Compare and Contrast Essay on the Causes of World War I and World War II in Europe

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  642 Words
Date:  2022-10-19


There certain similarities in the causes of both World War I and World War II in various dimensions even though the origins of the Second World War can be argued to be predominantly caused as a result of the first war. The First World War which was centered in Europe by Germany and various great power nations began due to multiple reasons which included the influence of the European Alliance System, nationalism, European Arms Race or militarism and the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. World War II, on the other hand, broke out as a result of the failure of the League of Nations that was formed during the First World War, the influence of the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, the global economic despair and some aspects of Fascism and Nationalism.

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Both the first and second World war begun as a result of rivalry between powerful nations as a result of the influence of nationalism which became a long-term cause for both wars. Even though Germany and Italy were angry with the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles which also contributed to the cause of the Second World War, this treaty was primarily for nationalism growth in both countries. Nationalism was experienced in the two countries under fascism because the ascension of Mussolini to power was based on the opinions of reforming Italy to be the best European country and a great nation just like the Roman Empire was renowned. This similar concern for greatness also developed in Germany under the authoritarian leadership of Adolf Hitler. Therefore, the aspect of nationalism in both countries which served as a long-term cause of both world wars developed rapidly as a result of fascism policy in both countries. Moreover, the prowess of the two countries was primarily due to their feelings of nationalism which rivaled the British power which is why it also served as a long-term reason of the Second World War (Strachan, 2014).

The effect of European Arms race or the essence of militarism also contributed to the outbreak of both world wars. Germany had developed a strong military that rivaled the militia of the British even before the outbreak of the war in 1914 hence they used this powerful influence to expand the overseas colonies control. Militarism also led to the outbreak of the Second World War because Japan was hungry for control over more land and natural resources to source its war workshops. The declaration of war on Japan by the US was as a result of the action the Japanese took to launch air raid against the US naval headquarters at Pearl Harbor which left 2500 Americans dead and 1200 injured. However, despite the similar causes of the two wars, they also emerged based on diverse reasons like alliances. The formation of partnerships like the Triple Entente alliance and the Triple Alliance which were formed to avoid war also promoted the outbreak of the First World War. That was because no country would dare to provoke another of a different alliance and even the Second World War broke out because of the influence of the unions when America embarked on its policy of isolationism (Thompson, 2017).


Generally, the causes of the First World War and the Second World War were somehow similar even though there were some variations like the European Alliance system which was a major contributing factor to the onset of the First World War and isolationism policy of the American government impacted massively on the cause of the Second World War. Conversely, despite the similarities and differences in the origins of both wars, their occurrence left traces of massive destructions and overwhelming consequences all over the world.


Strachan, H. (Ed.). (2014). The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War: New Edition. Oxford University Press.Thompson, P. (2017). Peace and war: a theory of international relations. Routledge.

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Compare and Contrast Essay on the Causes of World War I and World War II in Europe. (2022, Oct 19). Retrieved from

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