This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
World War II (1939-1945) or the Second World War was a global armed conflict that was under way by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved a vast majority of the world's nations— including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it resulted in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities. These deaths make the war the deadliest conflict in human history.
Causes of World War II;
The main causes of World War II were nationalistic tensions, unresolved issues, and resentments resulting from the World War I and the interwar period in Europe, plus the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The culmination of events that led to the outbreak of war are generally understood to be the 1939 invasion of Poland by Germany and Soviet Russia and the 1937 invasion of the Republic of China by the Empire of Japan. These military aggressions were the result of decisions made by the authoritarian ruling Nazi elite in Germany and by the leadership of the Kwantung Army in Japan. World War II started after these aggressive actions were met with an official declaration of war and/or armed resistance.
Various causes behind the outbreak of the World War II;
1- Germany's reaction to Treaty of Versailles; The Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919 ended the World War I. But it could not establish real peace in Europe. The main terms of the Treaty of Versailles were; A-War Guilt Clause - Germany should accept the blame for starting World War One B-Reparations - Germany had to pay £6,600 million for the damage caused by the war C-Disarmament - Germany was only allowed to have a small army and six naval ships. No tanks, no air force and no submarines were allowed. The Rhineland area was to be demilitarised. D-Territorial Clauses - Land was taken away from Germany and given to other countries. Anschluss (union with Austria) was forbidden. The German people were very unhappy about the treaty and thought that it was too harsh. Germany could not afford to pay the money and during the 1920s the people in Germany were very poor. There were not many jobs and the price of food and basic goods was high. People were dissatisfied with the government and voted to power a man who promised to rip up the Treaty of Versailles. His name was Adolf Hitler.
Hence when Hitler opposed the Treaty of Versailles and sought to raise Germany once again to her former position of glory, he was supported by the Germans wholeheartedly. Thus the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for the World War II.
2- Failure of the League of Nations; The League of Nations was an international organisation set up in 1919 to help keep world peace. It was intended that all countries would be members of the League and that if there were disputes between countries they could be settled by negotiation rather than by force. If this failed then countries would stop trading with the aggressive country and if that failed then countries would use their armies to fight. -It was weak from the beginning, and had spectacular failures in Manchuria and Abyssinia, and it failed to prevent Hitler breaking the Treaty of Versailles. -It failed to achieve disarmament, which resulted in an arms race. -Countries left the failing League, and realised that they would have to fight a war. - Britain and France abandoned collective security, and turned instead to appeasement.
3- Failure of Appeasement ;( Munich Agreement and Appeasement) The Munich Agreement, signed by the leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy, agreed that the Sudetenland would be returned to Germany and that no further territorial claims would be made by Germany. The Czech government was not invited to the conference and protested about the loss of the Sudetenland. They felt that they had been betrayed by both Britain and France with whom alliances had been made. However, the Munich Agreement was generally viewed as a triumph and an excellent example of securing peace through negotiation rather than war. When Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, he broke the terms of the Munich Agreement. Although it was realised that the policy of appeasement had failed, Chamberlain was still not prepared to take the country to war over "..a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing." Instead, he made a guarantee to come to Poland's aid if Hitler invaded Poland. Appeasement encouraged war. It made Hitler to think no one dare stop him, which encouraged him to go further and further until in the end he went too far. 4- Expansionism (imperialist policy of Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia) Expansionism is the doctrine of expanding the territorial base (or economic influence) of a country, usually by means of military aggression. The imperialist activities of Japan in the Far-East are also to be considered as one of the main causes of the World War II. Japan captured Manchuria in 1931 practically without any opposition Emboldened by this she carried on her aggressive activities in total defiance of the international rules and regulations. Under the Nazi regime, Germany began its own program of expansion, seeking to restore the "rightful" boundaries of pre–World War I Germany, resulting in the reoccupation of the Rhineland and action in the Polish Corridor, leading to a perhaps inevitable war with Poland.
