World War II Causes and Timeline A Complete Overview

World War II: Causes and Timeline | An Overview 

World War II is considered as one of the bloodiest and largest wars in history. The principal countries involved were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan. And on the other hand, the Allies—France, Great Britain, USA, the Soviet Union and China. World war I created instability in Europe, which indeed set the stage for another conflict – World War II. The war broke two years later and proved to be even more devastating. The rising power in the unstable economy of Germany, Adolf Hitler reared the nation. He started signing treaties with Japan and Italy to further his ambitions of World domination. 

Causes of World War II 

There are various causes of the advent of World War II. Some of them are:

  • Treaty of Versailles 

The Treaty was very harsh against Germany. The Versailles Treaty ended World War I between Germany and the Allied powers. Germany lost the war and was pressurized to accept the responsibility of the war damages. Consequently, the country’s economy was left in ruins, which led people starving. 

  • Expansion of Japanese 

Japan was growing rapidly before World War II. It was an island nation and did not have land or resources to sustain their growth. Japan began to look for ways to gain new resources. It invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937.

  • Fascist government

After World War I, dictators took over some countries who formed the Fascist government. The dictators wanted to expand their empire and were looking for new lands to conquer. The first Fascist government formed was Italy. Fascist dictator, Mussolini ruled Italy. Adolf Hitler took over Germany. Another Fascist government formed was in Spain ruled by the dictator Franco. 

  • Nazi party and Hitler 

Hitler and the Nazi party became an authority in Germany. The Germans wanted someone to turn around their economy and restore their national pride. Hitler declared himself as the leader (Fuhrer) of Germany. Later he became the dictator of Germany. He began to rearm Germany while talking about peace. Hitler looked for ways to restore its power by expanding its empire. Firstly, he took over Austria in 1938. When the League of Nations didn’t stop him, he took over Czechoslovakia also in 1938. This was one of the reasons for World War II. 

  • Great Depression 

Before the advent of World War II, the economy was suffering much throughout the world. It came to be known as the Great Depression. The worldwide turmoil led to world war II. 

Timeline of Events in World War II 

The major events that took place between 1918 and 1941 sparked the first phase of World War II. The Timeline of events are:

Events before World War II

  • January 30, 1933 – Adolf Hitler appointed as a Chancellor of Germany. His Nazi Party took over power and Hitler is essentially the dictator of Germany.
  • October 25, 1936 – The Nazi party of Germany and Fascist Italy formed the Rome-Berlin Axis treaty. 
  • November 25, 1936 – The Nazi party and Imperial Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. The pact was against communism and Russia. 
  • March 12, 1938 – Hitler took over the country of Austria into Germany. It was also called the Anschluss.
  • September 1, 1939 – Germany conquered Poland. As a result, World War II begins. 

Events during World War II

  • September 3, 1939 –  France as well as Great Britain declared war on Germany. 
  • May 10 to June 22, 1940 – Germany uses strikes called blitzkrieg, meaning lightning war. The aim was to take over much of western Europe including the Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France. 
  • May 30, 1940 – Winston Churchill became Prime minister of the British government. 
  • September 22, 1940 – The Tripartite Pact signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan created the Axis Alliance. 
  • June 22, 1941 – Germany and the Axis alliances attack Russia with a huge force of over four million troops. 
  • December 7, 1941 – The Japanese attacked the US Navy in Pearl Harbour. As a result, the next day the US enters World War II on the side of the Allies alliance. 
  • June 4, 1942 – The US Navy defeated the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway. 
  • July 10, 1942 – The Allies invade and take over the island of Sicily. 
  • September 3, 1943 – Italy surrenders to the Allies forces. However Hitler helped Mussolini to escape and set up a government in Northern Italy. 
  • June 6, 1944 – Allied forces captured France and pushed back the Germans. 
  • December 16, 1944 – Germany launched a large attack in the Battle of the Bulge against Allies. Clearly, they lost sealing the fate of the German army. 
  • 1945 April 12 – US President Franklin Roosevelt dies. President Harry Truman succeeded him.

  • April 30, 1945 – Adolf Hitler commits suicide as he knew Germany has lost the war and he had to eventually surrender. 
  • May 7, 1945 – Germany surrenders to the Allied forces. 
  • August 6, 1945– The United States dropped the Atomic Bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The city was completely devastated. 
  • August 9, 1945 – Another atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. 
  • September 2,1945 – Japan surrenders to General of the United States, Douglass MacArthur and the Allied powers.

World War II destroyed lives, land, and property around the globe. An estimate of 40-60 million people was killed, out of which 6 million were Jews. They were murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of Hitler’s diabolical “Final Solution,” now known as the Holocaust.

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