In what ways did revenge figure into the strategies of the countries fighting in World War II?
At the conclusion of WWI, on June 1919, the Paris Peace Conference was held between the Allied Powers (U.S., Britain, France, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The resulting Treaty of Versailles dictated retaliatory settlement against the latter two countries. Germany was forced to give up all of its arms and large amounts of land arbitrarily, pay reparation fees to other countries, and to accept responsibility for all the damage throughout the war. In addition, a previously erected hunger blockade was finally lifted from Germany months after the war ended, but the humiliated, defenseless, destitute people continued to starve. These conditions were perfect for the culture of socialism, which like a bacterial plague, infected all of Europe, allowing the proud, vicious, tiny-mustached Hitler to establish his Nazi party in Germany. His fervent desire to regain Germany’s pride and lost lands directly led to the revenge that would become WWII.
Most, if not all of the terror bombings and senseless destruction throughout war was brought about by the mindset of “If you bomb me, i’ll bomb you.” After Hitler re-armed Germany, he invaded Poland (Sept. 1939) and promptly declared war (1940) on several countries at once, including Russia, France, and Belgium. The British, anxious to beat down the Germans again, defended Belgium and France at the Battle of Dunkirk (spring 1940). Hitler, who had grudgingly admired the British, decided it was now their turn to suffer, and attacked Britain in the Battle of Britain, or the Blitz (July-Oct. 1940), almost wiping several cities, including London, Southampton, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Manchester off the map, targeting civilians as payback. The English, who at first had only targeted industrial areas in Germany, began bombing train stations and city centers of Germany, intent on bombing the German civilians the same way the Germans had mercilessly destroyed the British. In that way, many cultural centers of Europe were levelled, including Cologne, Hamburg, and Dresden. Tens of thousands of civilians were senselessly killed on all sides to appease the human desire for revenge and break human morale. Continue reading