World War II was caused by a variety of factors and forces.
The Second World War can be traced to the Treaty of Versailles, which had been imposed on Germany. This treaty was a kind of dictated peace. It deprived Germany of every scrap of its colonial empire. Danzig was cut off from Germany and the country was forced to stand totally disarmed. Allied troops were stationed in Germany, in order to enforce the provisions of the Treaty. Germany was burdened with reparations. It alone was held guilty of the war. Thus it caused hatred in the minds of the Germans who were born and brought up in the cult of revenge.
The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 greatly disappointed victorious Italy. This resulted in the rise of Fascist dictatorship in Italy under Mussolini and the Nazi dictatorship in Germany after 1932, under Hitler. Both the dictators embarked upon a career of open aggression.
After World War I, victorious Japan followed the policy of imperialism, in the Far East. In 1931, Japan grabbed Manchuria from China. The League of Nations could do nothing, to prevent this aggression. Japan was party to the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis, which severely threatened world peace.
The Allied Powers were committed to the Wilsonian principle of 'self-determination.' However, at the Paris Peace Conference, its application was conditioned by economic necessity, military defense, as well as religious and political traditions. These factors kindled the fire of nationalism and political liberty among national minorities. Germany spread the news that its nationality was being oppressed under the foreign rule in Austria, Sudetenland and Poland. For this reason, Hitler invaded and annexed these territories, thus sparking off World War II.
While disarming Germany, under the Treaty of Versailles, the Allied Powers had pledged to apply the same measures to...