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Causes of World War II
Transcript of Causes of World War II
Militarism III II I Causes of the
Second World War Failure of the Policy of Appeasement and of
the League of Nations Japanese
Militarism Hitler For hundreds of years, the area of land that we know today as Germany was split up into many smaller states that were ruled by monarchs. One of these small countries was Prussia. There were three main reasons for the rise of Prussia...... 1) An intricate education system which created a very smart, wealthy, patriotic, and professional population of young people, who were ready to serve their country when they were asked. 2) An extremely loyal, and obedient government administration that worked tiressly to serve the King and the army. 3) A well-organized, obedient, and extremely professional army, which was comanded excellently, brought in ever increasing amounts of land and population into the holdings of the growing Prussian empire. Because of these three things, the Prussian government was able to spend 65-85% of its income on the armed forces year after year. A symbiotic relationship could be
seen out of all of this..... Originally having a mainly agrarian based
society, a series of highly militaristic leaders,
beginning with Friederick Wilhelm I from
1713-1740, converted the Prussian state
into a military and economic
powerhouse. King and government, which are made up of young, wealthy land owners (the Junkers), invest in the military and an education system.
Military and economy
receives well educated,
young recruits and money,
and takes over surrounding areas of land. The increased amount of resources and population that
come under the rule of Prussia brings more power and wealth
to the Junkers class, and thus allows them to retain their power
in the government and continue to support the King. The power of Prussia peaked during the reign of Otto von Bismarck from 1862-1890. His main goal was to unite all of the small Germanic
kingdoms into a larger, amalgamated Germany. In 1870, during Bismarck's reign,
a war broke out between France
and a number of the German
countries, including Prussia. When the war ended 10 months later, the Germans
were triumphant. The 2 main results of the war can be seen
as this........ France lost the ancient French provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. The German kingdoms were united as a greater German Empire in 1871. Because of the loss of the provinces, and the loss of the
war itself, the French were humiliated. Bitter sentiments
between the French and the Germans arose. The French were determined to have their revenge. This was a major cause of the First World War, and even could be seen as a cause of the Second World War, but we will find this out later. Bismarck was able to unify the German countries,
and after the war with France, he (as he was still the King of Germany) worked on solidifying the German
Empire and maintaining peace in Europe. It would be
his successor that would send Germany plumetting towards the ground. In 1888, Wilhelm II became the Empiror of Germany after his father's death, and in 1890, dismissed Otto
von Bismarck from the holding of Chancellor of Germany. Wilhelm II misused Germany's new-found power, and allowed a treaty between France and Russia to occure while he aligned himself with Austria-Hungary. These alliances eventually led to outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Even the great country of Germany could not stand the horrors of WW1, and
by 1918, the German army and economy were completely exhausted from 4 years of war. On November 11th, 1918, in fear of losing whatever they had left, the German High Command called for a cease fire with the allies. The First World War itself wasn't a cause of the Second, but the irony between the mentality of the
German public and the events that followed the war was. After the war, the German monarchy was disposed of for
a democratic goverment. The
German people always had known about obeying their government, not electing one. Accompanied with democracy was a destroyed economy which left the Junkers class in ruins. The once mighty German army was left seriously limited technologically and numerically Although Germany was only partially what it used to be, the public was still the Prussian public, and the army was still the Prussian army. The Junkers, elite members that were still part of the army, and the public all sought for revenge. All they needed was a redeemer............... The First World War ended on November 11th, 1918 after the German High Command called for a cease fire. In the spring of 1919, the Allied leaders, most notably Vittorio Orlando of Italy, Woodrow Wilson of the US, David Lloyd George of Britain, and Georges Clemenceau of France, met in Paris to discuss Germany and its allies' fate. At the Paris Peace Conference, the leaders had troubles coming to a full agreement..... Woodrow Wilson wanted his 14 point plan, which was meant to bring peace to Europe, implemented. These were the 14 points: Open Diplomacy - There should be no secret treaties between powers
Freedom of Navigation - Seas should be free in both peace and war
Free Trade - The barriers to trade between countries such as custom duties should be removed
Multilateral Disarmament - All countries should reduce their armed forces to the lowest possible levels
Colonies - People in European colonies should have a say in their future
Russia - Russia should be allowed to operate whatever government it wanted and that government should be accepted, supported and welcomed.
Belgium - Belgium should be evacuated and restored to the situation before the war.
France - should have Alsace-Lorraine and any lands taken away during the war restored.
Italy - The Italian border should be readjusted according to nationality
National Self -Determination - The national groups in Europe should, wherever possible, be given their independence.
