• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

History Essay - Why did war break out in Europe in 1939

Extracts from this document...


Why did war break out in Europe in 1939? Many historians have traced the causes of World War II to problems left unsolved by World War I (1914-1918). World War I and the treaties that ended it also created new political and economic problems. Forceful leaders in several countries took advantage of these problems to seize power one of the being Hitler. The desire of dictators in Germany, Italy, and Japan to conquer additional territory brought them into conflict with the democratic nations e.g. Britain and France against Germany. After World War I ended, representatives of each of the countries met in Paris in 1919 to draw up peace treaties. These treaties were known as the Peace of Paris. They were worked out in haste by these countries with opposing goals; and failed to satisfy even the victors. Of all the countries Germany left the peace conference the most dissatisfied. Italy gained less territory than it felt it deserved and vowed to take action on its own. The countries that lost World War I -Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey - were especially dissatisfied with the treaties. They were stripped of territory, arms and were required to make reparations. The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed with Germany, punished Germany severely. The German government agreed to sign the treaty only after they were threatened to be invaded by the allies. ...read more.


Like Japan Italy was a key member of the League and wanted to expand territory by invading another country. However unlike Manchuria the League could not argue that Abyssinia was in an inaccessible part of the world. Britain and France wanted to keep Italy happy as without it they would be powerless against Hitler. However although they imposed sanction against Italy they made a fatal error of not closing the Suez Canal. Had they of done this they could have ended the campaign very quickly. Italy continued to ignore orders from the League and by May 1936 Italy had gained the capital of Abyssinia, Addis Ababa. The League had failed. Britain and France thought if they handled the crisis well they would be in a stronger position against Germany. However they could not have been more wrong and in November 1936 Hitler and Mussolini signed an agreement of their own called the Rome-Berlin Axis. These two failures clearly demonstrated to Hitler that the League was powerless. He would be able conquer other countries and no one would be willing to intervene. After Hitler took power, he began to build up Germany's armed forces in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1936, Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland, a region of Germany along the banks of the Rhine River. Under the treaty, the Rhineland was to remain free of troops. In March 1938, German soldiers marched into Austria and united it with Germany. ...read more.


Stalin knew that Hitler would turn all his military might toward him, signing the pact brought him extra time and allowed him to build up him military forces. He also believed that Britain and France would not be strong reliable allies against Hitler. Not only did the pact give Stalin time, he also acquired new land which Hitler had conquered. On September 1st 1939 the Germany army invaded Poland from the west and on the 17th Soviet forces attacked from the east. Poland was conquered. Hitler was given and ultimatum, he was ordered to get out of Poland. However he did not agree, hence Britain and France declared war on Germany on the 2nd September 1939. Hitler had started a war, but it was not the war he had in mind. It was too soon and against the wrong opponents. Hitler had taken one gamble too many. Although Hitler caused WW2 by refusing to leave Poland there and other factors which contributed. I strongly believe had the USA joined the LON it would not have been so powerless and insignificant. They may well have been able to stop Hitler way before. In addition the LON was unfair towards the Germans it served as a constant reminder of their humiliating defeat and was sooner or later someone was going to do something about it. Thirdly had Hitler not made the pact with Stalin Germany would may well have had to fight a war on two front again and could well have been pulverised. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why Did The First World War Break Out in 1914?

    5 star(s)

    The others were strung out as far back as the Kaiser Bridge. One of the reasons that the assassination was able to take place was due to the few security measures, there were only 120 policemen for a route of 4 miles because the Archduke was a brave man and disliked the presence of secret service men.

  2. The Long Fuse by Laurence Lafore - Chapter Three: The Europe of the Armed ...

    The Austrians feared all of their neighbors, including Germany, but this alliance reduced the threat. The treaty signed was a defense treaty. This was nearly the first time that a treaty was signed during peacetime between major powers. The terms of the treaty were secret and it foreshadowed other secret treaties that were to come later.

  1. Why was the Abyssinian crisis a death blow to the league when the Manchurian ...

    There was no question of who was going to win. One of the main reasons for this was that the league was at least seen to do the right thing in the Manchurian crisis as they condemned Japan for invading and although they didn't do anything about it they did, in the end, came to the right decision.

  2. Mao Gandhi Compare Contrast Essay

    In both cases, the 'public' happened to be the overtaxed landless rural people. History saw both leaders identify this problem and rush to the 'aid of the people of the country'. Gandhi had once said, "India dwells in her villages", hence solidifying this statement.

  1. Why did war break out in Europe in 1939

    Despite the League of Nations aim to protect countries from invasion and to limit wars it did nothing. Manchuria sent a cry for help and a committee was sent to write a report about the crisis, this took over a year to write and clearly put Japan in the wrong,

  2. "Tension between the countries of Europe increased in year before 1914 due to the ...

    There was agreement on the other Great Powers that Germany was the nation most likely to upset the balance of powers in Europe. In 1862 King Wilhelm I of Prussia was determined that Prussia would take from Austria as the main German Power.

  1. Why did international peace collapse in 1939?

    The League of Nations had been militarily weak throughout al of its existence, since it had no permanent army of its own. Hitler had been watching the League of Nations closely as they faced several crises, but in the end, the League of Nations never acted properly on situations that required military intervention.

  2. History Revision notes - International Relations: Why did WW2 break out? 1929-1939

    The Japanese responded by simply ignoring the report and left the League. The League, however, could not agree on sanctions, and Britain and France were not prepared to send an army. Not only did the Japanese stay in Manchuria, but in July 1937 they also began a full-scale invasion of China.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work