In Europe, Italy’s Benito Mussolini sought to create a New Roman Empire based around the Mediterranean and invaded Albania in early 1939, at the start of the war, and later invaded Greece. Italy had also invaded Ethiopia as early as 1935. The Soviet Union had lost large parts of former Russian Empire territories to Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania in World War I and the Russian Civil War and was interested in regaining lost territories. Also during the Russo-Japanese war some territories had been lost to Japan. 5- Fascism and Nazism As a. Latter of fact, the rise of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy may be regarded as one of the main causes of the World War II. Hitler of Germany and Mussolini of Italy believed in imperialist activities and the application of force for the realisation of their ends. 6- Militarism A highly militaristic and aggressive attitude prevailed among the leaders of Germany, Japan and Italy. Compounding this fact was the traditional militant attitude of the three had a similar track record that is often underestimated. For example, Germany introduced permanent conscription in 1935, with a clear aim of rebuilding its army (and defying the Treaty of Versailles). 7- Nationalism Nationalism is the belief that groups of people are bound together by territorial, cultural and ethnic links. Nationalism was used by their leaders to generate public support in Germany, already a nation where fervent nationalism was prevalent. In Italy, the idea of restoring the Roman Empire was attractive to many Italians. In Japan, nationalism, in the sense of duty and honour, especially to the emperor, had been widespread for centuries. 8- Competition for resources and markets Other than a few coal and iron deposits, Japan lacks extensive natural resources. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Japan was a latecomer to the club of industrialized imperialist countries. The largest source both of raw material and consumers in Asia was China. Japan was determined to dominate this market, which the U.S. and other European powers had been dominating. In 1937 Japan invaded Manchuria and China properly, under the guise of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, with slogans as "Asia for the Asians!" Japan sought to remove the Western powers' influence in China and replace it with Japanese domination. The ongoing conflict in China led to a deepening conflict with the U.S., where public opinion was alarmed by events such as the Nanking Massacre and growing Japanese power. Hoping to knock out the United States for long enough to be able to achieve and consolidate their waraims, the Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. 9- The Great Depression/World Economic Crisis Fallout from the collapse of the United States economy following the 1929 Stock Market Crash reverberated throughout the world. European countries were hit hard by the Great Depression, which led to high rates of unemployment, poverty, civil unrest, and an overall feeling of despair.
The Great Depression resulted in a 25% unemployment rate in the United States and a 33% unemployment rate in Germany. The lure of a steady job and adequate food led many people to support dictatorships like those established by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and other totalitarians. The Great Depression affected Germany tremendously, second only to the United States. Severe unemployment led a surge in Nazi Party membership, which had been losing favour. This contributed directly to the rise of Hitler in Germany. After World War I, many American banks invested their money in rebuilding Europe. However, the 1929 crash caused a shortage in Capital. Those investors who still had money to invest lost faith in the European market 10- Anschluss The Anschluss was the 1938 annexation of Austria into Germany. Historically, the idea of creating a Greater Germany through such a union had been popular in Austria as well as Germany, peaking just after World War I when both new constitutions declared German Austria a part of Germany. Such an action was expressly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, though. Nevertheless, Germany pressed for the Austrian Nazi Party's legality, played a critical role in the assassination of Austrian chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, and applied pressure for several Austrian Nazi Party members to be incorporated into offices within the Austrian administration. 11- The Nazi-Soviet Pact and War Freed up Hitler to invade Poland in 1939- He knew that Britain couldn't do anything to defend Poland (he invaded 9 days later). Ended Britain's hopes of an alliance with Russia to stop Hitler - people in Britain realised that nothing would stop Hitler now but war. Improved morale of British people for war - showed Hitler as an opportunist and a trickster, who could never be trusted. 12- Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Nominally, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union. It was signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939, by the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. In 1939, neither Germany nor the Soviet Union were ready to go to war with each other. The Soviet Union had lost territory to Poland in 1920. Although officially labelled a "nonaggression treaty", the pact included a secret protocol, in which the independent countries of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania were divided into spheres of interest of the parties. The secret protocol explicitly assumed "territorial and political rearrangements" in the areas of these countries. Subsequently all the mentioned countries were invaded, occupied, or forced to cede part of their territory by either the Soviet Union, Germany, or both.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.