Causes of Second World War

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The war that started on 1st September 1939 A.D. and spread worldwide and lasted till 1945 A.D. causing huge destruction of lives and properties is known as Second World War. This note has information about the causes of the second world war.

Causes of Second World War

The war that started on 1st September 1939 A.D. and spread worldwide and lasted till 1945 A.D. causing huge destruction of lives and properties is known as Second World War. The following are the major causes of the war:

1. Treaty of Versailles

At the end of the first world war, a treaty was signed between the Allies group and Germany where Germany was badly humiliated. Germany had to accept the treaty with a knife in the throat. There was huge restriction in terms of military, weapons manufacturing and also had to pay 660 million pounds to Allies as war compensation. Such humiliation was not tolerable by the German people. This feeling of revenge led to the support of Adolf Hitler, who threatened world peace by violating the treaty that opened the door for second world war.


2. Rise of Hitler and Militarism

After World War I, German people suffered from several problems like unemployment. But Hitler established an arm industry which became source of employment for many German people. Then, he violated the treaty by not paying war compensation. The hardship caused due to World War I was not tolerable by German people and it led to increase in support to Hitler and his National Socialist Party (Nazi). When he got majority in German parliament and formed the government, he suspended the constitution and started to rule as a dictator. He captured Rhineland, increased his army and started to annex the German territories lost by Germany during first world war. Further, Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia and attacked Austria. Such aggressive activities became the cause of Second World War.


3. Rise of Communism

After the October Revolution of Russia in 1917 AD, the influence of communism spread widely around the world. To stop the influence in Europe, Japan and Germany had signed a treaty in 1936 AD called Anti Comintern Pact. In 1937 AD, Italy joined the treaty and was called Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis. After its formation, the countries started colonialism. America, France and Britain did not pay attention thinking that it would stop the spread of communism. But the Axis started to fulfill their personal interest which caused disturbance in world peace.


4. Economic Crisis and Rise of Dictators

During first world war, a large number of youths were killed. The scarcity of manpower was caused. Lack of production in factories caused hunger and starvation led to economic crisis worldwide. In such transitional period, the dictators won the heart of people by their attractive slogans. So, Hitler came in to the power in Germany, General Franco in Spain and Mussolini in Italy. Then the treaty was violated by all and no one could stop or check them.


5. Ambition of expansion:

The European countries like Britain, France had vast territories. Germany, Italy and Japan also wanted to colonize the other territories. To fulfill their dream, Germany occupied Austria, Italy occupied Ethiopia and Japan invaded Manchuria of China. Such attitude of expansion created unhealthy competition and rivalry among the countries. The European power was divided into two groups: Axis and Allies. During the 2nd World War, Britain, France, USA and Russia fought from the Allies side whereas Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain fought from the Axis side.


6. Failure of League of Nations

League of Nations was established to prevent the world from wars and maintain world peace. But Woodrow Wilson, who was the idea maker, his country USA never got the membership of the organization which weakened the organization and became the cause of the second world war.


7. Immediate Cause (Attack on Poland)

In 1939 A.D., Hitler demanded Dazing and Polish Corridor as he wanted to have access to sea. Furthermore, it was given to Poland after the Versailles treaty. So, Hitler signed a treaty with Russia, The Nazi-Soviet Pact, on 24th August, 1939 where both the countries agreed to divide Poland and annex it to their territories. On 1st September, 1939 Hitler invaded Poland. Britain and France jointly declared war against Germany and world war II started.



S. No.




1st September 1939

Germany attacks Poland; Second World War begins.


3rd September 1939

Britain and France criticize Germany for the attack, and announce war on Germany


9th April 1940

Germany attacks Denmark and Norway.


30th April 1940

Japan enters the war as Axis power.


1st May 1940

Germany attacks and captures Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg.


17th May 1940

Germany attacks France.


10th June 1940

Italy’s Mussolini announces war against Britain and France.


10th July 1940

Britain begins war.


28th October 1940

Italy attacks Greece.


6th April 1941

Germany attacks Greece and Yugoslavia.


21st April 1941

Greece surrenders.


22nd June 1941

Germany attacks Russia ignoring the Versailles treaty.


7th December 1941

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor where American armies were unaware.


8th December 1941

USA announces war against Axis powers Japan, Germany and Italy; USA joins the WWII.


27th February 1942

Battle of Java in the Pacific.


4th May 1942

Battle of the Coral Sea.


8th September 1943

Italy surrenders.


25th August 1944

Paris freed from German capture by Allied forces of Britain, Russia, France, and others; Big damage to Germany.


