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World War II

Causes of WW2





There were many events throughout the world that led to the beginning of World War 2. In many ways, World War 2 was a direct result of the turmoil left behind by World War 1. Below are some of the main causes of World War 2.

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles ended World War I between Germany and the Allied Powers. Because Germany had lost the war, the treaty was very harsh against Germany. Germany was forced to "accept the responsibility" of the war damages suffered by the Allies. The treaty required that Germany pay a huge sum of money called reparations.

The problem with the treaty is that it left the German economy in ruins. People were starving and the government was in chaos.

Japanese Expansion

In the period before World War II, Japan was growing rapidly. However, as an island nation they did not have the land or the natural resources to sustain their growth. Japan began to look to grow their empire in order to gain new resources. They invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937.

Fascism

With the economic turmoil left behind by World War 1, some countries were taken over by dictators who formed powerful fascist governments. These dictators wanted to expand their empires and were looking for new lands to conquer. The first fascist government was Italy which was ruled by the dictator Mussolini. Italy invaded and took over Ethiopia in 1935. Adolf Hitler would later emulate Mussolini in his takeover of Germany. Another Fascist government was Spain ruled by the dictator Franco.

Hitler and the Nazi Party

In Germany, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power. The Germans were desperate for someone to turn around their economy and restore their national pride. Hitler offered them hope. In 1934, Hitler was proclaimed the "Fuhrer" (leader) and became dictator of Germany.

Hitler resented the restrictions put on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. While talking about peace, Hitler began to rearm Germany. He allied Germany with Mussolini and Italy. Then Hitler looked to restore Germany to power by expanding his empire. He first took over Austria in 1938. When the League of Nations did nothing to stop him, Hitler became bolder and took over Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Appeasement

After World War 1, the nations of Europe were weary and did not want another war. When countries such as Italy and Germany became aggressive and began to take over their neighbors and build up their armies, countries such as Britain and France hoped to keep peace through "appeasement." This meant that they tried to make Germany and Hitler happy rather than try to stop him. They hoped that by meeting his demands he would be satisfied and there wouldn't be any war.

Unfortunately, the policy of appeasement backfired. It only made Hitler bolder. It also gave him time to build up his army.

Great Depression

The period before World War II was a time of great economic suffering throughout the world called the Great Depression. Many people were out of work and struggling to survive. This created unstable governments and worldwide turmoil that helped lead to World War II.

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  • Learn More about World War II:

    Overview:
    World War II Timeline
    Allied Powers and Leaders
    Axis Powers and Leaders
    Causes of WW2
    War in Europe
    War in the Pacific
    After the War

    Battles:
    Battle of Britain
    Battle of the Atlantic
    Pearl Harbor
    Battle of Stalingrad
    D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)
    Battle of the Bulge
    Battle of Berlin
    Battle of Midway
    Battle of Guadalcanal
    Battle of Iwo Jima

    Events:
    The Holocaust
    Japanese Internment Camps
    Bataan Death March
    Fireside Chats
    Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Atomic Bomb)
    War Crimes Trials
    Recovery and the Marshall Plan
    Leaders:
    Winston Churchill
    Charles de Gaulle
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Harry S. Truman
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Douglas MacArthur
    George Patton
    Adolf Hitler
    Joseph Stalin
    Benito Mussolini
    Hirohito
    Anne Frank
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    Other:
    The US Home Front
    Women of World War II
    African Americans in WW2
    Spies and Secret Agents
    Aircraft
    Aircraft Carriers
    Technology
    World War II Glossary and Terms

    Works Cited

    History >> World War 2 for Kids





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