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Beginnings of World War II
Transcript of Beginnings of World War II
Treaty of Versailles 1919
Terms of the Treaty of Versailles:
- Germany's army is weakened significantly because of France's concerns about security
- Germany is required to pay reparations to the Allied Powers
- The European map changes dramatically
- Former German colonies in China, the Pacific, and Africa, as well as former Ottoman territories in Southwest Asia are shuffled around between other European powers
- The League of Nations is set up, ensuring collective security. The United States, after much debate, does not join
True or False: World War II began when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
False! While major U.S. involvement in World War
II began when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, much of the world was already at war at that point. Additionally, there were a number of factors that led up to the war that had been building up for years. Let's start at the end of the last world war...
This treaty has major implications!!
First, let's go to Germany
Germany is humiliated
The economy collapses
Germany's Weimar government is weak, their economy is bad, and, due to this, radicalism flourishes.
What's going on in Italy? They got to be part of the Big Four in Versailles. Things must be going better there.
Italy is bitter
But why? They were part of the Big Four!
-Italy expected far more land from the Treaty of Versailles than they got, feel cheated and insulted
-Italy also has a weak economy
Because of these two factors, Italy, like Germany, is a hotbed for radicals.
In WWI, Mussolini was a newspaper editor who wrote magnificent tales of Italy's military victories and conquests, which were largely made up. In reality, Italy did not have much success in the war.
Mussolini campaigns for office on a platform of regaining the glory of the Roman Empire, playing off of Italy's bitterness about their lack of territorial gains.
Mussolini takes power of Italy in 1922 and founds the first
Huh? What is fascism?
Let's take a quick trip over to the Atlantic Ocean to check with the political spectrum.
This is the political spectrum
This is the "right," or conservative side of the spectrum.
This is the "left" or liberal side of the spectrum.
This is the libertarian end of the spectrum. It represents prioritizing individual freedoms.
This is the authoritarian end of the spectrum. It prioritizes government control and oversight of society.
In fascism, the purpose of the individual is to glorify the state.
Fascism also has an authoritarian leader, just like Benito Mussolini.
Now, back to your scheduled programming.
So, people thought this Mussolini guy was a cool cat
Under Mussolini, Italy was stable and prosperous, unlike the rest of Europe at the time
Mussolini was a
leader. This means that under his government, the state controls virtually all aspects of society
Mussolini was also liked by others because he stopped the spread of Communism in Europe
Hold on now. What's Communism?
Let's take another trip over to the political spectrum.
Communism is a system in which government owns all property and everything is shared among citizens
So why is Communism on the rise?
Oh, wait, isn't Russia Communist?
They are indeed. During the First World War, Russia became so embroiled in a civil war that they signed an early peace treaty with Germany
After a communist revolution, Russia killed its Czar and becomes the first Communist state.
Vladimir Lenin is the first leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR
After Lenin's death in 1924,
uses politics to maneuver his way to becoming dictator of the Soviet Union
As dictator, Stalin implements a number
of measures in the Soviet Union
-The Communist Party is the only politic party allowed. All those disloyal to the Communist Party are brutally persecuted so that Stalin and his friends may stay in power
-The economy is state planned. Stalin implements a number of Five Year Plans beginning in 1928 that industrialize the USSR at a rapid pace and collectivizes farms
-The country modernizes at an incredible speed, but by 1930, millions have been killed by the regime or by famine caused by the Five Year Plan
Hold on, weren't we talking
What does this have to do with him?
Communism is based on the idea that eventually, after a series of revolutions, all countries will fall to Communism and the entire world will live in harmony
Millions are dying under Stalin's rule. Communism is trying to spread, but it SCARES many in Europe
Meanwhile, back in Italy...
Fascism is looking pretty darn good in comparison
In fascist Italy, nationalism and militarism are highly valued
Say, who else likes these two things?
Uh oh... I see where this is going...
had been a soldier in World War I
After the war, Hitler is disillusioned with the outcome, and becomes a fascist
At one point, Hitler is jailed for trying to overthrow the government of Bavaria in Germany. While in jail, Hitler writes a book called...
In this book, Hitler lays out his ideas about:
- The superiority of the Aryan race
- The inferiority of Jews
- The idea of Lebensraum
After his time in prison, Hitler becomes the leader of the
Nationalsozialistische Partei Deutschland
He also borrows many ideas from our other friend, Mussolini
Which was not a very fun party
Preying on a weakened Germany, the Nazis win over voters and gain more seats in parliament than any other party, though NOT a majority
Hitler, as the leader of the Nazi Party, is named Chancellor of Germany
After an attack on the Reichstag by "communists" in 1934, Hitler declares a state of emergency and constitutionally becomes a dictator, taking control of the entire government
Hitler is now the Fuehrer
He establishes the Third Reich and almost immediately begins persecuting Jews, militarizing, and building up Germany's infrastructure
He and Mussolini become good friends
So, Europe is kind of a mess
What else is new?
But what about the rest of the world?
Japan will also become totalitarian
Japan is led by an emperor and a civilian government
Before WWI, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Since then, Japan hasn't been militarily aggressive
However, like most of the rest of the world, Japan undergoes a recession in the 1930s, which leads many to extremism
Japan turns back to its age-old values of nationalism and militarism
Also, like the Nazis, Japan wants more land for "living space" and resources
Throughout the 1930s, there are rebellions in Japan and rebels kill much of the civilian leadership
In response, more and more power is handed to the military out of fear
In 1941, Military General Hideki Tojo becomes the prime minister
What does the US think of all of this?
