flandin, who had replaced Laval, was an advocate of a strong policy. He came to London to demand a simultaneous mobilization of armed forces. But, unfortunately, he found no enthusiasm for his proposal in Whitehall.
Majority British opinion at all levels appeared to judge the German action in isolation and refused to consider its significance for the future. Was it not “equitable” that a nation should be free to occupy its own territory with troops, and to build fortifications there? As the Liberal spokesman Lord Lothian put it, the Germans were only going into “their own back garden.” Hitler reacted saying France’s pact with Russia had invalidated the Locarno Treaty.
The capacity of British politicians to take such a detached view of the new German challenge was both irritating and alarming. The right-wing opinion in Britain regarded a strong Germany as a valuable bulwark against Russian communism. Hitler was bitterly anti-Communist, and, at the same time, frequently spoke of Britain and her Empire in moderate, even friendly, language.
Finally, Germany was, like Britain, a heavily industrialized country, and British businessmen had many contacts with their counterparts in Germany. All this necessitated a foreign policy that was largely independent of that of the successive French governments of the period. Whereas French policy was profoundly distrustful of the course of events in Germany, and consequently almost entirely negative, British policy was based on the more optimistic notion that the new German regime could gradually be tamed by friendship and concessions.
In 1937 British ministers — including Lord Halifax who actually visited Hitler — hinted that Britain’s share of the ex-German colonies would be returned in exchange for a general settlement, no doubt including arms limitation.
Despite Britain’s lenient foreign policy, Hitler could not acquire sufficient capacity to wage a war in those initial years. Taylor points out “Far from wanting war, a general war was the last thing he wanted. He wanted the fruits of total victory without total war.” Koch also suggested examining various documents that Hitler neither had any plan to wage war nor wanted war, only wanted to be a great power with the help of Britain.
Koch says “In place of following a long-term scheme, Hitler up to 1939 pursued a policy of national restitution on Greater German lines which seemed to contain little convergent planning but evolved from case to case.” Taylor tells in the same breath “The war of 1939, far from being premeditated, was a mistake, the result on both sides of diplomatic blunders.” Until the spring of 1936 Germany’s preparation for rearmament was a myth.
On the contrary, the rearmament of Britain proceeded slowly but steadily. All the British directives right from 1935 onwards were pointed solely against Germany. Hitler wanted to make Germany greater and stronger. Hence, if we judge political intentions from military preparations, Taylor remarks, the British government would appear set on war with Germany, nor the other way round.
Britain and France were sure that their policy of appeasement towards Hitler would drive the latter to invade Russia, what they wholeheartedly desired. But, in fact, Hitler concluded German-Soviet alliance and invaded Poland which made compulsory for Britain and France to join the war in support of Poland.
Hitler was anxious not to weaken his popularity by dragging the German people into war which would definitely reduce the standard of civilian life in Germany. Burton H. Klein suggests “Hitler did not make large war preparations simply because his concept of warfare did not require them. Rather he planned to solve Germany’s living-space problem in piecemeal fashion — by a series of small wars.”
While the victors thought the Versailles Treaty and armistice had settled the German problems once for all, Germany thought the armistice was more than a cessation of fighting. Nevertheless, Hitler’s speeches and activities were so much inauspicious and provocative Allan Bullock says, “Clash between Germany and the other powers” could not be averted.
Although we do not find any preplan behind the war, but the policy of expansion, policy of appeasement and military pacts made the war inevitable. The war did not take place accidentally but Nazi idealism and hundreds of blunders committed by the Western Powers made war certain. David Thomson has rightly started his chapter on war entitled “Drift toward War”.
2. Term Paper on the Causes of Second World War:
David Thomson starts his chapter on the causes of World War II as “DRIFT TOWARDS WAR”. “The last year of peace was dominated by an atmosphere of fatalism reminiscent of 1914.” The Second World War was completely different from all previous wars. It was a “total war” — a war in which all the resources of the States and the whole activity of the nations were mobilised for war purposes.
Here we would check two main points, associated with several other allied causes for the war. Firstly, the much-maligned Versailles Treaty which, according Hitler was encouraged in flouting the Treaty for some other reasons also.
The other reasons were the living space, for ever-increasing German population, to be obtained by conquering the areas from the adjoining states, the colonisation of Ukraine, an agriculturally enriched area, as also the control of all major industries of Europe. “Hitler stood for rearmament and revenge and then for loot and German domination.”
The second point is the responsibility of Hitler. It is well-known that German people were restive because of stipulations of the Treaty, the French occupation of the Ruhr valley, the weak foundations of democracy in Germany over and above the payment of reparation all of which worsened the situation. The Weimar Republic could not meet the need of the people. The problems facing the newly created Republic of Germany were so formidable that it was impossible for her statesmen to cope with them.
The people of Germany demanded a revision of the Treaty which was opposed by France. Hence, when Hitler declared that he could cure all ills of Germany, the people flocked behind him. Henceforth, the demands of the people drove him to an impasse wherefrom there was no point of return. He followed an imperialist policy.
He had found that his intervention in Spain had not met with any resistance from the powers and so he was emboldened to embark upon a policy of naked aggression. Austria’s union with Germany was strictly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. Ignoring the Treaty, Hitler poured troops into Austria and incorporated it in the Nazi Germany. No Western Power raised its finger against Germany.
