Causes of WWII • The Treaty of Versailles • Imperialism • Fascism and Nazism • Appeasement
The Treaty of Versailles • The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919. • It marked the end of WWI and attempted to restore peace to Europe. • The treaty placed many harsh restrictions on Germany.
Germany had to accept the entire responsibility of WWI. • Germany had to give up territory. • Germany had to limit their army and navy. • Germany had to pay reparations for the war. • In 1921, these reparations were 132 billion marks ($31.5 Billion). • This amount would have taken Germany until 1988 to pay.
Imperialism • Germany lost land to Lithuania, France, Poland and Denmark. • This resulted in bitterness among Germans, relocating people, and unfavorable relations with neighboring countries.
Lebensraum = “living space”. • The idea of a unified German people living in too small of a space had existed since before WWI. • Finding land for all German people became a driving force of the Nazi party in the years before the war.
Fascism • Fascism is a type of government that focuses on strict laws, government control of industry, and being highly militaristic. • It is usually led by a single dictator, who controls every aspect of the government. • Nationalism is a key part of fascism. It typically tries to bring people together by using their common ancestry and race.
Nazism • The government party that would become the Nazi party was formed in 1919. Adolf Hitler joined the party that year after being sent to investigate them by German intelligence authorities.
The Nazi party gained power by rallying support from the population for their desire to bring Germany back to the position it had before World War I and to strengthen the German people as one ‘race’.
Did You Know? • Adolf Hitler was a failed art student. Before WWI he was rejected twice from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1907 and 1908.
The stock market crash of 1929 was the event that the Nazi party needed to gain national prominence. • The crash caused Germany’s economy to decline again, and this caused people to further distrust the German government.
In 1934 Hitler engineered control of Germany and began to use this power to systematically remove any social and political opponents to the Nazi party. • In the next few years the Nazi party gained support by blaming the problems of Germany on Communists, the old government, and ethnic minorities.
Appeasement • By 1938, Hitler had remilitarized Germany and set their economy on the way to recovery. • Now, his sights were set on expanding German power in Europe.
Czechoslovakia was created after the Versailles Treaty. • Part of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, had a large German population. Hitler saw this as his first opportunity to gain land for Germany.
Great Britain and France agreed to let Hitler take control of the Sudetenland in exchange for signing a peace treaty called the Munich Pact. Czechoslovakia was not involved in these discussions.
This policy of allowing Hitler to take over the Sudetenland is known as appeasement. Great Britain and France allowed this to happen in order to prevent the threat of another war.
War • After taking over the Sudetenland, Hitler attacked Poland on September 1st, 1939. • Great Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. • Once again, the world was involved in a war the likes of which no one had seen before.
Put this answer in your Notes underneath the graphic organizer • Which cause of World War II do you think was the most important? Explain using specific examples.
With an Elbow Partner • How did the Treaty of Versailles aid Hitler’s rise to power? • How would the idea of “lebensraum” contribute to the outbreak of war? • Do you think that Germany had the right to try to take back the land that it once had? Why or why not? • Explain how Nazi Germany met the definition of a fascist state. • What was the Munich Pact and why is it seen in such a negative light? • Why did Britain and France respond the way they did to Hitler’s demands?