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WWII Origins: Key Causes & Global Impact

History  •  23 Jan, 2024  •  85,956 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami

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The Second World War, a global conflict from 1939 to 1945, was a culmination of geopolitical and economic tensions that had been simmering since the end of World War I. This catastrophic event, which reshaped the global order, was precipitated by a complex interplay of factors including the Treaty of Versailles, economic depression, ideological conflicts, and aggressive nationalism. This article delves into the intricate web of circumstances that led to the outbreak of World War II, examining key events and decisions that set the stage for this devastating conflict.


The Treaty of Versailles: Seeds of Discontent

The Treaty of Versailles
Image Credits: University of Denver

The Treaty of Versailles, integral to the interwar period, significantly contributed to World War II. Signed on June 28, 1919, it imposed onerous conditions on Germany, including the loss of territories such as Alsace-Lorraine to France and parts of Prussia to the newly reborn Poland. The 'War Guilt Clause' saddled Germany with the entire blame for the war, leading to reparations that crippled its economy.

This treaty, perceived as a ‘Diktat’ in Germany, created a sense of humiliation and injustice, fuelling nationalist sentiments. It's crucial to note that this treaty not only alienated Germany but also failed to create a stable and sustainable European order, laying a fragile foundation for peace.



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The Rise of Fascism in Europe

Fascism in Europe
Image Credits: Medium

Fascism's rise in the 1920s and 1930s was marked by dictatorial power, suppression of democracy, and aggressive nationalism. In Italy, Benito Mussolini established a totalitarian regime following his March on Rome in 1922, advocating a strong, militarized state. In Germany, Adolf Hitler, who became Chancellor in 1933, established a fascist dictatorship under the guise of the Third Reich.

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