The incorporation of Austria whetted Hitler’s territorial appetite and encouraged him to further acts of aggression. A. J. P. Taylor points out that Hitler did not want war, he wanted war of nerves. This may be a point but the Western Powers’ machination drove him towards East so that Hitler thrust his troops into Soviet Union. So long Hitler was on this way the Allied Powers had no problem. They appeased Hitler for he was the bitterest enemy of Bolshevism.
But the first shock from Hitler received by the Allies was his conclusion of Non-Aggression Pact with Soviet Union and plan of partition of Poland between them. If this pact was not concluded and Poland was occupied by Hitler there was every possibility of a long drawn out struggle between Germany and Soviet Union. This was what was wanted by the Allies and, in that case, they would not have come forward to help Poland.
But the Russo-German non-aggression pact completely changed the entire political environment. The Allies came to understand that Hitler should be stopped here before it was too late. If Germany and Russia together launched any attack against the Allies it would have been a herculean task for the Allies to resist it.
This might have been the strategy of the Allies to oppose Hitler so that he could not further damage the peace of the world. On the contrary, after the conclusion of Nazi-Soviet Pact, Hitler was convinced that Britain and France would not dare attack Germany. Hence the short-sighted arid selfish policy of the victor Powers was as much responsible for this war as Hitler’s aggressions.
Japanese imperialism transformed the European war into a global war. Militarism in Japan and totalitarian States of Germany and Italy challenged democracy and this ideological conflict raised its ugly head. There arose several ideological fronts such as the anti-Comintern Pact of 1936, concluded between Germany and Japan, to which Italy also subscribed next year.
In France and Spain were formed anti-Fascist coalitions and Popular Front governments. This ideological front soon came into the open. Spanish Civil War broke out as a result of this ideological struggle and it was a prelude to the larger struggle that followed very soon.
The collective security system under the League of Nations failed to function due to the selfish policy of European countries. Every aggressor had nothing to fear. The aggressor states did not cooperate with the League and, when punitive action was taken against them, they left the League. Prof. Ketelbey’s observations directly confronted the opinion of A. J. P. Taylor. Ketelbey remarks that the “Third Reich was perfectly geared to war”. He also has referred to his displeasure that some others do not like to swallow his opinion.
The instances of Germany’s war-preparedness, according to Ketelbey, were the following:
(a) Successive coups;
(b) Repeated breaches of the Versailles Treaty;
(c) Defiance of international law and foreign opinion;
(d) Unilateral denunciation of inconvenient agreements;
(e) Recurring acts of aggression;
(f) A growing, menacing imperialism of a particularly ruthless character.
If we accept Ketelbey, we can prove Hitler was determined to wage a world war.
But we cannot deny altogether the reasonable arguments of Taylor. Giving details of military preparation of Hitler, Taylor suggests that Hitler did not want war — “a general war was the last thing he wanted”. Analysing his diplomacy and policy Taylor comes to the conclusion that Hitler “wanted the fruits of total victory without total war; and thanks to the stupidity of others he nearly got them”.
Taylor declines to accept that his remark sans concrete proof and, on the contrary, he refers to the position of rearmament in Germany. Taylor points out “until the spring of 1936 German rearmament was largely a myth”. The war started in 1939. Was it possible for Hitler to make Germany prepared to be involved in a total war? The question is unsolved. Hitler’s war-cry often cheated foreign powers as well as the German people. His announcement “Guns before butter” proves to be a false announcement and, in fact, he put butter before guns.
Churchill believed that Germany’s rearmament expenditure was at an annual rate of twelve thousand million marks. Taylor suggests the actual figure was under five thousand million. His figure is given on the basis of Burton H. Klein’s Germany’s Economic Preparations for War (1959) in which Klein discards the view of Churchill. The actual figure according to him was under five thousand million. Total German expenditure, war and non-war, did not amount to much more than this between 1933 and 1938.
The principle of self-determination advocated by President Wilson was included in the Treaty of Versailles. It was a very difficult task to apply the principle everywhere. In Eastern Europe various independent countries were set up based on this principle but could not be completely free from the minority question.
In every state various minority races remained which opposed one another but were under one rule. This produced bitter enmity between the rulers and the ruled, on one hand, and, on the other, struggle among various minority races. Taking advantage of it Hitler occupied Austria, Czechoslovakia and attacked Poland.
Germany was forced to disarm and she accepted it believing that other nations would also disarm themselves. But they escaped disarmament on one pretext or the other. The disarmament conferences arranged by the League of Nations failed to produce desired result. Finally, in 1935, Hitler introduced conscription and other totalitarian states began arming themselves. The failure of disarmament proved disastrous.
The potent democratic countries of Europe encouraged Fascist expansion to countermand Russian policy of expansion. Russia was neither invited in the Treaty of Versailles nor in the Munich Conference. A powerful country like Russia was excommunicated by the Allies from the world body of peace. Fascist aggression was not only directed against Russia but also against the Allies. These miscalculations on the part of the Allies made the World War II inevitable.
Both Germany and Italy strove hard to acquire colonies not only for surplus population but also markets for export and for raw materials. After the First World War Germany was deprived of her colonies and Italy was cheated at the Peace Conference and was not given her legitimate due which was promised in the secret Treaty of London, 1915. The same was true of Japan. The condition could not be tolerated by them.
The world slump of 1930 undermined the economic condition of those countries. Germany was particularly hard hit and paved the way for the rise of Nazism.
Even more than France, Poland was the hated and despised enemy in the minds of the Germans. Creating Polish Corridor the Versailles peace-makers separated East Prussia from Germany which, according to William L. Shirer, was the “most heinous crime” committed by them. In addition to that, Danzig port, province of Posen and part of Silesia, though predominantly polish in population, had been German territory since the days of the partition of Poland, and now had been given to Poland.
