The Primary Causes of World War II

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World War II (WWII) was the deadliest and most catastrophic war in human history. Marked by astonishing events such as the Holocaust and the use of nuclear weapons, WWII represented the largest deployment of military forces of the twentieth century. Two factions, the Axis and the Allies, entered into a global military altercation that began with Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, and finished with the surrender of Japan on September 2nd, 1945. A review of human motives, including the need for revenge, power, and extreme nationalism (jingoism) can explain the roots of WWII. In historical terms, the Treaty of Versailles, the increase in military spending and alliances, and expansionist ideologies were the prime catalysts of nationalistic and diplomatic tensions in the 1930’s Europe, providing a foundation for WWII. On January 18th, 1919, roughly two months after the culmination of World War I (WWI), the Paris Peace Conference (PPC) assembled to establish the terms of peace and to plan the course of the post-WWI era. The Treaty of Versailles became the conference’s centerpiece. France attended the conference seeking revenge; Great Britain wanted weakened militaries and economies for the Central Powers (losing faction of WWI). Meanwhile, United States President, Woodrow Wilson, promoted his Fourteen Points. In these he traced the need for open diplomacy, disarmament, and respect for nationality groups. Ultimately, the Treaty of Versailles outlined the creation of the League of Nations (LON), forced Germany to accept full blame for WWI, and established harsh penalties focused on debilitating the Central Powers’ governments. As established by the Treaty of Versailles, the LON consisted of an international org... ... middle of paper ... ...olar system integrated by the United States, the Soviet Union and the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo coalition. Despite the turmoil caused by the Great Depression, Hitler looked at the United States as the most prominent global economic power. His ultimate goal was for Germany to achieve world domination, and he recognized that to do this Germany had to defeat the United States. Hitler developed a systematic expansionist plan. First, he recognized the Soviets military supremacy and believed that before crushing them he had to conquer Great Britain and France. Secondly, after assuring control of the British and the French, Hitler would unify Europe under a single militia and later attack the Soviets. Thirdly, upon the successful overthrow of the Soviets and achieving European hegemony, Hitler believed he would victoriously defeat the United States and reach Global supremacy.

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