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Discuss about the Comparison Between WWI and WWII.



In the history of international political events World War I [WWI] which occurred from 1914 to 1918 and World War II [WWII] lasted from 1939 to 1945 can be considered as the largest military conflicts in the world history. The consequences of the two significant events resulted in the formulation of military and political power balance in Europe along with the international political scenario.  

Considering the above mentioned significance of the two essential international political events, the essay will highlight on the comparison of the two events in terms of reason of victory of one side, the impact of the conflicts. The essay will also highlight on The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

In terms of origin of the two world wars, the source of origin was diverse. In context to World War I it can be noticed that the edifice of origin of World War I was military balance and political conditions which was experienced on the part of European society in the period of last four decades before the occurrence of World War I [1]. Aspects like imperialism, nationalism and individual interest on the part of the alliances further exasperated to the pre-conditions toward the occurrence of a major conflict.  Following the end of Turkish dynasty the territory was ruled by major European powers, wherein the Balkans and Turns were dominated and cornered in the land. During the same period, Hapsburg dual dynasty of Hungary and Austria feared the increased disturbance among the Slavs regarding position of governance or full independence.  The Autocratic Emperor Joseph was supported by the elite and ruling class of Hungary and Austria. As Germany was sceptical regarding the interest of Russia Austria, which was in a shaky situation due to her military interest in Balkan region.  In this situation, Germany and England were having competitive approach towards each other in order to establish their individual hegemonies in terms of military control over the sea [2]. In this context, France was hesitant of military adventurism of Germany wherein she stood beside England. Thus, it resulted to alliance of the parties with similar motives and intentions i.e. France, England and Russia. With the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria which was committed by a Serb terrorist Gavrilo Princip, it was a clear indication towards full-fledged war. Followed by the assassination, the Serbian government was provided with a degrading demand charter by the Austrian government which was rejected by the Serbian government, as a result of which Austria declared war against Serbia [3]. Followed by this event a chain of actions occurred among the alliances. On first week of August the war began full fledgedly.


Whereas in case of World War II, the basis of the war the treaty of Versailles, which further gained momentum with the aggressive colonizing and imperialistic attitude of most of the European nations along with failure on the part of League of Nations to support to the directive of peace keeping [4]. The German people took into consideration the treaties of Versailles and followed by her defeat in WWI, the nation was highly biased toward the interest of the nation. Germany, due to her defeat in WWI, has to compromise with large parts of her colonies and territories. Moreover, during that period, France had forcibly captured her iron and coal rich zones. Hence, in case of Germany, it resulted in inflicting injury in two ways politically and economically. As a result of these incidents, the alliances of imperial forces came into action, wherein France and Britain emphasized on protection of their colonies along with preventing Italy and Germany from achieving their imperialistic aims. Followed by this event, in Germany it was noticed that the failure on the part of Democratic Socialistic party to address the public sentiments lead to electoral drabbing by the ruling party which was under the Nazis, in 1934 the dictator and leader of Nazi Adolf Hitler took oath as the Chancellor of Germany [5]. On the other hand, in order to protect Asia form communist invasion, Japan took control of a major part of China where it got complete support of Italy and Germany. In the mean time in Italy the dictato- president occupied Ethiopia to which Germany provided with its support which was opposed by England. The overwhelming desire on the part of Hitler of ruling the entire world along strong hatred towards the Jewish community leads him to attack Poland in 1939 promoted WWII between the Axis block which comprised of Italy, Germany, Japan and Allied forces which comprised of USA, England, France, Soviet Union and China.  

While comparing the technologies used in WWI and WWII it can be noticed that the methods and techniques under in WWII were comparatively sophisticated than that of WWI. In WWI, the battles were mostly fought on ground which highlighted on infantry. It was also noticed in context of WWI that tanks and machine guns were used mostly with minimal aerial support. In small sections the used of poisonous gas as weapon was also observed [6]. On the other hand, during WWII, a radical technological development was noticed. The use of missiles, fighter planes, heavy tanks, nuclear powered submarines on the part of allies and axis power established the above discussed aspect. Frequently WWI is referred to as trench war due to allocation of most of the time by combat forces in fighting for the trenches. On the other hand, during WWII, in fighting the enemies the advanced air-force was in an advantageous position.

On analyzing the reason of victory of the Allied power in WWII it can be observed that there are various aspects which acted as a contributing factor. Among these factor the possession of technology was one of the essential factor for winning the battle, wherein, it was observed that in the context of technology, the Allied power have an upper hand. In addition to the above mentioned aspect, radar was another essential element which contributed towards the victory of allied power [7]. To get in depth it can be mentioned here on analyzing WWII, it has been noticed that radar played an integral role in the Battle of Britain which contributed to the outnumbered allied planes to get the information regarding the location of German planes without letting the Germans being aware of it. The Allied power was being able to perform it with the help of cracking German code along with the help of intelligence technology. The British had built their Radar stations along the eastern and southern Britain coasts which helped them to be well-prepared in advance [8]. This played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain the reason being the highly outnumbered British Air Force was dealing with Luftwaffe. In such situation, the radar acted as a contributing factor for them to be at a dominant position and devastatingly defeat the Nazis that acted as a game changer for them resulting in changing the consequence of the war.