No German statesmen accepted this Polish acquisition as permanent. General von Seeckt, father of the Reichswehr and arbiter of foreign policy during the first years of the Republic, had advised German government as early as 1922, “Poland’s existence is intolerable, incompatible with the essential conditions of Germany’s life.” Poland, he insisted, “must go and will go”. Its obliteration, he added, “must be one of the fundamental drives of German policy……. with the disappearance of Poland will fall one of the strongest pillars of the Versailles Peace, the hegemony of France”.
3. Term Paper on the Effects of the Second World War:
(i) The Polarization of Power:
The old balance of power before the Second World War had completely fallen into decay after the war. Germany and Italy — the two principal enemy states against the Allies — were defeated. France was nearly devastated by the Nazi military might. Britain took the entire load of the war and, therefore, she fell into a decline in comparison to her earlier strength.
Two new powers — the United States and the Soviet Union — emerged as superpowers. The Soviet Union, despite its comprehensive losses in the war, within a very short time recovered and became a great power. Before the war, Soviet Union occupied the Eastern Provinces of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Northern Bukovina, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Tuva, Northern Prussia, Petsamo, Karelia, Ruthenia, Sothern Sakhalin and Kuriles — a total of 262,533 square miles of territory and 22,162,000 of population.
During the war Soviet Union freed Poland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Czechoslovakia and Finland and imposed communist rule placing men of her own choice in the authority. Exploiting the natural resources of these countries, soon Soviet Union became a superpower.
Churchill rightly remarks – “Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its communist International Organisation intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies…….. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent.”
By way of transporting German industrial units and extracting reparations from the countries defeated by her the Soviet Union amassed huge wealth which made the country economically rich. The socialized economy of the Soviet Union showed her prowess.
There is no denying the fact that the victory against the Nazis not only demonstrated its vitality but also regained its self-confidence and self-esteem. In Asia, Japan, another imperial power, was badly beaten in the Second World War. China was involved in civil war and India was then till under British rule.
Therefore, the world was divided between two superpowers, — the Soviet Union and the United States. Taking advantage of this political situation, both the superpowers led their own bloc and thereby partitioned the world into two separate and antagonistic blocs.
(ii) Reversed Balance of Power:
As soon as the Second World War was over the alliance of the victorious powers was broken and two distinctly separate blocs with inimical identity came into existence. The clash between them over ideological and economic interests created a perpetual rift. In 1945 the entire region from the Baltic to the Adriatic came under power vacuum. The European political hegemony in Asia became languid and in East Asia the British dominance was at stake.
India showed the other subservient countries the way to throw challenge against the European imperialists. After 1947 India emerged as a potential force to reckon with. In respect to economy, the balance of power was in favour of Europe but a close link between Asia and Europe grew in importance, but the war shattered this link and the balance had been completely upset.
In Latin America, there was a subtle attempt of Germany to bring the public opinion against the exploitation of United States, but the Good Neighbour Policy introduced by President Roosevelt had turned the situation in favour of the United States.
In Africa, too, the two World Wars undermined the European imperial system and struggles for political independence in many of the African States under colonial rule began. The end of the Second World War brought the two superpowers face to face and each of them tightened their grips over their respective sphere of influence.
This sharpened the conflicts between them. There is no denying the fact; the rule of communism imposed by Soviet Union over the East European States converted them into satellite states of Soviet Union. On the other hand, giving lavish bounties to the States within her influence, the United States brought them under her control.
At the same time, both the Soviet Union and the United States of America rode roughshod over their respective satellite States. The use of nuclear weapon by the United States on Japan upset Soviet Union and she felt insecure and therefore strove hard to explore the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapon.
As soon as the Soviet Union acquired the knowledge of making nuclear weapon the gamut of world politics substantially changed. Then, came the turn of communist China who also clandestinely acquired the knowledge of manufacturing nuclear weapon. This strengthened the authority of Soviet bloc but, at the same time, Britain and France gained the knowledge and the Western bloc also became powerful.
Henceforth, United States could not control the foreign policy of Britain and France. In the States of Eastern Europe there began growing anti-Soviet struggles. Communist China also severed its ties with Russia. Hence both America and Russia failed to control their respective blocs. Gradually India and Pakistan also acquired the knowledge of manufacturing nuclear weapon and, therefore, the entire perspective of old balance of power had shifted towards a new trend.
(iii) The Breakdown of the Grand Alliance:
The making of Grand Alliance during the Second World War was a marriage of necessity. The exigency of the World War compelled both the Western Powers and the Soviet Union to come to terms and the rise and growth of the Grand Alliance came into existence. But both the Western Powers and Soviet Union developed suspicion against each other. Even during the Second World War when they were fighting together they did not open their minds to each other.
Mutual suspicion developed because there was clear indication that Britain and France followed the policy of appeasement against Soviet interests. Generally, Russia’s opportunistic Russo-German Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 appears under bitter criticism by the Western scholars. It is said that the objectives of this Pact was not for founding peace but the needs of a total war which encouraged them to conclude a treaty aiming to capture and partition between them an innocent country, Poland.
But, in fact, the objectives of the Western foreign policy was to direct Nazi invasion towards the East, i.e., Russia and, therefore, for her own security, Russia had to conclude a Pact with Hitler which gave her valuable time to make herself prepare for future German invasion. By means of various documentary evidences, Russia knew perfectly well that Hitler, a staunch anti-communist — would swoop down upon Russia — today or tomorrow.
