Causes of World War Two

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Module 1: Causes of World War II ­ Answers
1. The American Stock Market Crashed in 1929 because:
In the 1920s, the USA was the most prosperous country in the world with high wages and mass production of goods.
The `Booming Twenties' saw billions of dollars loaned by the USA to help Europe recover from WWI. American
companies were selling lots of goods so people borrowed money to buy shares in them.
But problems started to emerge because many American producers overproduced ­ there was too much supply and
not enough demand.
There was competition from countries like Japan.
People realised companies were doing badly and rushed to sell their shares
By October 1929 the selling was frantic and prices dropped because people no longer wanted to buy shares at high
So businesses collapsed and thousands of people were ruined. This was the start of the Great Depression.
2. The Depression made the League's work more Difficult because:
The depression caused widespread poverty. People were more likely to support extreme right-wing leaders ­ hoping
they'd provide a strong government
Damaged the Japanese economy and prompted the Japanese military to seek solutions by invading neighbouring
China in 1931 ­ the Manchurian Crisis.
Damaged Italian trade which prompted Italy to seek economic solutions, resources, by invading Abyssinia.
In 1933 the Nazis led by Hitler were elected in Germany. The Nazis wanted to defy the League of Nations by
overturning the Treaty of Versailles, who in turn embarked upon a war-like foreign policy
The Depression meant that countries like Britain and France were less willing to help the League by getting involved in
resolving international conflicts. They wanted to concentrate on dealing with domestic problems.
3. Impact of the Great Depression in other Industrial Countries:
Most industrial countries were affected ­ banks failed, industries struggled, and trade ground to a halt. The least
affected country was the USSR, which had a communist system.
Within three years there were over 2.5 million people unemployed in Britain and more than 30 million unemployed
in the industrial countries in the West.
Germany, which had relied on American loans was particularly badly affected with banks failing, exports suffering
and unemployment rising to over 6 million Germans by 1932.
4. The Depression caused big problems in America:
In 1929 the USA stopped lending money abroad and call in its loans
By 1930 nearly 2000 banks collapsed as people rushed to withdraw savings
Three years later there were over 12 million people unemployed in the USA.
5. Steps in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria:
Japan suffered more than most countries in the Great Depression. It was a small country with no raw materials and
its economic well being depended on exporting enough silk to be able to pay for import essential items. In the Great
Depression America put tariffs on Japanese goods in order to protect its own industries. As Japan found it more
difficult to export its goods, its economy suffered... and just next door was China which was filled with raw materials.
Japan had a large army and navy. Since 1905 it had controlled the territory of the South Manchurian Railway.
September 1931 - Japanese claimed Chinese soldiers had sabotaged their Manchurian railway in Korea and invaded
The Japanese pretended to give Manchuria independence by putting a weak leader called Puyi (who'd been the last
emperor of China) on the throne so they could control him.
January-March 1932 - Japan attacked and captured the city of Shanghai so China appealed to the League of nations
April 1932 ­ League responded by sending Lord Lytton to report on the matter
February 1933 - a special assembly of the League voted against Japan, so the Japanese walked out.
The League could not agree on sanctions and Britain and France were not prepared to send an army so Japan
invaded the rest of China.
6. The League failed to respond because of:
Indecisive ­ Not taken extremely seriously as it did not affect France and Britain and they were the main countries in
the League of Nations
Moral power ­If a country did not listen to the league's warning there would be no further trouble from them since
they were powerless. Did not have support of important country with lots of power e.g. the USA or Soviet ­ could not
apply economic punishment ­ moral force was weaker without backing of powerful country.

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No army ­ No military action to physically prevent Japanese invasion. Made it much weaker. Would have been
unrealistic to send out an army ­ too far.
7. The League was Weakened because:
Japan refused to accept Lord Lytton's report and withdrew from the League in 1933
In 1933 the Japanese invaded China's Jehol Province, which bordered Manchuria.…read more

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Britain and France didn't enter the war which showed them to be easy targets for the future because they were not
preparing for warfare
13. Treaty Versailles was helpful to Hitler's foreign policy because:
Defied the authority of League of Nations by pushing the limits put on Germany
By exploiting the Treaty of Versailles in small innocent steps which were hard to punish
14. Hitler's Foreign policy:
To destroy the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany after her defeat in World War I.…read more

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Neither Britain nor France took any military action against Hitler. The British believed that the Treaty of Versailles was too
harsh. There was no way that Britain would go to war to enforce a clause in the treaty which it did not agree with. Hitler
saw this as further proof that Britain and France were not prepared to take action to stop him.
17. Hitler's process of Reoccupying the Rhineland:
1.…read more

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Chamberlain gave a speech saying that he could not trust Hitler not to invade other countries.
Chamberlain guaranteed to defend Poland if Germany invaded.
23. In March 1939 Hitler took over the rest of Czechoslovakia:
After losing the Sudetenland Czechoslovakia began to descend into anarchy. Slovakia began to demand
Hitler persuaded the Czech president to allow German troops in to `restore order.'
On 15 March 1939, German troops marched into Czechoslovakia. They took over Bohemia, and established a
protectorate over Slovakia.…read more


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