Prelude To Armageddon WW2: The Decade 1930s

The 1930s. The decade was tumultuous. The ferment in that period was the time of a gathering storm which burst at the end of the decade. That is WW2.The images below show snippets of that period and gives us an inkling that the world was heading towards death and destruction.

Adolf Hitler 35 years  release  prison Landesberg  December 20 1924
Adolf Hitler, 35 years old, on his release from prison of Landesberg, on December 20, 1924. Hitler was convicted of treason for his involvement in a coup attempt in 1923, called the Beer Hall Putsch.

Japanese soldier Great Wall China 1937
A Japanese soldier stands guard over the Great Wall of China in 1937. IN Asia Japan was flexing its muscles. It had defeated Russia in the war of 1904-5. So there was really no-one to challenge them. First thing they did was invade China.

Japan occupies Beijing August 13 1937
First images of the Japanese occupation of Beijing in China, 13 August 1937.

Japanese soldiers street fighting Shanghai 1937
  Japanese soldiers involved in the fight street in Shanghai, China in 1937. The Battle of Shanghai lasted from August to November 1937. In the end, Shanghai fell to the Japanese, after there were more than 150,000 deaths.

Japanese warplanes bombing China 1937
Japanese warplanes roar over China on a bombing mission. 1937.

Chinese people massacred Japan occupation Nanking February 5 1938
On February 5, 1938, A Chinese woman sees the remains of her family, all of whom were killed during the Japanese occupation of Nanking, apparently victims of atrocities at the hands of Japanese soldiers.

Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek  head  Nanking government in Canton, with General Lung Yun president  Yunnan provincial government
Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek (right) head of the Nanking government in Canton, with General Lung Yun, president of the Yunnan provincial government in Nanking, June 27, 1936. Kai-shek was supported by the Americans.

Buddhist monks Temple of Asakusa Great preparing  Second Sino-Japanese War  Tokyo
Buddhist monks of the Temple of Asakusa Great preparing for the Second Sino-Japanese War in Tokyo, Japan, on May 30, 1936. They need not have worried. China was too weak to hit back at Japan. The war was largely one-sided.

Japanese soldiers executing captured Chinese soldiers  1937
Japanese soldiers executing captured Chinese soldiers in 1937. The Japanese dealt with the Chinese very brutally. The Chinese haven't forgotten that even today. China deal with Japan very harshly today. Remember the brouhaha over the arrest of  the captain of a Chinese trawler by the Japanese in 2010?

October 28 1922 March to Rome Mussolini seizes power in Italy
October 28, 1922. The March to Rome. Mussolini seizes power in Italy. Here he is seen with his followers. Hitler took inspiration from what Mussolini did and tried something similar but faced failure. I refer to the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923.

1935  Italian soldiers hoist flag at Macalle  Abyssinia
1935.  Italian soldiers hoist their flag at Macalle in Abyssinia (Ethiopia now). Abyssinian emperor Haile Selasie appealed to the League of Nations for intervention, but in vain. Britain and France were in no mood to annoy Italy.

 Italian soldiers action Abyssinia 1935
 Italian soldiers in action in Abyssinia in 1935. The poor Abyssinian army was no match for the Italians and fell quite easily. The Italians made heavy weather of even that. And when the tough British army came later the Italians in Africa fled in panic. Rommel with his German soldiers saved them. But that happened years later.

Madrid Spanish Civil war Casa Blanca Building explodes
March 19, 1938. Madrid. Spanish Civil war. The Casa Blanca Building explodes because of explosives placed by the Republicans which killed 300 of Franco's Nationalist fighters. The Loyalist soldiers took six months to make a tunnel half a kilometer long to place the bombs under the building.

German Stuka Dive bombers fly Spanish skies
 German Stuka Dive bombers fly over the Spanish skies. May 30, 1939. It has cross markings of Franco's Nationalist Air Force. Germany had sent the Condor Legion to help Franco. For Hitler it was arms testing.

June 2 1937 Government soldiers train Spanish women weapon
 June 2, 1937. Government soldiers train Spanish women how to fire a rifle.

 1936 Burgos Spain Nationalist soldier tosses  grenade  Republican positions  Loyalist soldiers fire
 1936. Burgos, Spain. A Nationalist soldier tosses a grenade on Republican positions as the Loyalist soldiers fire away with their machine guns.

Madrid subway station Spanish people refuge  Franco's warplanes bomb
December 1936. The civilians always suffer. Madrid subway station. Spanish people take refuge as Franco's warplanes bomb Madrid.

German girls  camp  Nazi Youth Movement
German girls at a camp of Nazi Youth Movement. Women had a limited role according to Nazis. Breed healthy Aryan children.

 Hitler Youth Nazi convention Nuremberg  1935
Young boys hang on to every word Hitler utters at a Nazi convention in Nuremberg in 1935. These boys provided the backbone of the German army and Waffen SS a few years later.

Kristallnacht November 10 1938 Jewish shops attacked

Kristallnacht. November 10, 1938. Jewish shops were attacked and many Jews were sent to concentration camps.
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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito