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The causes of the second world war.

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Introduction

?????????????????????????????????????????? After defeating Germany in World War I, the victorious parties found it difficult to agree on the price Germany should pay in war reparations. Leaders from the United States, Great Britain, and France met at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and drafted the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty mandated a number of restrictive and compensatory measures for Germany, including massive demilitarization and financial reparations. Representatives at the conference included 'the big three', British Prime Minister Lloyd George, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and US President Woodrow Wilson. There were three options that the treaty could impose on Germany, the first was to make Germany pay all reparations and large sums of debts immediately. The second was to allow Germany a little time to recover and then demand the debts (a lesser amount than the first option but a large sum nonetheless). And the third was to actually help Germany to rebuild itself after its' massive loss and then ask for a smaller debt sum. After various negotiations that took over three months to conclude, the first option was chosen. The Treaty held Germany solely responsible for World War I, and accordingly imposed harsh conditions on Germany. Germany was asked to pay � 6.6 million in war reparations, Whilst other terms ordered her to: 1. Disarm. The German army was to be reduced to 100,000 men. ...read more.

Middle

Hitler ordered his troops to reoccupy the Rhineland in March 1936, a direct violation of the treaties of Versailles and Locarno. The troops were told to withdraw if they encountered any opposition, but in fact it all went very smoothly and the German people living in the area welcomed the troops. Hitler's excuse in this occasion was that he had held a plebiscite in 1935, and over 90% had voted to return to Germany, the plan also obeyed his foreign policies, it both provided lebensraum and unification of German speakers. Hitler was therefore let off by those appointed to prevent any such actions, the League of Nations. Hitler often admitted that if he had been stopped in his tracks at such an early stage, he would have been forced to withdraw, his army not being yet prepared for a confrontation. The League of Nations was set up in 1919; its primary aim was to maintain peace by means of collective security. Its' three main concerns were the reduction of national armaments, the preservation of it's members from aggression, and the settlement of any international disputes by peaceful means. The League of Nations was therefore a seemingly brilliant idea, but there was only one big problem. The one great power that the League needed in order to settle disputes without confrontation didn't want to join. ...read more.

Conclusion

Chamberlain met Hitler at the Munich conference in September 1938. Here he negotiated a settlement with Hitler which stated that Hitler would only be allowed to take the Sudetenland, a strip of land in Northern Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain believed that he had finally managed an agreement with Hitler, and in fact when he returned to Britain he made a moving speech on how he had achieved peace in his time. This was not to be however. On 15 March 1939, Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia; this had certainly not been part of Chamberlain's agreement. In 1939, Britain and France promised Poland that they would declare war on Germany if it tried to attack. Britain and France were forced to resort to physical action after the failure of appeasement. The problem with this however, was that they were not in any position, geographically as well as Militarily, to defend Poland. Only the Soviet Union could do so. Hitler, sensing a possible alliance between Britain and the USSR, offered to sign a pact with Russia. This pact, called the Nazi-Soviet pact, stated that Germany would invade the Polish Corridor (a piece of land lost by Germany to the Treaty of Versailles) from the west and Russia from the east. The land would then be split, one half going to Germany and the other to Russia; Stalin agreed. Hitler attacked Poland on the 1ST September 1939. Britain kept their promise and declared war on Germany on September 3rd, followed shortly after by France. World War II had begun. ...read more.

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