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The Rise of Adolf Hitler and the Road to WWII
Transcript of The Rise of Adolf Hitler and the Road to WWII
How did the rise of totalitarian disctatorships lead to aggression in the 1930s and to the outbreak of WWII?
Emergence & Characteristics of Totalitarianism and Fascism
Political unrest and fear of communist revolutions comparable to the Russian Revolution of 1917 helped facilitate the rise of dictators including Benito Mussolini (Fascist Party in Italy), and Adolf Hitler (Nazi Party in Germany). These leaders used economic problems, coupled with the threat of communism, as proof that democratic governments had failed; what was needed were strong leaders with centralized power.
Dictatorship – a government in which a single leader or party exercises absolute control over all citizens and every aspect of their lives
Totalitarianism – a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed
Fascism – political philosophy that emphasizes the importance of the nation or an ethnic group, and the supreme authority of the leader over that of the individual, and militarism
Mussolini led a Fascist march on Rome that led to the King naming leader: Mussolini spoke of restoring the glories of the Roman Empire.
Nazism – an extreme form of fascism emphasizing German nationalism and racial superiority
German resentment of the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles resulted in the growth of extreme German nationalism.
Question 1: What are the characteristics of a totalitarian state?
Question 2: What are the characteristics of fascism?
Other Characteristics of Totalitarian Systems
Opposition to liberal ideals of democracy, free press, etc.
The use of the secret police and propaganda facilitates the near total control of citizens’ lives.
Minority groups made scapegoats for country’s problems.
Question 3: Why did totalitarian leaders, including fascist, emerge in the years following WWI?
Causes of World War II
Grievances stemming from World War I provoked hostility and conflict.
Global depression caused many dissatisfied people to support strong leaders who promised change.
Many countries primarily concerned with their own affairs; little attention paid to the actions of increasingly belligerent nations like Germany.
League of Nations unable to stop its members from violating the rights of other members.
Question 4: What were the primary causes of WWII?
Following Hitler’s (democratic) rise to power, Germany began to remilitarize in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
Italy, led by fascist leader Benito Mussolini, invaded Ethiopia in 1935, and both Italy and Germany supported a fascist leader in Spain (Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939).
European powers, including Britain and France, sought to avoid war, and failed to confront Hitler and the German government for its actions. As a result, Nazi leadership embarked on an increasingly aggressive foreign policy, confident that the Allies would not challenge their actions.
Hitler's attempt to unite all German-speaking people in Europe led to the annexation of Austria, followed by the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.
Hitler’s claim to the Sudetenland provoked increasing alarm amongst Germany’s neighbors. European leaders, including British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, met with Hitler in Munich in 1938.
Hoping that Germany would be satisfied with the Sudetenland, the Allies pursued a policy of appeasement.
Appeasement – a policy of giving in to the demands of a hostile party, in the hopes of preventing a larger and more serious conflict
Just sixth months following the annexation of the Sudetenland, Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.
As a result, Britain and France adopted a more firm position, declaring that they would declare war on Germany if it invaded Poland.
Question 5: How did appeasement effect the relations between the European powers?
Question 6: In your opinion was appeasement a good idea or a bad idea? Why?
Create a Frayer model for two of the following terms
League of Nations