Elsewhere on the internet...

The League of Reason has some social media accounts! You can find us on Facebook or on Twitter for some interesting links and things.

When did World War II begin?

Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 3
 [ 49 posts ] 
When did World War II begin?
Author Message
MindHackPosts: 59Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:05 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

I could argue that the confusion about the starting date of WWII is due to the fact that it isn't a very good label for the conflict in the first place. In my opinion of course. I mean, when does a war qualify as a world war, or does the term in fact say anything meaningful about the nature of the war? I have doubts, so"¦my thoughts on the topic.

Imo, WWII were in fact many 'little wars' popping up more or less simultaneously, making it appear as if it was a single big war. It hasn't had a single start, rather a gradual decent into something that appears as a global conflict.

When the already shaky balance of power after WWI was further weakened by the rise of (aggressive) nationalism, fascism and communism (strengthened by economic crises) it became possible for groups within nations and nations itself to attempt to settle old scores under new banners (ideologies).

The post WWI world was also another chapter in the nation-state building process, where different ideologies were tried out upon which the nation-state could be built.

The rise of ideologies had global implications, and they clashed on many occasion on many places. From 1917 to the present an ideologically based social tension can be seen in almost every western country and beyond. This tension climaxed in what now is known as WWII.

What I thus think to see if I look back on WWI and WWII are two greatly different conflicts, which do not compare very well as the labels of both suggest. Where WWI was the last of the truly imperialistic wars of the 19th century, being fought between royalty and empires, WWII was mostly a clash of ideologies in and between nation states.

If I were to identify the core of WWII as a clash of ideologies then identifying the end of it is just as problematic as it is for the beginning. When WWII is seen as a ideology clash, I can easily extend the second world war into the cold war age and the many ideological wars being fought in areas as Vietnam and Korea, where communism and capitalism continue to fight after emperialism and fascism have been destroyed in Europe and Japan.

I think determining the start date of WWII is difficult because of reasons given above.
Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:00 pm
WelshidiotPosts: 569Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:57 pm

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

I was taught that the title "World War" was by way of a technical description, and quite literally it means that countries from all of the six inhabited continents were involved in the same conflict.
Using that standard then WWII started when the British Empire declared war on Germany, because the Empire had territory on all six inhabited continents.
Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:13 pm
kenandkidsUser avatarPosts: 1117Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:00 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Welshidiot wrote:I was taught that the title "World War" was by way of a technical description, and quite literally it means that countries from all of the six inhabited continents were involved in the same conflict.
Using that standard then WWII started when the British Empire declared war on Germany, because the Empire had territory on all six inhabited continents.



Similarly, I was always taught that WWII started when the agreement between the Axis was made. Every continent's nations then found themselves on one side or the other. If Japan and Germany hadn't made the agreement, America might never have joined in Europe.
Teapublican commandment:
Thou shalt not educate or improve the lives of the lesser classes, the lesser races, or women.

Fiddler on:

http://obnoxi.us/
Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:42 pm
MindHackPosts: 59Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:05 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

quote="Welshidiot"]I was taught that the title "World War" was by way of a technical description, and quite literally it means that countries from all of the six inhabited continents were involved in the same conflict.
Using that standard then WWII started when the British Empire declared war on Germany, because the Empire had territory on all six inhabited continents.[/quote]

Given the fact that back in the days of imperialistic Britain (say 17 to 19th century) it had possessions (and inhabitants) in those six continents as well. Wouldn't that mean there have been many more world wars then? Why then only name two?

I know of four Anglo-Dutch wars, both had extensive possessions on different continents. Would these wars qualify as world wars?

I think "Country" is also a problematic term, because its meaning changes over time. As I've tried to explain WWI wasn't really between countries, in a national sense, rather between empires and their ruling families. A country nowadays is perceived as a nation-state, at least in Europe and the western world, where inhabitants identify themselves with it. And this nation-based-country concept is again undergoing change nowadays, becoming more of a strictly organizational entity with certain sets of law with a place in a global economy.
Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:51 pm
WelshidiotPosts: 569Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:57 pm

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Firstly I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to claim that my view is definitive in any way, I'm just going with what I know, and making arguments for what I find logical.

MindHack wrote:Given the fact that back in the days of imperialistic Britain (say 17 to 19th century) it had possessions (and inhabitants) in those six continents as well. Wouldn't that mean there have been many more world wars then? Why then only name two?
I really don't know, although I have heard many historians say that the Napoleonic Wars were really WWI.

