To What Extent Did Public Opinion Shape International Politics in the First Half of the Twentieth Century’?

1636 Words May 25th, 2013 7 Pages
International History 1914-1991–


‘To what extent did public opinion shape international politics in the first half of the twentieth century’?


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Word count: 1,617 words approximately

The first half of the twentieth century was indeed a time in history in which things such as two of the most deadly wars, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, the foundation of the UN and the start of the Cold War took place. But, were these events at any point influenced by the views expressed by citizens?.
This essay is going to discuss public opinion during the first half of the twentieth century. To do so, the essay uses a journal article on public opinion written by Hans Speier as a
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Hitler had in mind two main objectives for the Second World War, which were ‘ first, to established German control in Europe, and the second (which might well come after his lifetime) to wrest control of the seas and world domination from Britain and the USA’. Both aims were quite demoralising. In practice this meant that the war was prolonged more than expected, which caused a delayed in the freedom of the public opinion. Throughout the war, Hitler made the German people think that the war was about to be won; ever-new levies of recruits were needed for the last effort. Fifthly, another factor is ‘the sterility of the resistance movements in the realm of political ideas’. In Germany for example there was no Parliament and therefore parliamentary opposition was not possible. In Europe during the Second World War both sides had different successes, Germany, for example, had not one because of the great power of the GESTAPO. On the other hand, France had some success through the famous sabotage, and this made that some news were filtered in by the media in the West. Finally Speier mentioned, ‘the use of weapons of mass destruction in the attainment of victory’. A clear example of this was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 that left ‘up to 140,000 reported dead by the end of the year’ an event which did not help to show people the end of the war and

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