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Old 29th June 2005, 12:52
Kari Lumppio Kari Lumppio is offline
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What was the WW2 (Europe) about?


I first meant to reply on the Jewish pilot thread but the subject deserves own thread, I think.

It's written about the WWII in the mentioned thread, I quote:
"the entire struggle was about the Nazi ideology"

As far it concerns Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, no the struggle was not about Nazi ideology. The struggle was between the two big ones Germany and Soviet Union. Because of mainly geographic (historical too) reasons the mentioned countries were drawn into this "struggle" wheter they wanted or not. Neutrality was not an option here.

I strongly doubt that ideology - any - was the reason for WW2. My opinion - based what I have learnt in my life up to this point - is that the struggle for political and economical hegemony in Europe (and world) was the main reason for WW2. The ideologies followed behind.

And about the good and bad guys. The Western Europe does have the luxury to think WW2 as battle of ideologies but for Eastern Europe WW2 was the choice between Germany and Soviet Union. This included also the choice if you wanted to keep your private property or not. There arises the uncertainity of who was the good and who was the bad (UK, France, USA etc. are excluded in this equation!). Answers to this are not simple and to the equation becomes what was one's nationality, citizenship, mother language, wealthiness, religion etc. etc.

I think it is too much to demand everybody would have had to fight against Germany - or nazism as many want to simplify it (erroneously IMO). Every nation should have right to fight for it's own rights without outsider OverHumans telling what to do.

Remember also that in a sense WW2 did not end for Eastern Europe before 1991! Western Europe (Finland included) has had 50 years headstart in this.

Huh, I hope no-one takes my words too personally. I just had to vent this out of my system.

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Old 29th June 2005, 14:50
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

That there weres many struggles, with many threads intertwined, in the context of WW2 is undeniably true. But with in the context of a thread on Jewish aviators, then the core matter was the struggle against Nazism.
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Old 29th June 2005, 17:45
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

Germany threatened the balance of power within Europe, essentially the Anglo-French status quo. Seen from that angle, WW2 differed little from WW1 or even Franco-Prussian War.

Although some may find this ridiculous, I find sufficient proof in post war cooperation between France and Germany as the final shift of balance.

Of course it is ironic that Germany was accused of wanting world domination by what were essentially nations which had built (or conquered) their own empire in the preceding century or two.

(you can see that same irony in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is another means to maintain a status quo - and only mentioned if it comes in handy and easily forgotten when not)

Sometimes I wonder if a German victory in WW1 (likely if Britain had not entered the continental war) or at least a stalemate (likely if the US had not entered a European war) would not have brought a better balance of power in Europe at a lower cost in human lives and without the huge financial shift towards the new world.

I do not believe that ideology plays much of a role when nations clash, that's more the domain of the propagandists, but it does look better in history books instead of the more pragmatic reasoning. Of course ideology does play a role in how a nation wages war, but that is something different.

If I remember correctly Ferguson in the pity of war illustrated nicely the situation of the late 19th century where basically Britain, France, Russia and finally upcoming Germany start playing a game of chess. In the end, Germany is the weakest and easiest foe to face, since any other combination would lead to less attractive (and I dare add profitable) struggles.

Some may call me a cynic, but although some details may change, history has a nasty way of repeating itself, not surprising since man is essentially the same.
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Old 29th June 2005, 19:50
edwest edwest is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?


Man is essentially the same. People have "new" technology and some people can live longer and healthier. From ancient days, countries wanted to expand and build empires. Then there is the national pride and identity: "We want to keep our language, our culture, etc." and no one can tell us what to do. This includes the idea of your particular country being the "best." Hitler told the German people much of this. The Japanese emporer was considered a god. Often, the "enemy" is portrayed as less than human, and other races and peoples as only good for slaves or death. It is very, very sad, but obviously, war is just considered diplomacy by other means. In America, long ago, a Mexican revolutionary who had invaded the country sent a message back to his commanders: "Send guns, money and lawyers." Sad, very sad.

Ed West
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Old 29th June 2005, 20:14
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

Let's see Ed: the guns were for the "revolution", and the money was for the lawyers, right? Was it Voltaire that said, "The more things change, the more they are the same"?
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Old 30th June 2005, 00:59
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

Volumes have been written on the origins of WWII, by a multitude of authors ranging from popular writers to politicians to historians to the most learned of men. And the reasons for the War are as varied as the number of books on the subject.

So to venture an opinion here, in just a few words, is all but impossible. But one can offer a pespective on the War.

From a national leaders (western) point of view the War was about control and power, and to a degre maintaining (or breaking) the status quo. In the East (again at a leader level) it was as much a war of Ideological thought as it was about conquest or survival.

For the poor fellow caught up in the war it was a battle of good over evil, defence of the Fatherland, Motherland, your loved ones, whatever. And it didn't matter which side you were fighting on - all thought they were in the right.
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Old 30th June 2005, 09:38
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

I agree that most people were victims or unwilling actors of WWII but this is probably the war where the most people engaged for political or ideogical reasons. In most of Europe, at least a part of the right wing allied with Germans to fight the left wing forces. Another part of the right (the most nationalist and anti-German) went in exile or allied with the left more or less temporary. The civil Resistance movements were often politically oriented. At least for the non-German/Italian fascists and the non-Soviet communists, ideology was usually more important than national interests.

In Asia/Pacific, the political main subject was colonism. Britain, Netherlands and France tried to hold their territories, Japan to build an empire and USA and the Asian elits to liberate countries. In China, the struggle between communits and nationalists was more important than the fight against Japan for both leaders.
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Old 3rd July 2005, 21:41
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

Personally, I think this site should institute a "Politics" section for threads like this.

But, to play the game. If we backdated the "Bush doctrine of 2002" to 1939, it would give Germany every right to attack, and "subdue" Poland, because Poland had WMDs that threatened Germany, and that could have been launched within 45 minutes. And, carrying this to its ridiculous conclusion, the UK and France were actually guilty of joining the Polish "terrorists" by declaring war on Germany, and should have been destroyed instead of Germany, which was simply defending itself.
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Old 4th July 2005, 01:09
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?


In respect of European attitudes, I suppose the 2nd War was a result of:

- German inability to accept the results of the Versailles Treaty

- French & British doing nothing beyond passive reaction - throughout the thirties - when faced with increasing 'agitations' from Fascist dictatorships,

- French & British inability to guarantee any safety for nations (re)created after WW2, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia

- Complete misjudgement of the capabilities and intentions of the Soviet Union. The result of Polish/Soviet war at the end of WW1 - could have been the basis for a stronger European front against the Soviets.
But the Facsist Germans failed to recognize Poland as a bulwark.

- Adolf Hitler "wanted" to go to war. That was always his intention. He was the dynamic force


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Old 20th July 2005, 15:29
Primoz Primoz is offline
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Re: What was the WW2 (Europe) about?

You've forgotten one important thing: the great depression; this economic crisis shattered the whole system in many countries, especially those that suffered as a result of WW1. Without it there would have been no Nazi rule in Germany, no hardcore stalinism in Russia (I mean purges etc.) and no austrofacsism in Austria ... (and no WW2).
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