The term “collective security” can be understood as a system in which participants agree that “any breach of peace is to be declared to be of concern to all the participant states” and will result in a collective response. Collective security was one of the aims of the League of Nations, which will probably be the focus of answers to this question. However, the Locarno Pact in 1925; the Kellogg–Briand Pact in 1928; the Hoover–Stimson Doctrine of 1932; the Disarmament Conference in 1932 may also be considered as attempts to achieve collective security. They failed either because of flaws in their terms or because of unwillingness to abide by their conditions. Reasons for the League’s failures that could be addressed include: its cumbersome decision making process; its links to the Versailles Treaty; the absence of the United States and the non-involvement of other powers such as Germany and the USSR in the early years; problems with its structure (no military force of its own); the significant weakness of France and Great Britain as major supporters of the League. Other events that contributed to its decline may include: the Great Depression in 1929; the League’s failure to take decisive action over the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935. The pursuit of the policy of appeasement by Great Britain and, to a lesser extent, France during the mid and late 1930s also undermined collective security.
To what extent did nationalism contribute to the origins of both the First World War (1914–1918) and the Second World War (1939–1945)?
Answers to this question should focus on the contribution of nationalism to the two world wars, thus it might be considered as a long-term and/or a short-term cause of the conflicts. Nationalism may or may not be considered a significant issue in the origin of the conflicts and other factors may be discussed for each one, but the role of nationalism should be addressed. The role of nationalism, particularly during the First World War, should not be confined to one country or one event such as the assassination in Sarajevo and Balkan nationalism, and the role of nationalism in provoking pro-war sentiments in other belligerent nations, such as Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Great Britain and Austria Hungary, should also be considered. In the case of the Second World War, German nationalism will probably be the focus, but nationalism was also significant in Italy and Japan. Nationalism could be considered as a catalyst for both wars, a contributing factor to international tension or as the underlying source of other causes. Expect well supported answers that address “to what extent” by considering other factors that may also have contributed to the outbreak of both wars.
Assess the social impact of the Second World War on women and ethnic minorities in any one country of the region.
It is expected that the majority of candidates will address both requirements from the same country. However, it is acceptable to approach separately the impact on women in one country and ethnic minorities in another. A comparative approach might be developed, but it is not a requirement. The United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Argentina might be popular choices although any other case of the region should be accepted. As a general statement, the level of involvement in the Second World War was a key factor for its social impact on women and minorities. Related to the impact on women, candidates will probably highlight: significant incorporation of women to the defence industries (especially in the United States and Canada) and workforce in general – sometimes covering the same responsibilities that were held by men but still earning lower salaries; some improvement in political participation as well as an increase in marriage and birth rates. Women also played important roles directly linked to the war front as nurses, assistants and members of entertainment groups for the troops. Ethnic minorities such as Latin American, Japanese, Germans, African Americans and Native Americans could be addressed depending on the country selected and its level of involvement in the war. The social impact on Latin Americans differed depending on their participation in the armed forces. In the United States they were incorporated as soldiers and members of white units. Later on, it resulted in the achievement of better social status for them and their families. African Americans entered the Second World War still racially segregated and largely limited to support roles in the military, as they had been in the First World War. However, in 1941, the United States government began to establish a limited number of all-African American combat units and the events of the war sometimes resulted in temporary integration of African Americans into white units, as well as more frequent combat roles. As a result, social consciousness about discrimination expanded and the civil rights movement eventually became stronger. This would also contribute to President Truman’s decision to begin official integration of the armed forces in 1948. The language of Native Americans (ie Navajo “code-talkers”) was the most noted contribution of the ethnic minority to the war effort. Japanese people and those having Japanese ancestry – with the excuse of possible disloyalty and espionage – were relocated in internment camps in the interior of the United States and Canada. Countries – such as Peru – having significant Asiatic immigration received political pressure to apply similar domestic policies with little result. Germans suffered comparatively less in the Americas, as they were part of big communities and, due to their European ancestry, even better integrated, though some were also placed in internment camps.
Evaluate the arguments that took place in the United States over ratification of the Versailles Treaty following the First World War.
