Identify and rank what you consider the most significant causes of the Second World War with appropriate justification.

Essay by rachel-england January 2006

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The Second World War was caused by a combination of causes like the passive attitude of the democratic powers Britain, France and the USA, Hitler's aims, the League of Nations' failure to preserve peace and the aggression of Hitler's allies. But Hitler's idea of self-sufficiency, his desire to unite German speaking people and to dominate Europe and the World were the most significant causes. His rise was helped by Britain's and France's policy of appeasement, unemployment in Germany and indirectly by the Treaty of Versailles because the majority of the French and the British public believed that the Treaty had unfairly punished Germany and that its' demands were unreasonable. This attitude caused Hitler more likely to be encouraged in his actions, although Germany was also perceived as an unpleasant nationalist government which threatened to return vivid memories of World War One.

During the Geneva summit in 1933 Hitler used all his political skills in order to gain the allowance of the other powers to rearm.

By doing so he broke the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which presented Germany as a victim of harsh reparations, causing hyperinflation and military incapability to act against apparent ancestor of Czechoslovakian and Polish aggression. The brake of the Treaty of Versailles did not only allow Germany to rearm but also encouraged Hitler to break the terms of the Treaty of Versailles again and demonstrated Britain's and France's policy of appeasement. Hitler said when he reoccupied the Rhineland, " that the army had a standing order to retreat" if the French were going show any aggression. But when Hitler invaded Poland he believed that France and Britain would maintain the same attitude as when he entered Czechoslovakia and Austria and was therefore indirectly encouraged by no sign of resistance. Perhaps a Second World War...