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Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

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Introduction

Why had international peace collapsed by 1939? By the end of world war one, Germany was left with little money and a lack of national pride. They had been forced to take all responsibility for the war and pay severe reparations along with making such drastic reductions in their military capability that they felt increasingly threatened by surrounding countries. Like many Germans of that time, Hitler believed that the Treaty of Versailles was unjust and therefore should be abolished. The treaty was a constant reminder of their defeat in the war and the humiliation brought upon them by Allies. Hitler vowed if he ever came to power he would immediately reverse the treaty and restore Germany's former glory. Not only did Hitler aim to give power to Germany but he aspired to increase Germany's land. Firstly he intended to unite with Austria, following that he would persuade Czechoslovakia to join Germany. Hitler felt that too much of German land had been taken by the Treaty of Versailles; this would be one of the few factors he would soon reverse to regain German pride. ...read more.

Middle

Hitler knew he was in control and had more power than any other nation. Although France and Britain made many promises of changes that Germany would be forced to make, they were in such a position that they could not possibly go to war again, therefore they would not stand up to Hitler. Their lack of money and equipment made and type of conflict impossible, Hitler was allowed to reverse the Treaty of Versailles without any opposition. Britain knew that Hitler intended to reverse the Treaty of Versailles and believed in some ways it should be permitted. Germany had suffered greatly and was not only forced to decrease their land mass but pay harsh reparations also. Chamberlain believed that allowing Germany to regain their land of restore a sense of national pride might be sufficient to end Hitler's quest for power. This led to the policy of appeasement. Hitler's first act under the policy was to reunite with Austria, although both France and Britain were wary of this, they were in no means ready for another war and allowed Germany to continue with his plans, hoping that this would be his last act of defiance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although it was Hitler's actions which led to war, many other factors were important in making the war happen. Firstly, the weaknesses of France and Britain lead Hitler to believe he was invincible, they took no action against his violations of the Treaty of Versailles and instead chose to believe that once Germany regained all they had lost, and Hitler would be satisfied. They showed poor judgement in situations such as the Abyssinian crisis and exposed their weaknesses to Hitler. They allowed Hitler to see that they were in no position for war and as a consequence he was able to invade countries without opposition. Another factor which lead to the collapse of international peace was the actions of Russia. Hitler would not have invaded Poland if he would be forced to fight a war on two fronts, nevertheless Russia felt anxious about the increasing threat of war and were quick to sign a peace agreement with Germany. Therefore it can be seen that many factors contributed to the collapse of international peace by 1939. A combination of long term and short term factors forced the situation in Europe to break out into war. ...read more.

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