(This is a Paper 3 question)
Arguments in Support of Ratification Many of the arguments in support of ratification were based on the principles of the 14 Points, not all of which were fully incorporated into the Versailles Treaty. The war costs, in terms of lives and money, must be redeemed by the peaceful resolution of future conflicts, which required the establishment of a League of Nations; The League would provide an international forum which would serve to resolve the controversies and faults that emerged from the passage of the Versailles Treaty; The United States was the only nation with the moral authority and altruistic interest to advance peace and democracy in the world and therefore must ratify the Versailles Treaty and become a member of the League; Peace must be achieved without the typical division of spoils or dominance of the vanquished that followed the end of war; The reduction of armaments would deter war; Self-determination principles would aid in the growth of democracy and human freedom; The desire of Democrats to support Wilson’s peace initiatives.
Arguments in Opposition to Ratification Of the issues and arguments against, some were based on the elements of the 14 Points. Others were based on the actual content of the Versailles Treaty; still others were based on political, ideological and social aspects of the post-war period. The League of Nations would interfere with US sovereignty (based on Article X); The League would constitute an “entangling alliance”, in violation of the traditional values of the United States; The treaty might cause European nations to interfere in the Western Hemisphere in violation of the Monroe Doctrine; Wilson’s “October Appeal” (1918), in support of a Congressional Democratic majority, violated the spirit of non-partisanship maintained during the war; Several key Senators (ie Lodge and Borah) were political and personal rivals of Wilson; The post-war growth of disillusionment, based on emerging knowledge as to the realities of First World War conditions, and awareness of the desire of the European victors for punishment of the defeated nations, caused a desire to withdraw from international commitments; “Irreconcilables”, led by LaFollette, were unalterably opposed to the treaty while “Reservationists” were willing to accept modifications; Wilson’s refusal to accept reservations to the Versailles Treaty.
With reference to either the Central Powers in the First World War (1914–1918) or the Axis Powers in the Second World War (1939–1945), to what extent was their defeat the result of poor tactics and strategies?
Candidates are required to address the statement in their response even if they take another view than the one proposed in the question. This question deals with the defeat of the Central Powers or the Axis Powers in either the First World War or the Second World War. “Strategies” may be defined as long-term planning for military success in a campaign or a war. “Tactics” would be more precise use of technology/troops to address the challenges posed in specific battles or to achieve certain military targets. Do, however, accept any interpretations that would be reasonable. With reference to the First World War, material in support of the statement may include: the inflexibility of the Schlieffen Plan, which forced Germany into a two-front war yet failed to produce a success; the decision to use unrestricted submarine warfare, which brought the United States into the war; failure of the German Navy to beak the British blockade on Germany; Germany entering the war with a very weak ally in the form of Austria and an unreliable one in Italy. Material that would challenge the statement would include: the effects of the British control of the seas which hampered the German economy; reduced access to food and raw materials; the failure of the submarines to impose a counter-blockade on Britain and weaken its economy; the superior manpower of the Allies especially after the entry of the United States; the economic power of the Allies which surpassed that of Germany; the ability of the Allies to bring men and resources from their colonies added to their strength; declining morale in Germany brought on by economic problems and revolutionary ideology undermined their war effort. The weakness of Austria and the defection of Italy also weakened the German effort. With reference to the Second World War, material in support of the statement may include but not be limited to: Hitler’s decision to undertake a two-front-war in 1941; failure to defeat Britain before attacking Russia; failure to secure oil supplies in the Middle East; declaring war on the United States thus creating another powerful opponent, German mistreatment of conquered nations which led to resistance and support for the Allies; German failure to develop a strategic bombing force to attack enemy industry; the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor created a more powerful reaction in the United States than they expected, engaging the US in war when they were still involved in China; failure to protect their merchant shipping from attack, which led to economic collapse; entering a war against a more powerful and advanced industrial and economic power. Material to challenge the statement may include: the superior economic and industrial power of the Allies especially after the entry of the United States made Axis victory unlikely; the superior manpower of the Allies; Allied control of the seas in the Atlantic and ultimately the Pacific was crucial to their strength and Axis weakness; the distance between Germany and Japan made their ability to support each other very limited in comparison to the Allies; the close co-operation and mutual support of the allies for each other was an advantage; Allied air superiority in strategic bombing as well as in tactical airpower was a major asset,
Likely to prove a popular question. Hopefully candidates will avoid producing long sequential narratives and instead deal with themes.
Areas of comparison for both wars could include: economic motives – Mitteleuropa/lebensraum); nationalism and the desire for world power status; fear of encirclement; the claim to be fighting a defensive war (First World War: Russian mobilization / Second World War: Polish “aggression”).
