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History Essay

The historical development of the world in the 20th century was marked by the paradoxical difference between the declared objectives of the ruling elites and the actual situation in the world. In fact, the 20th century was the century of the ideological conflict. The variety of antagonistic ideologies, such as fascism and communism sprang and grew in power but they were so antagonistic that these ideologies contributed to the irrational and rather emotional view on international relations and the system of the existing social order. As a result, each ideology, developed its own concept of the world order which had little in common with rational view of the world and, what is more, the absurdity of ideologies was the ideological basis for the inspiration of conflicts between countries supporting different ideologies. These conflicts eventually resulted in destructing wars leading to thousands and millions of deaths. In such a way, the history of the world has developed cyclically when the irrationality of certain ideology reached its apogee was follow by the outbreak of a conflict between antagonistic countries having different ideologies. In this respect, the most important and paradoxical point is the actual devaluation of human life, while practically all ideologies put human life, or at least the life of certain group of people, as the major priority and highest value. The gap between the actual value of human life and the value declared by various ideologies perfectly illustrates the extent to which irrationality could be destructing when it starts to dominate in the ideology of a country.
On analyzing the development of the world in the 20th century, it is important to underline that the mankind made little efforts to learn the mistakes which were made in the beginning of the century. To put it more precisely, the strife of leading countries of the world for the domination in global terms and the ignorance of interests of small and insignificant states resulted in the outbreak of World War I, which was the largest military conflict at the epoch. Obviously, the reasons of the war were based on socioeconomic and political ground, but the ideological basis of the war laid emphasis on the belief of the possibility of the domination of certain countries in the world. In such a way, the imperialistic struggle of leading countries resulted, which did not have any rational ground, resulted in World War I which took thousands and millions of lives. However, the war had not really changed the world dramatically since not a single superpower got the dominance in the world.
In stark contrast, World War I led to the defeat of Germany and its allies, which, though, did not prevent the country from its revanchist plans and desire to restore its power in the world. Moreover, the defeat of Germany lead to the emergence of new ideology, fascism, which incorporated the dissatisfaction of Germany with the results of World War I and was supported by German population because it targeted at the creation of the new Reich, a powerful and prosperous Germany (Keylor and Bannister, 183). In fact, this idea was a milestone of the Nazi ideology and program and it is this idea which actually brought Hitler and his party to the power in Germany. At the same time, its former allies, such as Italy, also developed fascist ideology, which was based on similar principles and targeted at the consistent improvement of the position of Italian people.
Thus, the need to improve socioeconomic situation in countries which were defeated in World War I was so burning that the population of these countries readily supported the most radical and, to a significant extent, irrational ideologies. For instance, it is obvious that, from a rational point of view, the policy of nationalism could not have solved problems of Germany because representatives of non-German ethnic groups, such as Jews, could not be the cause of all problems of German people. But the Nazi ideology stated that it is non-Germans who deprive Germans of the life space and are the major cause of socioeconomic problems. As a result, the aggressive policy of German elite and the excessive use of propaganda led the country to World War II.
On the other hand, the policy of allies which won World War I was not more rational. In this respect, the policy of appeasement of Hitler is a sample of absurdity of the policy of the UK and France as the major powers in Europe. This policy resulted in the Munich Agreement of 1938, which actually satisfied Hitler ambitions to occupy a part of Czechoslovakia and paved him the way to the occupation of other countries of Europe (Keylor and Bannister,201). This step was absolutely irrational because it strengthened Germany and demonstrated the weakness of the UK and France. At the same time, the USSR also contributed to the growing ambitions of Germany because it also signed an agreement, Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which actually divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the USSR (Keylor and Bannister, 219). This step practically invited Germany for the further expansion eastward and, therefore, made the war between the USSR and Germany practically inevitable. As a result, World War II had started in 1939 and ended in 1945 bringing millions of deaths and unprecedented destructions.
In this respect, Europe was particularly affected by the war. Nevertheless, allies, including the USSR, the USA and the UK, during the Yalta Conference, had decided to restore Europe estimating the necessity of “the establishment of order in Europe, and the rebuilding of national economic life” (Keylor and Bannister, 227). But, in actuality, the restoration of Europe resulted in the new conflict of two systems based on the communist and democratic ideologies. Instead of the restoration after World War II, the world came to Cold War which separated the world into pro-Soviet and pro-American blocs. The latter created the NATO while the former signed the Warsaw pact (Gearson and Schake, 179). Both, the NATO and the Warsaw pact marked the division of the world into a democratic or capitalist system and socialist system respectively. The antagonism of two ideologies, capitalism and communism grew absolutely irrational leading to the increasing militarization of the world, though, technically, the USSR and the US military potentially was sufficient to destroy not only the opponent, but also the entire world along with the mankind (Gearson and Schake, 204). As a result, Cold War was accompanied by the struggle of two systems worldwide causing death of people in numerous military conflicts, though, potentially, two systems could co-exist, but their ambitions and desire to dominate in the world outweighed all rational arguments.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that the strife for the domination in the world became one of the major concerns of leading powers in the world in the 20th century that led to the formation of absolutely irrational beliefs and caused numerous military conflicts.


Works cited:
Gearson, J. and Schake, K., ed. The Berlin Wall Crisis: Perspectives on Cold War Alliances. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Keylor, W.R. and J. Bannister. The Twentieth Century World. New York: Random House, 2004.

 
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