|These are the causes:
Cause 1: The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was designed to weaken and disable Germany so it could not fight again, let alone start wars. It was formed after WW1, when Germany was defeated by the Allies (Britain, France and the U.S.A.). They drew up the peace treaty as a list of points about how to deal with Germany. It was harsher than Wilson, who was the president of the U.S.A at the time of the treaty, had led the Germans to believe. They forced the Germans to sign it or else they would invade. The Treaty of Versailles meant that many Germans were living in other countries. In the 1930s Hitler became determined to bring these people back, which led to him fighting for them, starting WW2.
Cause 2: The Great Depression
The great depression began in 1929 and ended in 1935. During this time most of Europe’s countries trade between nations dropped. In Britain over 100s of banks closed down and many companies became bankrupt and went out of business. 2.5 million people lost their jobs and lived in poverty. Germany was hit the hardest and the consequences were the worst. At least 6 million people lost jobs by 1933. This and the hunger changed the way people thought and behaved, leading to many people blaming the government for the poverty. The more people who lost their jobs, the better the Nazis did in the elections. 1932 was the worst year of the depression and so the best for the Nazis, who got 13.5 million votes in the elections that year. This made them the winning party and Hitler then became the leader of the German parliament in1933.
Cause 3: The Ideas of Hitler
The ideas of Hitler were a cause of WW2 because many of Hitler’s ideas led to the war. Hitler had very strong beliefs and he stood by them throughout his life. Above all, Hitler believed that the Germans were a superior, “master” race. They, therefore, deserved land, some of which belonged to other countries. Hitler’s main target was Russia. Some other of Hitler’s main beliefs included:
· That the land which was taken from Germany after WW1 was rightfully theirs and it was stolen from them. They wanted the land back!
· That Hitler and his armies should be able to access the Rhineland. This was blocked off from Hitler after WW1. Hitler, however, ignored the rules of the Treaty of Versailles and invaded it anyway.
· How Hitler wanted to get rid of all Jews and communists. He believed that they were inferior to all others and he wanted them dead. He managed to turn many people against the Jews by demonstrating how they had all the jobs during The Great Depression when it wasn’t really even their country. To fully do this Hitler had to invade some other countries.
Cause 4: The Foreign Policy of Hitler… Foreign Policy is how a country deals with other countries.
Hitler took power in Germany in 1933. He began to prepare Germany for war. To do this he had to break the rules of the treaty of Versailles. In 1933 he sent his army into the Rhineland, even though this was forbidden. He and his army weren’t allowed anywhere within 50km of the Rhineland.
Hitler’s next target was to make Germany and Austria into one country. His public reason was that many German speakers were living in Austria. However, what he really believed was that Germany and Austria were the same country and he wanted to make Germany bigger and more powerful.
Furthermore, he had another aim: to occupy the Sudetenland. Hitler used the same technique to gain this land, even though it was also forbidden. 3 million German speakers lived in Czechoslovakia. Hitler made it look like the Czechs couldn’t handle their own country by ordering riots. Germany demanded the land, even though he wasn’t allowed to invade because Czechoslovakia was a new country, created after WW1, but the Czechs refused and prepared to defend themselves. Instead of defending the Czechs, the Allies created the Munich Agreement, whereby they appeased Germany by handing the Sudetenland to Hitler. Chamberlain was deceived by Hitler when he claimed he only wanted the Sudetenland. As usual, Hitler continuously made promises and broke them. This showed the Allies that Hitler couldn’t be trusted.
These series of events led to Hitler wanting more and more land, eventually resulting in the outbreak of WW2.
Cause 5: The Policy of Appeasement
The policy of appeasement was a cause of WW2 because Chamberlain’s negotiations with Hitler in 1938 were known as appeasement. Appeasement is the name given to the policy of the Allies (Britain and France) towards Germany in the 1930s before the outbreak of WW2. Instead of enforcing the Treaty of Versailles, the Allies allowed Hitler to break it. They did this because they hoped that by giving into Hitler he would be satisfied and war would be avoided. Hitler claimed that his reason was that 3 million German speakers lived in the Sudetenland, which is part of Czechoslovakia, but what he really wanted was to own the Sudetenland, so that he had a way into the rest of Czechoslovakia. In 1938 Chamberlain and Hitler, along with the leaders of France and Italy, met to settle the matter. They agreed that the Czechs should give the Sudetenland to Germany. The Czechs had to agree or fight Germany alone. On 1st October 1938, German forces marched into the Sudetenland. The Treaty of Versailles also stated that Britain and France would never go to war with Germany. Chamberlain felt he had to appease Hitler in the 1930s as Hitler had been building up his armies since 1933. When he came to power, they had better planes and a bigger army than Britain. They feared that Germany was going to us a technique called Strategic Bombing against them. The First World War was still vivid in Britain’s memories and they didn’t want to go through the psychological trauma again.
Cause 6: The Invasion of Poland
Britain and France made an agreement with Poland that they would protect them. The allies, Italy and Germany, invaded Poland. Britain had no choice, but to declare war on Germany to protect Poland and so they did on 3rd September. As Britain and France had big empires in Africa, Asia and the Far East, the wars soon spread globally.