After World War I, the world was a chaotic muddle of unresolved issues including international distrust, resented economic hardship, and repressed feelings. Political conditions that existed after World War One created a tense atmosphere filled with international distrust, and aggression. Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the war, did little to address the unresolved issues and actually promoted international distrust and resentment. Harsh economic conditions devastated millions of people in Europe and around the globe. Strong feelings of resentment, guilt, and fierce anger plagued the disillusioned citizens of the countries involved, and overrode thoughts of reason in much of the world. If world leaders had addressed these issues and taken steps to create international trust, cooperate to lessen economic burdens, and defuse resentment among Europe s citizens, World War II could have been avoided.
If post World War I conditions had been different, World War II might not have happened, and could have perhaps been avoided completely. The growing tension of the intense political atmosphere that formed during the post World War I years was a major cause of World War II that could have been altered to avoid the second world war. Offended by the Treaty of Versailles, which was extremely harsh, and desperate to re-establish a sense of pride in their country, Germans all shared the common goal of attaining full restoration of the glory of Germany s past. Hitler, who passionately shared this goal with the German people, was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Immediately after Hitler gained power in Germany, he began to directly violate the Treaty of Versailles. In 1935, Hitler announced his intent to rearm Germany, which openly defied the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
This was the first opportunity the Allied powers had to step in and stop Hitler from any future action. Although he openly disregard e the Versailles Treaty, not one single country intervened and took action towards Hitler, only encouraging him, and enforcing that defying the treaty would go unpunished. If this condition had been different that is had Hitler been stopped at this point, he would not have gone nearly as far as he did. Yet the League of Nations took no action and Great Britain and France did nothing more than send protests to Hitler. In the fall of 1936, the two dictators from Italy and Germany, Mussolini and Hitler, formed the Rome-Berlin Axis Alliance. The Treaty of Versailles prohibited the creation of alliances, thus this political action of the two leaders directly violated this treaty.
Once again, the treaty that was supposed to keep peace and ensure that there are no future wars, was ignored with no reprimand. If another nation had done something to stop what was going on with the totalitarian governments, the war could have been avoided because Germany could not conquer all of Europe alone. Hitler began to claim that surrounding territories were rightfully Germany s, and moved to re-claim them. Still not one other nation intervened.
Some, such as Czechoslovakia, were even advised to give in to Germany and make every possible effort to avoid war. Although the intent of this action was to prevent war from occurring, it actually had reverse effects. By failing to enforce the terms of the Treaty, the Allied powers only succeeded in giving the German and the Axis powers more time to build up their armies. Had the Allied forces dealt forcefully to enforce the Treaty limitations on Germany s ability to conduct war, World War II may have been avoided.
Additionally if the Allied forces had addressed some of the harsher economic measures in the Treaty, they may have helped avoid a second world war. The economic effects of World War I were a major contributing cause of World War II. If the countries involved could somehow find a way to get over the economic problems that they were all going through, there probably would not have been as much tension between the different nations. At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious Allied forces demanded that Germany pay the Allied powers for their cost in waging the war. In effect, this required that Germany pay for the cost of waging the war on both sides -it had to pay for its own military during the war and then reimburse the allies for their military expenses after the war. These reparation payments were particularly burdensome because the German economy was completely devastated by the war.
Thus, Germany was forced to make large payments to the Allies at a time when it had a faltering economy even without the reparation payments. Because these other powers continued to force Germany to pay them with money they didn t have for something they didn t think they should even be paying for in the first place, tensions rose. Had the Versailles Treaty not been so harsh, and credited other things aside from Germany as the cause of World War I, the Germans would not have been so unhappy, contributing to the possible avoidance of World War II. Because all of the nations, Germany especially, were in a bad economic situation, Hitler organized a program to create a new Industry, thus creating new jobs, and a new market for the German people. The Industry he proposed to create was one having to do with the rearmament of Germany.
The rearmament of Germany meant jobs in arms industries, ammunition production, and many other things. Had any other country assisted Germany in their financial troubles, Hitler would not have sought out this new market to provide jobs for the German people, possibly avoiding the rearmament of Germany entirely, thus avoiding the war. Finally, the overall world economy made it highly unlikely that Germany would be able to re-negotiate those payments or obtain a forgiveness of its war debts. By the early 1930's, s worldwide depression engulfed the economies of the former allies, decreasing the chances that those allies would be willing to forgive the debts owed by the German people. If the world leaders at the time had been sympathetic to the dilemma of the German people and forgiven these war debts, they could have minimized the growing tensions between Germany and the other countries, perhaps making the evading of World War II possible.
Additionally, those world leaders could have lessened the possibility of World War II by addressing social issues in Germany. The Second World War might have been avoided if the leaders had addressed the social conditions that arose in Germany as a result of the First World War. At the conclusion of World War I, the German people resented that they were blamed entirely for the war and were required by the Treaty of Versailles to pay for the war effort. They were stripped of their pride and honor. Furthermore, within Germany, that resentment was focused on foreign nations and "outsiders" within Germany who were blamed for the defeat. The German unrest was intensified by the terms of the Treaty that required the German nation to surrender claim to various lands, which Germany believed to be part of its nation.
The loss of the Sudetenland Territory was a particular blow to German pride, as close to 3 million Germans resided there, and the Germans believed that this was unquestionably a part of their nation. Because of these feelings that the territories rightfully belonged to them, Germany took the offensive, violently in gaining back the territories they had lost at the close of World War I. If the Treaty of Versailles had been fairer to the Germans, and had not stripped away such a large amount of its territories, perhaps Germany would not have started to try to take over neighboring countries. Within Germany, this sense of resentment and the loss of national territories led to the strong nationalistic party that was based on hatred of foreigners who had led to the German disgrace.
Adolph Hitler, whose book Mein Kampf, talked about restoring German pride and supremacy, captured this nationalistic sense. World leaders could have addressed this growing social resentment and discontent in Germany by treating the German people and government as equal participants in the First World War, not as the sole cause of that War. Could World War Two have been avoided, given the political, economic, and social conditions that were caused by World War One Unquestionably, these conditions made the outbreak of the Second World War likely. However, if world leaders had diligently fought for peace and addressed those conditions, World War II could have been avoided completely.
The other countries ignored the German political offensive moves, encouraging them to continue. After World War One, the victorious Allied forces sought to punish the defeated German by forcing them to pay enormous war debts and forfeiting territories to the victors. As a result, the German people became increasingly embittered and resentful and finally turned to a political leader who fed their growing nationalistic hatred of all people and governments that were not pure Germans. If the world leaders had not sought to exact a punishment, but had recognized that all parties shared blame for World War One, they could have potentially avoided the carnage of the Second World War.