Causes of WWII - card sort

Causes of WWII – card sort
Treaty of Versailles
After WWI, the Allies made Germany accept peace terms which were far too harsh.
For example, they had to accept responsibility for starting the War, their armed
forces were dramatically reduced, they lost land and they had to pay reparations for
the damage they had caused.
The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain was keen to avoid another conflict
with Germany. When Hitler re-armed the country, marched his troops into the
Rhineland and neighbouring countries like Czechoslovakia and Austria, the British
turned a blind-eye as part of a policy called appeasement. Some say this
encouraged Hitler to take more land and build up his army even further.
The rise of dictators
Throughout the 1920s and 30s power-hungry men had seized control of their
countries and used violence and threats to remove all opposition. By 1934 Hitler had
become outright dictator of Germany and in Italy and Russia, Mussolini and Stalin
had done the same. Their policies and ideas were often very extreme, and this
increased the chances that they would take their countries to war if necessary to
protect their power.
The League of Nations
The League of Nations was set up after WWI to provide an opportunity for countries
to come together and discuss their differences rather than going to war. However,
not all countries were allowed to join at first, such as Germany. In addition, it had no
army to enforce its rulings, so when Mussolini’s Italian army invaded Abyssinia
(modern-day Ethiopia), the League could do nothing.
Britain still had an Empire, and the rise of Germany posed a major threat to its
Empire. Just as during WWI, the British in particular wanted to remain top dog in the
world and the rise of Hitler and Nazis posed a threat to its plans to ‘rule the waves’.
Britain declared war on Germany, not the other way round!
Rise of Hitler
Hitler emerged from a relatively unknown soldier in WWI, to be dictator of Germany
or ‘Fuhrer’ by 1934. His message had a great deal of appeal to ordinary Germans
who were still suffering from the effects of the last War and the Great Depression.
They were desperate for jobs and for a sense of pride in Germany once again. Hitler
ticked all the right boxes!
New technologies
Since WWI military technology had been transformed. Planes, tanks and armoured
vehicles were much faster and more deadly. They could travel vast differences
swiftly and take their enemy by surprise. This new type of warfare was called
‘blitzkrieg’ and Germany was better than any other European nation at it in the
1930s. Without Germany’s military superiority, it wouldn’t have risked provoking a
new war.
The Great Depression
After the Wall Street Crash in 1929 in America, countries all around the world were
plunged into economic difficulties. People struggled to repay their debts and there
was huge unemployment. People were more willing to listen to extremists like the
Nazis and the Communists for ideas on how to get them out of their problems
because their governments didn’t seem to have any solutions
Germany was keen to expand its frontiers into Poland and Russia wanted to ensure
that no country would invade through this country. Hitler and Stalin signed an
agreement in 1939 to carve up Poland between them called the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
Britain warned Hitler not to step foot inside Poland, and when he did in September
1939, the British declared war on Germany