World War II Why did World War II occur?

We must first look at the causes of World War II.

Let's look more closely at these causes for a moment...

The Treaty of Versailles left Germany to pay for World War I and took land away from the proud nation. Germany, like the United States and many other nations during the 1930s, was in the midst of the Great Depression. This left the people of Germany in financial distress and bitter. A leader, Adolf Hitler, rose to power based on a promise to restore Germany to its prior greatness. He promised to lift Germany out of this economic depression and to regain the territory lost in the wake of World War I.

The Treaty of Versailles left Germany with stiff penalties for World War I. They looked to Hitler for help.

Japan was also changing. The empire had come to be ruled by a group of military leaders who slowly gained control over the government in the early 1900s. By the 1930s, this group had more control than the Japanese emperor and they wanted to build a large Japanese empire in East Asia. In 1931 Japan invaded and conquered a region in northern China and called it Manchukuo. Between 1937 and 1938, the invading Japanese forces killed at least 360,000 Chinese. Americans opposed this, but in an effort to stay out of another world war, they did not use force to help China.

Japanese Expansionism

Italy was also suffering through an economic depression after World War I . Unemployment, strikes, and riots caused many Italians to look for a strong leader who could bring stability to the country. They found that in Benito Mussolini in 1922. Mussolini's rule was based on fascism. Fascism is a political system in which the "state" or government, is seen as more important than individuals (like a bundle of sticks is stronger than a single stick). Fascist systems are typically militaristic and headed by a strong leader.

Created By
Brooke Jennette

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