Total War Concepts
Concept introduced by Arthur Marwick. Theory to contrast the war with the limited wars of the 18th Century. • He used the concept of “total war” to refer to: a. Its all-encompassing character b. Its severity. c. Total mobilization of the nations’ resources for victory d. Undermining of existing social and political structures and institutions e. Psychological trauma.
All-Encompassing Character • By early September 1941 all the world powers were, or had been, at war. Other states were subsequently drawn in. The war was fought across the world. Europe, North Africa and in the Far East. • Fought on land, on and under the sea, and in the air. Aircraft were employed for bombing as never before. • All the European powers conscripted men into the armed forces. • The Second World War was a war for survival between nations. Almost from the beginning civilians were considered legitimate targets by both sides. For example:
All-Encompassing SS Einsatzgruppen and others systematically attempted to eliminate entire groups civilians in the territories occupied by the Nazis.
All-Encompassing Bombing raids were carried out by the Germans as an integral part of Blitzkrieg, and both sides to destroy the morale of civilians and their productive capacity. Dresden Cologne Berlin Next image may be disturbing
All-Encompassing • In the greatest single massacre of the Second World War, which surpassed the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, half-a-million ordinary German men, women and children were killed on the night of February 13-14th, 1945 by two massive firebombing attacks, carried out by the US and the British Royal Air Force. • Most died of the heat, rather than by burning or choking. On the next morning a third attack was carried out, during which American fighter pilots strafed helpless crowds injured and terrorized people as they tried to flee along the banks of the River Elbe.
All-Encompassing One single night time fire-bombing raid on Tokyo took 100,000 lives.
All-Encompassing Carpet bombing was by its very nature indiscriminate, and not aimed primarily at military targets. Next image may be disturbing.
All-Encompassing The use of the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities, especially spared previous bombing raids in order that US scientists could study its effects, involved the use of a weapon which by its nature could by no means be regarded as limited to military targets.
Severity 1. The casualties of war were even greater than in the First World War: (a) About ten million men were killed and about 20 million wounded. There were five million widows left and nine million orphans. (b) Large numbers of the wounded were permanently blind or disabled. (c) New forms of killing had been used. 2. Ill-treatment of prisoners-of-war by the Germans was routine in Eastern Europe, and by the Japanese. • There was a new bitterness between the populations of the powers. • National and racial hatred was stirred up by the propaganda and psychological warfare agencies, and justified by Social Darwinism. • This led to the extension of the war to civilian populations, and consequently to the increased severity of the war.
Government Intrusion into Everyday Life • In this second world war governments knew how to interfere in the details of everyday life. The various interferences which had been implemented during the First World War were re-imposed during the Second - with additions. 2. In the USSR the government mobilized all men between 16 and 55, and all women between 16 and 45 years of age. 3. The advent of bombing meant that new duties were assumed by governments and new restrictions imposed upon the people. • the provision of air-raid shelters and gas masks • the restriction upon showing even a bit of light from a window after dark during the blackout.
Government Intrusion into Everyday Life 4.Because the Germans relied upon Blitzkrieg to win short wars, and the defeated countries to provide the resources for the next campaign, Germany was not affected as much as most other belligerents . . . . . . until the failure of Blitzkrieg in the east, when Albert Speer was placed in charge of a central Ministry of Armaments and Production. Even then, for ideological reasons, women were not mobilized for industrial or agricultural work. Instead, the Germans relied upon slave labor.
The Undermining of Institutions • By the end of the war, the power of Germany and Japan was destroyed. The power of Britain and France was fatally undermined, and these imperial powers would never recover. • There were peaceful social revolutions throughout western Europe, as returning soldiers and liberated populations determined that they would not be cheated out of the promised fruits of victory this time, as they had been after the last war, and as the once-more discredited ruling classes hurried to compromise with their people rather than be swept away. • The Communist take-over in Eastern Europe swept away the discredited ruling classes of the new states created by the Peace of Paris.
Psychological Trauma • A state of profound shock was evident in the literature of the time: e.g. among the existential philosophers, such as Jean-Paul Sartre. • Mark Mazower, in Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century, notes in the reports of those in occupied countries a certain anti-idealism, cynicism, and preoccupation with domestic concerns and their material welfare. • The psychological shock may have been improved, however, because: • People already knew what to expect, and feared the worst, so there was not much surprise or disillusionment. • Among the victors, the need for this war was more evident, and the price of failure unacceptable, so people were more reconciled to it.