Why is the German Invasion of Poland usually marked as the beginning of the Second World War?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,745
San Antonio, Tx
Even before Barbarossa and Pearl Harbor the war had:
1. soldiers fighting from all continents, mostly due to the colonial empires that recruited troops from their colonies.
2. fighting spread to much of the world, of course there was fighting in Europe, but also in Asia, Africa, off the coast of South America, on the seas.


True, but at that point (before 1941) only the war between the Allies and Germany could have been classified as a world war, the Sino-Japanese War could not.


I agree, but that does not make the 1939-41 Allies vs Germany conflict not a world war.


Indeed, it brought the Far East war into the wider, global conflict. It's worth keeping in mind that Germany and Japan were practically waging two separate wars without much cooperation.
I don’t recall the author’s name, but I read a well-written book, The Last. European War many years ago that posited exactly the same thing. WW2 did not become a global conflict until Pearl Harbor.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,445
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
I don’t recall the author’s name, but I read a well-written book, The Last. European War many years ago that posited exactly the same thing. WW2 did not become a global conflict until Pearl Harbor.
So what was it then?
A localized conflict?

(Localized to the Planet Earth?) ;)
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,745
San Antonio, Tx
Probably in century to come WW1 and WW2 will in fact be merged into 1 war with an intermission.
I think this is correct. The one certainly led directly to the other, almost exactly a generation later so there was a “fresh” crop of cannon fodder And an older generation that bought into the comforting nonsense that the Germans were stabbed in the back (dolchstoss) in 1918. The Germans got their “do over”, but this time Germany’s cities were laid waste. In 1918 there was no real occupation like 1945 when the West moved in lock, stock and barrel in order not to repeat the earlier error. Mostly, it worked out well.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I think this is correct. The one certainly led directly to the other, almost exactly a generation later so there was a “fresh” crop of cannon fodder And an older generation that bought into the comforting nonsense that the Germans were stabbed in the back (dolchstoss) in 1918. The Germans got their “do over”, but this time Germany’s cities were laid waste. In 1918 there was no real occupation like 1945 when the West moved in lock, stock and barrel in order not to repeat the earlier error. Mostly, it worked out well.
It really is quite amazing (not in a good way) how Hitler was able to maintain tight discipline and order on the German home front up to the very end in WWII. The Imperial German leadership certainly didn't manage to do this in WWI.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,726
It really is quite amazing (not in a good way) how Hitler was able to maintain tight discipline and order on the German home front up to the very end in WWII. The Imperial German leadership certainly didn't manage to do this in WWI.
With concentration camps and quite a few executions of opposing political leaders the only game in town was the Nazi party- it wasn't comparable to WW1 on the level of social control Hitler started the war with- ending with even more control until the final month isn't that surprising.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,625
Las Vegas, NV USA
There is no formal reason why and when the two conflicts were named the way they were. A few news outlets were using the term WWII before Sept 1 1939 in anticipation of the conflict. At the same time the "Great War" or "World War" was anticipated to become WWI. This usage was pretty much established by 1941.

 
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