But at the same time, the Western Powers could not forget the clandestine activities of the Soviet Communist Party and the call for world revolution. During a critical stage of war, when Soviet Union was under heavy pressure, she pressed for opening a Second Front and the Western Powers were dilly-dallying. This caused unending bloodshed on the part of Soviet Union. Churchill aimed at landing at Balkan before Russia could step in there.
The Second Front was opened at last but the delay had caused serious rift between the cohorts. Again, Britain launched attack against the partisan movements which were developed in Eastern European countries after 1943. This also produced antipathy. Churchill announced that the kings of Yugoslavia and Greece would be installed. It. was vehemently opposed by Marshal Tito and Russia was in favour of Tito. Hence, the Anglo-Soviet agreement with regard to Greece in October 1944 failed to survive and strained relations developed between them.
The American economy needs an American economic empire and without it will crumble down. “The Americans constitute 6% of the world population but they consume 70% of its resources.” This need drives her to expand her economic empire throughout the world. The foreign sources of supply were trapped by her. To do this, America creates crisis elsewhere, be it in Vietnam or in the conflict of Korea, or Iraq-Iran war, or Gulf war or Israel-Arab conflict, or India-Pakistan or Afghanistan.
This trait of US imperialism becomes distinct immediately after the Second World War. Similarly, Russia determined to impose her political hegemony, another kind of imperialism in the name of socialism, in the Baltic and in Eastern Europe led her to a sharp conflict with the Western Powers. Britain designed to have a foothold in Greece in order to thwart Russian advance In Eastern Europe.
The Soviet Union had liberated states of Eastern Europe and imposed Communist rule on these liberated states. This was not taken very kindly by the Western Powers, who wanted to introduce democratic institutions in those countries. They saw their own security and safety best guaranteed in restoration of the pre-war pattern of Europe and the Far East. David Thomson points out “The reconstruction of government and administration was no less urgent than the reconstruction of economic life.”
The closely guarded secret of developing an atom bomb and its explosion at Hiroshima and Nagasaki shocked the Russians. They regarded it “as the coldblooded treachery of their allies in with helding knowledge from them” of this deadly war weapon. While Churchill was informed about the deadly weapon and its future use in Japan, Stalin was not informed.
The Conferences held in Teheran from November 28th to December 1st 1943, in Yalta from February 4th to 11th, 1945, and in Potsdam from July 17th to August 2, 1945, among the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United States of America and Great Britain occupy a special place in the history of the Second World War.
At these Conferences the leaders of the three Great Powers debated and adopted concerted decisions on the basic military and political questions connected with waging war against Hitler’s Germany and post-war arrangements. These conferences and their concrete decisions were vital to the formation of an anti-Nazi coalition, the coordination of military efforts and the mobilisation of all peoples for the defeat of Nazi Germany.
The Second World War and the conferences mentioned above have proved without doubt the possibility of cooperation between countries having different ideologies and different socio-economic systems in the struggle against a common aggressor and the possibility of a mutually acceptable decision on topical questions.
The decisions of the “Big Three” at these conferences have topical significance today and are closely related to the problems being wrestled within modern Europe. Among these decisions, particularly important are the Potsdam Agreements aimed at smashing militarism and revanchism in Germany and obviating the threat of a new war for the peoples of Europe and the whole world.
But the successful experiment of the first atom bomb had brought about a complete change in the hub of world political atmosphere and developed a sense of undesirable uneasiness in Soviet Union. Mutual suspicion developed to that extent that both sides engaged in conspiracy against each other. President Truman ordered that the bomb should be dropped on Japan, although there was clear sign of collapse on the part of Japan. Apparently this was done in order to impress Russia and to show her that the Western powers needed no help from the Russians and to keep her away from Far East.
All these events developed hostility between them and a sign of discernible fissure was in the Grand Alliance even in 1945. The first session of Peace Treaties in 1946 held in London “ended in deadlock”. In the peace treaties with the defeated Powers like Germany the victorious Powers were confronted with the very difficult problems of peace-making. In view of the immense complexities of the situation and serious disagreements at the numerous “top level” conferences it was found expedient to depart from the traditional method and to approach the problems piecemeal and in gradual stages.
Although the Big Three — Russia, Britain and America — formulated general principles in a number of conferences at Cairo, Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, unhappily they were too general to admit of precise definition and so they were open to conflicting interpretations. This very often led to stalemate preventing international action. Political realism demanded the recognition of the fact that a workable settlement would depend, in the last analysis, on the wishes of the Big Powers.
The victorious Powers failed to reach an agreement on the terms of the treaty to be imposed on Germany. While the Russian leaders wanted to set up a strong central government with a single dominant political party in which the communists would play a leading part, America and Britain, on the other hand, favoured a federated Germany with competing political parties and great deal of local autonomy. Russia wanted heavy reparations in the form of German goods and so demanded quick industrialisation of Germany. Britain and America were unwilling to see Germany quickly rebuild as a great industrial machine.
Again, the general ideological conflict between Communism and Democracy made the situation intense. In October 1942, Churchill, in a secret Cabinet memorandum, advocated that a United States of Europe without Russia should be established. On November 25, 1945, General Smuts, an influential member of the War Cabinet, had warned Europe that after the war Russia would emerge as a disastrous “collosus” power in Europe and, therefore, for the protection of Europe, a Western bloc around Britain should be formed.
Since the formation of the Grand Alliance there was controversy in Britain. Alan Clark, the defence analyst of Britain, did not support the conclusion of the Alliance. According to him, it was a serious blunder of Churchill to conclude an alliance with Russia.
