Origins of World War Ii Essay

Submitted By jack11jr
Words: 660
Pages: 3

World War II was a global conflict that greatly exceeded the impact of its predecessors. Essentially, Europe and Asia were dominated by three nations: Nazi Germany and Italy for Europe and Japan for Asia. The motivation of the European and Asian aggressors is traced back to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles as well as the rise of fascism. Moreover, fascism was extremely imperative to these aggressors because it revitalized nationalism that was dormant as a result of economic depression and encouraged militarism. Therefore, Europe and Asia went to war in the 1930s because they wanted to conquer foreign lands based on those fundamental reasons. First and foremost, the terms imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 fueled the animosity of the nation. According to the treaty, Germany was responsible for the entire war, all reparations were to be paid by Germany, Germany’s colonial empire was to be split up with a few territories falling under the jurisdiction of the Allied Powers, and the military of Germany was severely demilitarized particularly in the Rhineland. Under these conditions, the Allies wanted to prevent Germany from ever being a world power. However, after over a decade of economic hardship, especially following the stock market collapse of 1929, the German people turned to Adolf Hitler. Although he rose to power through legal means, he managed to establish a dictatorship under the ideology of Nazism. By pulling Germany out of economic depression, rebuilding the military, and promising the German people revenge against the Allied Powers, Adolf Hitler gained almost full public support to initiate the conquest of Europe. Therefore, by the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939, it already controlled Austria, the Sudetenland, and Denmark. Furthermore, like Germany, Italy also believed it was denied what rightfully belonged to it. Throughout WWI, Italy fought alongside the Allied Powers, mostly against Austria-Hungary yet although Great Britain and France obtained territorial holdings under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, Italy did not. It was from this bitterness, that the Italian Fascist Party was born. Nationalism in Italy grew significantly as Mussolini assured his people protection from socialism, the establishment of an effective government, and economic prosperity. Moreover, he promised that Italy will claim the territories it fought for in WWI. Therefore, in a decade, Mussolini was able to increase the strength of Italy’s standing army to such an extent that during the conquest of Ethiopia in 1936, “Italy lost 2,000 soldiers, whereas 275,000 Ethiopians lost their lives.” (Bentley 640). Finally, Japan went to war in the 1930s to primarily continue its