A.) Militarists Take Control of Japan- When the Great Depression started in 1929, many Japanese said the government was to blame. Military leaders soon took over the country. They aimed to restore control of the government to the military. The militarists made the emperor the symbol of state power. They wanted to solve the country's economic problems through foreign expansion and planned a Pacific empire that included a conquered China. The empire would provide Japan with raw materials & markets for its goods and give Japan room for its rising population.
B.) Japan Invades Manchuria- Japanese businesses had invested in China's northeast province, Manchuria. It was rich in iron & coal. In 1931 the Japanese army seized it and the army set up a puppet gov. The attack was the 1st direct challenge to the League of Nations. The League consisted of 3 nations: Germany, Japan, Italy. Japan withdrew from the League in 1933.
2.) European Aggressors on the March- Seeing the League's failure to stop the Japanese, European fascists were encouraged to make plans of their own. Mussolini dreamed of building an empire in Africa.
A.) Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia- Ethiopia was one of Africa's 3 independent nations. The Ethiopians had successfully resisted an Italian attempt at conquest during the 1890's. He ordered a mass invasion of Ethiopia (Oct. 1935) and the spears and they spears/swords of the Ethiopians were no match fir Italian airplanes, tanks, guns, and poison gas. The emperor appealed to the League for help and its members did nothing.
B.) Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty- Hitler had long pledged to undo the Versailles Treaty (limited size of Germany's army). March 1935, the Fuhrer announced that Germany wouldn't obey these restrictions. The League's failure to stop Germany from rearming convinced Hitler to take greater risks. March 7, 1936 German troops moved into the Rhineland and the French were unwilling to risk war. The British urged appeasement - giving into a aggressor to keep peace. Germany, Italy, and Japan came to be called the Axis Powers.
3.) Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace- instead of taking a stand against Fascist aggression in the 1930's Britain and France made concessions hoping to keep peace. Both were dealing with serious economic problems because of the Great Depression.
A.) U.S. Follows an Isolationist Policy- Many Americans supported Isolationism- the belief that political ties to other countries should be avoided. In 1935, Congress passed 3 Neutrality Acts that banned loans and the sell of arms to nations at war.
B.) The German Reich Expands- On Nov. 5, 1937, Hitler announced his plans to absorb Austria & Czechoslavakia into the Third Reich ( German Empire). March 1938, he sent his army into Austria and annexed it. France & Britain ignored their pledge to protect Austrian independence. Hitler turned to Czechoslovakia and in Sep. 1938, Hitler demanded that the Sudentenland be given to Germany and the Czechs refused and asked France for help.
C.) Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement- France & Britain were preparing for war when Mussolini proposed a meeting of Germany, France, Britain, and Italy in Germany. The Munich Conference was held on Sep. 29, 1938. The Czechs weren't invited and Britain & France agreed that Hitler could take Sudentenland. Hitler took Czechoslovakia. Mussolini seized Albania.
D.) Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact- Britain & France asked the Soviet Union to join them in stopping Hitlers aggression. As Stalin talked with Britain and France he also bargained with Hitler. They reached an agreement and Fascist Germany and Communist Russia publicly pledged never to attack one another. August 23, 1939, their leaders signed a nonaggression pact and the Axis Powers moved unchecked at the end of the decade. War appeared inevitable.
By: Savannah Dishman