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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The World Wars

World War I (August 4, 1914 to November 11, 1918)

Main Contestants
Central Powers comprising Germany, AustraliaHungary,
Turkey and Bulgaria on the one hand, and Allied Power comprising England, France, Belgium, Serbia, which were joined by Russia and Italy in 1915 and 1917, respectively.

How the First World War Broke Out?

When Austria attacked Serbia, after one month of Prince Ferdinand?s murder, it drew Russia towards Serbia. Germany entered the fray to support Austria because it had vested interests in Turkey and was committed to support Austria. One by one, France, England and the other countries entered the war.

Results/Consequences of World War I
Central powers were defeated. About 50 lakh allied soldiers were killed and 1 crore and 10 lakh wounded. Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria surrendered. Germany signed the Armistice Treaty on November 11, 1918 and World War I ended. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed which curbed powers of the German empire, further humiliating and weakening it.

World War II (September 3, 1939 to August 14, 1945)

Causes: An unjust Treaty of Versailles, improper behavior of France, rise policy of expansion, and imperialism of England and France were some of the causes behind World War II.

Main Contestants
Axis Powers ? also called the central powers which included Germany, Italy and Japan.
Allied Powers ? Britain, France, Russia, US, Poland and Benelux countries.

Results of World War II
Hitler, who was responsible for this war, initially very successful but later met with strong resistance when he attacked Russia in 1941, and was forced to retreat to Berlin. On learning that Germany had collapsed, he committed suicide on April 30, 1945 in Berlin. Germany was divided into two parts. East Germany under Russia and West Germany under the control of England, France and America (allies). Russia emerged as the single biggest power in the world. It was at this time that the struggle for freedom in colonies under European control in Asia (India), Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Malaysia (Malaya). Egypt etc. caught on. The British Empire thus rapidly lost its leadership as more and more colonies won independence. The UNO was then established in 1945. When Japan did not agree to the demands of the allied powers to surrender, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 5, 1945 and the second on Nagasaki on August9, 1945. Japan then surrendered unconditionally on August 14, 1945 and World War II ended.


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