The Origins of the Second World War

By Georg Franz-Willing

first published: 1986-04-01

I. Historical Development from the Nineteenth Century to the First World War

In 1955, the Indian diplomat and historian K. M. Panikkar, a longtime friend and collaborator of Pandit Nehru, the Indian prime minister, published a book entitled Asia and Western Dominance 1498-1945. He shows Western dominance of Asia as beginning with the Portuguese Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the maritime route to India, and ending with the Second World War. The two world wars off the first half of the 20th century he justly describes as a European civil war. By this self-mutilation, Europe lost its position in the world, its hegemony, and caused itself to be divided into two spheres of influence: one American, and one Russian.[1] Continue reading