17th January 1945

Russia captures Warsaw in Poland.


12th April 1945

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies; Harry S. Truman elected President


28th April 1945

Italian Dictator Mussolini killed.


30th April 1945

German Dictator Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide.


7th May 1945

Germany surrenders in France.


6th August 1945

USA drops the first atom bomb Fat Man in Hiroshima of Japan.


9th August 1945

USA drops the second atom bomb Little Boy in Nagasaki of Japan.


12th September 1945

Japan surrenders; Second World War ends after 6 years and 11 days.

Things to remember
  • The war that started on 1st September 1939 A.D. and spread worldwide and lasted till 1945 A.D. causing huge destruction of lives and properties is known as Second World War
  • The following are the major causes of the war: Treaty of Versailles, Rise of Hitler and Militarism, Rise of communism, Economic crisis and rise of dictators, Ambition of expansion, Failure of League of Nations and Immediate Cause (Attack on Poland)
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for Causes of Second World War
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Captured Film -- Germany Invades Poland 1939
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Joseph Stalin - Man of Steel
Rise of Dictators: Stalin, Mussolini & Hitler
The Nazi-Soviet Pact: Russia's 5 year plans and World War
The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles in 1918 and its Consequences
World War II Documentary
World War II: Crash Course World History
World War II: How Did It Start?
Questions and Answers

Pearl Harbor event is associated to the attack and loss made to the American harbor by Japan during the Second World War.

Any two causes of the Second World War are:

  • Rise of two hostile groups.
  • Failure of League of Nations in maintains world peace.

The Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis means the alliance made against the communism of Russia among the rules of Italy, Germany and Japan.

I obviously agree with the statement. Our poor and back warded country can't face war battle to solve the border conflict but the solutions can be found through bilateral talks. We can't tackle because of lack of sources like armies, modern weapon etc.

The Versailles treaty was very dominating for Germany and it was looking for revenge against all its enemies as a result Second World War was caused.

Failure of League of Nations gave birth to the Second World War because it could not stop Japan from capturing Manchuria and Germany like countries from increasing the size of army, arms and ammunition that would breach the law of League of Nations.

Germany seems to be guiltier for the Second World War. Directly, the nations which compelled Germany to sign Versailles treaty do not seem guilty. It is so because these nations didn't declare war against Germany. At a one glance Germany seems guilty. Germany started the war. Therefore, if we analyze the contemporary situation, Germany seems guilty.
Germany lost 15% of its total land after the Second World War due to Versailles Treaty. More than this, Germany was insulted and forced to sign the treaty. Germany did not like the insult which took place even after it returned its land and paid compensation. Owing to this reason extreme nationalism, took place. And consequently, the Second World War broke out. So, these seem fully guilty.

The causes of the Second World War are as follows:

  • Failure of the league of nations
  • Europe isolation because of American's isolation
  • Unemployment
  • Economic crisis
  • Germany and Italy broke the Paris peace treaty
  • Threat of communism
  • Birth of the totalitarians and free attacks
  • Birth of stern nationalism and extremist parties
  • Political cause
  • The Spanish civil war
  • A prelude to the war
  • Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

In 1939, Hitler demanded Danzig and Polish Corridor, the way up to the ocean with Poland. Poland rejected the demand. Britain and France supported Poland. On 24 August 1939, Hitler signed treaty named Nazi-Soviet Pact with Russia. They agreed not to fight against each other for ten years and divided Poland and take its part to their kingdom. On 1st September, 1939 Hitler began war named Blitzkrieg or lightning against Poland. France and Britain declared war against Germany. After this the Second World War began.

Three reasons of Second World War are as follows:

  • Armament and militarism:Dictatorship emerged in various countries. Hitler started armament in Germany and started compulsory military training. Military budget was increased. Similarly, Russia, Japan, Italy and Britain paid for the heavy militarism.
  • Failure of league of nations:The League of Nations was not carefully designed. The founder country of USA itself did not take its membership. Therefore, the League of Nations was a complete failure. Germany attacked Austria, Czech, Japan over Manchuria and Italy over Ethiopia but the League of Nations was unable to do anything against such expansionist activities. This ultimately resulted in World War II.
  • Rome- Berlin-Tokyo Axis:In 1936, Hitler and Mussolini signed a treaty and it created Rome- Berlin axis. In the same year, Germany and japan signed an anticommunist treaty called anti-commenters pact. Thus, Germany –Tokyo pact was formed. Italy joined this pact in 1937. It brought about Berlin –Rome -Tokyo pact 1937. It proved to be a prominent cause of World War II.

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