Prior the battle at Kursk, the USSR was helpless with Germany conquering Europe. However, at the battle at Kursk, the largest Tank battle of history occurred, wherein the USSR had tanks which were superior. The tanks used by the USSR has wider treads, moreover, the war materials were produced by their factories at a faster rate which was due to Stalin’s 5 year plan. The production of artillery at a faster rate helped building more tanks for the war that helps the USSR to be at an advantageous position that resulted in defeat of Germany by the USSR [9].   Weather was another essential but uncontrollable aspect that contributed to the victory of the Allied power. The reason being, in several battles, the weather was harsh and extreme, which lead to damages on the part of Axis power. As an instance, the incident of Dunkirk can be mentioned wherein due to the poor and extreme stormy weather it resulted to delay Luftwaffe bombing on the part of Germans which turned out to be advantageous for the British soldiers, which allowed large number of soldiers to escape with the help of their boats and move safety to Britain.  Some of the other mentionable factors were resources, wherein it was observed that on the part of Axis power in the process of establishing their empires they went out of their resources, weak ally, poor strategies on the part of Axis power, ineffective timing, the mistake of Pearl Harbour attack the combination of which contributed to the victory of Allied power.


Impact of war on British and German society

One of the major impacts of WWII on British society was the issue of rationing. As Britain is an island, due to the outbreak of WWII it lacked enough farmland to provide with support to its increased population which resulted in the issue of rationing in the nation. With the help of importing from the British Empire it tried to deal with issue. In this context the Battle of Atlantic is mentionable which resulted in destruction of British merchant ships by German U-boat. For the purpose of dealing with the issue the British government in 1940s established number of measures which includes organizing rationing of clothing, foodstiffs and fuel during the period of war, limiting the price of restaurant, providing with extra meals and meals to children and expectant mothers [10]. Due to the bombing on the part of the Germany it did not only impact military installations and industry of the nation but also impacted the residential areas and their homes. Due to the risk of the civilians and their home it resulted in Governmental actions and build Anderson shelters. With the help of this governmental initiatives and building large civic shelters resulted in protecting large number of civilians. These bombing on the part of Germany affected every section of the society equally and exposing them to risk which included working classes, upper and middle classes. Due to the evacuation process associated with bombing, large number of influx of children and women from the countryside was also observed. Among this population particularly the children, poor clothing, many dressed in rags was observed [11]. They were also observed to be suffering from developmental illnesses like rickets and polio indicating poor health condition. They were also observed to be poorly educated and suffer from lack of clean air which was directly associated with the war. On analyzing the Beveridge Report it was the major social impact due to the war on British society can be observed which includes poverty, lack of education, poor housing, lack of employment and inadequate health care provision.    

On the part of Germany, one of the major impacts of the war on the society was death of large number of Jews with the process of invasion of Poland on the part of Germany. It is also mentionable here that due to the memories of atrocities associated with WWI section of German society were against the war. However, one remarkable difference between the impact of the war on British and German society was, unlike The British, during the war in Germany there was no issue with food rationing wherein every one received balanced diet. Cloths rationing was also made available in the country by 1939. However, the people of the nation were only allowed to receive warm water only twice a week for the purpose of saving fuel, no toilet paper was provided to them [12]. Due to rationing, flourishing black market also occurred parallely for the purpose of exchanging goods. During this period, the role of the women in German society was also seen to be changed wherein the women of the society were encouraged on the part of the government to go out for work. The health of the women of the society was also seen to be impact during this period due to the issue of food shortage, bombing and the concern on the part of the women for their children and husband.

Due to the intensive bombing on the part of Allied power the population fled to countryside resulting in increased village population, devastating condition of the large cities like Berlin which not only impacted the society of the country but had impact on the economy.


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

The plot of the film revolves around the character of General Candy who is responsible for overseeing an English troop during the period of 1943. General Candy is depicted as a veteran leader who lacks respect of the men trained by him and lacks the qualities required to win a war [13]. However, going to flashback in the film it can be seen that the situation was different in the past in the early days of his career wherein it can be seen that the life of the young officer is shaped by three different women and a profound friendship with German soldier.  

Reviewing the film, it can be noticed that it deals with two wars Boer War and WW I. The film primarily captures the middle-class and the perception of a middle-class British soldier. The reason of significance for the film on the part of historians is the fact that in the history of British cinema it is the film which Winston Churchill wanted to ban [14]. On the part of historians attempt was seen to be made towards suppressing the film. In this context it is mentionable here that in Churchill’s paper in the PRO, the personal involvement of the then PM towards suppressing the film can be noticed. There are various speculations to this attempt on the part of Churchill to ban the film. One of such speculation is the correlation between the plot of the film and the personal like of Churchill [15]. Thus a combination of the above discussed aspect makes the film of major significance for the historians. 


References (2014). War and its impact on life in Germany, 1939-1947. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017]. (2017). Social Impact of WWII in Britain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].

Chapman, J. (2017). The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' reconsidered. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Churchill, W. S. (2010). The Gathering Storm: The Second World War (Vol. 1). RosettaBooks.

French, P. (2012). The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp – review. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Historyonthenet. (2012). The Origins of WWI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Imlay, T. (2007). Facing the Second World War. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keegan, J. (2011). The second world war. Random House.

Kelly, M. (2017). The Top 5 Causes That Led to World War I. [online] ThoughtCo. Available at: [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].

Kimball, W. F. (2011). Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War. Harper Collins.

Lee, M. (2012). The Life and Times of Colonel Blimp: why Churchill wanted it banned. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Murray, W., & Millett, A. R. (2009). A war to be won: Fighting the Second World War. Harvard University Press.

Strachan, H. (2010). The First World War as a global war. First World War Studies, 1(1), pp.3-14.

Tarrow, S. (2010). The strategy of paired comparison: Toward a theory of practice. Comparative political studies, 43(2), 230-259.


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