Romania, Montenegro and Serbia - Should be evacuated and Serbia should have an outlet to the sea
Turkey - The people of Turkey should have a say in their future
Poland - Poland should become an independent state with an outlet to the sea.
League of Nations - An assembly of all nations should be formed to protect world peace in the future. Clemenceau wanted a set of terms that were much harsher, and would make Germany pay for all of the damages it had caused. -Lloyd George personally liked Wilson's plan, but he knew that the British public was in favour of Clemenceau's plan. With the election in the near future, Lloyd George supported the French. Lloyd George's original plan was to
have Canada represent itself and the other British colonies as 1 of Britain's five delegates at the Paris Peace Conference.
Sir Robert Borden, the PM, flatly refused, and insisted that Canada represent itself. Canada had sacrificed so much blood during the war, and Borden was
determined to allow Canada to be seen as a full partner in the British Commonwealth After stiff resistance from the
Americans, Canada was given
2 seats at the Conferance, but had
no votes. Despite the varrying thoughts of the allied leaders, they eventually did reach an agreement. On June 28, 1919, the Germans were summoned to the Versailles Palace in France to sign the Treaty of Versailles. The Germans were expecting a Treaty based on Wilson's 14 points, but they were surprised to see the harshness of the treaty, which included these major points: Sadly, with the German economy and army exhausted from 4 years of war, the Germans had no choice but to sign the Treaty. -Germany must accept the entire blame for the war, and in doing so, must pay for all of the damages done to the Allies’ property and the damages to the civilian populations of the war-torn countries. The amount of the above will be determined by an Allied commission.
-the independence of Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia was be held in the highest regards and no alliances shall be made with any of these or other countries.
-the shipping of people, goods, mail, vessels, carriages, and wagons will be allowed through Poland from the main German territory to the province of East Prussia.
-Germany will be stripped of all of its colonies and overseas investments, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine as well as the coal mines in the Saar Basin will be given back to France, and land will be given to Poland and Czechoslovakia as well as Belgium and Denmark.
-Germany’s army, after March 31, 1920, will not exceed 100 000 soldiers, and the navy will not contain no more than 6 battleships, 6 light cruisers, 12 destroyers, and 12 torpedo boats. Submarines and an air force are forbidden.
-to make sure that these terms are carried out fully, Allied troops will occupy the land west of the River Rhine for 15 years.
The Treaty of Versailles was of much resentment to the German people.
The loss of land, their once mighty German army, and their monarchy made the German people very angry. To accompany this, the massive war reparations that had to be paid caused the German's to print large quantities of currency. Because of this, the German Mark (Germany's currency) decreased in value significantly. In 1918, a loaf of bread cost 2 Marks in Germany. In 1924 however, that same loaf of bread cost about 6 million Marks. The onset of the Great Depression did not help the spirelling, hyperinflated economy of Germany. With the economy in ruins, the cities in Germany became violent. People fled to rural areas to scrounge for something to eat. Anxious farmers attempted to force them away with rifles and other arms. As mentioned earlier, the people in Germany still had their Prussian mentality, and many German's during the 1920's secretly opted for Germany's power to return, and to restore their country to greatness. The desperation for power of the German people was so great that during the late 1920's, more and more support was being given to a man that would shape the world, By 1933, this man had a tight grip on the German people.
Because of the incabability of the leaders of the major powers to make a treaty that would restore peace, and instead was based on greed for money and power, the willingness of the German, rather Prussian people for world domination was that even stronger. This is why the Treaty of Versailles was a cause of the Second World War. Adolf Hitler, the man behind the creation of the Third Reich, was
born in a small Austrian town on April 20, 1889. Adolf had two brothers that died before he was born, and another during his childhood. But his sister, Paula, outlived him until 1960 when she died. Hitler never was good at school, and he dropped out of highschool to pursue his
artistic endeavors. Sadly, Hitler continued to live off of the support of his family. Yet this too stopped after his father and mother died. After this, Hitler drifted from job to job in Vienna. A year later, he was almost completely reliant
on shelters and soup kitchens. Whenever it was possible, he drew advertisements and sold
his paintings. When the First World War broke out in 1914,
Hitler joined the German army. During the war, he was injured twice, and was one of the very few
soldiers which received the Iron Cross, 1st class, for bravery under fire. Despite this, Hitler was unpopular in his platoon.
