Comparative history


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Comparative history

  1. 1. Comparative History WWII Great Depression By. Megan Foster
  2. 2. An Ocean Apart• Otto Freidrich has written, WWII “changed Americans from a nation of provincial innocents… ignorant of the great world… into a nation that would often have to bear the burden’s of rescuing the world.• The after math of the war brought the collapse of all overseas Western empires, a cold war between communist an noncommunist nations, and, finally, the arrival of Japan at worlds economic and political center• Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill put aside disputes and prejudices to forge an alliance that committed the U.S. to join the war effort and to take up Britains role as policeman after the war• Winston Churchill dubbed WWII as the “unnecessary war”• By the early 1930’s the world economy had collapsed into depression• Franklin D. Roosevelt has lost faith in the League of Nations• Roosevelt still believed U.S. should have influence in the cause of world peace• In 1937 Roosevelt compared war to an infectious disease whose spread could be prevented only by putting the aggressors in “quarantine” through diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions• The English Channel was no barrier to the growing German Air Force• Since deterrence seemed impossible, British leaders adopted a policy of appeasement• Appeasement was a policy of Torydominated National Government throughout the 1930’s• Many underestimated Hitlers long-term ambitions and exaggerated Germany’s immediate military strength• The British Dominions were isolationist, France was in turmoil, and Russia was engulfed in Stalin’s bloody purges
  3. 3. • Prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, gave Hitler half of Czechoslovakia in exchange for pledges that he would make no further territorial demands and that Britain and Germany would never fight each other again• Roosevelt worried if any agreement with Hitler would stick• Relations between the two governments improved during 1939• Americans applauded Britains decision to end appeasement after Hitler took the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March 1939• On the night of August 31, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, ignoring Britains ultimatum, and 3 days later Britain and France declared war• Roosevelt made it clear at once that American sympathies lay with the allies• Neutrality was Americas official policy• Roosevelt secured repeal of the arms embargo• Britain could now buy whatever she wanted, as long as she paid cash and arranged delivery• May 10, Germany invaded Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Northern France• At 6 that night, the British Prime Minister resigned, Winston Churchill was his successor
  4. 4. • Churchill was weary of asking the U.S. for help due to the financial cost of WWI, eventually deciding, “we must ask… as a matter of life or death… to be reinforced with their destroyers”• The Presidents military advisors were particularly reluctant to see much given away• In April of 1940 U.S. ranked among Worlds Military Powers• By middle of August Roosevelt felt able to act• Britain could have the destroyers, but would have to offered something in return• President wanted 99 year leases on 8 British possessions in the Americas, stretching from Newfoundland to the Caribbean, to build U.S. Naval bases and to strengthen it’s own defenses.• September 2, 1940 “destroyers for bases” deal signed• The morning of December 7th, Japanese planes bombed American base, sinking or immobilizing 8 American Battleships and leaving 2400 dead• September 4, a U-Boat attacked U.S. Destroyer Greer, and Roosevelt used the opportunity to announce a state of virtual, though still undeclared, naval war• America declared war on Japan, and Hitler in turn, declared war on America
  5. 5. Race War: American & Japanese Perceptions of the Enemy• WWII was the costliest and deadliest war in human history• 19 million soldiers were killed in the fighting, 300,000 were American (less than 2%)• Few questioned the justice of fighting Nazi’s or retaliating against Japan• Anti-German propaganda concentrated on evil figure of Adolf Hitler, in the pacific, venom was directed at Japanese in general• Japanese were designated as monkeys, children, “little men”, or simply “yellow bastards”• Americans today view WWII as atrocious and racist due to Nazi genocide of Jews, however when the war was being fought, the enemy Americans perceived as most atrocious was not the Germans but the Japanese• Americans were obsessed with the uniquely evil nature of the Japanese• Japan’s aggression stirred the deepest recesses of white suprimism and provoked a response bordering the apocalyptic• Hollywood introduced good Germans as well as Nazi’s but almost never showed a “good Japanese”• Popular song inspired by Pearl Harbor was titled “There’ll be no Adolf Hitler, nor Yellow Japs to Fear”• It took Pearl Harbor and Singapore to destroy the myth cherished by Caucasians that the Japanese were poor navigators and inept pilots and unimaginative strategists• Japanese were viewed as sub-human: they were little men, inferior to the white Westerner in every physical, moral, and intellectual way. They were also collectively primitive, childish, and mad• At the same time, Japanese were portrayed as supermen• Fighting Japanese in the jungle was like going after “small game in the woods back home” or tracking down a predatory animal
