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When did WWII start; has it yet ended?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by jimmytwohand, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. jimmytwohand

    jimmytwohand New Member

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    Thought this might be an interesting topic to run in conjunction with the continuing education of a historiographical buffoon thread. Thought urqh raised an interesting point when he said:


    This comment was a great thought provoker. As well as speaking to the greater context of the war, it provided a great question to test my own (Brit) cultural biases towards the war against. Pointing no fingers, it annoys me to see a start date of 1941. Do the Chinese get similarly annoyed with a 1939 date and is there a case for including 1937 or even 1931 into proceedings? Was Foch right with his "this is not a peace, it is a 20 year armistice" quote?

    As if that wasn't enough would anyone make a case that the war did not end on VJ day?

    I understand this is massive. It is a parchment to marshal my own thoughts as much as ask for contributions. I did do a search and couldn't find a thread. My apologies if i missed it.
    EDIT: Go read book X with your choice of insult would also be acceptable. :)
     
  2. DaveBj

    DaveBj Member

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    I don't have anything scholarly with which to start off the discussion, just an expression of opinion.

    In general I do agree with Foch that the interbellum period was an armistice, not a peace, and that hostilities in Europe were probably inevitable, given 1) the conditions of the peace, and 2) the personality of the person who eventually came to power in Germany. The fact that fighting broke out first in 1937 in the Far East only moved the start-date of the war ahead a couple years. At that time it could not have been seen as the initiation of a world-wide conflict, but it became part of it, just as one storm can merge into another storm to make a huge storm.

    With regard to its end, I believe that it truly did end in 1945. The Cold War that grew out of it involved different antagonists with different goals. That conflict has yet to end, in my sometimes not so humble opinion.

    No recommended books (yet) or insults of choice (not my style) :D

    DaveBj
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    We've discussed the start date several times. The end date is another matter. I guess it depends on what you consider the end.
    1) The surrender of the last major Axis power.
    2) The signing of the last treaty between the participants. (note by this defintion I think WWI ended in the last decade).
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    And herein lies the rub, OP!

    The difference between an end to hostilities...the actual fighting...and the end of a war, or state of war.

    The Second World War came to a formal end in the Pacific in 1951 with the Treaty of San Francisco ending the war and the occupation of Japan. Until then, Japan was an invaded...albeit it non-hostile...country, occupied by the invading and victorious Allies. A very formal pattern, very Hague Rules-like...

    The war against Germany was a LOT more complicated...

    WWII in Europe...the fighting...came to an end with the Potsdamn Agreement and Declaration of July 1945....three months after the May surrender - not ceasefire. Germany was formally abolished as a political/national entity...thus obviating the requirement under the Hague Conventions to negotiate a formal end to the conflict with a "Germany" that no longer existed.

    However - in effect and only for "West" Germany, the end of occupation, the restoration of the remaining governmental functions etc. to the new WEST Germany was by the 1954 London and Paris Conferences and agreements. This also saw the formal end of the "occupation" IIRC...

    Note - there was still definitely a formal state of war in place as of 1949....for as part of other negotiations the "West" Germans requested there be discussions regarding the end of the state of war - and at that point the Allies refused!

    In fact, technically the Second World War against Germany didn't REALLY come to an end until the formal treaties of 1990-91!
     
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  5. jimmytwohand

    jimmytwohand New Member

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    My apologies. I did do a quite prolonged search but was overwhelmed with results for all the key terms i could think of. Do you happen to remember the thread title(s) to save rehashing a tired topic? No problem if not.

    Thanks for the great reply Phylo, lots of good points to look into further. I haven't had as much time as i would like to get stuck into this yet.
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    We might have discussed a start date we certainly thogh did not come up with an answer..
     
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  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed we came up with several answers. Depending on exactly how you define things some were better than others or not.

    It is interesting how such a simple question can have such non trivial answers.

    Looking around I can't find the threads where we discussed the start date either.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    WW1 & WW2: One major conflict with a 20-year hiatus in the middle.
    I still sort of subscribe to this view, but it's tricky as it's so easy to get relativistic about all European conflict since the Rennaisance.
    (See kennedy's 'Rise & Fall of the Great Powers' for a mind-meltingly complex overview of International relations since 1500. A fine book, which still leaves me thinking 'errrrmmm... so who did what to the who now? When?')
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    It's fair to view it that way IF you ascribe fully to the idea that WWII was solely the continuation of various major trends etc. arising out of WWI, and major grievances remaining from it...and I suppose you COULD just about predict a major resurgence of German Nationalism as a result of the position Germany found itself in...

    ...but a major mental aberration like Hitler and the Nazis??? THAT couldn't have been foreseen!


    It's also only fair to note that by the "rules" that the major powers drew up for themselves - the many and various Hague Conventions - WWI did formally come to an end - when the Versailles Treaty was signed in 1919 ;)

    It's History's problem for us to reconcile that the supposedly wise men of the various Allied and Entente Powers that dictated those terms and presided over the continued Economic Blockade that forced Germany to sign couldn't see for themselves what sort of problems they were stacking up for the future...

    But by the rules that we like to think we work by, the First World War...the "state of war" itself, as declared and conditionally declared in all those interminable notes and diplomatic letters in the summer of 1914...came to a finite end in 1919.
     
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  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    However not all the powers that declared war on Germany signed the treaty.
     
  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    What countries at war with Germany did not reach a treaty agreement? Do you have a source for this information? The US formally ended the state of war in 1921.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Several of the Indian nations also declared war on Germany. I think I read that one (the Sioux I think) didn't formally declare the war over until after world war 2.
     
  13. BarronVonBerger

    BarronVonBerger New Member

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    How about this?! All participants ceased hostility. If this were true or even factual it would have ended in 1974 with the capture of Heroo Onoda. Who fought in the Philippines as a Japanese intelligence officer well after the treaty was signed and was to be contacted by Japan for further orders, that were never received.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But he had pretty much ceased hostilaties some time previous to when he finally gave up from what I recall. Raiding for food being the possible exception. There were some other hold outs that lasted for a few years. Then if you want to consider hostilities between nominal allies you have a whole different set of things to consider.
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I think that the real first world war was what the British call the Seven Years War. Here in the states we called it The French & The Indian War, and it had as many different names as there were combatants it seems. Fighting took place in Europe, North America, Central America, Asia and in some Pacific Islands, and involved most of the major world powers at the time, and an estimated 1.4 million people died. So, by giving that "war of many names" it's rightful nomenclature of WW1, it would really throw a monkey wrench in the argument we have here.
     
  16. BarronVonBerger

    BarronVonBerger New Member

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    Well my favorite subject is actually the fighter ace Barron Von Richtofen the Red Barron. I guess I have a thing for the Air forces
     
  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    So Baron...who do YOU say shot him down?
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Wait. You mean it wasn't Snoopy?
     
  19. BarronVonBerger

    BarronVonBerger New Member

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    Lol well I feel as though it may have been ground flack due to the ballistics of his mortal wound. They actually did a special on it.
     
  20. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Oh the specials have been argued over ad-infintum...History will say the Aussies shot him down...with an English weapon.
     

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