World War One/ World War Two
Both World War One and World War Two were momentous events in modern history of human conflict. They not only mark a point in time when gun powder was used to settle differences, but they are also known for the impacts they had on military technology, and on the lives of the societies of the time. The two wars were similar in some ways, and different in other ways.
The two wars had different causes. World War One resulted from the assassination of an Austro-Hungarian monarch, an act that worsened the already volatile political state in Europe (Sondhaus, 2011). The poorly timed assassination, coupled with the rising tension among European powers, culminated in the First World War. On the other hand, World War Two resulted from Adolf Hitler’s invasion of other countries, and his killing of Jews (Churchill, 2010). Hitler and his Third Reich’s actions prompted a declaration of war against Germany, the Second World War.
Another difference between the two wars is that unlike World War One, World War Two was not entirely a European War – it was partially Asian, and it also involved the United States. The Asian flank of the Second World War was instigated by Japan’s political intervention in South East Asia, an action Japan officially described as a pursuit to liberate the countries in that region from Western Imperialists (Churchill, 2010). Japan’s actual motive of dominance of Asia was however understood by both the Western Imperialist powers and their subjects. The Western Imperialists found themselves having to retaliate military to defend their economic and strategic interests in Asia. Japan’s bombing of a United States’ ship motivated the United States’ entry into the Asian flank of the Second World War.
The two wars were also different in terms of the sophistication of military equipment involved. Compared to the First World War, the Second World War was fought using more advanced military technology. For instance, the development of the tank by the British was motivated by the difficulty presented by World War One’s trench warfare (Sondhaus, 2011). In World War Two, the tank was not just developed enough to surmount the challenges it faced initially, but it was also used by other countries.
The two wars were however similar in several ways, one of them being the impacts they had on civil societies. The countries taking part in the wars declared a state of emergency in their countries and colonies; food, goods and services were almost entirely diverted to serve military supplies; and both wars had significant civilian casualties. World War Two was bloodier in the sense that it claimed almost six million Jewish civilian lives, and approximately 200,000 lives of civilian residents of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima (Churchill, 2010).
Though there were differences between the two wars in terms of cause, parties involved and military technology, they were also similar in terms of their devastating impacts, especially in terms of the loss of civilian lives. Civilians who were lucky to be alive found themselves having to live in a state of emergency, a situation that was further worsened by the diversion of food, goods and services to the service of the military. The Second World War was more intense and had worse impacts than the First World War.
Churchill, W. S. (2010). The Gathering Storm: The Second World War (Vol. 1). RosettaBooks.
Sondhaus, L. (2011). World War one: the global revolution. Cambridge University Press.