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Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

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Introduction

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939? When Hitler came to power in 1933 he had three main aims, the abolishment of the treaty of Versailles, to expand German territory and to defeat communism. Like most of the German population, Hitler believed that the Treaty of Versailles was unjust. The treaty was a constant reminder of Germany's defeat in World War One and their humiliation by the Allies. Hitler promised that he would reverse the treaty. The terms of the treaty, although tampered with for the self-interest of 'the big 3' was meant to secure peace and so by abolishing it, Hitler had started to crack the security in international peace between nations. The treaty had taken land away from Germany and Hitler pledged to take this territory back. He wanted to unite with Austria and wanted to carve out an empire in Eastern Europe to give extra Lebensraum (living space) for Germans. For this, war was inevitable and so the chances of lasting peace diminished. ...read more.

Middle

Britain and France followed this policy of Appeasement for many reasons. Britain was not ready for war, and didn't want to repeat the horrors of WW1. The wanted to avoid war at any cost, the USA did not support it, and Britain was not sure that the British Empire and the Commonwealth (e.g. Canada) would. Both Britain and France were at this time still in a great economic depression, with high unemployment and large debts, which to them were of higher priority. Many Britons believed Hitler wanted to be a peaceful nation again and that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair anyway, and at least Hitler was standing up to Communism, a grave concern for both Britain and France. This policy was advantageous for Hitler and a stepping stone to war, as it put too much trust in Hitler's promises. Appeasement was based on the mistaken idea that Hitler was trustworthy, which with hindsight we know wasn't true. Appeasement allowed Germany to grow too strong. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, he was sure that Britain and France would not take the trouble to go to war with Germany. But Hitler was met with a nasty surprise. Britain and France did keep their pledge, and so declared war on Germany. Hitler had not expected this as Britain and France had previously let him get away with so much, but Hitler had started a war that for Germany was too soon and against the 'wrong' opponents. For the Allies', it was the invasion of Poland that was the breaking point, they thought Hitler would be content with the gain of the lost German territories, but Hitler wanted more. Appeasement ceased, and the Allies had to step in. War began in Europe, and international peace had collapsed. Although it was Hitler's actions which led to war, many other factors were important in making the war happen. The policy of appeasement, the problems caused by the peace treaties, the Nazi-Soviet pact, and the failure of the League of Nations combined, created a great tension that forced peace out of Europe, and was the creation of World War Two. ...read more.

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