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

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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.

          Another factor in causing World War II was the Wall Street Crash of 1929 resulting in a worldwide economic depression. Not only did these cause countries such as Britain and France to take a less active foreign policy, but also it destroyed the newly found prosperity in Germany (‘Golden Age’/‘Roaring 20’s’) and left many people unemployed. The USA demanded their loans to Germany to be repaid which meant that the prosperity of the 1920s (which was mainly based on the borrowed money from the USA) was very much over. It succeeded in plunging Germany into economic depression which, as in any economic depression, had an impact on the rest of the world. Hitler’s promise of creating a strong, powerful Germany led to him having much public support.

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          Germany was not the only country that was very badly affected by the Depression. Japan and Italy also suffered due to the decrease in world trade and unemployment and acted on their own. This showed a huge weakness in the League of Nations, an organization set up to settle international issues, which then led to problems contributing to the start of World War 2. When Japan invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria and when Italy invaded Abyssinia, the League failed to take any proper action which also ended in both countries leaving the League.

          Another major problem was Britain and ...

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