Sara Kilmer, Amani Patterson, Elli Reid

Source 1 (the textbook):

The Great Depression:

One of the causes of World War II was the worldwide impact of the depression on a few countries economic systems. The Soviet Union had terminated its affiliations with their “most significant economic ties to promote socialism in one country.” Due to the rapid decrease in the outside goods, or cash, used to generate income, the Russians faced even greater hardships. However, this annihilated the possibility of depression from brewing in the 1930s.
Most of the other countries affected already had frail economies, so greater losses from the depression handicapped them even more. Western countries were hit hard as a result of production failures, destroyed incomes, and price cuts, as well as cuts in workers pay. Unemployment plagued western societies, too.
Japan was tormented by some of the same events mentioned before. “Japanese farmers were reduced to eating the bark from trees.” However, unlike many other countries, Japan bounced back, strongly, after the initial eye-opener.
The depression created more opportunities for state involvement in Latin American countries, added to more uncertainty to Japan’s views of the West, and encouraged expansionism. Also, new welfare programs generated, as well as new groups such as the Nazis.
All in all, these similar reactions “made it impossible for any purely national policy to restore full prosperity” and contributed to the genesis of, yet, another world war.



Another cause of World War II, were the hostile expansionist movements of the German and Japanese regimes. In the 1920s, Chinese nationalists seemed like they were getting a hold of their out-of-control territory. This worried Japanese army leaders, which would no longer be able to influence the fragmented land to continue the role of being the buffer between Korea and the Soviet Union. Japan had dominated the Manchurian province in China since their victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. Fear of losing ground worried the “weak” government in Tokyo, so the Japanese army travelled to Manchuria and granted them with independence, in 1931. “The League of Nations” did not approve of Japan’s decision, so Japan was separated itself from the league. “This advance set the scene for the next round of crisis, the outbreak of World War II in the Far East, in 1937.”
Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazis, seized legal power in Germany in 1933. He terminated the parliament and replaced it with a totalitarian state, in which he sat upon the “throne.” The Nazis created new foreign policy, which hindered the Treaty of Versailles, and gained support of the people, which glorified the new German regime. Hitler and his army also forcefully obtained many new territories, such as Czechoslovakia, but when he proceeded in Poland on September 1, 1939, he and the Nazis had made their way into a hostile war zone.

Source 2 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum):

Japan and Germany:

Germany and Japan “unleashed” the second world war with the mindset that they would establish rule over all of Europe and Asia, through military conquests.
Under the command of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany’s goal was to claim the vast lands of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Hitler came to the conclusion that in order to gain new territories, he and his army would have to face war. With the support of the elite, Japan began their military conquest with intentions of ruling over East Asia and the islands of the Pacific.

Source 3 (Chronology of World War Two):


One of the biggest pushes for the start of World War II was each nations’ pride in itself, and the desire to prove its own authority. After WWI Germany was basically left in ruins and that was desired to be turned around, and the German people were willing to do whatever it took to rebuild the economy. When Hitler came to power the nation of Germany had immense faith in him because of his profound devotion to nationalism. Adolf Hitler was willing to go to extreme measures so please the German people. As Hitler continued to succeed with his extreme nationalistic views he was elected chancellor and later the Fuhrer of Germany, ultimately leading to Germany becoming an elite power to fuel the start of WWII.

Nations such as Japan, Italy, Germany and the USSR turned to absolutism style governments to reach a very high level of power. Italy with Mussolini and Germany with Hitler both turned to fascism which is a style of government fueled by the idea of nation over individual and that violence was the answer. The USSR led by Stalin turned to a communist approach and Japan led by Hideki Tojo to a Militaristic Dictatorship.

Sources 4-6 (Web sources):

Failure of the treaty of Versailles: (1919)
The Treaty of Versailles was composed at the Paris Peace Conference in the spring of 1919. The treaty officially brought World War 1 to an end and pretty much blamed Germany for its occurrence. The treaty stated that Germany was indeed to blame for starting World War 1. In accordance to the the treaty Germany was forced to pay 6,600 million Euros for damages, their army was disarmed, and they were allowed only a "small army and six naval ships". Germanic land was taken and distributed to other countries as punishment. These seemingly unfair laws caused an uproar in the German population. They did not like the government and wanted someone to take charge and fix things... this lead to...

The Invasion of Poland by German leader Adolf Hitler:
Hitler was not a man of his word. He made many pacts and promises/alliances with other countries that he was not able to keep. He was on a mission to reclaim the land taken from Germany and would stop at nothing to get it back. Hitler would tell other countries that a certain piece of land was all that he wanted, and that once the land was acclaimed he would be content, but he continued forcing the takeover of numerous lands. Hitlers antics could not be controlled and on September 1, 1939 he called for the German troops to invade Poland, directly starting World War 2.


Failure of the League of Naitons:
The League of Nations was an alliance between many countries such as Britain, Japan, Poland, Austria, etc., which stated that if there were future disagreements among countries they could be solved "by negotiation and not by force". Though this league was aimed towards promoting world peace it ended up failing. Since all countries did not join the league it made it more difficult for it to prosper and maintain certain rules and regulations. This lack of participation also lead to a lack of power in the League. The only power the League held was the power of suggestion; trying to persuade other countries to do things a certain way was alot more difficult without using force, since there was no army and "direct action could not be taken". Another inevitable downfall of the league was the fact that the league had to come together and have a meeting in order to reach a decision. This factor made decision making not only more complicated but slower as well. When there was an emergency the league was incredibly slow to act.

Though alliances can be good and help a situation, they can also produce mass chaos and terrible consequences, which has been historically portrayed in World War 2. What started out to be alliances to help the world, ended up nearly destroying it. Broken alliances spelled chaos for the world in 1939 when World War 2 took place.

Japan bombs Pearl Harbor:
Though this specific event did not start the actual World War 2, it is what brought the United States of America into it. On December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor (in Hawaii) was bombed by Japan and the United states was officially entered into World War 2.

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Stearns, Peter N. "Chapter 28: International Contacts and Conflicts, 1914-1999." World Civilizations: The Global Experience. 3rd ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2003. 688-92. Print. Advanced Placement.
"World War II: In Depth." Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://www.ushmm
"World War II." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
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