MindHack wrote:I know of four Anglo-Dutch wars, both had extensive possessions on different continents. Would these wars qualify as world wars?
If the qualification for the term "world war" is having countries on all continents involved in the same conflict, then if those conflicts met that qualification then yes I suppose they would count.

Perhaps the term "world war" should have been applied more often.

MindHack wrote:I think "Country" is also a problematic term, because its meaning changes over time. As I've tried to explain WWI wasn't really between countries, in a national sense, rather between empires and their ruling families. A country nowadays is perceived as a nation-state, at least in Europe and the western world, where inhabitants identify themselves with it. And this nation-based-country concept is again undergoing change nowadays, becoming more of a strictly organizational entity with certain sets of law with a place in a global economy.
I can accept your argument in regard to the start of WWI, but by the end of WWI the significance of the nation state was far greater, in fact I would argue that the fatal blows to the former state of aristocratic imperialism were struck during WWI.

Apart from that, if we forget the political and societal landscape for a moment, and think of the term in it's military context, then I'm not sure that the phenomenon of countries changing over time is truly relevant to the concept of a "world war".
After the Empire declared war on Germany any ship flying German colours would be treated as an enemy vessel at any Empire port, and ships flying colours from any country in the Empire would have received commensurate treatment at any German port (this applies to land-based and aircraft related encounters as well) .
Therefore military engagements of the Empire vs. Germany conflict could occur on any of the six inhabited continents. Such engagements wouldn't be only tangentially related to the conflict, and they wouldn't even be directly related to the conflict, in fact the word "related" doesn't really apply because such engagements were what constituted the conflict.



@ Kenandkids

That's an interesting point, but I refer you to the point I just made about the potential for actual military engagements. As I understand it the first Axis treaty was signed in 1936, but at that time I'm pretty sure that there were no countries in the Americas that were pushed into a state of war by the signing.
The final cementing of Axis by the signing of the Tripartite Pact didn't take place until 1940, by which time there were already countries on all six continents that were involved in the war.
Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:08 pm
MindHackPosts: 59Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:05 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Welshidiot wrote:Firstly I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to claim that my view is definitive in any way, I'm just going with what I know, and making arguments for what I find logical.
I'm also just speaking my mind here, and nothing I said is definitive in any way. Maybe I should work on my writing skills ;)

If the qualification for the term "world war" is having countries on all continents involved in the same conflict, then if those conflicts met that qualification then yes I suppose they would count.
That's a bit what I was thinking: What would count? What are the qualifications? If any.

On some subconscious level I can't believe the community accepted such a casual and vague label (WWII) for one of the most if not the most stereotypical example of authoritarian regimes and their typical behaviour. Their tendency towards sadistic and masochistic actions, clashing together in never seen campaigns in a race to annihilate subgroups, eachother and ultimately themselves. (and then naming it part 2)

Also, in relation to the long chain of events prior and after the official start date of the conflict, sept 1, '39, I found it hard to drive that solid line there myself. Why's not chosing for the night of the long knifes, or the signing of the molotov-ribbentrop pact, to name a few.

Thirdly, I think it's a bit of a misrepresenation to label two major wars as if it were a sequal, while they are very different in the way the combatants were socially organized and the atmosphere they were fighting in and for.

I really don't know, although I have heard many historians say that the Napoleonic Wars were really WWI.


Could very well be. What makes a war a world war. Is it relevant..Sh*t must go for now. WWII is always interesting to talk about :)
Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:41 pm
Anachronous RexLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 2008Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:07 pmLocation: Kansas City, MO Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

I think we need a clarification regarding what exactly we're asking in this context.

Are we asking, "when did the conflict that would eventually encompass the whole of the world begin?"
or
are we asking, "when did the conflict begin to encompass the whole of the world?"

If the former... Japan, definitely.* Either the invasion of Manchuria in 31, or the Second Sino-Japanese War in 37.

The latter is a somewhat more difficult question. I mean, to an extent the whole world was involved in the conflict described above, but arguing in favor of that position would clearly be stretching a bit. You could say 39, but in the same way the whole world wasn't really involved (The Western Hemisphere wasn't passive, but it wasn't really fighting either.) 41 would probably be the most accurate date to give in that sense.

Of course if it were me, I'd instead ask, "when did people at the time start thinking of it as a World War/Global Conflict?"

In which case the answer is 39, definitely.


*Although I suppose you could make a compelling argument for the Spanish Civil War in 36, as a sort of dress rehearsal, using similar logic.
Our prefrontal lobes are too small. Much too small. That's a problem of the birth canal, I'm very sorry to say for those that like their birth canals... tight.
-C. Hitchens.
Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:14 am
Saul99Posts: 3Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:29 am Gender: Female

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

nasher168 wrote:I was watching Pearl Harbor earlier :| and noticed that one of the characters says something very odd. They say words to the effect of "I think we just saw the start of World War 2!"
Is it taught in American schools that the War began with the Attack on Pearl Harbour?
In the UK, we're taught that it began with the Nazi invasion of Poland, although of course there was action before then and it could be argued (though I don't know how convincingly) that the Second Sino-Japanese War (which started on 7th July 1937) truly marked the start of the War, even though at that point no western powers were fighting.

So, what is the date that's taught in other countries? And what is the consensus amongst historians?


i didn't watched this movie and i don't know about it what if we talk about the subject of this conversation so what i know, World War II (1939-45) officially began when Nazi (an abbreviation for the National Socialist German Workers's Party) Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Germany had already set the stage for the war, however, by occupying the Rhineland in 1936, annexing Austria in 1938, and invading Czechoslovakia in March 1939. Poland was soon crushed by a German war machine under the command of Chancellor (minister of the state) and Fà¼hrer (leader) Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). While being attacked by the Nazis from the west, Poland was also threatened by the Soviets from the north and east. The events in the eastern European country would culminate in a worldwide conflict.

After occupying Poland, the Germans moved into Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and France, taking control as they went. By June 1940 only Great Britain was standing against Germany, which had been joined by its Axis neighbor Italy. Soon, fighting had spread into Greece and northern Africa. Germany continued its bold aggression when it invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, expanding the scope of the war. The world's focus on war-torn Europe allowed Japan, another Axis country, to execute a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. The United States was thus drawn into the war, which finally ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945. Italy had surrendered to the Allies in 1943.
Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:45 am
nudger1964Posts: 185Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:02 pm

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

for me, i see it as... WORLD WAR... parts one and two (wth brief interlude for refreshment)

its all cause and effect...the latter wouldnt have happened without the former (because of what happened as a consequence of the first)

so far as WWI is concerned, Baldricks explanation is as good as any "I heard that it started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry"
(thats not meant to be flippant btw, just a comment on the utter absurdity of it)
Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:38 pm
UnwardilUser avatarPosts: 814Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:32 am Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Well possibly, but the real reason for the whole thing was that it was just too much effort NOT to have a war.
Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:36 pm
)O( Hytegia )O(League LegendUser avatarPosts: 3135Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:27 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

In America we were taught that WWII began with the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor -
Then again, we probably have a different definition of what implies a "World War." I was taught a World War implied that all the superpowers of the world were in a state of war against one another.

In fact, except for selling weapons out, our plan was to stay out of what could be called "Europian Affairs." Unfortunately, this is the war that made us want to start sticking our nose into world affairs of other countries.

According to the American Definition of World War, World War Two can officially be marked by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941.
Some would insinuate that being drunk at 9 in the morning to be signs of serious issues.
Me? I'd insinuate it as signs of no plans and a refrigerator full of Whiskey and Guinness.
Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:44 pm
VyckRoUser avatarPosts: 177Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:55 pmLocation: Romania Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Le XXIème siècle sera spirituel ou ne sera pas - André Malraux
Eu cand discut cu un ateu e ca si cum as discuta cu usa - Petre Tutea
I want to live for immortality, and I will accept no compromise. from F.Dostoyevsky
Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:33 am
)O( Hytegia )O(League LegendUser avatarPosts: 3135Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:27 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

VyckRo wrote:The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria


Ehm.

That was WWI -
however, it could be argued that the ending of WWI gave rise to the events in WWII.

It would help more if you actually contributed to the discussion and what has already been said, though.
Some would insinuate that being drunk at 9 in the morning to be signs of serious issues.
Me? I'd insinuate it as signs of no plans and a refrigerator full of Whiskey and Guinness.
Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:22 pm
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4277Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Vyck could have a point (if he elaborated more), if you look at all the events from Ferdinand's assassination through WWI and it's aftermath, the treaty of Versailles and the political and economic instability in Germany that allowed Hitler to gain power. There is a clear line of progression, but there is with most events. September 1939 works either way.
Image
Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:40 pm
VyckRoUser avatarPosts: 177Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:55 pmLocation: Romania Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

australopithecus wrote:Vyck could have a point (if he elaborated more), if you look at all the events from Ferdinand's assassination through WWI and it's aftermath, the treaty of Versailles and the political and economic instability in Germany that allowed Hitler to gain power. There is a clear line of progression, but there is with most events. September 1939 works either way.



