One major cause was the collapse of the League of Nations, which many people and countries hoped would help prevent a second world war. Three of the five leading Council Members left the League in the 1930s; Japan and Germany in 1933 and Italy in 1937. This left only Britain and France. In both countries many politicians and voters went on believing that the League could settle disputes until the late 1930s.
Britain and France did not co-operate in opposition against Hitler. In 1936 when Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, neither Britain nor France was ready to act. Although it would have been relatively easy to stop Hitler as he only had 30,000 trained soldiers and his commanders carried closed orders to retreat if they were opposed.
Also many people were horrified at the prospect of a second war and didn’t believe that Hitler was planning one as Hitler was respected for his success in tackling the countries depression and unemployment crisis.
On several occasions neither Britain nor France took action against Hitler even though many of his aims went against the Treaty of Versailles.
All of Hitler’s aims challenged the treaty of Versailles. Hitler’s Main aims were:
To make Germany a great power again.
To unite all German people under his rule
To gain territory for Germany In the east to provide Lebensraum (‘living space’) for the German people.
Whilst Hitler was in prison He wrote about his aims. Hitler wrote a book called Mein Kampf (‘my struggle’), in which he made some comments about his aims in his foreign policy.
Hitler wanted Germany to be a power in Europe again, and to do this he needed to re-arm. He was given an excuse in the early 1930s when there was great unemployment in Germany. It was the perfect solution to their problems.
To unite all German-speaking people in one country: Gross Deutschland. The treaty of Versailles had given each race of people their own country, but this meant that there were many Germans spread all over Europe. If he were to unite them all in one country, he would start having to invade and take over other countries, which could quite easily turn into war.