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Causes of World War 2 Essay Scaffold

Introduction
The Four major driving forces that led to the outbreak of war include: the
dictatorships in Germany and Italy, the collapse of collective security and the
failure of the League of Nations, the policy of appeasement, and the Nazi-Soviet
Non-Aggression Pact. This is because the dictatorships in Germany and Italy set
the framework for war to occur due to similar ideals of expansion, the collapse of
collective security due to prevailing national sentiment saw Europe descend into
conflict, appeasement facilitated the dictators expansionist agenda, and the
significance of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact is that it allowed Hitler to
avoid a two front war. Although significant historical contention surrounds the
contributions of each factor to the war in Europe, historians tend to agree that it
was a culmination of all four that led to the outbreak of the war.
Dictatorships in Germany and Italy
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The dictatorships in Germany and Italy played a crucial part in enveloping


the world into the cataclysm of world war 2.
Had the nationalists not risen to power in Germany, and the Fascist
dictator Mussolini in Italy, war could have been averted.
This is because the actions of both kept tensions in Europe at high due to
Hitlers ultimate goal of lebensraum and Mussolinis goal of spazio vitale
which is also concerned with expansion as well as his goal to of reviving
the glory of the ancient roman empire known as Palingenetic myth
Their ideologies set the framework for an affirming growth of tensions to
exist within Europe, therefore it is apparent the dictatorships in Germany
and Italy was a contributing factor the second world war.

The Collapse of Collective Security and the League of Nations


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The collapse of collective security with the failure of the League of Nations
was an equally important factor contributing to the outbreak of war.
The main reason why the league failed was due to national interests
undermining internationalism.
Other factors also include America never becoming member, leaving
Britain and France in control, which led to non-interventionist and
appeasement policies and economic sanctions which were ineffective.
Examples of the leagues appeasement policies include: the Hoare Laval
Pact which attempted to appease Mussolini by secretly offering him
Abyssinia. The Anglo-German Naval Agreement also highlights the
Leagues passive nature as it granted Hitler to increase his navy to 35% of
the British royal navy.
The league also failed to stop the Spanish Civil war, as they Britain and
France refused to get involved, and acted as a dress rehearsal for was
since it allowed Hitler to put his tactic of Blitzkrieg into effect which
involved the Luftwaffe.
Therefore, collapse of collective security is another major contributing
factor that led to the outbreak of war due to a lack of intervention and

appeasement based policies allowing Hitler to rearm and territorially


expand.
Appeasement

The policy of appeasement was another major factor contributing to the


war in Europe
Most commonly associated with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
in the 1930s, appeasement meant conceding to the demands of dictators
in the hope of avoiding war
This was primarily due to the fact that Britain was in no mood to engage in
another war due to the effects of the Great Depression and the vivid
memories of the Great War influenced public opinion, which was
overwhelmingly pacifist.
As a result, no action was taken in response to German rearmament such
as the remilitarisation of the Rhineland and the Anschluss with Austria,
despite being forbidden by the treaty of Versailles.
Due to this passive nature of Britain, Hitler then went on to demand the
Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini and the French Prime Minister Daladier met
in Munich in September 1938. Completely unprepared for war and intent
on maintaining peace in Europe, they gave Hitler the Sudetenland as he
promised it would be his last territorial demand.
The policy of appeasement was finally abandoned when Hitler started to
make demands on Poland regarding the city of Danzig, as he believed the
allies would once again back down given their willingness to hand over the
Sudetenland.
Critics of appeasement have suggested that it allowed Hitler to revise the
Treaty of Versailles and strengthen the German Army, as well as
encouraging him to seek more demands and concessions. Historian Frank
McDonough has argued that Chamberlain may have prevented war if he
had stood up to Hitler earlier.
Conversely, Historians like Peter Neville have suggested that appeasement
was the only practical choice given Britains public was overwhelmingly
pacifist in the aftermath of the Great War, its army run down, the Soviet
Union was militarily weak and untrustworthy, America was withdrawn into
isolationism, and the French were focused on internal divisions. Both
Robert Self and James Levy support the view that appeasement brought
the British government crucial time in which to rearm.
Nevertheless, the policy of appeasement undoubtedly led to the outbreak
of war in Europe, since it allowed Hitler to rearm.

Significance of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact


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The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was the final factor that led to the
outbreak of war.
Despite their natural intense dislike for one another and the conflicting
nature of their ideologies, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shocked the

world with the announcement of a Non-Aggression Pact on 23 August


1939.
Stalin had attempted to build an anti-German alliance with the allies,
however they refused due to their fear of communism.
As a result, he made a pact with a Hitler to stall for time due to the purges
and polices of collectivisation and industrialisation leaving the Soviet
Union in no state to fight a war.
Conversely, the pact allowed Hitler to avoid a two front war, reducing the
risk posed to Germany by extending further aggression towards
neighbouring nations such as Poland.
According to Stromberg, Poland, which was shaped by the Treaty of
Versailles, had become an inevitable target for territorial claims once both
her neighbours had regained their strength
Therefore, the Nazi- Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was the final factor
contributing to the outbreak of war, since it allowed Hitler to avoid a two
front war.

Conclusion
Ultimately, there were four major factors that acted as a driving force of the
outbreak of world war 2 including: the dictatorships in Germany and Italy, the
collapse of collective security and the policy of appeasement. No single factor
contributing to the war can be expounded as individually triggering the war and
by extension, it emerges that the interplay created between the predeceasing
factors led to a boiling pot just waiting to explode.