No doubt some students will argue that the Second World War was essentially a continuation (round two) of the First World War in terms of Germany’s desire for continental/world domination – but evidence/detail needed.
Areas of contrast could include:
Second World War: revanchism/revisionism as a result of the peace settlements following the First World War; ideology (e.g. anti-Communist/anti-democratic/Aryan superiority); genocidal aims; appeasement by Great Powers leading to encouragement of expansionist policies until 1939.
First World War: alliance “obligation” to Dual Monarchy; fear of Pan-Slavism; war of distraction from domestic political problems (rise of socialism in Germany); inept diplomatic policies pre- 1914/ military mobilization which provoked a war on a continental scale.
Select two causes of the Second World War and show (a) how, and (b) why, they led to the outbreak of war in 1939.
In what ways did advances in technology affect the nature and outcome of warfare in the first half of the twentieth century?
The nature of war refers to the ways in which the practice of war was affected – this could include reference to: the increasingly destructive nature of conflict in terms of casualties (civilian and military) and physical plant and infrastructure of the participants due to the ability to wreak more damage because of technological developments; the growing importance of new military fronts (especially aerial warfare), the involvement of whole populations – in the case of the world wars – as contributors to wars of attrition/total war; the changing nature of strategy – from the rapidly discredited “cult of the offensive” of 1914–1918 to the “cult of the defensive” which dominated military thinking in Western Europe post-1918 until that too was called into question by German “Blitzkrieg” tactics. The term “technology” will doubtless produce identification of weaponry (innovations and improvements) used in the world wars especially – and how it was used. This is not however a question about describing “Life in the trenches” on the Western Front 1914–1918. Candidates need to identify the relevant technological advances – whether in terms of weaponry – or for example in terms of advances such as radar, sonar, improved radio communication, cryptology (Enigma and its relevance?) and apply that knowledge to explaining how it affected the way in which the war was fought. In relation to “outcome” candidates could comment on the extent to which technological advances were major contributors – indeed decisive contributors – to deciding which side won/lost – and why. Though this is not a “to what extent” invitation, some candidates may attribute outcome to “other factors” – please accept this while bearing in mind that the issue of advances in technology should be dealt with and not ignored.
To what extent did the peace settlements after the First World War (a) deal with the issues which caused the war and (b) produce new problems, hindering future peace?
The question requires candidates to examine the peace settlements after the First World War (not just Versailles) and identify those issues (or factors) which led to the conflict in 1914, as well as comment on the extent to which the peacemakers successfully dealt with such issues. “Issues which caused the war” could include: reference to nationalism; revanchism; secret diplomacy; arms race; the attempt of powers to establish regional hegemony; the willingness of states to fight wars of distraction or wars to ensure self-preservation in the face of perceived threats to their existence; colonial rivalry etc. In relation to “new problems hindering future peace”, candidates could refer to issues of unresolved self-determination or deeply resented selective application of the principle which paved the way for revisionism, resentment and sowed the seeds of colonial nationalism in some empires. Nationalism produced by treaties, which were seen as punitive or unfair, helped lead to the rise of extremist political movements dedicated to righting perceived wrongs. Both Fascism and National Socialism in Europe can be linked to the disillusionment caused by the settlements, for example. Even victorious powers felt aggrieved at the outcome of the settlements, which failed to provide security (France) or sufficient rewards (Italy). This would have significant impact on the level of commitment to the principle of collective security. The failure to solve “The German Problem” and the establishment of new, and often economically weak successor states, produced the potential for geopolitical instability. The refusal of the US to ratify the settlements meant that Wilson’s “League” was denied a key member as the US retreated into political isolationism. Similarly, the failure to satisfy the USSR in relation to the question of whether to return territories lost at Brest–Litovsk, alienated Moscow. Lack of commitment to internationalism, compounded by the absence of a supranational collective security organization; the rise of aggressive and expansionist regimes; the growth of appeasement tendencies sometimes associated with guilt over the treatment of the vanquished and economic crises (1923, 1929 onwards, for example) subsequently weakened the basis for international security. Some candidates may point out that the inter-war period did show some indications of peace – the “Locarno Spring” period for example – and credit this. Hopefully such candidates will explain why such a period then came to an end. It is important to note that the impact of the settlements for the future was not limited solely to Europe. Credit those who apply their knowledge to the instability which resulted, for example, in the Middle East, South and East Asia. Candidates who address this as a question on the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of Hitler will not score highly.