Talk:Events preceding World War II in Europe

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Old title[edit]

This article title is odd. "Preceding events" of what? Preceding what? "European Theater" is a place, not a point in time. How can an event precede a place? RickK 03:09, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)

European Theatre in this context actually refers to the events in European continent of the war. WhisperToMe 07:22, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Also, "events preceeding World War II" is odd, since all things ocuring prior to the war fall into that category, even if without causal links, e.g. my uncle's birth. Str1977 18:26, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

--- how petty, obviously from the title 'events preceding world war II' one can reasonably assume that the significant events most affecting the eventual outcome of WW2 will be addressed. Your argument would have to apply to any time frame articles too, eg China 1937 - 45. History is not a study of literally the entire past, but rather a forum for debate on the significance of events in history. user - moderating dude "keeping the peace, since 1934"


The title was just too confounding. Wikipedia:Naming states that titles should not be ambiguous:

Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

--naryathegreat 03:40, Jul 6, 2004 (UTC)

(A level student)- its clear what the atricle is about from the title, its about events that build up to the 2nd world war. How is that too ambiguous, its an encyclopedia, its aim is to give us clear unbiased information and nothing else

--Can't we just delete the article?--

A few missing things[edit]

A few things that I can see missing off the top of my head:

  • Italian annexation of Albania
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Pact of Steel
  • Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Article completely ignores[edit]

TO THIS GUY DOWN BELOW, ITS MISSING BECAUSE IT IS IRRELEVANT!, i've studied the 2nd ww for 4 years and no historian has ever mentioned it I put a POV notice, because the article is extremely incomplete, ignoring some of the key events.

  • The attack of Poland on Czechoslovakia (actually Poland was the aggressor, who in a sense started the World War; Germany acted with permission of other countries, while poland didn't get the permission of Britain/France). Poland got Teshin out of it.
  • Soviet Union has repeatedly offered to help Czechoslovakia (they had a mutual defence pact), but Poland repeatedly refused to let Soviet forces pass (saying it would attack Soviet Union together with Romania). Later Czechoslovakia was forced to refuse the help.
  • Soviet Union has offered to help Poland against Germany as well, but Poland refused again.
  • Soviet Union never attacked Poland. Poland attacked Soviet Union in 1920s, though.
  • hang on, the USSR annexed much of eastern Poland following the German invasion

BTW, Molotov-Ribentrop Pact didn't "partition" Europe. The intent and the language of the pact are completely different.

If you think things are missing from the article, feel free to add them. Unfortunately, I find your comments somewhat ridiculous.
1. This is the first time I hear anybody claim that the Polish seizure of of Cieszyn in 1938 (a shameful episode to be sure) should be considered the start of World War II. Where did you come up with that idea? Sources, please. Wikipedia is not the place for original research. In particular, I don't see that thesis supported anywhere in the World War II article. It is also useful to keep in mind that the territory Poland seized was about 1% of the territory of Czechoslovakia. In short, the seizure of Cieszyn was shameful, nasty, possibly even idiotic, but it certainly was not one of the key events of the prewar period.
I said "in a sense" - not arguing here that it should be the definitive WW2 start date. And I only said that the seizure should be mentioned in the article, no need to dwell on it long.
Ok, with that I have no problem.
2,3. Why should Poland have willingly allowed in the armies of what was at the time the most genocidal regime on the planet? What do you think the Soviet armies would have done once they were in Poland? The experience of the Baltic States in 1940 serves as a useful lesson here.
First, please don't use labels such as "genocidal", since it's not actually true. Second, one of the reasons might be that France and Britain offered unconditional guarantees that Soviet forces would not stay in Poland (i.e. they promised to attack the Soviet Union if it refused to leave Poland). The other reason was that Germany actually was kinda threatening to invade Poland and Soviet Union offered to protect it. The experience of the Baltic states is irrelevant, since it happened AFTER (how could Poles know about it) and by that time Soviet Union needed to protect these countries from the Germans (even if that required taking them over).
The Soviet regime directly caused the death of millions of its citizens, which in my mind is genocide. As for British and French guarantees, are you actually serious? Quite frankly, I do not think they would have been worth much. Would France and Britain have gone to war with the USSR if the Soviets entered Poland and set up a Communist regime, as it was almost certain they would sooner or later? Poland and its intelligence services had an excellent idea what kind of state the Soviet Union was and they had none of the illusions some in the West entertained.
4. Things were much more complex, please read the Polish-Soviet War article. Balcer 09:42, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
I guess it's another biased article written by the "First to Fight nationalist Poles... From what they wrote in Polish September Campaign it looks like it was Poland that defeated Germany, not vice versa... I won't trust those guys to write history for me. Anyway, I was just saying that Soviet Union didn't actually have a long history of aggressive attacks against sovereign nations that can be used as a justification for Polish refusal to accept help. Or did it? Paranoid 17:29, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Both of these articles were granted Featured Articles status, so your description of them as products of a few Polish nationalists is completely off the mark. And yes, Poland (as one of the Allies) defeated Germany in World War II. The Soviet Union had a history of carrying out large scale social engineering on the territories it controlled. That was what worried the Poles. Surely you must understand that the USSR was the world's first communist state, bent on spreading Communism in all territories it lay its hands on. Balcer 17:46, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
bent on spreading Communism? now that certainly sounds like an orthodox cold war interpretation of the USSR. The Comintern was done away with in the 1930's i think and some historians would in fact argue their hegemony over western Europe had defensive motivation due to the considerable german threat. Nevertheless, it did establish puppet governments in its satellites, and how defensive such actions were is certainly arguable.

