Causes of World War II
Germany was completely devastated after World War I. The people of Germany had to deal with the long-term effects of the Treaty of Versailles. The people of Germany were exhausted after the war and had felt like they had been humiliated and destroyed. In many ways Germany was worse off after the war than during the war. Inflation was out of control and people were literally starving to death in Germany years after the war ended. The effects of the Treaty of Versailles crushed Germany’s economy after World War I. Germany lost land they needed to grow food, boats they needed to bring in raw supplies from abroad and the government could not afford to pay back reparations promised to the Allied nations. Many citizens could not find work and the German currency was devalued to the point that it became worthless. Inflation was so bad at one point in 1923 that prices were being marked up by 20% every day. The economic crisis in Germany led to significant changes in the daily life of Germans. Many people in Germany were forced into prostitution or illegal activities because they had no choices. Many families were tossed onto the streets and had to beg to survive.
Germans found extremist parties more and more attractive. Adolf Hitler's Nazi party promised to build a new Germany. He used propaganda that appealed to the German sense of national honor. The German people were searching for a leader to escape their economic woes. Hitler also established organizations for young people called the Hitler youth. Hitler was a racist, and an extreme nationalist. He served four years during World War I and remained in Germany and entered politics. He took control of the German workers party. Hitler try to take over the government in 1923 but was crushed and he was sentenced to prison. He realizes not seize would have to attain power with legal means not with another violent overthrow when he got agility expanded not seen party and it had become the largest party in the German Parliament. Germany's economic difficulties were a factor in the night not to rise to power unemployment grew and the Great Depression made extremist parties more attractive. Hitler became chancellor in 1933 and created a new government he took complete control over Germany and pass the enabling act which gave the government the power to nor the Constitution for four years.
Adolf Hitler had a nationalistic and militaristic response to the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles. After World War I the trio for size has limited Germany's military power. As Chancellor Hitler stressed that Germany wished to revise the unfair provisions by peaceful means. In 1935 he began a military draft that would expand the German army and created a new Air Force. Because it was the Great Depression France Great Britain and Italy condemned Germany but didn't do anything about it because it was the Great Depression and have their own internal problems. Hitler sent German troops into the Rhineland in 1936 was a demilitarized area after the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler gained new allies like Mussolini of Italy.
Racism and Anti-Semitism took all the Jews out of civil service and set up prison camps called concentration camps for people who opposed them. Hitler's goal was the development of an Aryan racial state that would dominate Europe and possibly the world. Nazis thought the Germans were the only true descendents of Aryans and they would create another empire like the one ruled by ancient Romans. All of their goals were to further the Aryan master race. The Nuremberg laws defined who was a Jew. They excluded Jews from German citizenship and they were required to wear yellow stars of David and carry identification.
Lebensraum upholds the right of superior individuals to gain authoritarian leadership over the masses through the theory of lebensraum or living space through expansion. The theory emphasizes the right of the strong shall rule over the weak. Mein Kampf was the book Hitler wrote while he was in jail and it outlined his basic ideas. The book was anti-semetic and anti-communism and it talked about how superior nations and individuals needed to gain authority over the masses.
Germany's actions leading up to September 1, 1939 included a lot of unchecked aggression. Hitler expanded the Nazi party in Germany, by 1932 it had 800,000 members and became the largest party in the German Parliament. Hitler had taken over Germany through the Nazi party. His illegal seizure of power came in 1933 when Germany passed the enabling act. They set up concentration camps for people who opposed them. By 1933 Hitler had set up a totalitarian state. Hitler became sole ruler of Germany. He set up the SS, which was based on terror and ideology to keep people in line. He started Hitler youth that had 5.4 million members by December 1936 and by 1939 all children in 10 to 18 had to join Hitler youth. In 1935 Hitler created a new Air Force and a military draft in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. He sent German troops into Rhineland in 1936. In 1936 Germany and Italy sent troops to Spain. In 1936 Mussolini and Hitler made the agreement to work together. Germany and Japan signed a pact in 1936 against communism. In 1938 Germany joined with Austria, his native land. He threatened Austria with invasion and Austria gave in and let Germany annex the entire country. In 1939 Germany signed a treaty with the Soviet Union that promised not to attack each other. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany.
When Germany started their aggression Great Britain began to practice a policy of appeasement. This policy was meant to stabilize Europe by satisfying the reasonable demands of countries. In reality they just ignored Germany and their aggression's and hoped they would go away.
Japan's path to war started when they took over Manchuria in 1931. Japan needed Chinese natural resources. In 1937 Japan seized the Chinese capital. Japan wanted access to raw materials in Southeast China but sanctions from the United States meant that Japan would risk losing raw materials from the United States as well. December 7, 1949 Japan launched a surprise attack against the United States.
Japanese aircraft attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands on December 7, 1941, they forced the United States into a war. The two sides of World War II were now set. The Allied powers were Britain, United States and Russia. Germany attacked Russia in 1941 they became an Allied power as well. The Axis powers were Germany, Italy and Japan.
The League of Nations attempted to keep peace but they were ineffective. Japan Italy and Germany used its military to occupy foreign territories in the 1930s and they were left unchecked. They aggressively took over these countries and very little happened to them. The League of Nations dealt to harshly with Germany after World War I and made Germany look for radical leadership to solve their problems causing World War II.