2021-12-14 兰陵笑笑生 13822
Could both World War 1 and World War 2 have been prevented?


Tomaž Vargazon
, Practicing atheist
Originally Answered: Could both World War 1 and World War 2 be prevented?
The exact sequence of events that led to WW1 could be prevented, but …
Assasination of Franz Ferdinand
However even if Franz Ferdinant wasn’t assasinated, the entire German political apparatus was still eager to find an excuse to go to war against Russia. The reason why WW1 erupted after the assasination was because it served as a casus belli for Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia, which served as a reason for Russia to come to Serbian aid, which served as a reason for Germany to come to Austrian aid, which served as a reason for France and UK to come to Russian aid.
The web of alliances is as valid as they were with the assasination and these countries are eager to get into a war: Germany wanted to expand eastwards to take arable land and mineral wealth of western reaches of Russian empire, France was eager to exact their revenge upon Germany for the defeat in Franco-Prussian war and UK was eager to knock Germany down a notch or two.
You could prevent war from erupting in the summer of 1914, but it would just erupt later, over some other reason. Europe in the early 20th century was a tinderbox and a disaster waiting to happen, there was no way to solve the impasse without a war.
World War 2 is just a continuation of the same basic idea. It could be preventable, had Allies insisted on a strict peace treaty, not a lax truce at Versaillies.



Johannes Walter
Well, there is the theory, that a few years later, the war would have been impossible because of the increasing intertwining of the economies of the involved states.


Tomaž Vargazon
That was the theory to be the case ten years before the war already.


Abraham Levin
This is why, after world war one, we never saw another war again.


Dan Davidson
Thank you! This comment made me laugh harder than all the comedy posts I’ve checked today combined.

谢谢你! 这条评论让我笑得比我今天看的所有笑话的效果加起来还要厉害。
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Johannes Walter
Well, I would say, that is why one of Hitler's most important economical aims was “Autarkie".

好吧,我想说,这就是为什么希特勒最重要的经济目标之一是 "Autarkie(自给自足)"。

Walter Christie
If war was deferred by a few years, the newly industrialized Russia + France would have stomped Germant into the ground, regardless of UK or Italian neutrality.


Ira Blum
I think WW1 was the result of the movement towards nationalism in the late 19th century. While Britain and France and Russia have been countries for a while, Germany only became a country in 1871, Austria-Hungary formed in 1867, Romania in 1877, Serbia in 1882, and Italy in 1861. Note Belgium only separated from the Netherlands in 1839.
So, it’s possible that all of these states could have avoided war in the early 20th century, but they didn’t.


Ulf Lindberg
I agree that nationalism was the reason for WW1. But I believe Austria-Hungary was the anomaly, since it consisted of several nationalities, slavs of different languages, hungarians, italians, and germanspeaking austrian. Under the pressure of nationalism in its parts it would implode eventually. All the other big powers gather like vultures to expand their influence when that would happen. So that was the situation when the duke was shot. At that point Austria put unmeetable demands on Serbia and the war erupted.
Interestingly enough we had a similar situation when Sovjet fell apart 30 years ago. In my opinion all countries involved did show restraint in their quest for influence and large conflict has been avoided. It can be argued that the situation now is unfair, but a great war has been avoided and for that I am grateful.


Karsten Schuhmann
“ But I believe Austria-Hungary was the anomaly, since it consisted of several nationalities, slavs of different languages, hungarians, italians, and germanspeaking austrian. Under the pressure of nationalism in its parts it would implode eventually.”
Isn't the same true for the British Empire?


Krishna Murthy
I think WW2 could have been prevented. Unlike WW1,it was only Germany under Hitler that wanted a rematch. Another leader could have stirred Germany off the warpath.
Everyone else had had enough of war in WW1 and other wars like the Russian civil war,Russia-Poland war,Greco-Turkish war, etc. Even the USSR didn't seem to want a war but I could be wrong. Italy wanted a war but couldn't and wouldn't do anything in Europe without Germany's help. Without WW2 they would have stuck to conquering Ethiopia. Similarly Japan wouldn't have attacked Pearl Harbor,the Philippines and European colonies in Asia if Germany didn't support them or atleast kept these powers busy elsewhere. Other than these countries no one else wanted a war.So without Hitler and Germany,at best(or worst) you could have a war in the East.


Armando Garza
Whoa.. France get butt hurt easily.


