Sep 19, 2019 in Politics

Causes of the Second World War


Researchers in different spheres of science have come up with different explanations regarding possible causes of the Second World War. Scholars hold different views on its genesis. As a result, several theories have been developed in order to establish what really transpired before the war erupted between different states that were deemed antagonists. Nonetheless, it is worth highlighting that there are three main causes of the World War II. This paper will expound on these theories thoroughly explaining them with an aim of determining how they led to eruption of the Second World War.


Theoretical Explanation of the Causes of the Second World War

Generally, the Second World War was as a result of antagonism between the Allies and the Axis. Prussian militarism is deemed to be one of the main reasons why the war erupted. The concept has a long history lasting for 200 years. The militarism force developed in Germany made the country powerful. Eventually, leaders of the state such as Hitler were able to gain total control over other nations. Adolf Hitler is deemed to be another great reason for the eruption of the war. He was believed to be insane, as well as a political genius who was capable of fuelling Prussian militarism that once existed. Hitler was interested in expanding his territory in order to take control of the world. Appeasement was another reason that nations had risen against each other. Initially, France and Britain were capable of stopping Hitler’s intentions as German was still weak. Nonetheless, they ignored him giving him sufficient time to reorganize his army, making the country’s army strong again. France and Britain came to realize that they had blundered when it was too late. The aforementioned factors became the base for macro-theories that explain some of the reasons why the Second World War erupted

The German militarism is one of the macro-theories that explain why the war occurred. Its roots go back to the times when modern German territory was divided into many small independent kingdoms ruled by their absolute kings. Prussia, one of the German kingdoms, began militarising its people. Indeed, the militarization process took place for more than 200 years. Eventually, Germany became very powerful in terms of military strength. By the time the war erupted, the country was referred to as “a military that has a state.” Germany was a strict and an efficient military oriented country that was highly disciplined. Prussia developed militarism mentally enabling it to become a contemporary Sparta. Over 60% of its budget was allocated for purposes of expanding its military facilities. It was possible to sustain the system since a number of factors were considered. For instance, the Prussian king’s civil service was strict, professional, blindly obedient, and efficient. Militarists and conservative aristocrats held all major positions of the civil sector. On the other hand, education system of Prussia was another causative agent of the war. Students were taught on importance of working hard in addition to having the will to sacrifice their lives for the sake of prosperity of their kingdom.

The abovementioned factors were very important ingredients in relation to the eruption of the World War II. Germany had a well-trained team of military men. Moreover, the notion that the military sector must have remained loyal to its leaders helped create a well-structured form of communication in case of eruption of the war. As such, it became very easy for the German authority to break the war with other states. First, it was strong in terms of military. Second, it had highly disciplined forces.

Furthermore, the education acted as an early corrective measure during its preparation to engage in war. Therefore, before other countries realized that it was too late, Germany had created a strong and disciplined army, which started engaging in war with its rivals. Eventually, the simple conflict between few nations ended up becoming a world affair. The war saw several other nations, from different parts of the world, joining it. They sided with initiators of the war depending on whether they deemed them as their traditional allies. The war transformed to a full blown conflict affecting almost all regions of the world.

Expansionism Theory

Germany had created a strong and formidable team of military personnel. Moreover, the state had very strong ill will to use it. As such, it was easy since the country was able to expand its territories in a more rapid manner. The military was highly skilled in addition to having powerful diplomacy. The expansion of its territory was very significant as it led to increased population, as well as resources. The increment was very important given that German military required resources that could sustain it and expansion of its territories was the only way. The military advantage of the Prussia was, further, boosted by the entry of the industrial age. The expansionism theory reached its peak during the era of Bismarck. He was popularly referred to as “The Iron Chancellor”. He was considered a great diplomat, as well as a statesman. Therefore, he had a political goal and vision.

Bismarck wanted to unify all German states making it a great nation. His dream became a reality within less than ten years. Nonetheless, achieving this aim had its side effects as his military had to engage in war as well as diplomatic conflicts. Despite the fact that the expansionism theory died immediately after the First World War, it resurfaced back under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. After being elected as the German Chancellor in 1933, he quickly cancelled all democratic gains that had been made.

The move enabled him gain absolute power, thus, becoming a dictator. He continued with the expansionism agenda that continued to hold the concept that Germans were a superior race. According to Hitler’s assertions, German had the right to seize and acquire resources from other nations. As a result, his fame grew day by day across the German Republic. Neighbouring nations were concerned with the Hitler’s assertion of power and impact on people of the Republic of Germany. They perceived his rise in popularity and his political agenda as a possible future disaster. Eventually, Germany indulged in a diplomatic row with its neighbours among other European powers. Countries such as Britain, Russia, and France began creating counteractive strategies to combat the ever rising military strength of German. Ultimately, it went to a full blown war. France and Britain remained united against German. They fought its soldiers in order to avert its influence. Decision to fight German led the interested nations to joining the war, causing the Second World War.