The American economic crisis is the PRIORITY
Americans still see WWI as a mistake and are scared of getting involved in Europe
FDR is an internationalist: he believes that the US has a part to play in world affairs
However, because of the state of popular opinion, he is forced to remain isolationist
1935, 1936, and 1937
- No sale of arms to belligerent nations
- No loans to belligerent nations
- American citizens forbidden from sailing on ships of belligerent nations
- Humanitarian goods may be sold, but only on a
"Cash & Carry"
basis - nations pay cash for goods and carry them away on their own ships
Avoids financial, military, commercial, and Lusitania-type entanglements
The US wants to make money like they did in WWI, but will avoid war at ALL COSTS
But wait, who is belligerent?
In 1931, Japan invades Manchuria, a resource-rich region in China
Japan withdraws from the League of Nations and is soon at full fledged war with China
Begins expanding into other territories
The US wants to support China, as they are obviously the victims of Japanese aggression
After the Neutrality Acts, the US still provides loans and arms to China because they never technically declared war on Japan - loophole
Still, there is no war in Europe yet, but things are looking shaky
While the US isn't visibly doing anything, FDR and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain secretly correspond for years about the situation
The US supports Great Britain and continues giving them loans and arms so long as they aren't at war
FDR REALLY wants to help out Great Britain and France and even asks Congress to change the laws about selling arms
Germany leaves the League of Nations
They also begin:
- rebuilding military
- building an air force
- drafting young men
- occupying Rhineland, a region of Germany bordering France
The French are understandably
They've already built a defensive line on the German border called the Maginot line
Have been scared of this happening since WWI ended
The League of Nations does nothing
Seems like a bad decision, no?
In 1935, Italy invades Ethiopia
Ethiopia appeals to the League of Nations
Mild economic sanctions placed on Italy
Hitler and Mussolini are emboldened
They keep doing really bad things and nobody stops them
Join in an alliance called the Rome-Berlin Axis
Meanwhile in Spain...
Spain is undergoing a fascist revolution.
General Francisco Franco and nationalists want to overthrow the democratic republic government of Spain. He is supported by Germany and Italy
Meanwhile, Russia backs the Spanish government, as do many american volunteers
- 3 year war
- half a million die
- Franco wins the war, establishing a dictatorship
Guernica - Pablo Picasso
Many see this brutality and death toll as a preview of what is to come in Europe
Hitler, emboldened by this spread of fascism, wants to annex Austria, his homeland
This is explicitly banned by the Treaty of Versailles
In 1938, Hitler declared an "Anschluss," or annexation, of Austria
Austria did not object to this
Britain and France, though skeptical, do not react to this
After the Anschluss, Hitler wants to take over a traditionally German part of Czechoslovakia, called the Sudetenland
France and Great Britain choose to use appeasement - giving in to Germany's demands to keep the peace
Chamberlain and Hitler decide on the
which gives Hitler the Sudetenland, despite Czechoslovakia's objections
Everyone is cautiously hopeful, Chamberlain announces, "I believe it is peace in our time"
Chamberlain is wrong
In 1939, Hitler breaks the Munich Pact and invades Czechoslovakia
Great Britain and France are NOT happy
They promise to declare war on Germany the next time they pull a stunt like this
What is our old friend
Stalin up to?
Communists and Fascists
Hitler is planning to go to war, but wants the USSR to stay neutral
He doesn't want another two front war
Hitler and Stalin sign the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in August 1939
Hitler wants to invade Poland, but agrees to give the USSR part of it, as well as influence in Eastern Europe
Hitler really does want to invade the USSR
- They are commies, and he doesn't like commies
- They have a lot of Lebensraum, which he likes
However, the time isn't right
On September 1, 1939, Hitler invades Poland
Within 2 days, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany
Per the Nonaggression Pact, the USSR invades on September 17
By October, Germany and the USSR have control of Poland
Germany uses Blitzkrieg
Quickly overtaking Poland by launching an all out "lightening" war
Europe is at War
But things stay pretty quiet for a few months, until...
Germany Invades France
Germany goes through Belgium and Luxembourg, going around the Maginot Line
Germany takes over the entire country of France very rapidly
Great Britain has to scramble to evacuate hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers
Paris Quickly Falls to Hitler
Following this success, Mussolini declares war on Great Britain and France
Italy and Germany become the
As France falls, Hitler begins to bomb Great Britain
By now, most Americans support the Allies: Great Britain and France
FDR feels compelled to act
The US Begins to Re-arm
In 1940, the first peace-time military draft is established
FDR wins re-election in 1940, making him the first and only president to win a third term in office
As war looms closer...
The Allies are already finding themselves short on money and supplies
The US institutes the
, which supplies weapons with the understanding that the Allies will pay them back later
This effectively ends US neutrality, which is opposed by many isolationists
"If your neighbor's house is on fire, you don't haggle about the cost of a garden hose." Franklin Delano Roosevelt
In June 1941, Germany breaks the Nonaggression Pact and attacks the USSR
Great Britain will support the USSR and the US sends supplies
In August 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt will meet on a warship in the North Atlantic and create the Atlantic Charter
- Will not use war to expand territory
- Right of all peoples to self-govern
- Establish a long-lasting peace
December 7, 1941
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
"A date which will live in infamy"
The US will declare war on Japan the next day
Germany and Italy will declare war on the US 3 days later