This was the second imperialist war to occur in the world history that came as a result to the crisis of capitalism.  The war took on September 1st 1939 after Germany invaded Poland and ended up in 9th August 1945 after USA dropped an atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

After World War I the world powers worked very hard to stop the occurrence of another great war. In 1920s several peace treaties were signed in an effort to strengthen relations among the European powers.

It was however very difficult to create such relations because many European powers were dissatisfied with the conditions they found themselves in, so in the 1930, there was general aggression which worsened the relations between the powers thus culminating into the Second World War.


The main participants in this war were Axis comprised of Britain, France, Russia and USA on one hand and Alliance made up of Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, etc. on another shard.

Causes of the Second World War

i. The Versailles peace treaty.

The terms of the treaty blamed Germán for being responsible for the outbreak of World War II. The allied powers occupied most of German territories and forced her to disarm. The war reparations made German to become bankrupt leading to inflation and wide spread of unemployment. The German blamed the Versailles treaty for their troubles and Hitler wanted to reverse this situation by adopting an aggressive foreign policy.

ii. Hitler’s ambition to restore German dominance in Europe contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

He made it clear that German cannot become a world power without affecting another war. He demanded rearmament of German and set out to assert German authority over smaller and weaker states which destabilized European peace.

iii.The rise of dictatorship.

Dictatorship developed during the 1920 and 1930 which destroyed democratic rights. In Italy Mussolini founded the fascist party in 1919; he seized all political powers of the country and transformed the country into a totalitarian state. The national socialist party or the Nazi party came to power in 1933 in German with;

iv. Imperialism and its economic rivalries

This is related to the race for acquisition of colonies among the imperialist power eg. German was dispossessed her colonies in Africa after WW1.  Thus waged war to acquire colonies.

v. The harsh terms of the Versailles of 1919


The terms of the Versailles peace treaty were harsh to Germany eg. Disarmament, loss of her colonies, payment of war reparations etc.  this led to the rise of Nazism under Hitler which led to WW2.

vi. Weakness of the League of Nations of 1919 – 1939

It failed to settle disputes which involved the major powers eg. German invasion over Czechoslovakia in 1938.  Thus the failed to check aggressive invasions led to the WW2.

vii. The rise of World dictatorship i.e. Fascism and Nazism

These dictators engaged in aggressive policies which disrupted world peace.  (They had expansionist policies which led to WW2) eg. Italy invaded Ethiopia – 1935, Japan over than China – 1931, Germany invasion over Pollard – 1939.

viii. The Appeasement policy of Britain and France

Britain and France supported everything Hitler wanted in order to avoid war.  They remained quiet during all the aggressions.  This gave Hitler confidence to conquer other nations.

ix. The Military alliance

The formation of Roma – Berlin Tokyo Axis in 1936 threatened USSR, France and Britain who decided to form an alliance.  The two groups became hostile and suspicious to each other thus leading to WW2.

x. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil war of 1936.

It broke out when Franco – Francis (1882 – 1975) had attempted a coup against the Spanish Republic.  This Spanish Civil war became an international war as Hitler, Mussolini supported Franco – Francis while France, Britain & USA supported the Republic hence WW2.

Effects of the Second World War

a. Introduction of the cold war.

The cold war was an ideological and economic struggle between two opposing blocs i.e. USA and her allies on one hand and the Soviet Union and her allies on the other hand. The cold war was accompanied by an arm race between USA and USSR

b.Formation of the United Nations.

The UN was formed in 1945 to promote peace, security and international cooperation. It was founded on a broader basis than the League of Nations, whereby membership is open to all nations irrespective of their political and ideological belief.

c. Introduction of the marshal plan.

The marshal plan was a package of loans given to European countries to reconstruct their economies after the Second World War with the introduction of the marshal plan, the USA found herself getting more involved in European affairs.

  With examples, describe the main themes of post-processual Archaeology

d. Formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

This was a military alliance of the USA and most states of Western Europe formed in 1949. The organization committed to USA to defend Western Europe and in return those countries would support the USA. This scheme threatened to destroy the communist Russia.

Formation of the war saw Pact. The Soviet Union response to NATO was the formation of the war saw pact in 1955 which brought all the soviet satellites into a military union. From the 1950’s Europe remained a divide continent and a major theater of the cold war

f. Formation of NAM.

The Non Alignment Movement was a kind neutralism i.e. a policy of not aligning with any power block; it is therefore a free and independent policy whereby international issues are decided on merit.

g. Loss of live.

The World War II led to huge loses of lives because very many people, both soldiers and civilian were killed during the war.

h.Massive unemployment.

The war created massive unemployment. This was due to the return of the demobilized soldiers and prisoners of war who increased the demand of jobs.

i. Change in the balance of power.

The second world war changed the balance of power in the world, it destroyed the economies of power such as France and Britain and contributed to the emergence of the united states of America and the union of soviet socialist republics as the world powers.

Effects of the second world war in Africa

a.Intensified exploitation.

There was intensification of colonial exploitation of African resources so as to reconstruct their economies. There was establishment of development schemes geared towards maximization of capital. The examples of these schemes included Kongwa and Urambo in Tanganyika.

b.Increased state intervention.

There was increased colonial state intervention in the production of raw materials and marketing of primary exports. Under peasant agriculture, there was creation of master farmers who were given loans and credits so as to boost the production of raw materials.

c. Establishment of more processing industries.

There was establishment of more processing industries to reduce the weight of raw materials so as to keep freight charges low to facilitate their exportation to Europe. The examples of those processing industries are cotton grinner in Mozambique.

d. Intensification of African nationalism.

There was intensification of African nationalism because of returning African soldiers who came back with new ideas like the Europeans are not invincible; they can be defeated in a prolonged struggle. This belief encouraged the Africans to fight for their independence.


e. Introduction of American neo–colonialism.

Due to the second world war, the USA emerged as the leading capitalist power, but it had no colonies hence she introduced the open door policy whereby she put pressure on the European countries to grant independence to African countries. The introduction of the open door policy later led to the introduction of American neo–colonialism in Africa.

f. Loss of lives.

The Second World War led to heavy losses of lives because many of the people who were taken to fight never returned back because they were killed on the battle fields.

g. Collapse of the Italian imperialism.

The Second World War contributed to the collapse of Italian imperialism in Africa. The defeat of the central powers where Italy was an active member forced her to lose her colonies of Libya and Eritrea.

h. There was change in the mandatory status of former German colonies

Such as Tanganyika, Namibia, Rwanda and Burundi had become mandate states under the League of Nations organization, they became trusteeship territories.

The role of the second world war in the rise of African nationalism

The Second World War played a great role in the rise of African nationalism by doing the following

a. Formation of UNO.

The UNO was formed in 1945 with the main objective of maintaining peace in the world. The UN formed the trusteeship council which had to make sure all colonies gain their independence by using peaceful means. Tanganyika is one of the countries that benefited from UN because it was a trusteeship territory.

b. Rise of the USA.

After the World War II, USA emerged as a leading economic and political power. USA introduced the open door policy though which USA needed raw materials, markets and areas for investment from overseas hence her support for decolonization became paramount so as to have access to these needs in the colonies. USA put decolonization as a condition for European economic reconstruction which was the



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