To add to this, he had very poor social skills, especially
with women. In 1920, Hitler resigned from the army, and joined a small right wing political group in northern Germany. He built up the amount of people in it, and changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party, later known to the world as the Nazis. All of this led to a war on a scale that the
world had never seen before....not even in
the First World War. This video shows the results of all that has been mentioned. 1923: Hitler leads an armed uprising in the German province of Bavaria. He was put in jail for this. During his stay, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), and hundreds of thousands of copies were sold. In the book, Hitler wrote of how
he would restore Germany's power,
conquer the world, and destroy all of
the racially insuperior peoples, including
the Slavs, and especially the Jews. After being released from jail, Hitler rejoined the Nazi Party. As mentioned earlier, the German economy in the
late 1920's was almost nonexistent, and the people were desperate for an answer. Hitler publically told the German people what they secretly wanted, to restore the German army, and tear up the hated Treaty of Versailles. In this way, he was different than other
politicians of the time because he offered a simple sonlution to the dilema of the nation and
promised the people that the solution would be carried out. Thanks in part to Hitler's capital speeking skills, the Nazis gained ever increasing amounts of support from the public. In 1933, the Nazis won two seats in the German Reichstag. Hitler had one seat, and Herman Goering, the minister of police, held the other.
The two of them formed a minority coalition government with some other parties. Because Hitler controlled the police, he was able to terrorize the followers of other parties, and even
other government members who opposed his views. With some excellently executed street violence involving the police and a web of street gangsters, and some of Hitler's magic speaking skills, the other coalition party members allowed Hitler to rise to complete power in 1933. One of the first things Hitler did was seriously limit the amount of political power the Reichstag (German parliament) had. The real loss with the situation was that the entire German government knew
about the power that Hitler held, but they too even wanted a more powerful Germany, and allowed him to come to power. Since Hitler was the law, he could
just terrorize whoever opposed him. Hitler was a political genius. This could be seen throughout his reign as Chancellor because even many of the German military generals wanted to kill him, especially after they began to realize that Hitler was dead-set on starting another war. The generals knew that the German army was too weak to fight a war. Yet Hitler astounded them every time that he one another political or military battle in which it seemed that all of the odds were against him. Every time this happened, Hitler gained more and more loyalty from his generals. Many attempts were made by the German military commanders to assasinate Hitler, yet all of them failed. Now that Hitler had his power sealed in his own country, he then had to prove himself to the world. He often was pitted against very timid French and British leaders which were more worried about war and the spread of communism than of what Hitler was doing. Because of this, even though Hitler had
a weaker army, and less support from other
countries, he continually won political battles.
Also, the fact that Hitler was internationally popular
made him a hard opponent to face politically. Thanks to his success in turning the nearly dead German economy around during the depression, and rebuilding the German army starting in 1933, Hitler was a national and even an international hero. Around the world, fascist and Nazi parties sprung up. Most of them were content with
fascism because it offered a way out of the depession, but the main drive of the movements was to eliminate the Jewish race. Adrien Arcand, for example, was an extremist and the leader of the Canadian Nazi Party. He even received government funding from R.B Bennett's Conservatives. With limited intercession by the Allies, Hitler, with his astonashing speaking skills,
his likeable personality, and his single promise to lead the "Aryan" race to racial superiority (because the title was rightfully theirs), won the support of the entire German nation, and in less than ten years, turned the German economy around, and completely restored the German armed forces. For this, Hitler's coming at the right place and at the right time, and his actions, were definately a cause of the Second World War. The League of Nations was created out of the Treaty of Versailles to maintain peace in the post-"Great War" years, and to punnish aggressive nations. The main issue that arose from the League of Nations was that it couldn't deal with aggressive nations properly........ For one, the whole idea of the League of Nations was to have all of the countries in the world join. This would allow for disputes to be settle though negotiation rather than conflict. This did not happen, partly because of the League's founders and partly because some nations didn't want to join or joined then left. Russia and Germany did not join because they weren't allowed. Russia because it was a communist state, and Germany because it had caused the First World War were not allowed to join. The US didn't join because just before they were about to, a new Republican government was elected and refused to be a part of the League. The next issue with the League was the process in which it dealt with aggressive nations. Next, the League would do would be to cut off trade with the aggresive nation. This failed because not all countries joined, so non-member countries could still trade with the aggressive nation. Also, member countries did not want to lose trading partners during the Great Depression. The very first thing that the League of Nations would do would be to call upon the aggressive nation
to stop what it was doing immidiently, this tactic obviously failed miserably every time. Finally, the League would call upon its members to provide their armies to physically
tame the aggressive nation. The issue was no member countries ever wanted to risk putting a target on their back from the aggressive nation and risking their military. The final dilemma with the League of Nations faced was the fact that
they were slow to respond. Meetings were held only four times a year, and when the leaders did meet, all of them had to agree on one solution to the issue. All of this took precious time. These problems with the League of Nations plagued its efforts to retain peace in the world. 1935: Fascist Italy invades Abysinnia (the predecessor of Ethiopia). Member countries of the League of Nations cut off trade to Italy. Yet the US is not part of the boycott; continues trade with Italy. France and Britain don't want to start war with Italy; they don't supply their armies. The League of Nations' actions are useless. 1931: Japan takes over Manchuria, China. In support of China's plees for help, League calls Japan to leave Manchuria.
