The causes of WW2.

Essay by shortlilchicky73High School, 10th gradeB+, May 2003

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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

of expansion.

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...