Why did WWII start?

1 Answer
May 8, 2018

There were a number of reasons.


After World War 1, The Treaty of Versailles imposed punitive reparations and loss of territory on Germany. Many Germans on the right felt that they had been betrayed by the German government and by Jewish economists and bankers.

Initially there was progress under Weimar but after the Wall Street crash Germany was particularly badly hit because of its reliance on American loans. As millions lost their jobs and hyper inflation hit the German economy, extremists such as Hitler used this to fully exploit the disillusionment of millions.

Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 he started to implement his policies of anti-Semitism and German expansionism.

Initially there was little or no opposition as countries such as France and Britain pursued a policy of appeasement in an attempt to avoid a repetition of World War 1.

Hitler re-occupied the Rhineland, annexed and absorbed Austria into a greater German Reich,took the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia and then occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia.

When he invaded Poland on September 1st 1939, he assumed such appeasement would continue. He saw a natural affinity with Britain and was a great admirer of the British Empire. He saw parallels for Germany with expansion in the East to achieve Lebensraum, living space in the East. He had already secured a peace with the Soviet Union under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

However he had misjudged and on September 3rd Britain and France declared war on Germany.