Xander Hawkins
Franco-Prußian war was devastating though. Not only was the loss of the war humiliating, but German ownership of elßas-lothringen served as a constant reminder of the defeat. France kinda needed revenge. Just like Germany did after WW1. At least, that's how they felt


Karsten Schuhmann
Well, it was a German speaking province that had not been with France for very long.


James Flack
, Growing our own food for taste, pleasure and saving money
World war two was effectively a continuation of WW1, so by preventing the first one, we prevent the second.
Looking in detail at WW1.
Between the mess of alliances, treaties and the like between various small countries and assorted great powers, Europe fell into war by accident and stupidity.
The war couldn’t have happened before 1913. The central powers could be easily cut off from Nitrate imports, and it wasn’t until 1913 and the Harber process that we could synthesis ammonia, and so nitrates. No nitrates, no explosives or propellents, no world war.
At the same time, Russia was industrialising rapidly, and building railways. Without the extra stresses of WW1, the Czar remains in charge for at least long enough to carry out these plans.
The Central powers wanted to avoid a two front war where the Russians had industrialised too, as they rightly saw it as suicide.
So we’re looking at a 10–15 year window, where if diplomacy and just a little little luck holds, we get past the time when WW1 is possible.
Putting on my really cynical hat, one way to keep Germany happy would be to look at where in the world there was left for the great powers to carve up.
Germany was late for this course, and missed out on plum pudding
But got to take part in this one.
And a nice slice of Turkey as well
Give Germany an extra helping in either of the later courses, and it stays happy until the risk of war has passed.


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Neil Moore
There was also an element of “revanchisme” and wanting to go to war, the French wanted to recapture Alsace Lorraine which had been lost in the catastrophic Franco-Prussian war of 1870


Xander Hawkins
True! But, the longer Germany holds it, the more it becomes Elßas-Lothringen and the more the memory of French alssase-Lorraine fades. If by 1950, the majority of Europe's borders are the same as they were in 1914 (with perhaps the exception of an independent Ireland, and maybe a broken-up Austria-Hungary), I think everything would really settle into place for good. And as Europe transitioned towards something like the EU or mitteleuropa it was always going to become more connected and the borders don't matter as much anyway


James Flack
For Ireland and Scotland, a Home Rule bill had passed the UK parliament in 1914,but it wasn’t put into effect due to WW1. If it had passed a year earlier, or the war started a year later, you’d almost certainly be looking at a united island of Ireland, which could plausibly be inside or outside the UK.


Ronald Pottol
Or, without Bismarck and Prussia leading German unification, you get a less militaristic Germany, that unifies later, also avoiding WWI. Heck, if the Kaiser who only served 99 days lived a normal lifespan, it might have been avoided.

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Yiannis Kontochris
Yes. We’d probably need to remove Bismarck from history to maybe avoid WW1 or make it much more limited.
Even then it is doubtful because at the time so many rulers were itching to play with their new impressive (read: unprecedentedly destructive) military toys!


Brock Hueber
On the other hand if Bismarck got what he wanted the war would also be avoided. Bismarck first and foremost wanted a united Germany that could defend itself from its neighbors. He did not WANT a war. The idea of a “militaristic Prussia” is not based in myth, but is taken to extreme lengths. Prussia was no more militaristic than Napoleonic France or Czarist Russia. Had Bismarck been in power at the onset of WW1 he likely would not have sided with Austria-Hungary.

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Ronald Pottol
Probably true, he'd have avoided a pointless navel arms race that Germany could never win as well. He said that Germany should be allied with at least two other European powers, one of which should be Russia. But, the king dies, then his son dies 99 days later, and the new king is someone Bismarck never bothered to build a positive relationship with, so out of power he went, leaving a unified Germany.


Alex Wiley
I’m not so sure , even with those territories Germany would still play behind France and the uk. The real reason the Wilhelm wish for Germany to have an empire was for it to have ‘its place in the sun’. This just would not be satisfied.


David M. Prus
, I have an associates degree in history, as well as intensive scholarship
Absolutely. While Europe was a tinderbox, that spark could have been avoided. More prudence on on the Habsburgs and Serbs part and there’s no cassius belli. Germany and France wanted their rematch but had to wait for the Balkans to heat up as an excuse. No excuse and they lose their allies and risk total defeat.
Better leadership in any of the powers involved and they wouldnt’ have blundered into the war. Pan-Slavism at the same time as Russian industrial weakness, German imperial aggression, French revenge, British international policing, Austrian resurgence, Balkan defiance, led to the war.
Wilhelm was a cocky bully. Nicholas an arrogant buffoon. Poincaré a greedy tyrant. Asquith a callous weakling. Franz Joseph lazy and pompous. Better leadership could have prevented this.


