Clash of Civilizations: Conflicts of the Twentieth Century
International conflict in the 20th century was a new breed. The first conflicts featured soldiers on bikes and horses, while the latest use rockets and nuclear weapons. Advancements in transportation and communication in the early 1900s began to make the world a smaller commercial place. Those advancements created new perceived needs and new ways for aggressive nations to meet those needs. As a mad-scramble for weapons and empire ensued, the world would see not one, but two multi-national conflicts, followed by an ideological war pitting democracy and capitalism against communism. Through World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, the nations of Germany and Japan played critical roles.
The nation of Germany played a major role in the conflicts of the 20th century. Both World Wars and the ensuing Cold War would all be heavily flavored by Germany, its goals, and its leaders.
In the years before World War I, Germany’s nationalism reached full tilt. The Germans were proud of their empire, military, and industry. They were keen to defend their empire against others, especially the British, who were shocked to find Germany’s industrial output topping their own. In 1905 and 1911, competition for colonies brought France and Germany to the brink of war. Diplomacy prevented the outbreak of war then, but Germany did gain some territory in central Africa (Blum, Cameron, and Barnes, 1970, 320).
Militarism in Germany also helped drive the world closer to war. The public viewed war with romantic eyes, and the notion of Social Darwinism suggested that, if a nation could become powerful enough to take what it wanted, then it ought to have it. As nations spent more and more money to create grand fighting machines, it must have seemed almost a shame to them to have no excuse to use them – much like a new yellow belt in a Tae Kwon Do class who is eagerly waiting for the school bully to give him an excuse to...