History Paper On The Causes Of World War 2

882 words - 4 pages

September 1, 1939 was a day that would change the world forever. It was the start of World War II. Germany had invaded Poland and introduced itself to the world as a powerful war machine. The war lasted 6 years, it killed more than 60 million people and destroyed more property than any other war in history. World War II not only involved Germany but most of central and Western Europe, the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, Japan, China, the Pacific and eventually the United States. World War II had three major causes: long term anger over the Versailles Treaty; the failure of peace efforts after World War I and the Great Depression.

The armistice of 11 November 1918 brought about a cease fire that ended World War 1. The Allies met to decide the terms they would impose on Germany as well as each of the defeated Central Powers such as Italy and Japan. The Allies presented some harsh terms and gave Germany three weeks to propose amendments. Germany accepted the proposal and signed the treaty at the Palace of Versailles on the 28th June 1919. In the Treaty there was a clause that stated Germany was guilty of starting the war this outraged many Germans. The terms of the treaty stated that Germany was compelled to pay reparations which were eight times greater than the entire country's net worth. The reparations could not be not paid in full; this caused tremendous hatred on the part of the German people, and proved fertile ground for the likes of Adolf Hitler to harness that resentment. The Treaty gave territory to France which was German in culture and language, which was also an untenable situation. Most of the mistakes made at the Treaty negotiations were because France and England were determined to cripple Germany; and Woodrow Wilson, who should have been more forceful, made broad concessions to assure the Treaty would include his dream of a League of Nations. Had Wilson been more forceful, perhaps World War II could have been avoided, although that is a subject of substantial debate.

Germany was in devastation after World War I as a result of the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Losing key industrial territories and being forced to pay reparations to the Allies made an effective rebuilding effort nearly impossible for the new Weimar Republic. In addition, people's spirits were crushed, and there was little to no national pride at time for Germany. Loans from the United States were keeping the Republic solvent, but after the Great Depression hit the United States those loans disappeared. Unemployment rates were o...

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