World War II : The Great War

1334 WordsFeb 17, 20166 Pages
World War II The devastation of the Great War (as World War I was known at the time) had greatly destabilized Europe, and in many respects World War II grew out of issues left unresolved by that. In particular, political and economic instability in Germany and lingering resentment over the harsh terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty, fueled the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party. The years between the first and second world wars were a time of instability during the worldwide Great Depression that began around 1930. It was also a time when some nations, including Germany, Italy and Japan developed intense nationalist feelings that led to a desire to expand: Germany in Northern and Eastern Europe, Italy in Africa and Greece, and Japan in Asia and the South Pacific. Germany had the added motivation of overturning (and ultimately avenging) the harsh terms forced on it at the conclusion of the First World War. In late August 1939 Hitler and Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, which incited a frenzy of worry in London and Paris. Hitler had long planned an invasion of Poland, a nation to which Great Britain and France had guaranteed military support if it was attacked by Germany. The pact with Stalin meant that Hitler would not face a war on two fronts once he invaded Poland, and would have Soviet assistance in conquering and dividing the nation itself. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from

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