Hitler Invaded Poland – 75 Years of World War 2

From: fox.com

On September 1, 1939, the German army under Adolf Hitler launched an invasion of Poland that triggered the start of World War II (though by 1939 Japan and China were already at war). The battle for Poland only lasted about a month before a Nazi victory. But the invasion plunged the world into a war that would continue for almost six years and claim the lives of tens of millions of people.

Poland Invasion

Hitler salutes as he oversees troops during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The troops march in formation toward a wooden bridge, constructed by the Nazis across the San River, near Jarolaw, Poland

Today, 75 years later, Hitler is regarded as one of history’s great villains. So it’s easy to forget how slowly and reluctantly the worlds most powerful democracies mobilized to stop him. France and Britain did declare war on Germany two days after the invasion of Poland, but it would take them another eight months before they engaged in full-scale war with the Nazis. The United States wouldn’t join the war against Hitler until December 1941, a full two years after the war began.

Why did Adolf Hitler invade Poland?

The short answer is that Adolf Hitler was a ruthless dictator with dreams of conquering all of Europe. Annexing Poland was a step in that larger plan. The Polish military wasn’t powerful enough to resist him, and Hitler calculated — correctly, as it turns out — that Europe’s other powers wouldn’t intervene in time.

This map shows how World War I reshaped Europe. The red lines show the new borders drawn by the victorious Allies at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

This map shows how World War I reshaped Europe. The red lines show the new borders drawn by the victorious Allies at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

The invasion of Poland occurred almost exactly 25 years after the start of World War I in August 1914. That war ended in Germany’s defeat, and in 1919 the victorious allies carved up territory that had been part of Germany, Austria-Hungary (Germany’s defeated ally), and Russia (which had fallen to the Bolsheviks) into an array of new countries.

One of these new countries was Poland, which before 1919 had last existed as an independent nation in 1795. Another was Czechoslovakia — its awkward name reflects the Allies’ decision to combine areas dominated by two different ethnic groups, Czechs and Slovaks, into a single nation.

Hitler was contemptuous of these new nations, which he regarded as artificial creations of the Allies. There were significant German populations in both countries, and Hitler used trumped-up concern for their welfare as a pretext to demand territorial concessions.

In the infamous 1938 Munich Agreement, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland, portions of of Czechoslovakia with ethnic-German majorities (Czechoslovakia itself was excluded from the negotiations). Chamberlain claimed that the deal had averted another massive European war, but it only delayed the conflict while making Hitler more powerful when the war finally came.

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Global Trends In Defence Economics 2013 – 2014

From: The Military Balance IISS

Global economic growth slowed from 5.1% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2011 and an estimated 3.3% in 2012, as advanced economies continued to struggle with high levels of sovereign, bank and household indebtedness. Heightened financial contagion emanating from the eurozone – the 17 countries using the euro as a common currency – adversely affected European growth, while the unwinding of various domestic stimulus packages enacted in Asia in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis served to limit the extent to which Asia was able to drive global demand. High oil prices, an anaemic US economic recovery, and the lagged effects of incremental monetary tightening instituted across Asia and Latin America throughout 2011 acted as further constraints to 2012 activity.

global-spending-changes

Global Spending Changes 2011 – 2012

Despite the global downshift, emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are projected to maintain steady rates of growth, while advanced economies continue to address the weakness of their public finances. According to the International Monetary Fund’s April 2012 World Economic Outlook,

Gross debt-to-GDP ratios will rise further in many advanced economies, with a particularly steep increase in the G7 economies, to about 130% by 2017. Without more action than currently planned, debt ratios are expected to reach 256% in Japan, 124% in Italy, close to 113% in the US and 91% in the euro area over the forecast horizon. … In a striking contrast, many emerging and developing economies will see a decline in debt-to-GDP ratios, with the overall ratio for the group dropping to below 30% by 2017.

Defence Spending 2011–12

Reflecting these macroeconomic trends, global defence spending fell in real terms for a second year running in 2012. After a 1.5% real reduction in 2011, real defence spending declined by a further 2.05% in 2012 (constant 2010 prices and exchange rates).

Despite the overall reduction, defence spending trends varied considerably across regions. Real defence spending rose in Asia by 2.44% in 2011, before accelerating to 4.94% in 2012. In a similar vein, real defence spending in Russia and Eurasia grew by 3.11% in 2011, before rising by 13.28% in 2012. In Latin America, after a 0.71% real reduction in 2011 regional spending (caused in part by higher-thanexpected rates of inflation), real defence spending grew in 2012 by 4.0%. Similarly, after high oil prices in 2011 contributed to greater-than-anticipated inflation in the Middle East and North Africa, real defence spending is estimated to have fallen by 3.06% in 2011, before rising by an estimated 4.57% in 2012.