On the contrary, Churchill should have concluded pact with Germany in 1941 when the Allies achieved victory in North Africa against Italy. Norman Stone, the British historian, has refuted this charge. Stone points out, that the conclusion of British treaty with Hitler would have allowed him to swallow the whole of Russia, and then, with Japan, together they could have overthrown British imperialism from Asia.
Therefore, it appears that the Grand Alliance had lost its objectivity and credibility and, therefore, the inevitable result was its downfall. The net result was the development of tension which led to the rise of Cold War.
Realising the gravity of the situation Justice Jackson points out that “this unsettled period” needs “firmer enforcement of the laws of international conduct” — in the absence of this, the world would be unfit to live in. A.J.R Taylor writes a treatise entitled “Can We Agree with the Russians?” His answer is direct and short — “No”. The reason given by him is that the Marxists “genuinely think their system is the best in the world and that is bound to triumph. On the other, hand absurdly enough, they live in atmosphere of ceaseless fear expecting conspiracies and wars of intervention.”
4. Term Paper on the Post Second World War Period and Peace Settlement:
In April 1945 Hitler committed suicide. Before this Mussolini was captured and shot (1945) by the Italian themselves. In May Germany made an unconditional surrender and Berlin was occupied by Soviet troops. On 6 August 1945, an atom bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Japan was asked to surrender but she refused. Another bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on 9 August. At last on 14 August 1945 Japan surrendered unconditionally.
On November 28th to December 1st 1943 at Teheran, on February 4th to 11th 1945 at Yalta (Crimea) and on July 17 to August 2, 1945 the leaders of Potsdam Conferences, the United States of America, Great Britain and the Soviet Union adopted concerted decisions on the basic military and political questions connected with waging war against Hitler and post-war arrangements.
These conferences have decisively proved the possibility of cooperation between countries having different socio-economic systems in their struggle against a common enemy and the possibility of a mutually acceptable decision on the future of an aggressor country.
Here we are concerned with the Potsdam Conference held at the Cecilienhof near Potsdam where important decisions and agreements were reached. Germany’s future was settled here. The subsequent international relations, its nature and future depended largely on the outcome of this conference. Hence this is very important as we can trace the rise and growth of Cold War from consequences of this conference.
The Potsdam Conference or the Berlin Conference was attended by a host of leaders from the countries which played important role in the war against Germany. On July 17, 1945, President Harry S. Truman of the United States, Generalissimo J. V. Stalin, the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston S. Churchill, together with Mr. Clement R. Attlee met in the Tripartite Conference of Berlin. They were accompanied by the Foreign Secretaries of the three Governments, Mr. James, F. Byrnes, Mr. V. M. Molotov, Mr. Anthony Eden, the Chiefs of Staff and other advisers.
There were nine meetings between July 17 and July 25. The conference was then interrupted for two days while the results of the British general election were being declared. Churchill was defeated by Attlee and the latter along with the new Secretary of State Mr. Ernest Bevin, assumed the position of Churchill and the conference resumed on 28th July.
Important decisions and agreements were reached at the conference. The Allied armies were in occupation of the whole of Germany. Agreement had been reached at this conference on the political and economic principles of a coordinated Allied policy toward defeated Germany during the period of Allied control.
The purpose of this agreement was to carry out the Crimea declaration on Germany. German militarism and Nazism would be extirpated and the Allies will take in agreement together, now and in the future, the other measures necessary to assure that Germany would never again threaten her neighbors or the peace of the world.
It was not the intention of the Allies to destroy or enslave the German people. It was the intention of the Allies that the German people are given the opportunity to prepare for the eventual reconstruction of their life on a democratic and peaceful basis. If their own efforts were steadily directed to this end, it would be possible for them in due course to take their place among the free and peaceful peoples of the world.
In accordance with the Agreement of Control Machinery in Germany, supreme authority in Germany was exercised on instructions from their respective Governments, by the Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and the French Republic, each in his own zone of occupation, and also jointly, in matters affecting Germany as a whole, in their capacity as members of the Control Council.
In order to eliminate Germany’s war potential, the production of arms, ammunition and implements of war as well as all types of aircraft and sea-going ships should be prohibited and prevented. Production of metals, chemicals, machinery and other items that are directly necessary to a war economy should be rigidly controlled and restricted to Germany’s post-war peace-time needs to meet the objectives.
Productive capacity not needed for permitted production should be removed in accordance with the reparations plan recommended by the Allied Reparations Commission and approved by the Governments concerned or if not removed should be destroyed. During the period of occupation Germany should be treated as a single economic unit.
In accordance with Crimea decision that Germany be compelled to compensate to the greatest possible extent for the loss and suffering that she had caused to the Allied Powers and for which German people cannot escape responsibility, the following agreement on reparations was reached.
But why German people ought to be punished has not been clarified. The Germans were never devoted to Hitler. Prof. Trevor Roper’s account makes this clear.
It was decided that reparation claims of Russia should be met by removals from the zone of Germany occupied by Russia and also from appropriate German external assets. The reparation claims of the United States, Great Britain, France and other countries entitled to reparation should be met from the Western Zones, occupied by them and also from appropriate German external assets.
The conference agreed upon the common policy for establishing, as soon as possible, the conditions of lasting peace after victory in Europe.
