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Causes of WWII – Rise of a dictatorship in Germany

The Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28th 1919 brought about many changes in the geographical divisions of many nations especially in Europe, Africa and USSR. It had economic implications on the world as a whole. However the most affected was Germany. In many ways rise of dictatorship in Germany was due to the treatment meted out to it after the World War I. There were many reasons for growing resentment in Germany.

  • Extreme immoderation in the amount to be paid to the League of Nations as war reparation. (The last payment of this amount was done on September 29th)
  • Occupation of Ruhr the coal fields of Germany by France. This invasion of France disabled Germany from giving its coal payments.
  • Demilitarisation of Rhineland.
  • Dissolving German general staff and France takeover of navy ships, heavy artillery, tanks and aircrafts infuriated Germany.

The people of Germany hated the moderate policies of Weimar Republic and were waiting for someone who would speak against the government. It was into this political scenario Adolf Hitler made his entry.


Rise of Adolf Hitler

In Germany Adolf Hitler joined the National German Social Workers or the Nazi Party. He was very skilful and vociferous in speaking against the existing rule and slowly grew in fame. He blamed the war and the Jews for Germany’s poor economy. In 1933 Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. When he came to power he jailed his critics and outlawed all other political parties thereby ensuring that no one would oppose his dictatorship. Hitler succeeded in getting almost the whole nation to think his way. The people of Germany were convinced that violence was the answer to their problems. The Germans were considered as the highest race and that the Jews who were “less than humans” had to be killed. With such a nation behind him it was easy for Hitler to perpetuate all atrocities against the Jews and rest of the world.

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Rise of Hitler as a Cause for WWI

The Treaty of Versailles was the prime cause for the unrest that spread over Europe especially in Germany. However what happened within Germany was also crucial for the onset of the Second World War. Communism, which propagated sharing of wealth equally, was not at all well received by most in Germany. There was a fear that communism would take hold in Germany. When Hitler came up with racist theory he was given full support. The power of Hitler was looked upon by the rest of world with shock and nothing much could be done against the atrocities perpetuated against the Jews. Benito Mussolini looked up to Hitler and at the same time feared him and was ready to support Hitler. In 1938 Austria was annexed to Germany and Prime Minister of Britain, Neville Chamberlain, got Germany to stop further invasions through the Munich Agreement. In return Germany was allowed to take parts of Czechoslovakia. However this peace did not last long because Germany attacked Poland on September 1st 1939. Britain and France realised that no peace talks would work with Germany and two days later declared war on Germany which set off World War II.