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Causes of World War II. Nazi Aggression and Failed Collective Security. Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures. 1. Failure of the Treaty of Versailles Severe punishment for Germany led to resentment

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Causes of world war ii

Causes of World War II

Nazi Aggression and Failed Collective Security


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 1. Failure of the Treaty of Versailles

    • Severe punishment for Germany led to resentment

      • Clause 231 – War guilt clause

      • Reparations lead to hyperinflation

      • Limitations on military

    • League of Nations was powerless to stop Hitler, as well as Mussolini

      • No control of major conflicts

      • No effective military force

      • No effort to control armaments

Original League of Nations building


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 2. Washington Naval Conference

    • Did not stop an arms race between the West and Japan

    • 5-5-3 battleship ratio between US – GB – Japan


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 3. “Paper Treaties” had no enforcement mechanisms

    • Locarno Pact – All European nations agree to solve disputes peacefully.

      • Ger and FR agreed to acknowledge each others borders

      • Avoid aggression to solve problems

      • Gave a false sense of security

      • Hope was abandoned with the rise of Adolf Hitler

      • Provisions were not enforceable

    • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) – 62 Nations sign agreement proclaiming “war is illegal” (unless for defensive purposes)

      • Hitler repeatedly violated; claimed his actions were for defense

      • No enforcement provisions.


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 4. Great Depression led to the rise of fascism in Germany and Japan

    • Hitler was appointed chancellor in 1933 and withdrew Germany from the League of Nations.

    • Hitler began secretly rearming Germany in violation of the Treaty of Versailles

    • Italy, Britain, France worry about Germany’s withdrawal and vow to use force to keep the peace if necessary.

      • Soon, Italy and Germany would be allies


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 5. Italy invades Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935

    • Revenge for it’s loss in Ethiopia in 1896

    • 500,000 Ethiopians die to Italy’s 5,000

    • League of Nations sanctioned Italy but refused to include oil in an embargo out of fear of angering Mussolini

    • No attempt was made to stop Italy from using the Suez Canal on its way to Ethiopia

    • Hoare-Laval Pact

      • Secret agreement between British and French to allow Italy 2/3 of the land it wanted in Ethiopia. Ethiopia would gain port access

    • Hitler saw that the international community was not could not organize to stop aggression


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Pierre Laval

Samuel Hoare


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Map of Proposed Hoare-Laval Pact


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Britain and France sing to Mussolini: ‘We don’t want you to fight, but by jingo if you do, We will probably issue a joint memorandumSuggesting a mild disapproval of you.’

What is the message

Of this cartoon?


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

See no Abyssinia. Hear no Abyssinia. Speak no Abyssinia


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • “I would like to make a few observations upon events of the last twelve months and their effect upon the League of Nations and the policy of collective security to which we have given so whole-hearted support with such disappointing results.  The policy of collective security seemed to us, and I think it seemed to the people of the country as a whole, an attractive alternative to the old system of alliances and balance of power which nevertheless was unsuccessful in preventing the greatest war in history…. There is no use for us to shut our eyes to realities ... That policy has been tried out and it has failed to prevent war, failed to stop war, failed to save the victim of the aggression.”[British P.M. Chamberlain – 1936]

After Chamberlain gave this speech, people cheered “to the echo”


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • The League died in 1935. One day it was a powerful body imposing sanctions, the next day it was a useless fraud, everybody running away from it as quickly as possible.   Hitler watched.

    • Written by the historian AJP Taylor (1966)

  • The crisis was fatal to the League. Nobody took it seriously again. They got ready for the Second World War.

    • Written by the historian JR Western (1971)


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Rome-Berlin Axis, 1936


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War

    • Fascist General Francisco Franco overthrows the government.

    • Hitler and Mussolini aid Franco

    • The League of Nations attempted to aid the anti-Franco factions but failed.

    • Britain did not aid the anti-Franco Loyalists because it wanted to keep the peace with Italy.

    • France declared war, but it’s government collapsed.


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Guernica – by Picasso


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 6. Germany reoccupied the Rhineland – 1936

    • Violation of Treaty of Versailles and Locarno Pact

    • League of Nations did not act and neither did France of Great Britain

      • Strong pacifist movement in Britain was an obstacle to British action against the Germans


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • 7. German Foreign Policy & Aggression in Eur.

    • The Anschluss – 1938

      • Hitler annexes his home country of Austria

    • Czechoslovakia

      • Hitler demanded Sudetenland

      • Munich Conference - 1938

        • Chamberlain adopts policy of appeasement

        • Czechoslovakia was forced to give up Sudetenland

        • Germany guaranteed he would make no more demands

        • If Czechoslovakia refused, it would get no help from GB or FR

        • Chamberlain declared “Peace in our time.”

        • Hitler took all of Czechoslovakia in March 1939


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini at Munich


Causes of world war ii
Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

  • If only…we could sit down at a table with the Germans and run through all their complaints and claims with a pencil, this would greatly relieve all tension.

    • Neville Chamberlain, 1937

  • A clever plan of selling off your friends in order to buy off your enemies.

    • British newspaper, Feb. 1939

  • It is a total defeat. Czechoslovakia will be swallowed up by the Nazis. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning.

    • Winston Churchill, Speaking about the Munich agreement)


  • Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

    • The enemy did not expect my great determination. Our enemies are little worms, I saw them at Munich. Now Poland is in the position I wanted.” 

      • Adolf Hitler speaking after the Munich Conference

    Nazis invade Czechoslovakia, March 1939


    Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

    English soccer players using a Nazi salute before a game with Germany


    Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

    • Hitler had signed a secret Non-Aggression Pact with the USSR in August 1939

      • Agreed not to fight each other

      • Agreed to split Poland

    • Nazis invade Poland, September 1, 1939

    • WWII begins


    Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

    “Rearmament”

    “Rhineland”

    “Danzig”


    Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.

    At the back of the line, Britain says to France, “Why should we take

    a stand about someone pushing someone else when it is all so far away?


    Causes of world war ii
    Goal: Understand the causes of WWII – Failure of Collective Security and Diplomacy, and the reaction to those failures.