(i) The United Nations:
Twentieth century was a critical period in human history. Before it ran half its course it experienced two devastating World Wars which in their progressive brutality and destructiveness portended a crisis to all that human civilization stands for. The idealism, which found the League of Nations, evaporated soon because of selfish considerations of different countries’ diplomacy. As a result, Second World War became inevitable. But after the war, good sense prevailed and men desired to live in peace and amity.
On August 14 1941, in a dramatic mid-ocean meeting board on a ship, President Roosevelt and Churchill drew up what came to be known as the “Atlantic Charter” containing a declaration of aims on which they “based their hopes for a better future for the world.”
The principles laid down in the Charter were eight in number:
(i) There was the renunciation of aggrandisement, territorial or other;
(ii) Agreement that no territorial changes were to be made without the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;
(iii) The right of all peoples to choose their, own form of government and the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those who had been forcibly deprived of them;
(iv) Enjoyment by all states of equal access to the trade and raw materials of the world;
(v) Collaborations between all nations in the economic field;
(vi) The Charter expresses the hope that after the destruction of the Nazi tyranny peace would be established which would enable all men to live in peace within their own boundaries and in freedom from fear and want;
(vii) Hope of freedom of all men to traverse the high seas and ocean without hindrance;
(viii) The belief that all nations must come to the abandonment of the use of force.
These principles were accepted by twenty-six nations whose representatives signed in 1942 a document known as the “Declaration by United Nations”. The Atlantic Charter embodied a common programme of purposes and principles. But with the growing improvement in the position of the Allies it was thought necessary to consider the form of a comprehensive organisation of machinery for the maintenance of peace.
In 1943 the conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain and the United States for the first time defined the basis of a world organisation. These ministers recognised “the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organisation based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and open to membership of all such states, large or small, for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Next followed the Dumberton Oaks Conference near Washington of 1944 in which the representatives of Britain, Russia, America and China drew up draft proposals for the structure of the contemplated world organisation. On the basis of these proposals the United Nations Charter was drawn up by the delegates of fifty states who met at San Francisco in 1945.
In this way a war-time alliance was transformed into a permanent peace-time organisation in the name of United Nations Organisation (UNO) for general international cooperation. The government of all the signatory states ratified the Charter and it came into force on October 24, 1945. Thus was the United Nations Organisation brought into existence.
Its fundamental aims and purposes as set forth in the Charter are as follows:
To maintain international peace and security; develop friendly relations among nations on the basis of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; to achieve international cooperation in solving world-wide economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems; and to promote respect for human rights, dignity and freedom.
The organisation is not to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any country. Prof. Thomson remarks that the Charter was, after all, “the work of the victorious powers and especially of the four great powers.”
(ii) Composition of the U. N. O.:
The United Nations has six main organs, viz., the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat. Besides, there is a group of subsidiary and that the character was, after all, “the work of the victorious powers and especially of the four great powers.”
The original members were those states who had signed the United Nations Declaration or taken part in the San Francisco Conference. New membership was thrown open to all other peace-loving states. Admission is effected by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. Any one of the Big Five of the Security Council can veto an application.
(iii) Functions of the General Assembly:
This is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations Organisation and may be regarded as a parliament of nations. It consists of all the member states, each member having only one vote. On ordinary matters a simple majority is needed, while on important questions a majority of two-third vote is required. The Assembly can discuss any matter within the scope of the Charter, any question relating to peace and security brought to its attention by a member or non-member.
It is also an electing body and, as such, has been empowered to elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and all members of the Trusteeship Council and the economic and Social Council. It controls finances and receives and discusses reports from all agencies and departments. In a word it is it “a deliberative, an overseeing, reviewing and criticizing organ.”
(iv) Functions of the Security Council:
The Security Council is the organ entrusted with the “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” It consists of five permanent and six non-permanent members. The “Big Five” (Russia, United States, Great Britain, China, France) are the permanent members. The non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Each member of the Council has one vote.
In matters of procedure the decisions of the Council require the affirmative vote of any seven of the eleven members. But in the case of substantive matters the concurring votes of all the five permanent members must be included in the majority of seven. In other words, each of the Big Five has the right to ‘veto’ any proposed action of the Security Council with which it does not agree. The Soviet Government has on several occasions exercised its legal right of veto and thus prevented majority decisions from taking effect.
The veto power has been criticized but, without this authority, big powers would not like to be the members of the United Nations. This extraordinary authority has made two types of members in the United Nations. One type is enjoying special privileges and hundreds of others tolerating unprivileged status.
The primary duty of the Security Council is to maintain peace and security in the world. To serve this purpose plans for the use of armed forces by the Council are made with the advice of a Military Staff Committee. It has to supervise and control Trust Territories which are put under the charge of various member countries. To resolve international disputes through peaceful methods the good offices of the Security Council is made to use.
(v) The Economic and Social Council:
The Economic and Social Council is composed of eighteen members, elected for three years by the General Assembly, but one-third of them retire every year. It works under the direction of the Assembly to make or initiate studies and reports with respects to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and other related matters. It seeks to build a world of greater stability and well- being, to create a spirit of universal respect for “human rights” and to promote a higher cultural and educational standard.
It has set up various organisations to study special subjects.
Among these are:
a. U N R R A (U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration);
b. F A O (Food and Agricultural Organisation);
c. I L O (International Labour Organisation).
Of the many specialised agencies one of the most promising is U N E S C O (U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation). It coordinates the activities of the specialised agencies at regular intervals. Both the United States and Britain have left the UNESCO. The UNESCO is organising a great drive against illiteracy in many parts of the world.