user - moderating dude "keeping the peace, since 1934"

They can be granted any status whatsoever, the fact is that they are extremely biased. You are completely out of touch with reality if you think that Soviet "social engineering" (creating a just socialist state) is comparable with German "social engineering" (genocide and death camps). If you are as deluded, this automatically disqualifies you from any discussion about history. Paranoid 09:50, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Indeed, modern research has reached a concensus that, on the scale of evil, the German system of repression rated higher than the Soviet system. I am not going to argue with that. However, this was not apparent at all in the years before 1939. In fact, by 1939 the Soviet Gulag and NKVD have been doing their bloody work for two decades, while the German system was only starting (the first large Gulag camps were established in the 1930s, the German death camps were built after 1941 etc.). To the Poles, in 1939 the Soviet system looked much worse than the German one. In fact, in the years 1939-1941 the repressions in the Soviet-occupied and German-occupied parts of Poland were just about equally bad. Balcer 15:43, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
What you are saying, Balcer, is simply not true. 1) If the camps were established in 1930s, how could they be doing "bloody work" for two decades as of 1939?

-- actually, if you go back before 1928 and the ascension of Stalin, Lenin also was notorious for terror tactics, purging of opposition and labour camps: he died before his violence could probably be as lasting and thus damaging as Stalin and Hitler.

Not possible. Also, according to Nazi concentration camps, the first camps in Germany were operating "since the beginning of their regime in 1933". Also, you make completely baseless claims that the repressions were "just about equally bad". Do you imply that the Soviet Union built something like Auschwitz? Or that Soviet forces randomly executed women and children on basis of their race or nationality? You are a liar and you have no shame or conscience. Paranoid 10:45, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

--- Whoa whoa whoa! hold up, now that's just a nasty thing to say, and really seems to be driven by your disagreement rather than any evidence. It is a pity you resorted to such a base attack, for this arguement seemed to have some genuine (if amateurish) historical merit. Well, you lose, but just remember noone here is trying to say Hitler or Stalin were 'top blokes'. i really disagree with any 'scale of evil' in any case for such horrendous, extreme cases as these. if you want to go on body count, Stalin can be held directly responsible for somewhere in the realm of 20 to 30 million deaths (10 - 15 million in manmade famine 1933-34, several others later, caused by requesitioning of grain, thus aggravated starvation) and the purges (5-15 mil. in all rule). Hitler, well 6mil. in holocaust, numerous more thru killings of gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill, petty criminals, and more during third reich rule. both rulers presided over and directed much misery. user - moderating dude "keeping the peace, since 1934"

