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  • A Fourteen-Year Second World War?! November 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

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    Strangehistory recently featured the longest European war of the twentieth century, that between Greece and Albania (1940-1987). While looking at this Beach was intrigued, nay amazed by the true duration of the Second World War. In fact, this morning his room has taken on a strange orange sheen. For example, how long was Britain at war with Germany. 1939-1945, of course? Cue, grating sound like that heard on television quiz shows when a wrong answer is proffered. Britain was actually at war with Germany from 1939-1951, when the different sides finally got around to signing a peace treaty. In fact, most of the major Allies including Norway, the US, the fighting Dominions, and the Netherlands continued to be legally at war with Germany until 1951 as well. So the Second World War actually lasted for a dozen years? Well, technically even longer because the Soviet Union took until 1955 to sign a peace treaty with West Germany. That means that Germany and the Soviet Union were at war from 1941 to 1955: fourteen long years!

    Why did it take the various powers so long to actually put biro to paper? It was not Germany’s fault: or rather it was not either Germanys fault as by this date there were two of them. In fact, Germany/the Germanies had been keen to sign peace treaties with all the powers and end the occupation, or rather turn occupying troops into guardians against the opposing superpowers, and yet it never happened. The bottom line was that the ongoing state of war gave ‘the Allies’ by then, of course, fighting like rabid dogs among themselves, a solid legal reason to stay in Germany on their own terms; and, in the case of the Soviet Union, it gave that country a little longer to appropriate whatever tidbits of German industry it could carry back to the wrong side of the Urals. In fact, the war only came to an end because in 1951 for the Western Allies it was important to back West Germany, and to integrate West German manpower into NATO. If the Soviet Union hadn’t been growling the war could have stretched on to the release of Sergeant Peppers.

    If you are thinking that this is perhaps all lawyer talk, consider that the last German prisoners of war were only sent back from the Soviet Union in 1955 and 1956 (about 15,000) : note that there were some later ‘unofficial’ releases.

    Beach doubts that even his exceptional readers can beat a fourteen year second world war? Drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    30 Nov 2015: An old friend of the blog, Sébastien writes: As an aside, it could be written about your post “A fourteen-Year Second World War” that legally WW1 ended only the 28th of June 1919 and the signature of the treaty of Versailles, so the blockade of Germany was enforced until the following day infuriating Germans, making a few thousands victims of hunger more and helping to create the myth of the diktat.’ Thanks Seb!