"the treaty of Versailles"
man you are psychic, I was wrong, I quickly threw a date. The date should be the end of World War I, but between two topics, and writing in a foreign language it came out so - as the beginning date of the war-

That is the position shown in the documentary, that I previous posted, whit the Hortyste massacres ( see the topic Origin Of Kievan Russia), the peace treaties at the end of WWI
Origin Of Kievan Russia




The great mistake of the peace negotiations (Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919) has been the exclusion, of the losing powers Germany, Austria, and Hungary, we are speaking of a generation, growing with the impression that, a great injustice was committed against them. And they were not even allowed to defend themselves.
There was no interest in explaining to these nations why some decisions were taken.
In the example of Hungary ( the example of the film), Hungarians were left to believe, and many still believe today, that the Austro-Hungarian empire has been suddenly chopped at Trianon.


Obviously there have been previous events that led to this decision:
On April 12, 1918, there is a Conference of the Oppressed Nations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, held in Rome, and on September 15 a Congress of the Romanians, Czechs, Slovakians, Poles, Serbs, Croatians and Ruthenians from the Austro-Hungarian Empire is held in New York, where it is state the common desire, for independence.
Transylvania declares its independence on October 12, and on October 18 Alexandru Vaida-Voievod reads the declaration in the Budapest Parliament. The Czechs declare their independence on Octomber 14, the Hungarians on Octomber 24, and the Serbo-Croatians and Slovenians proclaim their kingdom on December 1,so the nationalities living within the empire, Romanians, Germans, Czechs, Slovakians, Croatians and Serbs, express their desire for independence, on several occasions.
So in conclusion, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was collapsing long before the peace treaties.

The situation is similar in Germany! A whole generation is born, with the impression that it is their duty, to wash the shame of the peace treaty.
Germany had to pay huge, which threw the country into crisis. Many Germans watched as their children are hungry, and unemployment was rising fast. While apparently some Jews merchants, were able to pull, even a profit.
And most of what Germany produced went to pay the debts.
Le XXIème siècle sera spirituel ou ne sera pas - André Malraux
Eu cand discut cu un ateu e ca si cum as discuta cu usa - Petre Tutea
I want to live for immortality, and I will accept no compromise. from F.Dostoyevsky
Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:02 am
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4277Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Trouble is though is that if you're going to assert the Treaty of Versailles as the start of the war (hypothetically) then you can equally say it was Hitler's formation of the Stabswache, or Mussolini's March on Rome, or even the failed putsch in 1923. All equally valid candidates but nothing more than major events on the road to the war's declaration.
Image
Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:41 pm
LallapalalableUser avatarPosts: 1205Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:35 pmLocation: That place between childhood and adulthood Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Wow, reading back on this I see that I didn't even reply :P

I'm actually not sure what I was taught, as I knew from much earlier than when I learned about it in school that, in terms of war being declared the military campaigns all took place from 9/9/39 onwards with the invasion of Poland, and that 7/12/41 marked only the declaration of war against Japan from America.

However, this rage face exists for a reason.
"I'm not stupid, I just have a command of thoroughly useless information." Watterson
Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:20 am
WWW
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

Wee bit of a late reply



My american history class(In America) taught 1939 as the beginning of WWII, while also covering the Japanese campaigns in Asia and the Spanish Civil War as a possible preludes to the greater conflict, and the U.S. embargoes on Japan as likely causes of aggression. 1941 was taught specifically as the beginning of United States involvement, not the beginning of the war itself. It was made clear that the U.S. had an isolationist perspective until Pearl Harbor.

Just felt like defending home base a little.


PS: Not that it matters much, could have been the most detailed, well taught class in the world on the subject, many of the students were idiots grossly ignorant before they ever get there. We viewed "Saving Private Ryan" as a sort of attention-getting introduction to the chapter on WWII, and during the opening beach assault scene one of the students asked out loud, "What war is this?"
Sat May 26, 2012 7:14 pm
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

im wondering in light of previous comments if to post a short history of the Weimar Republic in this thread, to help clarify things and my own position.
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:24 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: When did World War II begin?

theyounghistorian77 wrote:im wondering in light of previous comments if to post a short history of the Weimar Republic in this thread, to help clarify things and my own position.


That would be interesting to read through if you got around to it.
Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:25 am
PreviousNext
Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 3
 [ 49 posts ] 
Return to Art, Culture & History

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest