The First and the Second World War Comparison


The First World War commenced in 1914 after Austria-Hungary tried to assert its Balkan authority over Serbia. The First World War involved European nations as was evidenced in the alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany, while Serbia fought alongside Russia and France. Ultimately, the First World War ended on November 11, 1918. The need for countries like Germany to assert its militarism superiority and nationalism ideologies sparked a regional outrage in Europe.

On the other hand, the Second World War commenced in 1939 as a result of ideological difference. Countries allied to Germany included Italy and Japan and fought against the alliance of France, Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, and China. The similarities in both wars justify why the events are considered two parts of the same war (Taylor 18).


The pronouncement of the First World War in august 1914 did not envision that four years of massive destruction would follow. An account from soldiers like Fritz Franke and Siegfried describes the “wars misery and futility” (Lualdi 227). The immobility that Europe experienced in the period was prolific as countries fought each other. Germany and Russia believed that the “nation’s strength was based on militarism” (Levack, Edward and Meredith 204).

For any country to prosper, the idea of imperialism and dominating other countries through colonialism was necessary. England, Germany, Italy, and France were renowned for their imperialist approach in acquiring colonies around the world.

Also, nationalism was the key to ensuring citizens fought for their country during the war. The importance of establishing an alliance between countries was envisioned as a sign of strength in case of war. This proved to be a reality when countries rallied alongside allies during the First World War.

The revolutionary Marxism was one of the ideological differences exhibited in the First World War. Vladimir Lenin led “Russian revolutionaries in changing the European governments approach in the war” (Lualdi 232). Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union used revolutionary Marxism to establish the dictatorship rule (Lualdi 232). In this regard, countries used their military machinery to fight against capitalism and other forms of aggression.

The waging of “total war involved utilization of all resources, including human personnel” (Levack, Edward and Meredith 212). In total war, the objective is to destroy anything perceived as an obstruction to the mission completely. Europe staged a total war against the belligerent by amassing resources from soldiers, statesmen, and “women on the home front” (Lualdi 229).

Perhaps, this explains why the total annihilation of the Jews started by the end of the First World War. Jews were considered capitalists and represented a large proportion of the business community in Europe. Moreover, Judaism in Europe attracted anti-Semitism since it was opposed to communism and fascism.

A new wave of patriotism called fascism justified why the First World War was initialized by ideological differences. In Italy, “Benito Mussolini introduced the fascism as a socialist idea” (Lualdi 239). Fascism was prominently used in Italy and Germany to unify the population and politicians against materialistic positivism (Levack, Edward and Meredith 224). As indicated earlier, the religious difference was a factor in the First World War.

In this regard, Germany, through the leadership of Adolf Hitler, is attributed to spreading anti-Semitism in Europe. European countries like the Soviet Union adopted anti-Semitism, especially against the Christian and Jews. Interestingly, Adolf Hitler claimed to fulfill God’s wish by annihilating the Jews, who were considered capitalistic oppressors. The emergence of the holocaust can be termed as an extension of the First World War ideologies on fanaticism and anti-Semitism.

The second part of the war commenced in 1939 and ended in 1945. The Second World War of 1939-1945 oversaw the issue of socialism and nationalism revisited through “revocation of the Treaty of Versailles by the Nazi government” (Lualdi 244). Promotion of national identity through ethnic cleansing became a critical issue during the Second World War.

Today, Germany and most of the eastern European countries still bear the brunt of murdering more than 6 million Jews (Lualdi 252). The rise of new political ideologies and emerging economic stability among European countries gave rise to national rebellion. Therefore, the need to use the totalitarian rule to implement nationalism was considered effective by oppressive governments.

The continuation of militarism was evidenced in the Second World War. The use of military tactics was considered evolutionary as countries adapted new weaponry such as machine guns (Lualdi 256). The atomic bombing in Hiroshima by the United States is considered one of the most prolific military actions in history (Lualdi 256). The conflict of ideas, especially on economy and politics, determined the objectives of the Second World War.


An in-depth analysis of both the First and Second World Wars implies that the latter was a continuation of the former. Although there are several differences between the two periods of war, the agenda remained the same. Considering the Second World War was sparked by the revocation of the Treaty of Versailles, it is evident that the Nazis and its allies still wanted to pursue their ideologies in nationalism, militarism, communism, and imperialism. Therefore, the First and Second World Wars are two parts of the same war (Taylor 18).

Works Cited

Levack, Brian, Edward, Muir, and Meredith, Veldman. The west: encounters & Transformations. Vol. II: Since 1550. 4th Ed. New York: Longman 2014. Print.

Lualdi, Katherine. Sources of the making of the west: Peoples and cultures. Volume II: Since 1500. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2009. Print.

Taylor, A. Percivale. Origin of the Second World War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. Print.

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