Major Causes of World War II
World War I was considered a war to end all wars, and when it officially ended in 1919, everyone thought the long era of conflicts and unrest had ended. But 20 years later, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the hope for a world without wars ended. Instead, it resulted in another war that bared more consequences than the First World War.
Like all other wars in the history of humanity, World War II also broke out due to various factors. You can look into this guide to understand the factors that ultimately led to World War II.
The treaty of Versailles
With the signing of the treaty of Versailles in 1919, World War I officially ended. But this harsh peace treaty imposed on the defeated became the main reason that triggered the Second World War. The devastating effects of World War I left the victorious countries desperate to stop the repetition of the situation in the future. As a result, to protect themselves from the future attacks of Germans, they demanded reparations and demilitarization of the Rhineland region.
But the most humiliating part of the treaty was the ‘War Guilt Clause’ or Article 231, which put all the blame for the First World War on Germany. This made the German People outrageous. Instead of working on building a treaty that would ensure peace, the victors humiliated the defeated. The Weimer Government that came to power in Germany didn’t have any other option than to agree with all these humiliations.
The latter began to print German currency in huge amounts to repay the massive reparations that France imposed on Germany. Naturally, this resulted in inflammation and the collapse of the economy. Fed up by this unfair treatment and inefficiency of their government, German people were willing to support anyone who could help them stand on their feet. And at this time, Hitler and his Nazi Germany emerged as their savior.
The harsh peace treaty imposed on Germany brought hardship to the German people. The great depression 1920s worsened as the cost of essential items like bread became expensive that ordinary people couldn’t afford it. The situation got fueled by the already fragile Weimer government.
Although the government was experiencing recovery, the government became very weak with the global crash that happened in 1929. Further, conditions like widespread unemployment, as a result of the great depression, created unrest.
Rise of Nazism
Hitler and his Nazi government cleverly exploited the sense of injustice that prevailed in the mind of people after the enactment of the treaty of Versailles. They created a renewed sense of nationalism in the minds of the German people, and Hitler promised to undo all the injustices of the treaty.
Further, they introduced ‘us versus them, where ‘us’ referred to the Aryan race and ‘them’ referred to Jews, Gypsies, and other people who do not fit into of superior Aryan race. German blamed Jews for their failure in World War I and helped them with the cause of the economic hardships. By 1925, Hitler published Main Kampf, where he clearly stated his motif of uniting Germany across Europe and securing beyond this new Reich.
Even though various factors resulted in World War II, these three factors can be considered the major triggers.
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