(vi) The Trusteeship Council:
It is an improvement of the old mandate system provided in the Covenant of the League of Nations. It marks a new stage in the relationship of colonial powers to dependent peoples. Territories administered under the Trusteeship system include those formerly held under the mandate of the League of Nations, areas which have been detached from the states which were defeated in the Second World War, and any regions voluntarily placed under the Trusteeship Council by the States responsible for their administration.
The terms of trusteeship were settled by negotiations between the U.N.O. and the controlling State, but the basis of all administration must be the paramountcy of the interests of the native inhabitants. Among the promises made by the U.N. to dependent territories are the development of self-government and the promotion of economic and social advancement.
By the trusteeship agreements concluded in 1947, Great Britain administers Tanganyika; France administers the Cameroons and Togoland; Ruanda-Urandi was placed under Belgium; Austria admisters New Guinea and Western Samoa has been placed under New Zealand. The three groups of Pacific Islands formerly mandated to Japan — viz., the Marshall, Mariana and Caroline islands — have been placed under the strategic trusteeship of the United States.
(vii) The International Court of Justice:
It is an improvement on the Permanent Court of International Justice set up earlier by the League of Nations. The court is composed of fifteen judge selected by the General Assembly. It has jurisdiction over all cases referred to it by the member-states. It also gives advisory opinions on any legal question referred to it by the General Assembly and the Security-Council.
It exercises two kinds of jurisdiction. In one, it decides cases which are the subject of dispute between two or more states. It has also advisory jurisdiction. This court is found helpless if a country to a dispute takes up the plea that the matter in dispute relates to domestic jurisdiction.
(viii) The Secretariat:
The Secretariat consists of the working staff of the organisation with its headquarters is at New York. The Secretary General is the chief administrative officer who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. He is assisted by a large number of subordinates who have to look to the details concerning the various aspects of the activities of the United Nations.
The Secretary General is required to make an annual report to the Assembly and is empowered to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which, in his opinion, may threaten international peace and security.
(ix) Chief Differences between the League of Nations and the United Nations:
The UNO is created in the light of the experience of the League of Nations, but in some respects marks an improvement on the constitution of the League. “The Charter is much longer and a more explicit document than the League Covenant.” The purposes of both are fundamentally the same.
But the scope and functions of the UNO are more extensive and its membership is more representative than the League. Besides, the League was “without teeth” as it had no armed forces at its disposal, but the UNO is provided with a Military Staff Committee to draw up plans for the use of armed forces by the Security Council to prevent or resist a breach of the peace.
The Charter of the League of Nations put emphasis on the governments of the various countries, but the Charter of the UNO put emphasis on the people. It declares “we, the peoples of the United Nations”. But it represents governments and not necessarily peoples.
According to Thomson the UNO is a “somewhat tighter organisation than the League”. The superpower United States was not a member and did not co-operate with the League, but in the UNO she is an active member but interferes in the activities of the UNO whenever her national interests is mattered.
This role was played by Great Britain in the League of Nations. The UNO has become the political hot bed and an arena for Russian and American rivalry. Ketelbey has put up the matter saying “UNO itself clearly rests upon the United States.” The voting procedure of the UNO is such that no great power can be made responsible or condemned for its illegal activities. It is, therefore, impossible to take punitive action against any big power or its protege through the machinery of the UNO.
There is a distinct difference between the League and the United Nations. The League was essentially European in its concerns, while the United Nations is a world body representing all the continents. The “right of individual or collective self-defence” was not included in the League convention, but, in the Charter of the United Nations, there is specific reference to it. The United Nations is much more emphatic in requiring its members to abjure war as a means of settling international disputes.
But is spite of elaborate provisions on paper for the maintenance of peace and security there are glaring procedural defects which are calculated to make them ineffective. The right of absolute veto, which has been allowed to each of the Big Five, has proved a great stumbling-block to the practical functioning of the Security Council.
It can hardly be expected to find that perfect unanimity among the Big Five which the voting procedure in the Security Council demands. Both the United States and Russia, on several emergency occasions, failed to create unanimity and has vetoed the majority decisions of the Council with which it did not agree.
Again, although there is provision for the recruitment of an international army to enforce the decision of the Security Council, it is difficult, nay well-nigh impossible, to draw up plans of military measures acceptable to all the Big Five. As a matter of fact, it is not possible for the United Nations to abolish differences of interest and ideology such as we see in the world today.
It, however, affords a fresh opportunity to attempt the difficult task of abolishing war through a cooperative system of world government. In the words of Mr. Trygve Lie, first Secretary-General of the UNO, we may say: “The United Nations has not been able to resolve great power differences, but the conflict has been kept within peaceful bounds and the way prepared for further peaceful settlement.”
(x) The United Nations in Action:
From the very inception of the United Nations, it had to deal with a large number of problems of current history. Its early record is, however, disappointing to its protagonists. The efforts of the Security Council had been greatly hampered by the free use of the veto power by the Soviet Union.
But, at the same, we should recall our memory that almost half a dozen anti-India proposal over Kashmir were raised by Pakistan at the instigation of the United States and it was Russia who foundered the USA plan by exercising the right of veto and saved India. In similar cases, to save other countries from the machination of the United States, Soviet Russia had to exercise its right of veto on no less than twenty-two occasions during the year 1946-47.
The credit goes to the UNO that in spite of this serious handicap it has accomplished much in difficult circumstances. It had stepped into quarrels between members, prevented hasty action and offered mediations.
