Explain how ww2 started in Europe


The industrial revolution did not break out in Europe with one bang, but gradually spread across the continent. One trigger was the unusually strong population growth from the middle of the 18th century: This created a huge reservoir of workers, and at the same time new, more efficient production methods were needed to supply the many people. Great Britain had two important advantages in this situation: a high-yielding, financially strong agriculture and an astonishing potential for creative inventors. This is why the United Kingdom gave Europeans the rhythm of development for around 100 years from around 1750 onwards.

In the British Isles, spinning machines first appeared, then machine looms and textile mills soon sprang up. At the same time, the boom in the iron industry broke out. Ever since hard coal could be converted into coke, an excellent, almost unlimited fuel had been found for smelting iron ore. When steam engines were added, with which one could really fan the embers of the smelting furnaces, the mining towers and the chimneys of the ironworks grew into the sky in the coal-rich regions.

Workers crowded into the new industrial centers, in a few years villages turned into large cities, where the masses lived under miserable conditions in overcrowded "workers' barracks" and damp cellars. The working time was 14 hours, always to the rhythm of the machines, women had to do just as much for less wages, especially in mines and textile factories, and children were also ruthlessly exploited. There was a constant threat of unemployment and hunger. The desperation erupted in often bloody uprisings, and machine attackers tried in vain to stop the development. The new inventions interlocked like gears: the iron was improved, rails were forged from it, and steel steam locomotives rattled overhead with wagons full of coke and steel.

France, the competing great power, did not lag behind Great Britain: In the 18th century, cotton consumption in textile factories rose five times as fast as on the British Isles. French manufacturers concentrated on finished products, often including luxury goods such as silk fabrics, porcelain and leather goods. These traditional trades were first mechanized and so the first big strikes also occurred in silk processing: The skilled workers in Lyon fought for the introduction of minimum wages in the 1830s. Since France has relatively few resources in coal and iron, mines and smelting works did not emerge until the railroad was built in the middle of the 19th century. Slowly but steadily, the focus of employment then shifted from the agricultural sector to industrial production.

The industrial revolution had very different faces in Europe. Belgium, one of the first industrialized countries, was able to rely on rich deposits of iron ore and hard coal and a strong traditional textile industry, so the development was similar to that in Great Britain. In Switzerland, too, there was an early, but completely different, structural change: the lack of raw materials was compensated for by specializing in niche products from silk weaving, cotton processing and mechanical engineering, including watchmaking. The states on the edge of the continent, on the other hand, Spain, Greece and the Balkan countries, increased their agricultural and raw material exports, but were unable to build up industrial production for a long time.

In Germany, the new production methods took hold late because the country was divided into so many states. After the customs union of 1834, however, a productive heavy industry developed on the coal deposits in Upper Silesia, the Saar and the Ruhr. At the same time, the construction of the railways gave the decisive impetus for the expansion of steel production and mechanical engineering. Thanks to high capital reserves and a good level of training, German companies were able to take on a leading role in the second phase of industrialization, towards the end of the 19th century, in the new chemical and electrotechnical technologies. At the same time, the labor movement grew stronger: the first workers' party was founded in Germany in 1863, followed by the SPD in 1869, and the British Labor Party only in 1906.

At that time, the surveillance of workers' unions was relaxed across Europe. Even if strikes still led to bloody clashes with state power, legal trade unions could be founded in many countries - some were Marxist-oriented, others demanded fundamental social reforms. At the turn of the 20th century, waves of strikes were constantly rolling through the major industrialized countries. The first mass organized workers pushed through higher wages, demanded the 12 and soon the 10 hour day.

The first improvements in working conditions brought about the legal restriction of child and women's labor in Great Britain in 1842. France and Prussia followed. In order to defuse the social conflicts, the German government established health, accident and old age insurance for workers in the 1880s. At the same time, however, the speed of the machines in the factories continued to increase and in many industrial cities thousands continued to live in overpopulated slums with catastrophic hygienic conditions.

It was not until 1860 that the industrial age began in the Netherlands. The landscape, which was poor in raw materials and criss-crossed by waterways, was hardly suitable for the development of heavy industry and railways, so the economy concentrated on the further development of pre-industrial trades. Above all, the processing of agricultural products such as milk and meat products created the basis on which mechanization finally prevailed. Towards the end of the 19th century, large corporations emerged in the new branches of industry, electrical engineering and chemistry. Dutch and Danish farmers developed new forms of distribution: organized in cooperatives, they were able to sell their agricultural products over ever greater distances and market them together, but at the same time each individual remained in control of his land.