The World War II is considered as the greatest war in the history of mankind. The war caused more far reaching reactions to humankind then any other war of human history. As per the statistics more than 55 million people have been perished in the war. More than 50 countries took direct part in the war and the effects of the war were felt through out the World. Except Antarctica, every continent of the world was involved in the war. Asia, Europe and Africa were the chief battle grounds of the war. After the World War II, the downfall of Western Europe as the centre of World power ahs began, and it lead to the rise of Soviet Russia as the newest superpower.
US History notes (2011), “After World War I, Germany, Italy, and Japan — all anxious to regain or increase their power — adopted forms of dictatorship” . The League of Nations failed to promote the proposed disarmament. At that point of time Adolf Hitler became the leader of Germany who had promised to the people that he would end the humiliating conditions of their country which had started after the defeat of World War I. One of the most important beliefs of them was that USA, Belgium, Great Britain; France etc are unfairly controlling the wealth of the World. Germany, Italy and Japan decided to look for lands only to get hold of their rightful share of the wealth in the World.
Throughout the greater part of the World War II, the Axis had held significant advantages, but still at the end of the war the Allied forces were the winners. As per Richard Overy, the wins in the sea were a decisive factor for the Allies. In the early stages of the war, Germany dominated the area as they were very good at submarine warfare. After the huge losses of Great Britain in naval war in the hands of Germany, British Admiral Horton changed the strategy. His demand of more aircrafts to fill the Atlantic Gap and other technical implementations became very effective in submarine hunting. The invasion of France which was controlled by the Axis Forces can be considered as another important aspect. The British and American forces joined their hands together to make the task possible, and they had succeeded in doing that which landed a huge blow to the Axis forces .
Massie noted that “The Allies perhaps won the war of technology by always striving for balance and practicality. The focus was on what they could use, rather than what they would be able to develop and produce” . The World War II can be easily termed as the ‘War of Machines’ and the first of its kind too. The balance of technology and ability to produce the proper technology are considered as most important aspects of the war.
The foreign minister of Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop wrote a brief memoir where he had highlighted three very important aspects that had propelled the defeat of Germany, and the three points are the ‘unexpected power of resistance’ showed by the Red Army, the vast American weapons that were supplied to the Allied Forces during the war and finally the success of the Allied Air power. Hitler even pointed out that the failure of the German Air force was the cause of the downfall of the Axis forces.
In 1942, the British forces were close to defeat in all the fronts, American economy were in the verge of downfall and the Soviets were shattered. The win of the Germans were seemed as only a mater of time. Yet they lost the War in the final outcome. But as the British forces decided to join hands with the American and Russian forces, the two largest military resources in the World at that time, the strength of all of the three increased both on the battlefield and in aerial war. Basically for the Allied Forces the defeat of Germany was the main target as the other two participating countries, Italy and Japan never posed so much threat to the Allied Forces. It was believed that if the Allied Forces can defeat Germany they could surely stop the other two Axis forces.
The transformation of the Soviet fighting power and morale has a number of different explanations. In the very first place, the Red Army had learned a lot from the mistakes they had previously done while fighting against the German forces. They had thoroughly organized their air force and tank division. Moreover the Soviet tanks were copies of the German Panzer divisions and the intelligence department was improved with the help of the American and British helps. The civilians were given state of the art military training. Ultimately the technological advancements made in all the departments made the Soviet military a much changed side. Along with all that the Soviet industry and the workforce in the country had adopted the command economy which also directly helped in the cause. There were an exodus of workers and factories in Soviet Russia, an estimated 16 million workers and more than 2,500 major plants were present there. All of these aspects helped the country to recover from the severe economic blow they suffered after the defeat from the Germans. There were enough food for the soldiers, the Soviet rail network were rebuild with American supplies, one million miles of telephone wires, millions of weapons and huge number of trucks supplied from America helped the Red Army to fight with the Germans with more vigor than ever, and ultimately the Germans retreated.
Overy stated, “The Reliance on American aid indicates just how much the Allied war effort owed to the exceptional material and logistical strength of the United States” America was the World’s largest industrial economy at that time and they converted to the mass production of weapons and other war equipments. Also the transition from peace to war was very rapid and effective in the case of America. USA had a huge number of highly trained forces at their disposal and their massive material superiority was very commanding in the context of the war.
To be very frank, we can attribute a percentage of the Allied forces success to the American Industrial Capitalism. The ‘can-do’ ethos of the Americans and high level of engineering skills with a number of entrepreneurs hold the key to success in the war. At that point of time, America had suffered a recession so the work force always needed to be employed where Germany had not unemployment. The productivity of America was on the rise while Germany lost some of their inherent skills in the timer of the Great War.
Still, the enemy was determined and well trained as well. The American forces took considerable long time to defeat the German forces. At a point of time America with held the forces from the war, and at that point of time that had re-organized their air force altogether. The new strategies were to be able in strategic bombings, and most importantly, a long range and independent assault on the economic and military framework of the Axis forces. There was a plan in Britain at that point of time and in January of 1943, the two countries joined hands for employing large bomber forces against the German Offensive Army and most importantly, destroying the German economy.
The bombings provided a key difference between the Western allies and Germany. It also lifted the morale of the Allied forces more than ever, and its direct effect on the German society was to produce social disruption in the German society on a mass scale. By the late 1944, more than 8 million Germans fled the cities for the safer villages and other small townships. A vast area of Urban Japan was destroyed by City Raid and ultimately launch of the two atomic bombs. Japan surrendered as they had suffered heavy casualties. The air power provided a short cut victory to the Allied Forces in all the fronts, and the losses of the British and American forces were fractions of the loss suffered by Germany and Japan.
American rearmament and economic mobilization were two very important causes but still one can not just over look the aspect of German miscalculation in deciding the outcome of the war. There were both weaknesses and strengths in Hitler’s strategy. They had never considered the Red Army as a combat force who could turn the tables. And even they also never calculated the re-participation of the United States in the war. Military arrogance and political hubris really put Germany in the way of defeat. Along with the German forces, the Axis forces were also defeated through out the battlefields of the World. In the final analysis, the Allied forces were victorious in the World War II, but the history and the map of the World changed forever. Many colonies gained freedom and several new countries got their independence. Ultimately America and Russia were named the two most dominate super powers in the World.