Interpretations of the Origins of WWII

3781 Words Jun 21st, 2018 16 Pages
Interpretations of the Origins of WWII

World War Two began on September 1st, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, and the French and British declarations of war on Germany two days later. From even before this official beginning to the war, people have continually tried to analyze what actually brought about the most destructive war in history, with many different interpretations having been put forward. Richard Overy's argument is a complex one, involving a look at each of the major countries that entered the war from Germany in 1939, to the U.S. in 1941. Each country is looked at in detail with analyses of how each reacted to the crises in the 1930's, and what the concerns, difficulties, and attitudes were in each country.
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Domestic issues became more important than foreign policy, and Britain began to retreat from the League system and collective action. The tactic of appeasement, and the belief that most hostile nations could be won over by economic concessions, thus became popular in the early 30's. In the mid 30's British leaders began to wonder if they might not be able to control Germany and the other revisionist states with concessions, and an assumption was made that there might be a war with Germany around 1939. A slow rearmament program was begun, but not much money was spent at the beginning because of economic considerations, and the public outcry against rearmament. When the Czechoslovakian crisis came, it was deemed to not be an issue to go to war over, and so the main strategy of the British in 1938 was to avoid war -- appease Hitler and restrain France - until Britain was economically and militarily ready. However, in February 1939, a large shift occurred in public opinion in favor of standing up to Germany, and Prime Minister Chamberlain decided on a new policy of deterrence and encirclement, and to support France militarily on the continent. By this time, enormous amounts were being spent on rearmament, which actually threatened to undermine the security they were meant to defend. This created a kind of timetable since Britain could not maintain the financial effort of reaming

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