Continued criticism of Japan's actions from other countries causes it to leave the League of Nations in 1933. Throughout 1930's: Germany rebuilds its armies in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles, creating an airforce, rebuilding its navy, and introducing conscription to the military. Rhineland is remilitarized in 1935. Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland invaded spring, 1938, spring, 1939, and fall, 1939 respectively. Germany, in direct violation of the Treaty again, also signs the Rome-Berlin Axis and the Anti-Comitern Act, which align themselves with Fascist Italy and Japan. The League either does very little, or nothing to prevent these events until the invasion of Poland. These three points show how poorly organized the League of Nations was, yet it wasn't the only failure on the part of the Allies that contributed to the start of the war. Neville Chamberlain became the British Prime Minister in 1937. He personally, like much of the public, thought that Hitler was a decent leader, and that Germany had been treated too harshly in the Treaty of Versailles. He believed in negotiation rather than war, and went out of his way to avoid a war which would resemble the bitter memories of the last one. He called his policy the "Policy of Appeasment." Also, many of the people in Euope, civilians and leaders alike, believed that the Treaty of Versailles had treated Germany badly, and that Germany deserved a few breaks from the conditions. Instead, the main worry of these people was the spread of communism into Europe, where in Russia Joseph Stalin was murdering millions. They believed that a stonger Germany might have allowed for the stop of the spread of communism. This mentality showed in Britain and France's response to the Spanish Civil War.
The Civil War was caused from a series of political and economical issues in Spain, which included issues with the Church, and a large variety of political views; from anarchy all the way to communism. What started as a few diputes errupted into a full scale war in 1936. The Nationalists (the rebels) were pro-fascist and received equipment and support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The Republicans, on the other hand, were supported by Communist Russia, as well as 1000's of volunteers from around the world, including Canada. France and Britain decided to remain neutral, and actually were sympathetic to the Nationalists.
(as they hated the communists). The war dragged on for three years, and the Nationalists eventually won. During that time, Hitler and Mussolini aquired a closer alliance, Hitler gained a third fascist/fascist-friendly country along France's border, and Germany and Italy were allowed to test their equipment and tactics (including "terror bombimg") in real life situations. All of this occured as France and Britain sat on the sidelines. Yet, the worst of these countries' leaders' mistakes was about to come.... Chamberlain's first test came in 1938, when Hitler demanded that Germany and Austria be united. No country, including France and Britain, was prepared to go to war for Austria. So on March 12th, 1938, without a single person being killed, the German army took over Austria. Hitler proclaimed the event as a "union of peoples that were unhappily kept apart." A vote in Austria later revealed that 99% of the public wanted Anschluss. The next big test for Chamberlain came just after the Anschluss. At the end of the First World War, Czechoslovakia was formed. There were many nationalities in the single country, including Germans. The German Czechs hated being ruled by "foreigners." Hitler wanted to use this hatred to destroy Czechoslovakia, which was well defended militarily. In the summer of 1938, Hitler demanded that the Sudeten region in Czechoslovakia, which was ethnically German, be handed over to Germany. Hitler supported this by threatening war. The armies in France and Britain mibilized for the first time since the Frist World War after this remark was made. Italy's Mussolini suggested that a conference be held. The British, French, Germans, and Italians attented. The Russians and the Czechs were not invited. On September 28th, 1938, the Munich Agreement was signed wherebye Hitler would get the Sudeten region on the condition that no more territorial demands would be made. The Czech's had no choice but to agree (as they were threatened that if they did start a war, it would be their fault.) The Czechs felt abandonned as they had an alliance with the French. Shortly after, the Czech soldiers left their equipment and posts in the Sedenten mountains. With little left to defend themselves, Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia the following March. When Chamberlain came back to Britain, he was met by cheering crowds as he showed a note signed by Hitler that said "Peace in our time." The Russians were disgusted with what happened to Czechoslovakia. Stalin, the leader of Russia, worried that the same thing might happen to him. He enterred talks with France and Britain, but when these stalled, he approached his most hated enemies.......the fascists. The Russians and Germans met to set terms of a non-agression pact. The result was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which stipulated that the Russians and Germans would not start a war between themselves for 10 years and the sale of goods to Germany for money in return. Also in the pact were secret plans on how Poland would be divided. The world was stunned by the signing of the pact. Hitler had gotten what he wanted. Now he could invade
