The Road to War While the Depression was taking place world

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  • 1. The Road to War


  • While the Depression was taking place world wide, so was the prospect of war.
  • Dissention in Europe had brought about many changes in the social/political scene.Fall out from WWI, the Great Depression, and the immigrant problem within the European countries forced the established governments to deal with these problems or be voted out.
  • Since WWI, most of the European countries, except Russia, were some form of Democracy, Germany, France, Spain, England, etc.


  • There were still ill-feelings within Europe from the war.
  • Many of the countries that were forced to pay reparations were unable to due to the Depression.This caused many of the loans given by US banks & private citizens to fall through.England & France stated they could only pay the US when they received reparation payments from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, etc.
  • Most of these countries were already financially devastated before the Depression.

4. USA

  • Isolationism prominent feelings since the 1920s.Deal with the problems in the US & not worried about what is happening overseas.
  • FDR was opposed to the US being in the League of Nations.
  • The US tried to maintain trade relations with many of the Allied & Axis powers.
  • The Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928 delegates from 62 countries signed the pact to outlaw war.It was also called the Pact of Paris & followed some of the tenets of the League of Nations.

5. Germany

  • Became a democratic republic (Weimar) in 1918.
  • Government officials were elected by popular vote.
  • A young, WWI veteran, Adolf Hitler, began his political career in the 1920s.He was a failed artist, who was caught up in the anti-immigrant feelings that were very prominent in Germany.He slowly gets a small following of like-minded thugs that become known as the Brown Shirts ( later they would be called the SA).This is the fore runner of the SS.


  • The Beer Hall Putsch- Hitlers 1 streal test.The SA led a small revolt that started in a beer hall.Quickly put down by the police, several SA members were killed.Hitler was arrested & sent to prison.It is here that he writes his best-selling bookMein Kampf .
  • Upon his release, the National Socialist Party of Germany (NAZI) were going to be a dominating factor of German politics.
  • Hitler is elected, by popular vote, to the position of Chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933.
  • He soon becomes dictator. The Reichsfuhrer.


  • Once Hitler dominates Germany, he begins to build up its military substantially.
  • In direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles & the League of Nations, Hitler openly builds up the German war machine.
  • The rest of the world is too busy worrying about the depression, to be concerned with Hitler.
  • By 1935, Hitler invades & takes the Saar region, between Germany & France.


  • March 1936 Hitler invades & takes the Rhineland.Again, between Germany & France.
  • Sept. 1938 Hitler invades & takes Austria and the Sudetenland.Territory that belonged to Czechoslovakia.
  • March 1939 Hitler takes the rest of Czechoslovakia.
  • Aug. 1939 Hitler signs a non-aggression pact with Stalin, saying the Germany will not invade Russia.
  • Why was Germany allowed to invade other countries?

9. Italy

  • The King of Italy Emanuel III allows Benito Mussolini to become Premier of Italy in 1922.Mussolini, Il Duce, the Leader, basically becomes dictator of Italy by 1925.
  • He leads Italy into new prosperity & a revival of Italian pride & culture.
  • He wanted to renew the glory that was Rome, much in the same way that Hitler wanted to revive the Holy Roman Empireor Prussia.


  • Mussolini was a large, charismatic, gregarious man.He enjoyed his wine, women & song & basically lived the life.
  • Mussolini used the Fascist party to propel him into power, a mixture of nationalism & socialism, but later did away with all political parties.Almost the same way Hitler came to power.
  • During the later 1920s, Italy enjoyed relative prosperity & growth.Even into the 1930s.By Oct. 1935, Italy invades & takes over Ethiopia, & made their way into Libya.


  • Italy no had a foot hold in North Africa.Beside England, who had occupied Egypt, & Francewho were in Morocco & Algeria.
  • April 1939 Italy invades Albania.Giving Italy a foot hold in Balkans.
  • Oct. 1940 Italy invades Greece.Also, they launch an attack on Egypt.But had to have German help to take these countries.
  • The League of Nations stilldid nothing.

12. Japan

  • A growing power in Asia since the late 1800s.
  • Establish a foot hold in Asia by obtaining Korea in the Treaty of Portsmouth.Slowly working their way into the Chinese countryside.Also, expanding their navy into the south Pacific.
  • During WWI, Japan took a lot of territory that was Germanys.


  • Japan also pushed into northern China by the end of WWI.Manchuria, which the Japanese would rename Manchukuo, had vital RR lines the Japanese needed for supplies.
  • Japanese officials met with US officials after WWI to discuss & finally agree that Japan has special interests in China.
  • Both China & Japan are allies of the US.
  • But through the 1920s & 1930s that relationship would deteriorate.


  • Many agreements, pacts, & treaties were signed by the US, Japan, & many European countries on everything from trade to military build up, to disarmament.
  • Tensions were increasing globally, but no one really wanted to do anything about it.
  • From 1931 on,Japan & China were at war.
  • Japan quit the League of Nations & severed most ties with the Gaijin foreigners.
  • As the Nazis took Germany & the Fascists took Italy, the Militarists (Hirohito) would take Japan.

15. Spain

  • As Germany & Italy were busy expanding their borders, the democratic government of Spain was overthrown by a military revolt.
  • July 1936 Gen. Francisco Franco led the revolt against the established (and recognized) democratic government of Spain.
  • He became known as El Caudillo The Leader!
  • All of the dictators in Europe sent aid to Franco, Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin, all wanted Franco on their side.The US England & France stayed out of it all together.
  • By March of 1939 Franco would control Spain.Did a great job!

16. The Powers Unite

  • Anti-Comintern Pact 1937 Germany, Italy & Japan sign an agreement to fight against the communist threat.This is actually the foundation for a later treaty making them allies for a common cause.
  • As the rest of the world stood by & allowed countries to be taken over, with little or no protest.No one tried to stop any of the invasions or governmental overthrow, why stop now?


  • Sept. 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland.This begins the war in Europe, because England & France finally own up to their agreement to assist if Poland is invaded.
  • They had the same agreements with Czech., Lithuania, etc., but left them high & dry.
  • The US had treaties with these nations also, did nothing about it.Abandoned Spain, Czech., etc.
  • But now England & France are in the war, what does the US do?


  • US considered it a European War & not our problem.Even though the US did sympathize with the western European democracies (those that were left).Plus the fear of the growing dictatorships threatened national security.But not enough to get the US actively involved.
  • The Neutrality Act of 1935 outlawed the sale of weapons & ammo to countries that the Pres. deemed a state of war existed.
  • The US hoped to remain neutral at all costs.Increasing isolationist sentiment growing within the US


  • Dec. 12, 1937 Japanese bombers attack & sink the USS Panay, an American gunboat, that was anchored on the Yangtze River.The Japanese apologized, claiming they thought it was a Chinese ship (it had been flying the US Flag).They made reparations, but animosity was growing against Japan & quickly.
  • The Ludlow Amendment 1938 would require a public referendum for a declaration of war, except when attacked.It did not pass, but came very close.An indication of how much the US wanted to stay out of the impending war.


  • FDR proposed to deal with England & France on a cash & carry basis, but Congress would not allow it.After considerable discussion, the Neutrality Act of 1935 was amended.
  • The Neutrality Act of 1939 England & France would be allowed to send ships to the US, & purchase any supplies (with CASH) that they needed.US ships were not allowed to dock at ports of countries that were at war.All of this was brought on by Germanys invasion of