The shadow of another World War was following the League of Nations. Though it was formed with all good intentions of disarmament and prevention of war, the outcome of the Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919 was something different. The impractical division of nations, forming new nations, the appeasement policies led to another world war. So it can be said that soon after the WWI the field was getting ready for another world war. There were many invasions and incursions, breaking of pacts by Italy, Germany and Japan and all this were only adding to the causes of WWII. But the immediate or the final cause was the attack on Poland by Germany.
The Role of Russia
Communism took its roots during the second half of the 19th Century with Karl Marx heading this movement. Friedrich Engels of Germany had similar ideas and when both met the communist theories took root especially in Russia. During the leadership of Stalin in Russia more stringent policies were introduced to the communist ideas, especially the community living. The influence of communism began to spread into Europe and this was unsettling for many European leaders. German and Italy’s fascism were in a way reaction to the socialist and communist uprisings. So along with military advancements, spread of communism was a cause for the war.
The Bolsheviks who supported communism took power in Russia in 1917. They wanted to spread communism the world over and for this military help was sought. In Hungary, Azerbaijan Georgia, Armenia and Bavaria the communist regime was set up. The expansion of the Red ( as their flag was red) was stopped outside Warsaw by the Polish army. By 1920, some of the Border States west of Russia formed a corridor of states which were against communism. Between 1919 and 1939 Poland had to strike a balance between Nazi Germany and USSR to ensure that both did not attack Poland.
The Course of Events that led to the War
- Germany wanted to unify all the ethnic groups in Europe.
- Advancements made into Czechoslovakia were not stopped by Britain and France. This emboldened Germany to attack Poland.
- Germany demanded that Poland join the Anti-Comintern Pact which was formed early in 1939 and to function as a satellite state of Germany.
- Germany also signed the Nazi – Soviet Pact in which Germany and Russia agreed to divide Poland into two and make a German sector and Russian sector.
- All this was not accepted by Poland and Poland did not join the Anti-comintern Pact. So Germany declared war on Poland.
Britain and France had adopted the policy of appeasement and gave a long rein to Germany. Germany made the best use of it and captured region after region. Poland was the last on the cards. By then Britain and France warned Germany not to attack Poland but Germany went ahead and attacked Poland in September 1939. With this Britain and France declared war on Germany and soon it became a world war.