 

nato-vs-asia-military-spending

NATO vs ASIA Military Spending

Meanwhile, defence austerity in Europe saw real defence spending in Europe decline in both 2011 and 2012, falling by 2.52% in 2011 and by a further 1.63% in 2012. In North America, real military spending declined by 2.6% in 2011, and a further 7.5% in 2012. Sub-Saharan Africa saw a 0.3% real decline in 2011 spending (2012 trend unavailable at time of publication due to incomplete data availability), and continued to account for just 1% of global defence spending. (Note: real figures used here are measured at constant 2010 prices and exchange rates, see Figure 1 for further details.) See also ‘Comparative Defence Statistics’, pp. 41–2.

Asian and European Spending Converges

These general macroeconomic and defence-spending trends illustrate a broader shift in the underlying balance of global defence spending. This is highlighted by the convergence between Asian and NATO European defence-spending levels since the onset of the financial crash of 2008. As shown in Figure 2, between 2005 and 2007 (i.e. prior to the 2008 financial crisis), nominal defence spending in Asia (excluding Australia and New Zealand) rose from around US$148.1 billion to US$178.4bn, an average annual rate of increase of 9.8%. Nominal defence spending in NATO Europe rose at a broadly similar rate over the same period – from US$252.7bn in 2005 to US$298.5bn in 2007, an average annual rate of increase of 8.8%.

However, after the 2008 financial crisis, a marked convergence began between Asian and NATO European spending levels. Nominal NATO European defence spending fell from a peak of US$305.6bn in 2008 to a post-crisis low of US$262.7bn in 2012, declining by an average of 3.6% per annum in each of the four years since the crisis. By contrast, nominal Asian defence spending post-2008 has continued to rise at just under pre-crisis rates, with spending increasing from US$207.4bn in 2008 to US$287.4bn in 2012, equivalent to an average annual growth rate of 8.6%. In the process, nominal Asian spending overtook that of NATO Europe, with the former rising from US$268.8bn in 2011 to US$287.4bn in 2012, while the latter fell from US$290.0bn in 2011 to US$262.7bn in 2012.

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Indonesia in Military Balance 2013 – 2014

From: The Military Balance IISS

Indonesia’s efforts to improve its armed forces’ capabilities are guided by the notion of a Minimum Essential Force (MEF), developed after concern that defence-funding levels in the 2000s had fallen below acceptable levels. Political and military leaders in Jakarta recognise the need to provide more substantial defences against external threats to Indonesia’s extensive maritime interests. But they are also aware of the need to avoid being entrapped in a regional arms race and unduly diverting national resources from crucial social and developmental spending.

Indonesia military troops stand in form

Civilian governments in Jakarta over the past decade have found it politically expedient to expand naval and air capabilities, as this has moved resources and influence away from the army, which dominated Indonesian politics from 1966–98 under President Suharto. However, the army has sought to retain its extensive territorial structure, which acts as an apparatus for intelligence-gathering and, its critics allege,indirect political influence throughout Indonesia.

The army has also worked to keep its role in maintaining internal security. The separatist wars in Timor Leste and Aceh have been resolved, via independence and political autonomy respectively, but a separatist struggle continues in West Papua and Indonesia’s armed forces are involved in suppressing this uprising.

Strategic Relations

Indonesia’s broad strategic alignment since the mid-1960s has been towards the West, although the country remains non-aligned. Western military sanctions during Indonesia’s occupation of Timor Leste between 1975–99 significantly affected the international outlook of its political and military elites. One outcome of this is Indonesia’s present reluctance to depend completely on Western sources of military equipment. This has led Jakarta to continue buying equipment from diverse sources, while using technology-transfer agreements with foreign suppliers to develop its defence industry.

During 2011–12, Indonesia reached agreement with the US on the supply of 24 F-16C/D combat aircraft. It will also maintain its Russian-supplied Su-27s and Su-30s while participating in South Korea’s K-FX project to develop an advanced combat aircraft.

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Asian Military Modernisation Continues 2013 – 2014

From: Military Balance IISS

Most Asian states have been expanding their military budgets and attempting to improve their armed forces’ capabilities in recent years. This is largely a result of increasing uncertainty about the future distribution of power in the region and widespread suspicions, in some cases increasing tension, among regional armed forces. While these efforts are intended to deter potential adversaries, there is substantial evidence of action-reaction dynamics taking hold and influencing regional states’ military programmes.

Anindita Saktiaji - Military Asia

Analysts were waiting at the end of 2012 to see what effect China’s once-in-a-decade leadership change might have on the wider Asian region. New capabilities displayed in 2012 provided further evidence of China’s efforts to expand the capabilities of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The United States’ ‘rebalance’ to the Asia-Pacific and associated Air–Sea Battle concept were both widely seen as responses to Beijing’s growing power and assertiveness in the region.

Concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness were also reflected in rising tensions over maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. China’s maritime agencies have continued to send paramilitary vessels to promote and defend its extensive but ill-defined claims in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China finally commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in September 2012. Some Chinese commentators emphasised the significance of the Liaoning’s commissioning in relation to the maritime disputes around China’s littoral, and the Liaoning’s commissioning certainly affected other regional states’ assessments of Chinese power.

