WEST EUROPEAN HISTORY 1
West European history
The period of 1890s saw the development ofseveral aspects, which challenged the Western assurance inimperialism (Perry, Chase, Jacob, Jacob, & Von Laue,2013). Events in overseas empires such as in SouthAfrica, Cuba, and India among other countries challenged this faiththe Boer War in South Africa offered a bloody defeat to the Britishin 1896. The viciousness of the war as well as the defeat of theBritish horrified Britons and many people began to disapprovecolonialism. Elsewhere, Spain lost its empires in Cuba, thePhilippines, and Puerto Rico after losing in 1898 in theSpanish-American War. Due to these events, the imperial exploits ofFrance and Britain soured while other imperial powers such as Germanyand Italy found it difficult to establish themselves as colonialpowers.
After the colonial escapades of France andBritain soured, other colonial powers such as Russia found itdifficult to expand further (Perry et al., 2013).Japan’s rise to a power challenged the domination of these colonialpowers especially after it defeated Russia in 1904 in theRusso-Japanese War. Nationalism weakened the Ottoman Empire asvarious ethnic groups pursued independence while resistance in Indiabecame widespread.
Colonial imperialists acted as some form ofadvanced capitalism by exploiting natural resources and labor. In hisassessment, Lenin opined that imperialism provoked global war amongthe British, French, German, and the Tsarist Russian empires leadingto the outbreak of WW1 (Perry et al., 2013).In this regards, it is the competition that imperialist developedthat led conflicts and instability among the empires thus, theoutbreak of the war. In addition, the aftermaths of the wardemonstrate that imperialism and its foundational root in capitalismacted as the economic motivation for the war.
The military buildup, territorial claims, andrivalries among the empires resulted in the outbreak of the war. Theformation of alliances by the empires resulted in greater aspirationsand rivalries, which created instability thus, the outbreak of thewar. However, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria theheir to the throne was the immediate stroke that led to the eruptionof the war.
People consider the war as a total war since itaffected the very aspect of the life of the participating countries.Although some countries had started the arming process in the yearsleading to the war, the outbreak of the war saw massive production ofarms in fact, all efforts were utilized in the production of toolsof war such as arms, supplies, and uniforms. Countries partaking inthe war used entire populations and resources in the war and almostevery person contributed towards the war. Several events such as a70% profit tax on British Companies, unrestricted submarine warfare,conscription of women for war work, naval and air raids on civilians,death of millions of people, devastating effects of the war and useof land, sea, and air during the war prove that the war was a totalwar.
The end of the WW1 saw the formation of a Leagueof Nations help keep the international peace. In addition,reparations or payments for WW1 damage were given as well as thesigning of the Treaty of Versailles. However, the Treaty ofVersailles maintained that Germany had to pay huge sums of money topay for the war damages amounting to £6.6billion, which added to Germany’s humiliation. In addition, Germanyhad suffered greatly during the war in economic terms thus, shecould not manage to pay the amount. Other countries accused Germanywholly of the war, which was a particularly onerous humiliation forthe Germans. In this regards, the Nazi promised people that it wouldhelp the country regain prominence and remilitarize the Rhinelandhence, the average voters disregarded the more radical tenets of theNazi ideology, which led to the outbreak of the WW2.
The BolshevikRevolution was the seizure of statepower instrumental in the larger Russian uprising of 1917. Theuprising overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and established an interimadministration composed mainly of former aristocrats and nobles(Perry et al., 2013). The revolution differed from other revolutions as it was organized,had a leader i.e. Lenin, had an ideological framework, and dominatedby the Bolsheviks. The war ended the domination of the upper class,removed the honored aristocracy and Tsar, commenced the developmentof socialism, and installed a brutal and oppressive political style.
Both totalitarian states emphasized thesignificance of ideal bipolitics in regards to reproduction sincethey saw low fertility rates and health care as predominant pillar todesigning and developing new societies. In addition, the two statesused concentration camps and mass violence i.e. imprisonment campsheaded by agents of the state, for example, during the Holocaust inNazi Germany and Great Terror in USSR in 1938. The two statesemphasized the creation of militarism and a party army. However, theydiffered in the economic model they utilized where the Soviet Unionused communism, which was opposed by the Nazi party. Hitler reviledthe bolshevism and socialist democrats and sought to free the eastfrom the Soviet Union. In addition, many Jews emerged as Bolshevikswithin the Communist government of Russia thus, Hitler made it knownthat the war with Russia was a battle of political ideologies.
While the democracies dealt with the depressionby instituting fiscal and monetary policies, tried to appease thefascists to avoid attacks, and refused to enter into defensive pacts,Russia and Germany continued to arm themselves, join into pacts oralliances and attack other countries.
Italy and Germany felt betrayed by the Treaty ofVersailles thus, they had nationalistic claims in Europe and armedthemselves as well as attacked other countries as they wanted toconquer. Japan did not have enough raw materials and with thecollapse of Europe, she moved to conquer the colonies of French,Dutch, and British. In this regards, the aggression of thesecountries and the fact that other countries did not intervene duringthese aggressions created conditions for the war.
The major events of the war include communizationof China in 1949, the Iron Curtain speech, , the Marshall Plan,Truman Doctrine, the Fall of Berlin Wall, and the Berlin Blockade(Perry et al., 2013). Other include thecreation of NATO in 1949, the Korean War of 1950 to 1953, the Vietnamwar, the accession of Khrushchev and Castro, the Cuban Missilecrisis, the launching of the Sputnik, rise of Gorbachev, election ofReagan, fall of USSR, and election of JFK.
The strategies that the US employed during theCold War produced a conducive environment for the decolonization ofmany colonies. Following the end of the WW2, most empires remainedweak while guerilla warfare and militarized organizations helped thecolonies. In this regards, the US came up with the Marshall Plan andGATT to help the empires thus, gave them the power to persuade thecountries to accept decolonization. Increased technology, weakenedempires, militarized organizations, and US counter of Russiainfluences allowed most decolonization developments to be successful.
Decolonization resulted in the struggle forindependence, the rise of nationalism and self-determination, and thegranting of independence to countries. In addition, the US supportedthe decolonized countries to counter the influences of Russia thus,most of these countries became capitalists.
Both pacts were a political tool to influenceallies and harness controls of the combined military. The pacts poseda threat to each front. However, it was difficult for membersbelonging to the pact to extricate as happened to Czechoslovakia whenshe endeavored to disentangle herself from the Warsaw pact.
The Cold War did not facilitate thedecolonization of countries rather it provided an environment. Mostempires collapsed during the WW2 while most of them did not haveresources to control their colonies. In addition, most colonies tookpart in the WW2 thus, they realized that most of the empires werenot as strong thus, the rise of nationalism
The scientific revolution, industrial revolution,and the enlightenment are some of the most revolutionary ideas tohave shaped western society since the Renaissance. The scientificrevolution occurred with the developments of biology, astronomy, andchemistry towards the end of the renaissance and contributed greatlyto the establishment of modern sciences. In addition, the revolutionsaw the change in world opinions in major fields of science as wellas the development of new ideas such as gravitation, medicaldiscoveries and electricity. The enlightenment period, ensuing afterthe scientific revolution saw the evolution of new ideas andknowledge. On the other hand, the industrial revolution (1760-1840)saw the establishment of rail, industries, and massive production ofgoods and services in Europe, which led to the development andtransformation of societies. The three periods or ideas saw thetransformations of societies in Europe as well as the conquest ofcountries in search of raw materials for industries.
Perry, M., Chase, M., Jacob, J., Jacob, M., & Von Laue, T.(2013). Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society,(10th ed.). Cengage Learning.