World War II
It can be said that the
20 years after World War I were merely preparation time for countries all over
the world to begin another brutal, long battle.
World War II had four main causes:
1. Treaty of Versailles
2. The Great Depression
3. The Failure of the League of Nations
4. The Rise of Militarism
1. Treaty of
-In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed
after World War I.† It was a humiliating
Treaty for Germany
because of the following reasons:
a) it stated
that Germany had to pay back
millions of dollars in reparations (damage that Germany had caused during WWI)
b) it stated
that the German army could be no greater than 100 000 men
c) it stated
that the German navy could not build any large war ships
d) it stated
that there could be no German† air force
e) it stated
that the German empire was to be divided among the victorious allies
(i.e.† England took over Germanyís
possessions in Africa, Japan, parts of Asia, and some
were given to Australia and New Zealand)
The idea behind the treaty was that Germany
would never be strong enough to declare war on any other country in Europe.† Germany was
forced to sign the treaty. Adolf Hitler used the
treaty to stir up German nationalism.†
This helped him gain political power in the 1930ís.
2. The Great
Depression of the 1930ís
-In October 1929, the
global stock market crashed.† This began
the Great Depression, and it was the biggest the world had ever seen.† Millions of people all over the world,
especially in North America and Europe, were
out of work and had no hopes of finding work.
Thousands of people in Halifax
were out of work and had to be fed by soup kitchens.† Quite likely, they received a meal of soup
and bread, their only meal of the day)
People were going hungry all over the world until the mid 30ís.† A vicious cycle had been created:
No work=no money to buy food=no one buying food or products=no work
The Great Depression actually worked in Hitlerís favour.† He became the President of Germany in 1934
as the leader of the Nazi party.† Hitler
took the opportunity to build up his military, ignoring the Treaty of Versailles.† He made work for the German people and things
began to turn around in his country.
3. Failure of
the League of Nations (Appeasement)
The League of Nations was the
brainchild of Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States during World War I.
The League consisted of nations, including Canada, that would ban together so wars such as WW I would not
occur again. One principle of the League was collective security (if one
member of the League was attacked by another power, other members of the League
would send military support to the country being attacked).
A major weakness of the League
of Nations was that the United
States was not a member. Woodrow
Wilson could not pass it in the U.S. Senate, therefore, one of the strongest
military powers was not a member. It was feared that the U.S. might take
advantage of this power in the future.
4. The Rise
-Three key events lead to the Rise of Militarism before WWII.
1904-05, Japan defeated Russia in the
Russo-Japanese War.† This was the first
time any Asian power had defeated a major European power.† Japan went on to
become a major power in the Pacific.†
During the 1920ís Japan
had increased its military to the point that by 1931 it was able to invade the
of Manchuria, to gain
control of the mineral rich area.† Next, Japan began a war with China.† These attacks violated the collective
security of the League of Nations.† However, the League did nothing to protect China.† Japan
withdrew form the League and overran most of Northern
China by 1935.† Japanís aggression weakened the League of
Nations and had a profound influence on Europe.† Hitler and (Italian Dictator) Mussolini
sensed that other nations would avoid war at all costs.
b) Mussolini defied the
League of Nations by invading Ethiopia
in 1935.† Great
Britain and France
did not refuse Mussolini access to the Suez Canal (linking the Mediterranean
and Red Seas)
and along with the U.S.,
continued to supply Italy
with vital oil supplies.
also defied the League of Nations. In 1935 Hitler enlarged
the German Army from 100 000 men to 350 000 men.
embarked on an intensive naval program. They also began to build up the
German Air force. All of these actions went against the Treaty of Versailles. Despite
this fact, Britain and France did not take action against Germany.
They did not want to be involved. At this time, Britain and France
could have forced Germans out of the Rhineland,
but they didn't. This proved to be a great boost for Hitler because it
convinced him that the League of Nations
wasn't prepared to do anything to stop him.
The actions of Japan, Italy, and
Germany, which should have been opposed by the League were not, and dictators
in these countries continued their aggressive ways until it finally led to the
second World War.
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.