The first serious issue successfully tackled by the United Nations was the dispute between Iran and the Soviet Union over Soviet army stationed in Iran during the Second World War. Now, after repeated request made by Iran to Soviet Union for the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops being failed, Iran lodged complaint to the United Nations.
According to Iran, the Soviet Union’s failure to recall its army amounted to interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. Moscow denied the charge of interference and the Soviet representative withdrew from the Council in protest. The Council took a strong line by keeping the matter open and so the Soviet troops were withdrawn.
On a similar complaint made by the delegates of Syria and Lebanon, the United States interfered and compelled Britain and France to withdraw their troops from two countries. The Dutch colonies of Java, Madura and Sumatra revolted against the Dutch and the nationalists in these colonies took up arms to secure their independence. The matter was brought before the Security Council by India and Australia in 1947.
This was the Indonesian question. The Government of Netherlands refused to admit the dispute which was, according to them, a domestic problem and the government was involved in “police action” and not war. However, the Security Council promptly, issued a cease-fire order to both sides and proceeded to a consideration of the case. Although both sides accepted the proviso, there was no diminution of fighting.
This created an unkempt situation forcing the council to appoint a Consular Commission to report on the situation and offered to set up a Committee of Good Offices of Three Nations Council to help in reaching an amicable settlement. Indonesia chose Australia to the Committee of Three, while the Netherlands chose Belgium. These two members selected the United States as the third.
In 1948 the two sides accepted an immediate truce but the Dutch soon terminated it and began armed conflict. Thereupon the Security Council forced the Dutch to appear before it to defend their conduct and to accept the necessity of negotiating rather than imposing a settlement. In the face of this pressure the Dutch entered into a truce arrangement and agreed to a round-table conference to be held at Hague in Holland.
As the result of its deliberations a statute known as the Hague Statute of Union was enacted, which established a co-operative union of the two parties “on the basis of voluntariness and equal status with equal rights.” The sovereignty of the Indonesian Republic, it was declared, was not affected by the Union.
Ever since the British assumed the mandate over Palestine the struggle between the Arabs and the Jews became a very disturbing factor in the Near East. Despairing of any amicable settlement, Great Britain brought the question before the UNO which appointed in 1947 a Special Committee on Palestine. The committee recommended a partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab areas. Thereupon the General Assembly appointed a commission to take charge of Palestine when the British would withdraw.
But the Jews anticipated the work of the Commission by declaring the establishment of an independent State of Israel. Thereupon the Arab League declared war against the new Jewish state. To stop hostilities and to come to a peaceful settlement the General Assembly authorised the Big Five to send a mediator to Palestine. Their choice fell upon Count Bernadotte who had before him a very troublesome task.
The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir was brought before the United Nations and its mediation stopped fighting between the two parties. But the Kashmir problem still awaits solution. Both the States, however, have agreed that the solution should be amicable. India justifies in demanding that Kashmir problem is an internal affair of India and, therefore, no other third party has right to interfere.
In Korea, the United Nations found a very hard nut to crack. On the surrender of the Japanese forces after the Second World War, Russia and America, by agreement, respectively occupied the north and south of Korea, with the thirty- eighth as the dividing line. The object of this military occupation was to disarm the Japanese forces and to repatriate them as well as the civilian Japanese.
A conference of foreign ministers held in Moscow, in 1945, concluded an agreement providing for the establishment of a provisional democratic Korean Government for the entire country. For the Soviet-American commission appointed to implement this programme had failed to reach an agreement. As a consequence the Communists of the North, trained by the Russians, set up the North Korea People’s Government.
In the South also a government was set up under American auspices, which was conservative and anti-communist. Thus the division of Korea into two zones — which had been first instituted for military reasons and was ostensibly intended to be temporary — had to be maintained owing to the growing inability of the Russians and Americans to agree on the conditions of unification.
In the face of this disagreement the Assembly of the UN, being prodded by the United States but against Russian protests, appointed a Temporary Commission on Korea to hammer out a government for the whole country. But the communists in North Korea had gained enormously in discipline, coherent policy, and mass support. It also won undoubted popularity. They boycotted the Commission.
The Commission, however, succeeded in founding a constituent assembly and soon framed a democratic constitution for Korea. The new regime of South Korea was recognised in 1948 by the UN as the only legitimate government in Korea. Thus Korea came to have two governments, one in the North and the other in the South, each striving hard to bring the whole country under its control.
As a result of these political developments, the situation in Korea was highly explosive. On 25 June 1949 the communist government of-North Korea, following some sporadic border incidents, launched a full scale invasion of South Korea. United Nations took immediate action. Ordered by the Security Council, North Korea, however, retired to their side of the thirty-eighth parallel. The United Nations asked its members to send contingents to Korea. Great Britain immediately sent troops along with others.
In the beginning the forces of the United Nations were pushed back almost to the southern tip of the peninsula. But with the arrival of reinforcements, the army of the United Nations recovered lost grounds and pushed the army of North to the Yalu River, the boundary between Korea and China. At this stage communist China stepped in and sent troops to help the North Koreans. After hard fighting for several months a front was established close to the thirty-eighth parallel.
In 1951 the United Nation’s General Assembly, at the instance of the United States, declared the Chinese Republic as an aggressor. In the meantime, negotiations were resumed and agreement was achieved on some points. But there followed an impasse over the question of the return of the prisoners of war.
The proposal of India to turn over the prisoners to a neutral nation was favourably received by the United Nations but was turned down by the communist bloc. So the negotiations broke down. In 1953 an exchange of some sick and wounded prisoners was effected and negotiations for an armistice were resumed.