Paths to War

Hodges 4th Period

The Paths to War

Hitler believed that Germans were of greater race than all the others. Because of this, Hitler thought that Germany had the potential to hold great power, meaning he needed more land in order to fulfill it. Hitler wanted to conquer land in the east, also known as the Soviet Union. Germany prepared for war with the Soviets. Hitler created a German air force and expanded his army immensely. Being distracted by their own internal problems, other European countries did not pay much attention to Hitler’s new plans. Germans invaded Rhineland, which went against the treaty of versailles because they brought weapons into the territory. However, no other outside countries or powers removed them.

Meanwhile, Hitler made new allies, making his force stronger. Hitler also wanted to join forces with Austria. Threatening invasion to Austria, he told the Austrian chancellor to put Austrian Nazis in charge of the government. The new government invited German troops to enter Austria to “help” maintain law and order. The next day, Hitler annexed Austria and Germany.

Hitler’s next move was the destruction of Czechoslovakia. He demanded that Germany be given an area in Northwestern Czechoslovakia that was inhabited by mostly Germans. He was very persistent with this, and threatened to start a world war if he was not given what he wanted.

All other countries did not oppose Hitler’s plans, but rather met his demands. This helped him in conquering Bohemia and Moravia in western Czechoslovakia. The Western states began to see Hitler as a major threat after this, causing them to promise Poland they would protect them if another German invasion took place. Hitler feared that the Soviet Union and the Western states would form an alliance. To prevent this, Hitler made an agreement with Joseph Stalin, saying that he could have control of eastern Poland and the Baltic States if they both promised not to attack each other. Hitler was now free to invade Poland. After Germany invaded, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later.

in 1931, Japanese seized Manchuria because they wanted some of the natural resources they had there. Japan then wanted to seize control of North China and soon after, Soviet Siberia. Because of this, Japan thought it would be smart to join forces with Germany to conquer the Soviet Union and split it with the Germans. However, due to the Germans signing the Nonaggression Act, that was out of the question. The Japanese could not defeat the Soviets by themselves, so they had to move to southeast Asia to fuel their military machines.

However, they could not do this either without risking war with European Colonial Powers and the US. Still, the Japanese persisted and the US objected and threatened to cut off their supply of oil and scrap iron. Stuck in a dilemma, they had to risk losing these raw materials in order to conquer Southeast Asia. After much debate, Japan launched a surprise attack on the US and European colonies in Southeast Asia.





Video #1 Causes of WWII
Video #2 Path to World War II
World War II in Europe Part 2: The Path to War


1. What influenced Hitler’s actions by wanting to get more land and creating a greater empire for Germany?

2. What made Western states of Czechoslovakia want to protect other countries from Hitler (like Poland)?


1. Hitler believed that Germans were of higher race than all others, therefore he believed that with their power they could become the greatest power in Europe and surrounding continents.

2. These states that got conquered, Bohemia and Moravia, saw Hitler as a threat and more harmful rather than beneficial, so in their power they decided to make a promise to Poland to protect them from Hitler taking over.