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Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

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Introduction

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939? Hitler was never secretive about his plans to abolish the treaty of Versailles. As early as 1924, in his book Mein Kampf he laid out his plans for Germany if the Nazis were ever to come to power. When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he openly pledged to reverse the terms of the treaty of Versailles and exploited the anger that the Germans felt as a result of their treatment from the treaty. Hitler hated the treaty and branded the German leaders who had signed it 'the November criminals'. He saw the treaty as a constant reminder to the German people of their defeat in the First World War and their humiliation at the hands of the allies. Hitler also played on their feelings of despair brought on by the effects of the Depression to build up support for his policy. Many Germans also still felt that they had not actually lost the war, and that they were actually backstabbed by the allies when making cease fire agreements. Hitler set out to destroy the Treaty of Versailles and challenge the other nations of Europe. ...read more.

Middle

Mussolini gained his chance to attack in 1934, when a clash arose between Italian and Ethiopian soldiers 80 miles inside Abyssinia, and the Italian dictator immediately began preparing his nation for an invasion. Haile Selassie, the Abyssinian emperor appealed to the league for help. The league found itself playing for time in this dispute, with its member nations inconclusive about the courses of action they should take to stop this, as well as Britain and France actually secretly negotiating with Italy behind the scenes, promising to give them Abyssinian land if they would stop their invasion, and also hoping to gain them as allies against any German insurrection. In the end, Britain and France's plans backfired, with Italy actually eventually forming an agreement with Germany called the Rome-Berlin Axis. Mussolini got what he wanted in the end, at no cost to Italy, and in the process totally proved the leagues ineffectiveness at managing such crises. The league could not use the same excuses here as it had with the Manchurian crisis, since this dispute was right on its doorstep, and there were a number of actions it could have taken from the start to prevent this disaster. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both countries were aware of each other's ulterior motives, however entered in good faith that the pact would ultimately benefit them. The counterattack itself was yet another gamble on Hitler's behalf, however, it proved to be one gamble too many when Britain and France did actually declare war on Germany in 1939, keeping their promise to defend Poland from any German hostility, and ending the appeasement regime they had been following now for all too long. Although it was Hitler's actions that led to the war, many other factors were important in the actual collapse of peace in 1939: * The indecisiveness between the league's major members hindered resolutions being made when it came to major crises. * Britain and France were too self-interested to work for the overall good of the league, or put a stop to Germany's increasingly hostile demands. * Britain's policy of appeasement allowed Germany to grow too strong to control * * * I believe that the Second World War broke out as a result of a combination of these factors, and not only as a consequence of Hitler's actions, with Britain and France sharing the blame also to certain extents. Adeeb Elhag - 10SS ...read more.

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