What were the world wars?
We explain what the two world wars were, what were their causes and consequences. Also, movies that tell them.
What were the world wars?
The world wars were the war conflicts that involved almost all of the great international powers of that time, many of them belonging to different continents . They were the bloodiest, most destructive and harmful wars humanity has ever lived. There have been two of them, so far.
They have not been, however, the longest wars in history , far from it, but they have had the greatest cost in lives , especially if their brevity is taken into account. The latter is largely due to the involvement of civilian populations in the conflict, which was not usual in traditional warfare.
The technological and industrial mechanisms placed at the full service of the war were also a cause of rapid destruction. Thus, air, sea and land elements were involved.
As we said, there have been two world wars recognized as such:
- World War I (1914-1918). Referred for many years as the “Great War”, it was starred by two opposing sides that brought together all the European colonial powers of the moment. On the one hand there was the Triple Entente: Great Britain, France and Tsarist Russia. On the other hand, the Central Powers of the Triple Alliance were grouped: Germany, Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Each side also joined their respective allies, dragging the conflict to Greece, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, United States, Romania, Japan and Portugal (on the Entente side); and the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Sultanate of Darfur, Dervish State and Emirate of Jammal Shammar (on the side of the Alliance). The conflict culminated with the defeat of the Central Powers and the signing of theTreaty of Versailles .
- World War II (1939-1945). Perhaps the most famous warlike conflict of contemporaneity, not only because of its destructive mood, which swept through Europe, but also because of the extreme methods to which its combatants went, including massive and incendiary bombardment, or the use of bombs atomic In addition, the application of slavery was famousby the forces of German Nazism, in the sadly famous concentration and extermination camps. The opposing sides on this occasion were the Allied Countries: France, England, the United States and the USSR, along with their support: the Republic of China, Poland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the British Raj, the Kingdom of Nepal , Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Greece, Yugoslavia and much more; versus the Axis Powers: Germany, Japan and Italy, together with their support and partners: Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Thailand, Iran, Iraq, and the non-belligerent support of Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Republic Czech, Spain, Luxembourg and Yugoslavia.
Causes of World War I
The causes of world wars are never simple or concrete, but are constituted over many years, during which they accumulate critical mass until an event, the drop that spills the glass, triggers violence.
In the case of World War I, the causes are due to tensions resulting from the colonial distribution of Africa and Asia among the European powers of the moment. To this were added the economic tensions implied by competition for industrial predominance in the nascent century.
The event that triggered the violence was, in 1914, the murder of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire , Duke Francisco Fernando of Austria, in Sarajevo.
Causes of World War II
On the other hand, the roots of the Second World War are precisely at the end of the First World War and the oppressive conditions in which the defeated had to sign the peace, as stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles . This, added to the Great Depression of 1929, plunged them into poverty and unpayable debts.
Thus the perfect breeding ground for a new political faction ascended in Europe conceived the fascism . Born in Italy with Benito Mussolini, he soon germinated in Germany with Adolph Hitler, and triggered a resurgence of extreme nationalism , inspired by racist logic and social Darwinism.
It was, therefore, a matter of time before war broke out in Europe. The event that triggered it was the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939 , after Austria and Czechoslovakia were peacefully annexed.
Consequences of world wars
The consequences of such conflicts, as will be assumed, are devastating. On two occasions Europe has been left in ruins, especially in World War II, and the loss of human life has been impressive: 16 million people died in the First World War and between 55 and 60 million in the Second .
In addition, in both cases there was a violent reconfiguration of the political and economic powers of the world , taking away their colonies or causing the fall or dissolution of regimes such as the Russian Empire (in the October Revolution of 1918), the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, or their restructuring (such as the division of Germany into two countries).
Sadly, many of the technologies we use today have their direct or indirect origin in these two devastating conflicts, such as atomic energy , jet propulsion, computers, etc.
How did World War II end?
World War II lasted for six years of conflict until in 1944 the Allied invasion of France (the famous Normandy landings) took place, a gesture that marked the beginning of the end of the German domination of Europe.
There had already been catastrophic events for the Axis powers, such as the defeat of the Germans in Soviet territory and the fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy. The latter had forced the Germans to invade the former Allied nation and restore order.
The launch of the Soviet offensive in winter of 1944 was the other blow of pliers against Hitler’s Germany , which was gradually losing ground on all its fronts. This caused uprisings against the German III Reich in many occupied nations, while the alliance between China and the United States did the same with Japan on the Pacific front.
The German resistance delayed the arrival of the Soviets in Berlin until the beginning of the following year. Before this definitive panorama for the Nazis, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker on April 30, 1945 , leaving his nation in ruins and drifting.
However, the German and Italian surrender did not mean the end of the conflict, given that Japan remained facing the Allied Countries. The struggle in the Pacific was particularly bloody and American troops were already suffering the ravages of the campaign on the Western front.
So, taking advantage of the technology inherited from the mad German initiatives, the United States government made the decision to bomb the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 , two days apart, using atomic bombs .
After the instant death of 166,000 people in the first city and 80,000 in the second, the Japanese government announced its unconditional surrender on August 15, ending the Second World War.
Movies about world wars
Films about World War I :
- Shoulder arms! (1918)
- The price of glory (1926)
- The Angels of Hell (1930)
- No news on the front (1930)
- The great illusion (1937)
- The Queen of Africa (1951)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
- Doctor Zhivago (1965)
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
- Eternal Love (2004)
- The Red Baron (2008)
Films about World War II :
- The Great Dictator (1940)
- Casablanca (1942)
- The bridge over the river Kwai (1957)
- Twelve of the gallows (1967)
- Patton (1970)
- The Empire of the Sun (1987)
- Schindler’s List (1993)
- The thin red line (1998)
- Life is beautiful (1997)
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
- Pearl Harbor (2001)
- The Pianist (2002)
- The Fall (2004)
- The Enigma Code (2014)
- Until the last man (2016)
- Dunkirk (2017)