The Causes of World War II

World War II
World War II
• Objective:
– To Understand the causes of World War II.
– To understand the major events that occurred
during the war.
– To understand the major turning points during
the war.
– To understand the events that led to the end of
the war.
1931 - Japan Invades Manchuria
The Japanese
army ignored the
government and
launched a fullscale invasion of
Manchuria. Soon,
it had occupied
the whole of the
The League of Nations opposes the attack and said it would deal
with the government of the aggressor nation. But how could this
succeed when the government had no control over the army
which was the cause of the problem ?
What does this incident tell us
about the League of Nations?
•The League could not enforce its authority.
•A major power could get away with using force
•An issue so far from Europe was not likely to attract the wholehearted support of the major European powers in the League.
•Other powers would almost certainly see this
episode as a sign that they too could get away with
the use of force
•The League also lost its most powerful member in the Far East
and ultimately Japan was to unite with the two other nations that
broke League rules - Germany and Italy.
1935 – Italy Invades Ethiopia
On October 3, 1935, Italy attacked Ethiopia from Eritrea and
Italian Somaliland without a declaration of war. On October 7,
the League of Nations unanimously declared Italy an aggressor
but took no effective action.
Benito Mussolini
“I refuse to believe that the real
people of Great Britain and France,
who have never had discords with
Italy, are prepared to run the risk of
hurling Europe along the road to
catastrophe for the sake of
defending an African country
universally branded as a country
without the slightest shadow of
How Does Mussolini justify the attack
of Ethiopia?
Haile Selassie
On June 30, Haile Selassie made a
powerful speech before the League of
Nations in Geneva in which he set forth
two choices--support for collective security
or international lawlessness.
“It is my duty to inform the Governments assembled in
Geneva, responsible as they are for the lives of millions of
men, women and children, of the deadly peril which
threatens them, by describing to them the fate which has
been suffered by Ethiopia… Representatives of the World I
have come to Geneva to discharge in your midst the most
painful of the duties of the head of a State. What reply shall
I have to take back to my people?”
Acts of Aggression Lead to WWII
Area Attacked
Allies Reaction
1931 - Manchuria China
1. Need for natural resources.
League of Nations condemned the
action but did nothing.
Ethiopia - Africa
1. Distract Italians from
2. Promised to build the new
Roman Empire
League of Nations did nothing.
Other nations concerned with
their own problems.
1. Austria (1938)
-land (1938)
3. Poland (1939)
1. German people lived there.
1. None even though it was a direct
violation of the treaty
2. German people lived there.
2. Hitler promised he was finished.
Britain & France appeased
and didn't fight.
3. Desire for land.
3. Britain and France declare war.
Adolf Hitler (right) is considered
one of the most brutal dictators
in history. After purging possible
rivals for leadership, Hitler
rearmed Germany into a
modern war machine. He and
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
(left), both Fascists, became
allies in 1936. They are shown
here in Munich, Germany, in
Adolf Hitler preached to the Nazi
party faithful that they were a
superior race that deserved more
than they had, including
additional Lebensraum, or living
space, and a higher standard of
living. Hitler was an emotional
speaker who had a mesmerizing
effect on those who listened. By
1938 he had amassed the bestequipped, best-trained army in the
Hitler invaded Austria in 1938. Many Austrians welcomed the Nazis
and were content to see their country incorporated into Germany.
The British Government, led by Neville Chamberlain, merely
registered a diplomatic protest which was rejected by Germany.
Hitler informs jubilant Nazi deputies in the Reichstag that Germany has annexed Austria, 1938.
After Germany invaded the Sudetenland, the British and French
met with Hitler at Munich on September 30, 1938. They agreed to
allow the Nazi leader to seize the Sudeten districts of
Czechoslovakia in return for an assurance from him that he had
no further territorial claims in Europe. Their appeasement policy
once again gave in to the demands of an aggressor.
“My good friends… I have
returned from Germany bringing
peace with honor. I believe it is
peace for our time… Go home and
get a nice quiet sleep.”
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last.”
- Winston Churchill
On 15 March 1939, the German army
occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
The Policy Of Appeasement
Based on what you have learned, and these Dr. Seuss cartoons,
what does ‘appeasement’ mean?
Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression
On August 23, 1939, the world was shocked when, suddenly, Russia
and Germany signed a non-aggression pact. In addition, the two
countries had a secret agreement to invade and divide Poland
between them.
What is the main idea of this political cartoon?
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Hitler introduced
a new kind of war called a blitzkrieg, which means “lightning war.”
German bombers targeted
railroads, shown here, which
crippled Polish military
mobilization. Hundreds of
tanks smashed through Polish
defenses and rolled deep into
the country. The Poles fought
hard, but on September 17, the
Soviet Union invaded their
country from the east. By the
end of the month, Poland had
Chamberlain Declares War
Churchill is British
Prime Minister for
most of WWII
World War II Rages On
Stage III: United States and Neutrality 1939
The United States is sympathetic to the Allies but __________________
the Congress. Roosevelt’s (FDR’s) Fireside Chats assure that the U.S. will
remain __________________________.
_Lend Lease Act__: The U.S. will sell arms to Allies for cash and land in the
Caribbean Islands
French Refugees
Taking only what they could carry, civilians flee Paris in 1940 in
anticipation of the German invasion.
The Invasion of France
In May 1940, the Germans
attacked France. The French
army was caught off guard.
The blitzkrieg sent French
forces into a confused retreat,
and as the Germans marched
into Paris on June 14, the
French government collapsed.
German Blitzkreig Dominates
The Battle of Britain
In Summer of 1940, the German Luftwaffe hit London with
the Blitz, with bombing raids on the capital and dog-fights in
its sky during the Battle of Britain.
Battle of Stalingrad (Invasion
of the Soviet Union)
Nazis Invade Russia
Lend Lease Program
March: _____________________________
The U.S. lends weapons to Britain
who agrees to pay later.
June: Hitler double crosses Stalin and invades the USSR, breaking the
Pact The Russian winter stalls the German advance.
June: Japan joins the Axis Powers and seizes all colonies of Holland and
France in Southeast Asia.
August: Roosevelt and Churchill set goals for the postwar world in the
Charter Some of the terms include: That no country seeks
territorial gain, the support of the right of the people choose their own
government and establish a system of world security. It also warned Germany
neutral for much longer.
that the U.S. would not remain _____________