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Hitler's actions were the only cause of World War 2. How far do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

History Essay for 16/9/11 By Benjamin Bloch Topic: Hitlers actions were the only cause of World War 2. How far do you agree with this statement? It is very easy to place the entire blame for starting World War 2 on Hitler's foreign policy. In this essay, I will show that Hitler's foreign policy was a major factor in causing the war, but that other reasons contributed as well. The first, and possibly the root cause, is the Treaty of Versailles, of 1919. The harshness of the Treaty and the way in which it blamed Germany for World War 1 humiliated and crippled Germany. Much of its territory was taken away, as well as 100,000 troops, ban on armored vehicles, ban on airplanes, ban on conscription, Rhineland demilitarization and only 6 battleships were allowed. The Treaty also forced harsh reparation payments (�6,6 billion) resulting in a great deal of the German public resenting Britain, France and America. Later, Hitler used the publicly bitter memories of the Treaty of Versailles to gain public support. ...read more.

Middle

The League didn't have an army of its own so could not take any military action to enforce any decisions. Britain did not want to go to war as the general public did not want it and France did not want to start a war without the support of Britain. That meant that Hitler got whatever he wanted. The fact that the USA did not get involved in any way whatsoever reinforced the idea to Hitler that he could get away with whatever he liked. Hitler decided to send troops back into the demilitarized Rhineland, in blatant contravention of the Treaty of Versailles and, consequently, the League of Nations. Both Britain and France let Hitler get away with it which meant that the League was powerless to do anything. After seeing how he had been allowed to remilitarize the Rhineland, Hitler looked towards Austria, and rebuilding Germany's link with it. Anschluss (union) with Austria was expressly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, but one of Hitler's main aims was to unite all German speakers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stalin made this decision for many reasons. First of all, he was a communist and was under the impression that both France and Britain did not like him. One more reason was that he was not invited to the Munich Conference. This resulted in mistrust between Britain and France, and Russia. The final reason was that the USSR had no choice; they were not prepared for war and only joined Hitler to buy some time to rearm, but with a very correct suspicion that Germany would turn on them eventually. Taking all of this into account, I believe that World War 2 broke out not only because of Hitler's actions and foreign policy, but because of many other reasons, including resentment towards Britain, France and the USA due to the Treaty of Versailles, the many weaknesses of the League of Nations, fear of Communism, The Great Depression, and the policy of appeasement. I personally believe that if Britain and France had taken immediate action against Hitler when he first moved troops into the Rhineland, and had also enforced the Treaty of Versailles, then the devastation and the 60 million deaths may have been averted. ...read more.

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