~Causes Of World War II~


  • Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace
  1. Why did the leaders meet at the Munich Conference?
  2. What land do Britain and France agree to let Hitler take? On what condition?
  3. Does Hitler listen to what Britain and France said?
  • Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact
  1. What do Stalin and Hitler pledge never to do in 1939?
  • Germany Sparkess a New War in Europe Secret Agreement
  1. What was the Nonagression pact and how did this effect Poland?
  2. What was this pact secretly going to do to Poland?
  • Germany's Lightning Attack
  1. In September 1, 1939 where did Hitler launch an invasion of?
  2. Who declares war on Germany and which country quickly falls?
  3. What does Blitzkrieg mean?
  4. What were used to suprise the enemy and quickly conquer?
  • Germany's Lightning Attack and the Soviets Make Their Move
  1. Which countries do the Soviets capture?
  2. What happened to Finland in the Winter War in March of 1940?
  • The Phony War
  1. Did the French and British moblize along? What did they wait for?
  2. What was the Phony War?


Paris Peace Conference

Years before Hitler even began his rise to power in Germany, the seeds of war were planted at the Paris Peace Conference. This conference was set up after World War I to discuss the terms of peace in Europe. Leaders and delegates from 32 countries attended but the main contributors were the leaders of France, Great Britain, U.S., and Italy, otherwise known as the Big Four. One major problem was the fact that Germany and its allies were not represented at the meeting. The chart below shows how Germany was unfairly punished by the Treaty of Versailles leaving a feeling of hatred and resentment in the German people. Not only did the the Treaty of Versailles upset Germany it also upset Japan and Italy. They both did not get as much land that they wanted to receive. This also left bitter disappointment in the hearts of the Italians.It also caused the rise of Fascism in their country, which eventually helped cause World War II.

League of Nations
Territorial Losses
Military Restrictions
War Guilt
  • International peace organization; enemy and neutral nation are excluded
  • Germany returns Alsace-Lorraine to France; French border extended to west bank of Rhine River
  • Limit set on size of the German army.

  • Also Germany forbidden to build or buy submarines or have an air force
  • Sole responsibility for the war placed on Germany’s shoulders.
  • Germany and Russia excluded
  • Germany surrenders all of its overseas colonies in Africa and the Pacific
  • Germany prohibited from importing or manufacturing weapons or war material
  • Germany forced to pay the allies $33 billion in reparations over 30 years
(Beck 427)

The Great Depression and Fascism

The Great Depression was a big factor of WWII. The depression allowed Fascist leaders like Adolf Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy to rise in power. Hitler came to power because he promised to strengthen Germany's economy. The definition of Fascism is: "a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology". Hitler and Mussolini supported their military and felt war was acceptable in achieving national goals. Hitler was prepared to do this and tried to make a German empire. Hitler also believed in making a total German country, and wanted to attack other European countries.

Benito Mussolini of Italy

Adolf Hitler Of Germany

Aggressors Invade Nations

Beginning in the 1920's and continuing up until World War II, Japan, Italy, and Germany began aggressively pursuing new land claims in Europe and Asia. In 1937, Japan attacked China. After the Great Depression hit Japan, many people blamed the Japanese government for the problems, and military leaders took over. Their idea for restoring prosperity to Japan was foreign expansion. In 1931, Japan gained control of Manchuria even after the League of Nations warned them not to. Japan subsequently left the League and then went on to conquer parts of China. The ease with which Japan conquered lands inspired Germany and Italy to start their own campaigns.
Japan invades China

In Italy, the Fascist leader Mussolini, was encouraged by Japan's success and wanted to gain colonies in Africa. He targeted Ethiopia. The Ethiopians stood no chance and were quickly defeated because the League of Nations refused to reply to Ethiopia's cry for help. Britain and France chose not to help so they could preserve peace in Europe. Mussolini also helped in the Civil War in Spain as Fascist leader Francisco Franco took power. Again, the League of Nations refused to address problems rising in Europe.
The Italian Army marches through Ethiopia

Next, Germany began its campaign to dominate Europe. The Germans quickly took over the established no war zone of Rhineland and Britain and France chose appeasement so they could keep the peace. This spurred Germany to speed up its expansion across Europe. Germany quickly formed the Axis Powers and then moved to take Sudentland from Czechoslovakia when the Czech people pleaded France for help. The Munich Conference was set up to discuss whether Germany could have Sudentland. The meeting took place on September 29, 1938, and Germany received Sudentland but on one condition: they had to respect the new borders of Czechoslovakia. Only 6 years later Germany broke this promise and took Czechoslovakia. Hitler's rash actions were spurred on by the fact that he knew Britain and France did not want to risk war. A year after the Munich Conference, Germany signed a Nonaggression pact with Russia, which meant the two countries would not fight each other. This allowed Germany to conquer Europe. In this pact he also made a secret agreement to divide Poland between the Soviets and Germany. Soon after this pact was made, Hitler's army marched onward to Poland.
The Germans march on Poland

Germany’s Lightning Attack

September 1, 1939, Hitler ordered his troops to attack Poland. Poland fell quickly due to Blitzkrieg, which means "lightening war". Blitzkrieg was a military strategy that included using tanks and airplanes to blast the way through enemy lines while slower- moving troops followed behind to destroy what was left. After Germany attacked Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on the Nazis in September 1939.
German Panzer Tank

Soviets Make Their Move

In 1939, the Soviets attacked and captured Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In November, the Russians marched into Finland. The Finns fought back with great courage, but in March 1940, the Soviets forced surrender upon them. They were forced to sign a peace treaty and loss of land. Although the Soviets won, it exposed weaknesses of the Red Army.
Russian Soldiers In Finland

The Phony War

The French had a state of the art defense line named the Maginot Line. In 1939, the British and French mobilized along this line and waited for the Germans to attack. But Germany had the same idea, wait for the enemy to attack. After a few weeks nobody had attacked each other. This was called the Phony War. Some Germans nicknamed it “sitzkrieg”, or sitting war (Beck 492).


"The Great Depression." 2011. The History Channel website. May 12 2011, 7:59 http://www.history.com/videos/the-great-depression

Benito Mussolini Shot. 28 Apr. 1945. Support Your Local Gun Fighter. N.p., 28
Apr. 2010. Web. 10 May 2011.

Hitler. 3 May 1933. ¡No Pasarán! N.p., 7 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 May 2011.

WW2 GERMAN PANZER. N.d. iOffer. N.p., 2 Dec. 2007. Web. 11 May 2011.

Russians Invade Finland. 30 Nov. 1939. Illustrated History. N.p., n.d. Web. 11
May 2011.

"The Great Depression." 2011. The History Channel website. May 12 2011, 7:59

Italy Invades Ethiopia. N.d. Refugee - Ethiopia-Cause. Wikispaces, n.d. Web. 13 May 2011.

Japanese forces During Battle of Wuhan. N.d. World War II. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2011.

Wiki Works Cited
Beck, Roger et al. Modern World History-patterns of interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell.2007. 470-485. Print
Gilbert, Martin et al. "World War II." 2008. Web. The Great Depression. A&E Television Networks:Film.