Appeasement Theory

Hitler was a political prodigy as he used the appeasement or concession process to gain more resources in order to expand and increase his military strength. He knew very well that he could not actively resist dropping his political agenda in case Great Britain and France had demanded so in the first place. Leaders that were elected in Britain and France were tired of the occurrences of the First World War and they longed for peace. However, Hitler was able to initiate series of crises and demanded immediate appeasement processes. Therefore, Great Britain, as well as France, engaged in a series of logical flaws after being convinced to join an appeasement process on behalf of Germany.

The two nations made two logical errors, which eventually strengthened Hitler in initiating another world war. First, France and Britain believed that going to war would be a futile and fruitless mass carnage. The idea was especially strengthened by the fact that the political leaders in the two countries were still struggling on the traumas of the First World War. On the other hand, they believed that it was possible to appease Hitler even if it seemed as he was determined to expand German territory. They held the assertion that Hitler would stop making more demands and that he was principled against anything that could cause war. Therefore, they concluded that avoiding indulging to full blown war with Hitler’s Germany was reasonable. It was the biggest mistake that France and Britain ever made since Hitler had always explained his long term intentions and plans. He indicated both in his book and speeches that Germany had every right to control the world. For instance, Hitler succeeded in convincing France and Britain to force Czechoslovakia to surrender its contemporary military equipment. Czechoslovakia had pure intention; it wanted to protect itself from the ever increasing German influence. However, France and Britain, which were its traditional allies, opposed its idea and came to a consensus with the Hitler’s intention.

Eventually, Czechs gave up since they were pressurized to do so by both their enemies, as well as friends. They ended up in hands of Hitler leaving Czechoslovakia defenceless. Hitler’s military began regaining its strength. He was motivated to invade Czechoslovakia and seize some of its natural resources. In the long run, he gathered enough resources in preparations to another world war before France and Britain realized that they had been hoodwinked with the series of the appeasement processes. Therefore, appeasement is widely believed to be one of reasons why world’s nations engaged in the Second World War. After Germany succeeded in invading Austria it went ahead to attack Poland and things worsened. Another world war had already begun. If France and Britain had stood firm and refused any form of concession as Hitler demanded, Germany could have remained with a weak military and limited resources. Consequently, Hitler’s long-term plans could have flopped saving the world from another bloody war. Hitler believed that the only true race, which existed, came from Germany. Therefore, he had one main agenda in his mind, which was eradicating all Jews, communists, as well other people perceived to be weak from the face of the earth.

The Great Depression Theory

Germany was one of the countries that were heavily hit by the great economic depression. There was severe unemployment which acted as a credit for the rise of Nazi party. There was an increase in number of its membership. Eventually, Hitler got the power granting him a chance to implement his Nazi agenda. Consequently, many Germans began trusting him and his beliefs, as a consequence, following his instruction. Eventually, he was able to break the war with the Allies. Besides, his main agenda of fuelling hatred against Semites succeeded. Conversely, Hitler blamed Jews for the massive deaths that occurred during the Second World War.

Italian and Japanese Invasion to Their Neighbour’s Territories

Just like German, Italy wanted to expand its territory by grapping some parts of France. By then, it was under the leadership of Mussolini. He wanted to create another Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Region. As a result, Italy invaded Albania in 1939. Later on, Mussolini invaded Greece. The fascism ideologies expressed by Italians angered the Allies increasing the chances of occurrence of the Second World War.

Japan was one of the Axis countries that also caused aggression to the Allies to engage in a full war. Just like Germany and Italy, Japan invaded a number of Asian countries in order to secure raw materials or natural resources. Manchuria is one of the lands that Japan grabbed with an aim of controlling its resources. Japan also opted using its strong military men to solve its national challenges rather than using diplomatic means. It is worth highlighting that it had the strongest army in Asia. Its military might acted as an additional advantage as it wanted to invade other countries such as Philippines and China. In the end, there was increased tension in the region resulting in the war. In addition, there was increased tension between Japan and the US as both countries had almost equal economies. This is probably another factor that is thought to have paved way for the Second World War.


Three main countries were classified as the Axis as they were the main initiators of the war. Germany represented Nazism, Japan imperialism, and Italy expressed fascism, which eventually angered their immediate neighbours. The three countries had a strong sense of superiority, a factor that increased their propensity to practice different nationalism ideologies. The main reason why they invaded other countries was the desire to expand their territories. Eventually, they went ahead to the grabbed lands and made them legally theirs. Another major factor that led to the Second World War was the militarism aspect. The Axis were motivated to break the war with the allies as a result of their strong military and vast accumulation of wealth.

Moreover, the Axis’s decision to invade other nations’ territories angered the Allies to retaliate. Therefore, they engaged in the conflict, which later turned to be the Second World War. Nonetheless, many political scientists perceive the World War II as a continuation of the first one. One person that appears every time whenever anything to do with the Second World War is mentioned is Adolf Hitler. His leadership style was composed of hatred towards the Allies. He felt that Germans were unfairly targeted during signing of treaty after the end of the First World War. According to him, they were forced to pay hefty penalties as reparation fees to the Allies as a result of damages they brought during the World War I. Therefore, being elected as the German Chancellor under Nazi Party, he pulled “the first trigger” that later caught attention of other Axis to start the Second World War.


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