Poland without fighting a two front war, and he gained much needed raw materials for the war effort. Stalin also got a certainty that his nation would not be invaded, or taken away from him. After this, Chamberlain finally realized what was happening, and was determined to draw the line at Poland. The French military and political leaders were still hesitent, but in support of Britain decided to go with Chamberlain. All of this shows how the Policy of Appeasement utterly failed. The British and French continued to deny the fact that Hitler was dead set on a war course, and nothing could stop him. Even after Hitler publically said his intentions
in his book and his speeches, even after German generals personally warned the French and British... the British and French leaders refused to believe that war was not a fruitless, mass carnage as in the previous war, and that technology and modern tactics combined reduced the amount of lives lost in combat. They also refused to accept that Germany could become more powerful than them. It's also interesting to point out that every time that Hitler gained more territory, he gained the population, resources, and military equipment of that territory as well. For example, the Czechs had a very professional army with modern equipment that was fueled by a large munitions industry that included the Skoda works. When all of this equipment was taken over by the Germans, it was put to good use in future battles. An example includes the Battle of France, where two entire German armour divisions were composed of Czech built tanks. Finally, this shows the inability of the
League of Nations and the French and
British military and political leaders to
cope with international disputes that
involved the creation of value and moral
based decisions that were of necessity rather
than of wanting. The points explained are
probably the most significant causes of the
Second World War. Japanese militarism and imperialism's very beginnings occured when the Meiji
Oligarch's came into rule the nation in 1868. The militarim of Japan can be
split up into the 19th and 20th centuries. During the 19th century, Japan wanted to expand its military for
the love of power and security. The Oligarch's wanted to be like the most powerful Western nations. Yet first they would have to modernize Japan's industry and economy to be able to build up the army. As for security, the Japanese were
also affraid of the power of the Westerners.
After doing this for several years, and after
even winning a war in China, the Japanese
still couldn't stand face to face with the
Westerners. Japan's war-prize was the Liatong Peninsula, but a Triple Intervention
Treaty created by the Germans, Russians, and French forced Japan off of the peninsula. Since China was so weak during the late 1800's economically, Japan was worried that the Western powers would split China up amongst themselves. Having a Western power just a few 100 km away was not to Japan's liking. Also, as mentioned before, Japan lost
the Liating Peninsula to the Western Powers.
Japan saw that the control of Korea was essential
to its survival, and the survival of Korea depended
on the defense of the Peninsula. Another reason for Japan's militarism was its belief in its Asian leadership role. Because Japan was one of the more well-off nations in the Parcific in the 18 and 1900's,
many people in Japan believed that it was Japan's duty to free the enslaved Asian peoples
from the Western Powers. In 1905, Japan was the
first Asian country in history
to defeat a Western power
(Russia) in a war. Now we come to the 20th century. The persecution fo the Japanese people and ideologies around the world caused many tensions. In the US, segregated schools for Japanese children were created in San Franciso. Also in the US, in 1924, the Japanese Exclusion Act cut off all immigration from Japan. Around the world, including in Canada, anti-Japanese
riots occured. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Japan's
suggestion for a racial-equality clause was gladly
denied by the Westerners. These events caused many bitter sentiments
between the Western Powers and Japan. Finally, at two naval conferences in the 1920's,
Japan was forced to have a 3:5:5 ratio of battleships and heavy cruisers to the US and Britain's battleships and heavy cruisers. Also in the 20th century was Japan's economic desires. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the onset of
the Depression seriously upset Japan's economy. The desperate Japanese people
turned to the army for answers, and it invaded Manchuria in China in 1931. Also, the increasing American
influence on China, a major supplier of
both raw materials and a market for Japan, left Japan out. After much criticism from the League of Nations, Japan left the League in 1933. Eventually in China, a small dispute around Manchuria led to a full scale war in 1937. The Japanese conquered much of the Chinese coast. The Japanese army committed many war crimes in the city of Nanking after its fall, including the rape, murder, and beatings. 100 000's were killed. Furthermore, in 1940, Japn aligned itself with Germany and Italy and received French Indo-China. Tensions from all of these things led the US and Britain to cutting off war supplies to
Japan. Japan's response was to invade the oil rich Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Seeing the US as the only real defender of the
Pacific, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, as well a several other points throughout the Pacific on December 7, 1941. The US immidiently declared war. The war in the Pacific had begun. This all gave Japan more determination
to build up its armed forces, yet the worst was
yet to come. For these reasons, one can see why Japan's determination to increase the power of its armed forces was a cause of the Second World War. It ultimately created the Pacific War all by itself.