CAUSES OF WORLD WAR 2
Many historians have traced the causes of World War II to problems left unsolved
by World War I (1914-1918). World War I and the treaties that ended it also created new
political and economic problems. Forceful leaders in several countries took advantage of
these problems to seize power. The desire of dictators in Germany, Italy, and Japan to
conquer additional territory brought them into conflict with the democratic nations.
After World War I ended, representatives of the victorious nations met in Paris in
1919 to draw up peace treaties for the defeated countries. These treaties, known as the
Peace of Paris, followed a long and bitter war. They were worked out by these
countries with opposing goals; and failed to satisfy even the victors. Of all the countries
on the winning side, Italy and Japan left the peace conference most dissatisfied. Italy
gained less territory than it felt it deserved and said it would take action on its own.
Japan gained control of German territories in the Pacific and thereby launched a program
The countries that lost World War I--Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and
Turkey--were especially dissatisfied with the Peace of Paris. They were stripped of
territory, arms and were required to make reparations (payments for war damages). The
Treaty of Versailles, which was signed with Germany, punished Germany severely. The
German government agreed to sign the treaty only after the victorious powers threatened
to invade. Many Germans particularly resented the treaty that forced Germany to accept
responsibility for causing World War I. World War I seriously damaged the economies of
Nationalism was an extreme form of patriotism that swept across Europe during
the 1900's. Supporters of nationalism placed loyalty to the aims of their nation, above any
other public loyalty. Such...