North Korea continued efforts to develop its nuclear-weapons capability and its closely related long-range missile arsenal. Japan has made significant, if incremental, capability improvements in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and the escalation of maritime disputes. Many factors, not least the deterrent effect of the US–Japan alliance, militated against the likelihood of open conflict, but the continuing deterioration of Japan’s regional strategic environment provided impetus for efforts to implement the ‘dynamic defence force’ idea.

India’s defence policy retained a substantial focus on deterring Pakistan, primarily through the larger country’s nuclear-weapons capability, but its defence planners increasingly view China as a potential strategic challenge and New Delhi has continued to invest in developing its military capabilities.

Southeast Asian states party to the dispute in the Spratly Islands have focused on using diplomacy, particularly through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related institutions, to constrain Chinese adventurism. Nevertheless, continuing tensions in the South China Sea have unnerved several Southeast Asian governments, contributing to a greater or lesser degree to their attempts to improve their military capabilities.

In the Philippines, a funding shortage continued to stymie armed-forces modernisation. The 2013 military modernisation budget, approved in September 2012, only provided one-third of the US$120 million which the armed forces required annually for the latest five-year modernisation programme. In April 2012, Manila requested military assistance from the United States in the form of second-hand F-16 combat aircraft, naval vessels and radar systems. However, by the following month, the potential cost of operating F-16s had apparently led to this idea’s abandonment; new plans for reviving the air force’s combat-fighter capability involved acquiring 12 TA-50 advanced trainers from South Korea. In May 2012, the US transferred a second former Hamiltonclass Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine Navy. The first ship of the class to be transferred, commissioned in March 2011, was involved in a stand-offin April 2012 with Chinese maritime surveillance paramilitary vessels offthe disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Navy plans call for the frigates to be fitted with new weapons, including Harpoonanti-ship missiles.

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Sekedar Tulisan Yang Bisa Merubah Dunia

Mengenal tulisan merupakan milestone tersendiri dalam perjalanan kehidupan manusia. Pesan yang sebelumnya hanya mampu disampaikan secara oral antara satu orang dengan orang yang lain, sekarang dapat dilakukan dengan cara yang jauh lebih praktis melalui tulisan yang terukir di dinding, kertas, batu, maupun kayu. Pesan juga mampu bertahan lebih lama dan mempunyai konsistensi struktur sehingga kerancuan tidak terlalu terjadi.

Anindita Saktiaji - Mesir Kuno

Tulisan pertama bermunculan sekitar 3000 – 2000 tahun sebelum masehi di beberapa tempat seperti Mesopotami, China, dan Mesir. Kemunculan ini bukan sebuah hal yang terjadi tiba-tiba (seperti yang pernah kita dengan dari beberapa sumber), melainkan dari kebutuhan masyarakat pada waktu itu akan pencatatan hasil perdagangan, produksi pangan, maupun tata pemerintahan. Jika ditarik pada rentang waktu lebih lama lagi, tulisan-tulisan ini muncul dari kebiasaan masyarakat untuk mencatat ritual, buruan, atau kejadian unik pada dinding-dinding gua tempat tinggal mereka.

Seiring dengan perkembangan jaman, tulisan menjadi sebuah alat komunikasi praktis dimana pesan-pesan resmi (perdagangan dan kenegaraan) disampaikan satu sama lain. Kestabilan informasi menjadi kunci utama mengapa tulisan menjadi pilihan tersebut. Selain itu, tulisan dirasa lebih awet dan lebih mudah untuk diturunkan ke orang lain, bahkan ke generasi selanjutnya. Perlahan-lahan, jenis-jenis tulisanpun berkembang dari mulai berbasis objek seperti yang ada pada China dan Mesir, maupun jenis tulisan yang berbasis pada karakter seperti yang ada pada Mesopotami dan Yunani.

Rangkaian huruf menjadi kata dan rangkaian kata menjadi kalimat. Kalimat-kalimat dalam tulisan yang disampaikan secara turun temurun dari satu generasi menuju generasi berikutnya menjadi sebuah acuan, patokan, hukum, dan kepercayaan. Memang, sebagian besar kalimat-kalimat tersebut diucapkan secara oral oleh seseorang, namun tulisan-tulisan yang diwariskanlah yang menjadi sebuah obyek sakral yang sekarang kita kenal sebagai kitab.

Kitab-kitab atau yang sekarang kita kenal sebagai buku adalah sebuah mahakarya peradaban manusia. Dahulu, hanya orang-orang tertentu saja yang mampu membuat ataupun memesan buku tersebut. Dan yang lebih penting lagi, hanya kisah-kisah ataupun kalimat-kalimat tertentu saja yang dapat dituliskan dalam lembaran-lembaran kitab. Tulisan tersebut akhirnya menjadi sakral, bukan karena tingkat kepentingan yang ada di dalam tulisan tersebut, namun karena ke ekslusifan dari proses penulisan buku itu sendiri.

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