World War II broke out in 1939. There was not just one single reason behind this, but many. World War II had six major causes. These were, the anger caused over the Treaty of Versailles, the failure of peace efforts after World War I, the rise of Fascism, the aims and goals of Hitler, the detachment of America (and Britain), and the re-armament of Europe. Each of these causes played a large part in the build up to the Second World War and each one pushed the countries closer to war as they occurred.After World War I, there were many attempts to bring lasting peace.
These included the Treaty of Versailles, which had been made in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points. This in itself brought about many problems. The Treaty of Versailles was viewed with many different opinions. People closely involved with the war, for example France, thought that the Treaty of Versailles should be extremely harsh on Germany.Whereas countries further away, for example America, who did not lose as much as the closer countries thought that the Treaty of Versailles should not be too harsh on Germany. This caused problems as the Treaty was drawn up between the three leaders involved (the 'Big Three' - Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau).
However, the problems caused between the 'Big Three' would be minor compared to the problems caused by the Treaty of Versailles where Germany was concerned. Germany had been left out of these negotiations even though the Treaty of Versailles revolved around Germany.The main points of the Treaty of Versailles which affected Germany was the fact that it forced the country to accept the blame for the starting the war (the war guilt clause) and also reduce the country's army to one hundred thousand men. This humiliated the country and in consequence would leave the country angry and most likely in want of revenge. Also, the country had to endure many territorial losses as a result of the Treaty of Versailles - the Polish Corridor was formed in collaboration with Wilson's thirteenth point; this split Germany's land into two parts.
The Germans resented the Treaty of Versailles as they did not accept defeat, did not accept war guilt, lost colonies and lost its pride without its armed forces. The Treaty of Versailles brought about intense anger - definitely not a good sign as the result of a peace effort. The failure of the peace efforts after World War I contributed a great deal to the collapse of international peace in 1939. The League of Nations, which was one of Wilson's fourteen points and also a part of the Treaty of Versailles, was a forum in which the various nations could settle their disputes peacefully.However, due to the lack of trust and cooperation between nations, the League of Nations did not have much real power.
Its' ideas in theory would prevent war, but in reality, without the power to enforce its convictions, the League of Nations just fell to pieces. The League of Nations was only able to persuade any nations where problems were occurring, if this did not work, another of the three sanctions was carried out. The League could impose economic sanctions on that country stopping it trading with remaining countries in the League and if this did not work military force could be used.However, the League of Nations did not have its own army, as no country was willing to give up men after the destruction left by World War I. The League had so little power that its sanctions were usually ignored and the League of Nations could not control actions going on around it.
Another effort for peace after World War I was the Washington Conference. At this conference, naval powers made agreements to limit their navies to certain amounts. This also failed as none of the countries stuck with the agreement, once again revolving around the lack of trust between the nations.The Locarno Conference was also a failure as the treaty formed between Germany and France was not kept to. The final peace act was the Paris Peace Act. At this conference, various countries agreed to solve their problems through diplomatic means and war was only acceptable if it was for self-defence.
The various peace treaties and conferences demonstrated the weaknesses of all of the countries - all of the countries lacked power and trust. This related closely to the actions of Hitler and the way in which he used the League's failures to gain power.In Germany in 1933, Hitler came into power. Hitler openly revealed his aims in his book 'Mein Kampf' ('My Struggle').
These were to reverse the Treaty of Versailles and increase Germany's territory. Hitler realised these plans would result in war so he said the Germany should rearm and ignore the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler paid great attention to the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and Italy's invasion of Abyssinia in 1935. He noticed that both seemed to have been ignored by the League of Nations and neither of the countries had suffered any serious penalties.
Both Germany and Italy now were under Fascist rule. The rise of Fascism would contribute greatly to the outbreak of war. Hitler's aims indicated that some form of action must be taken by the other nations before another world war broke out. Hitler's aims were straightforward and any actions, which he took, would have to be stopped immediately. However, the failure of the peace treaties had shown just how weak the other countries were and without trusting each other it would be difficult for them to agree on a form of action to be taken.
Hitler's actions pushed the world closer towards the outbreak of war. In March 1936, Hitler ordered German troops to re-occupy the Rhineland - a demilitarized zone since the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler knew that neither France nor Britain would take any action. In November 1936, Hitler and Mussolini joined forces through the Rome-Berlin axis. This was a great threat as two Fascist leaders became allies.
Hitler then used the Spanish Civil War as an ideal setting to test out German weapons and aircrafts - once again this defied the League of Nations' Non Intervention Policy.Hitler was pushing the nations to their limits and wanted to know just how far he could go before they would strike back. Britain detached itself from Europe when it came to dealing with the situation. Britain believed in following a policy of appeasement (giving in to keep the peace).
When Hitler met Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain he told him that he wanted nothing more than the Sudetenland where many Germans lived. Britain and France agreed to give him part of it.Eventually, Hitler wanted all of the Sudetenland, Chamberlain refused but then gave in as he wanted no repeats of the first world war. Also many people in Britain believed Hitler had a right to protect the Germans who lived there.
However, the policy of appeasement was a bad move as Hitler could see that both countries would keep on giving up to avoid war - Hitler saw this as a lack of opposition. However, when Hitler chose to invade Poland, Britain and France were ready to declare war on Germany, they had reached their limits.The Second World War broke out when Hitler pushed the other nations that one step too far. Another cause of World War II was the isolationism of Britain and America. After World War I, America detached from Europe and its problems. The Americans did not want anything to do with European affairs because many of the debts which had accumulated during World War I were not being paid and also the country had problems of its own, for example, the Wall Street Crash.
Britain also turned to its domestic problems and did not really want to interfere in the rest of Europe's problems.If one or both of these countries had attempted to stop Hitler when he first came into power, he would probably been thrown out of office and World War II may have been prevented. The final cause of World War II was a direct result from all of the other causes. As the tension began to increase, each of the European nations started to rearm and increased their army and navy sizes.
This showed that the leaders were prepared to use armed force to resolve the problems caused by Hitler. This just raised tensions higher than they already were.The situation in Europe had been like a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode and eventually it did - World War II began. World War II had many causes, each of which contributed a great deal towards it. Many of these causes were a result of World War I i. e.
many problems were a result of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany resentment for the other nations (France, Britain) was a sure-fire event to cause a war based on revenge. Without Americas support in the League of Nations, it seemed powerless whereas if every nation had worked together it would have been much more successful.However, the lack of trust and cooperation between countries pushed the World that one step closer towards war as each nation seemed to have more self-interest than anything else. World War II was a result over the anger caused by the Treaty of Versailles, the failure of peace efforts after World War I, the rise of Fascism, the aims and goals of Hitler, the detachment of America (and Britain), and the re-armament of Europe.
The Second World War did not have one single cause, but many, each playing a crucial role in the success of international peace, which unfortunately collapsed by 1939.