Path to World War II

Maddison Rutherford,Armin Mohammadtaher,Artin Mohammadtaher

The Treaty of Versailles solved nothing

  • Reparations left many people in the victorious nations feeling guilty.
  • The loss of all that land to other countries simply made Hitler's early aggression look justified.
  • Self-determination surrounded Germany by a lot of small nation states that fell easy prey to Gxermany.
  • Most of all, the Treaty made the Germans angry, just waiting their chance for revenge.
World War II in Europe Part 2: The Path to War

The rise of dictatorships

During the 1920's and 1930's, political unrest and poor economic conditions enabled radical dictatorships to come to power in the Soviet Union, Italy, Germany, and Japan. The dictators held total power and ruled without regard to law. They used terror and secret police to crush opposition to their rule. People who objected risked imprisonment or execution.

Adolf Hitler Speech 1933

Economic problems

World War I damaged the economies of European countries. Both the winners and the losers came out of the war in debt. The defeated powers had difficulty paying reparations to the victors. The victors had difficulty repaying loans from the United States. The global economic shift from war to peace left millions of veterans unemployed.

Millions of others who had worked in munitions factories and other war-related industries lost their jobs.

Aggression on the march

Japan, Italy, and Germany followed a policy of aggressive territorial expansion during the 1930's. They invaded weak lands that could be easily conquered.


Nationalism was an extreme form of patriotism that swept across Europe beginning in the 1800's. Supporters of nationalism placed loyalty to their nation above any other public loyalty. They defined nationality by language and ethnicity. They viewed foreigners and minority groups with suspicion and scorn. Such beliefs helped nations justify their conquests of other lands. Such ideas also helped justify the poor treatment of minorities within their borders. Nationalism was a chief cause of World War I. It grew even stronger afterward.

Essential Qestions

Q#1: How were Hitler and the Nazi Party able to come to power in 1933, and people accept them?

Q#2: What was Joseph Stalin's reason for entering World War II?