I am getting tired of these ad hominem attacks, which just show you have no confidence in your arguments. Please, read more carefully what I have written.
  • Soviet labour camps functioned since the beginning of the Soviet regime, so they have been doing "bloody work" since then, i.e. for two decades. Large camps only got going after Stalin started his industrialization in 1929.
  • Concentration camps were operating in Germany since 1933, but these were different from death camps, meant for mass extermination, which were only established during the war, in occupied Poland.
  • I am not saying that Soviet and German repressions were exactly the same. Indeed, the Germans executed many people at random in areas of Poland they occupied and the Soviets did not (though Soviets still shot innocent people, see Katyn Massacre). On the other hand, the Soviets arrested people at random in the portion of Poland they occupied and sent them to exile Siberia and Central Asia and to the Gulags, where their chances of survival were low. Keep in mind I am focusing here very specifically on the 1939-1941 interval and the territory of occupied Poland. After the summer of 1941 the German Nazis of course became much more murderous in these territories, once the mass extermination of Jews began.
  • The Germans had Auschwitz, the Soviets had Kolyma and Vorkuta. In all these places one's chances of survival were rather low, to say the least. Auschwitz was, by common concensus, more evil, but the Soviet camps were still murderous and hellish places.Balcer 17:52, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
One thing to add to Paranoids claims - until summer of 1941, the Soviets sent more Poles to their concentration camps than the Germans did. Halibutt 07:56, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

I think this article is beyond redemption.[edit]

"The popular support for democracy was limited, and often perceived as "foreign" or "alien" to the German nation. Social tensions after the world wide economic depression following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 aggravated the political situation." Germany did not oppose democracy, it had a problem with the weak system of proportional representation and the Weimar Government. And the second sentence is just...well. Social tensions? It was a bloody depression! Germany was hit second hardest by the Great Depression after the US, because the US was supporting Germany after the collapse of Germany's currency. It then withdrew its financial support and Germany was plunged into an economic slump which Hitler promised to get them out of.

The non-npov tag is wholly justified (no popular support for democracy? How on earth do you suppose the Nazis were elected in the first place?), but I'd personally add something harsher- cleanup at the very least. I'd prefer deletion. --Dandelions 02:16, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Oh, and this is complete and utter nonsense, too:

"King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy invited Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party to form a government on October 30,1922, following their largely symbolic Marcia su Roma of October 28, 1922 (March on Rome)."

The March on Rome was a victory march after Mussolini had been asked to become prime minister. It was originally planned as a violent march to seize power, but became a victory march after Mussolini was appointed legally. Mussolini was asked to form a government on the 29th of October by the king, pre-empting the march. -- Dandelions 02:27, 29 January 2006 (UTC)


Per request: 1) USSR had a formal military alliance with Czechoslovakia, 2) Beneš did not back Stalin before WWI, its a nonsense 3) the invasion was celebrated only by Germans, not by hundreds of thousands of Czechs living there 4) The so-called Sudetenland never belonged to Austria, so it could not "remained" with it, and it wasn't just "given" to Czechoslovakia as it was part of Bohemia/Czechia since "time immemorial". Qertis (talk) 22:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you a Czech nationalist? First, I DON'T support either Hitler, or the Munich Agreement, which failed to keep the peace anyway and that was the only possible justification for it. But the vast bulk of the population were ethnic Germans. It is one of the reasons why there are very few ethnic Germans in the Czech Republic now, as Prague didn't want to go through it again. Please be aware that prior to 1918, there was no Czechoslovakia, it was part of Bohemia and Moravia and in turn part of the Hapsburg's Empire. Czechoslovakia was created on the principle of "national self-determination" - one of the features of Versailles, which combined high minded slogans and harsh real politick.

In principle, slicing off the Sudetenland, and giving it to Austria (which had previously ruled it) would have been no more “odd” than slicing up Pomerania to create the Polish Corridor. It would have robbed Czechoslovakia of much of her industry, which is probably one of the reasons why it was never seriously contemplated. However Hitler could claim that not allowing the Sudeten Germans to have “self determination” was a violation of the same principle that created Czechoslovakia in the first place.

The agreement at Munich was wrong, although I’m not sure if Britain and France had decided to make a fight over it that things would have been better than they turned out anyway. Britain didn’t have a big standing army, and didn’t even have conscription – plus the first Spitfires didn’t come until the next year. France wouldn’t have marched on Germany unless Britain would put in an equivalent number of troops (which is why they didn’t in 1939), so they wouldn’t have done much in the West for at least a year. The Czechs were well armed, but were weak in tanks and planes compared to Germany, were outnumbered, and the border defences were only built along the old German border, not the Austrian frontier. So the Germans would just have done what they did to France in 1940, bypassed the fortifications. The Wild card in this is the USSR. Would they have fought? Would Poland have let them cross their territory? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 9 August 2010 (UTC)