Harold Stansfield
, Voracious reader of biography and history
Doubtful. By the late 1800’s, in large part due to events like the industrial revolution, the feudal system that had functioned across Europe and Asia for thousands of years was falling apart. The major empires were slowly falling apart. WWI was fundamentally about the collapse of the major empires (Britain, Russia, Ottoman, Austria-Hungary) and the restructuring of the remnants.
WWII in EUROPE can be directly traced to the brutal reparations required of Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was in economic disaster, and the only path out they saw was to go after those who caused the disaster. So, it would have been possible to have Versailles designed in such a way that Germany didn’t starve—which could have prevented much of the European side of WWII.
WWII in Asia-Pacific was fundamentally about Japan wanting to out-Britain the British and establish a massive empire of their own on that side of the planet.


David Muccigrosso
, Quora's Angry Con-Prog
Pre-WW1 Europe was a powder keg ready to explode at any moment.
Basically, almost ever every power in Europe had had some recent embarrassment on the international stage, wherein they’d had to betray a minor ally in order to save some larger obxtive. And each one’s leaders had vowed to themselves “not next time”. Next time, they would stand tall and redeem their national honor. The opposition would be defeated quickly by this moment of sheer resolve.
When everyone in a bar fight is trying to make up for the embarrassment of losing the previous bar fight, and no one is strong enough to KO the rest in the first punch, you just end up with a bunch of idiots pummeling each other into a bloody pulp for hours.
That’s WW1. And to wit, even preventing the assassination of the archduke wouldn’t have stopped a war. Europe was in an era of profound political turbulence. Revolutionaries were agitating left and right, and political assassinations were a dime a dozen. It would only have been a matter of time until some other assassination or crisis would have sparked the war off.
If by some miracle no spark ever arose, it would have taken at least 20–30 spark-less years for the underlying political crises to resolve and leaderships to change enough that no war was possible anymore.
WW2 was mostly predicated on the outcome of WW1. It could possibly have been prevented by a less egregious Treaty of Versailles, but that’s a pretty tall order. It’s hard to understand today, with fascism having been completely discredited, but Europe was only just then starting to emerge from millennia of authoritarian thought. Fascism really wasn’t all that much of a stretch from pervasive and deeply entrenched right-wing attitudes about authority, the family, power, and violence. It took two apocalyptic wars to discredit it! At the time, it probably seemed like just a secularist extension of the same right-wing values that had kept monarchy and feudalism intact for so long.WW1 was sparked off by the underlying thirst for extreme solutions to the failures of the traditional European state at managing the outcomes of the Industrial Revolution. Over time, it became apparent that communism and fascism were the two most popular of those extrema, and because entrenched power has traditionally been more fearful of the extreme left than the extreme right, fascism won the opportunity to make its case, which it horrifically did in WW2.Liberal democracy ended both wars. At the end of the day, it’s likely that liberal democracy would have been the key to preventing them. Sadly, what actually happened was that liberal democracy wasn’t yet strong enough to do so.

基本上,欧洲的每一个大国最近都在国际舞台上遇到了一些尴尬,他们不得不背叛一个小盟友,以挽救一些大的目标。每个国家的领导人都对自己发誓 "下不为例"。下一次,他们要挺身而出,挽回他们的国家荣誉。反对这一立场的人将被这一刻纯粹的决心迅速击垮。

Dave Presuhn
, Have read a lot of books on history and enjoy it
Virtually any historical outcome is preventable in hindsight.
If you prevent WWI, you prevent WW2 from happening if by no other fact that you can’t have a second world war if you don’t have a first.
The best way to prevent WWI is to prevent Wilhelm from becoming Kaiser, or at the very least moderating his views. The latter was nearly impossible, so the former is the better option. The only question is how to prevent Wilhelm from becoming Kaiser in a way that doesn’t inflame already inflamed passions such as existed in pre-WWI Europe.


Andrew Koufalas
He almost didn’t!
His brother was due to become Kaiser earlier on but he had a toothache which the diagnosed as minor but actually had mouth cancer and the doctors waited too long and he passed away prematurely!
His character and disposition was completely different from his brother who unfortunately became the warlike Kaiser!