  6. 6. • Psychology of the hunt became indistinguishable from a broader psychology of extermination and came to a point of having no qualms about extending the kill from the battlefield, to the civilian population in Japan• Japanese were vermin, apes, monkeys, “jaundiced baboons”• On Iwo Jima, press found some marines went into battle with “Rodent Exterminator” stenciled on their helmets• Most popular float in a New York victory parade in mid 1942 was titled “Tokyo: We are Coming” and depicted bombs falling on a frantic pack of yellow rats• Before Pearl harbor, it was common wisdom among westerners that the Japanese could not shoot, sail, or fly very well• British intelligence reported Japanese could not think imaginatively because of the enormous amount of energy required to memorize the ideographic writing system dulled their brain and killed the spark of creativity• Nothing in the “rational” min-set of Western leaders prepared them for the audacity and skill of Japan’s attack
  7. 7. Into the Economic Abyss• A spectacular, record breaking global boom from about 18550 to the early 1870’s had been followed by the twenty odd years of the world economy…then another evidently secular forward surge of the world economy• History of the world economy since the Industrial Revolution has been one of accelerating technological progress, of continuous but uneven economic growth and of increasing “globalization”• In the 15years before 1914 almost 15 millions has landed in the U.S. in the next 15, flow shrank 5 ½ millions, in the 19030’s and the war years it came to an almost complete stop• Private savings disappeared totally, thus crating an almost complete vacuum of working capital for business• When the great inflation ended in 1922-23, people in Germany who had relied on fixed incomes and savings were wiped out• The roaring 1920’s were not a golden age on the farms of USA• Unemployment in most of Western Europe remained pathologically high• At the worst period of the Slump(1932-33) 22-23% of British and Belgium labor force, 24% of Swedish, 27% of U.S., 29% of Austrians, 31% of Norwegian, 32% of Danish and no less then 44% of German workers were out of jobs• The only Eastern state which succeeded in eliminating unemployment was Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1938• Even in the country most fully covered by Unemployment Insurance schemes before the Slump(Great Britain) less than 60% of the labor force were covered
  8. 8. • The Great Slump destroyed economic liberalism for half a century• The Great Slump forced Western governments to give social considerations priority over economic ones in their state policies• A prophylactic measure taken was the installation of modern welfare systems• U.S. passed Social Security Act in 1935• By 1913 USA had become largest economy in the world, producing over 1/3 of it’s industrial output• In 1929 USA produced 42% of total world output• U.S. steel production rose by about ¼ between 1913 and 1920• Steel production in the rest of the world fell by about 1/3
  9. 9. Roosevelt & Hitler: New Deal and the Nazi Reactions to the Depression• Unemployment was in the area of 25% of the workforce• January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor• March 4, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt took oath as President of U.S.• Their rise marked the beginning of the end of the Great Depression• Their method and personalities had enormous effects on the entire world• For some reason, Roosevelt and Hitler were especially appealing to their social and economic opposites• Hitler inspired awe among millions of ordinary Germans• Roosevelt and Hitler were masters at speaking on the radio• Depression oriented policies of New America and Nazi Germany displayed many remarkable similarities
  10. 10. • Gave providing aid to unemployed top priority• Nazi’s offered subsidies and tax rebates to private companies that hired new workers• Granted marriage loans to persuade women to leave the work force and to encourage consumer spending• Launched a huge public works program that included numerous railroad and navigation projects, building and repair of private homes, construction of public buildings, and the motorization program that involved the design and production of the Autobahn Network• Both opened work camps• By 1935 and 1936 both governments were abandoning corporatism and taking a more anti-big-business stance• New Deal was more successful in solving farm problems• Nazi efforts on behalf of farm laborers were more effective than those of the New Deal
  11. 11. • At the end of Roosevelt’s first year in office, Hitler sent him a private message through diplomatic channels offering sincere congratulations for “his heroic efforts in the interest of the American people. The president’s successful battle against economic distress is being followed by the entire German people with interest and admiration”• Neither regime solved the problem of maintaining prosperity without war• German leaders wanted war and used economy to make it possible• American’s lacked this motivation. But when war was forced upon them, they took the same approach