Causes of the Second World War

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Causes of the Second World War by Mind Map: Causes of the Second World War

1. Germany Invades Poland

1.1. - On August 23, 1939, Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed a non-agression pact. Stalin was the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics- the USSR, or Soviet Union- a federation of countries that included Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other eastern European countries. Britain and France had refused alliances with Stalin because they feared the Soviet Union planned to spread its communist system throughout Europe. Stalin then turned to Germany as an ally, hoping to prevent Germany from invading the Soviet Union. The pact enabled to Germany to invade Poland on September, 1st, 1939, without worrying about a Soviet attack from the east. The invasion of Poland ended appeasement and was the catalyst for the Second World War.

2. Rise of Fascism and Nazism

2.1. - By the early 1920's, Italians were tired of their country's poor economy and their weak government, which seemed unable to deal with Italy's problems. Many people turned to Benito Mussolini who came to power in 1922. He introduced fascism, a combination of militant nationalism and totalitarianism, in which one group strictly controls a country. Mussolini's fascist government controlled all aspects of Italian life. Those who didn't support him remained silent, fled, went underground, or were imprisoned or executed. - Germany also longed for stronger leadership. After the First World War, Germany faced economic ruin from trying to meet the financial obligation of the Treaty of Versailles. Adolf Hitler was an Austrian who had served in the German army during the First World War. He was determined to restore Germany to its former glory. In 1921, Hitler took control of a political party, and named it the Nazi's. He promised Germany jobs, power, and a return to greatness. Hitler demanded loyalty from his people, and like Mussolini, punished those who resisted.

3. Tension in the Pacific

3.1. - Europe was not the only country in the world where countries were vying for control and power. In Asia, Japan continued an agressive campaign to expand its empire. In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, a Chinese province. Despite China's plea for help from the League of Nations, Britain, France, and other League members refused to take action, fearing that farther interference might spark a larger conflict.

4. Failure of the League of Nations

4.1. - Japan was not the only aggressor the League of Nations failed to stop. In 1935, Mussolini invaded and tool control of Ethiopia, and the League of Nations again did nothing. - Once in power, Hitler ignored the Treaty of Versailles by withdrawing Germany from the League of Nations; building a large, powerful military; stopping reparation payments to the Allies; and taking control of the Rhineland, an area bordering France in which the Treaty of Versailles had ordered Germany to have no military presence. He then took control of Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia. Hitler promised that he wanted only to unify the Germanic people who had been separated by Treaty of Versailles. The other members of the League of Nations had neither the economic means nor the desire to fight another war, and they approached German aggression using the policy of appeasement. They believed that if they conceded to some of Hitler's demands, Germany's needs would be satisfied, or appeased, and war could be avoided. However, Germany's strength grew under appeasement, and the League of Nations failed to prevent war.

5. The Second World War Begins

5.1. - On September 3rd, 1939, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and France declared war on Germany. Canada did not automatically follow Britain into was as it had in1914. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King summoned parliament to debate the issue, and on September 10th, Canada officially declared war on Germany. - The return to war created alliances. Germany, Italy, Japan, and the areas taken over by Germany prior to 1939 formed the Axis powers. In opposition were the Allied powers, which initially included Britain and its Commonwealth, France and Poland. In June 1941, the Soviet Union joined the Allied forces, and in December 1941, the United States also joined.