Poland invasion

The events that led to the outbreak of WWII

  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    At the end of World War I French and Belgian leaders wanted compensation from Germany for the damage their countries suffered during the war, so they asked Germany to pay $30 billion, to agree the "guilt clause" and to restrict her army. Germany resented the guilt clause and it was obvious that Germany wouldn't be able to meet the payments, because of the ruined economy.
  • France-Poland agreement

    France and Poland made a secret military agreement, specifying that if Germany attacked either nation, the other would assist in defense. If Poland was attacked by Soviet Russia, France was to hold Germany in check on land and at sea.
  • Benito Mussolini and the fascist party

    Benito Mussolini and the fascist party
    In Italy Benito Mussolini came to power. He created a fascist government, opposed to democracy and extremely nationalistic, relying on military and police power to maintain absolute control. Mussolini controlled all media and soon there were fascist parties based on Mussolini's system in many countries.
  • Josef Stalin's Five Year Plan

    Josef Stalin's Five Year Plan
    In the Soviet Union Josef Stalin took over as leader of the Communist Party. Stalin, "the man of steel", introduced a strict Five-Year Plan, an agricultural and economic policy that caused the death of millions of Soviet workers. This plan is part of the totalitarian government, which included the Communist Party to control every aspect of Soviet people's lives.
  • Germany's economy problems

    Germany's economy problems
    Germany was printing large amounts of money in order to make reparations to its economy and during the 1920s the result was a high inflation and a decline of the value of the German currency. To control this inflation, Britain, France and the United States agreed to change the terms for Germany's reparation payments. Germany was recovering, but when the stock markets collapsed in 1929 the German economy was particularly affected.
  • Japan invades Manchuria

    Japan invades Manchuria
    Japan invaded the Chinese industrial province of Manchuria. The Chinese government appealed to the League of Nations to take punitive action against Japan. The League was supposed to maintain world peace, but it proved to be ineffective. When it condemned Japan's action and Japan's responded by withdrawing its membership from the League.
  • German debt relief

    At a Conference in Lausanne, the Allies agree to cancel war reparation payments by Germany.
    By 1933, Germany had made World War I reparations of only one eighth of the sum required under the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany

    Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany
    Since 1923 Hitler had been gathering support by criticizing the weak German government and the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles. In these 3 months Hitler became from Chancellor of Germany to the Head of the German Parliament. Once in power he and his Nazi Party stopped all the reparation payments and started an expansion of the armed forces, violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. They also abolished all other political parties and started ruling the country through fear.
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    Second Italo-Abyssinian War

    Italy attacked Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, one of the few independent African nations, ignoring the agreements she made at the end of World War I. The Ethiopian fought hard against the Italians and won the support of the rest of the world. The League of Nations immediately voted to impose sanctions against Italy, but these sanctions did not include oil, the crucial import for Italy. For the second time, the League was not doing what it was supposed to do.
  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

    Remilitarization of the Rhineland
    Hitler ordered the German military forces to enter the Rhineland, an area along Germany's western border demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles.The Nazi Party leader was sure his actions would go unpunished by the League of Nations, and he was right.
  • Japan invades China again

    In North China, Japanese soldiers provoked the Chinese near the Marco Polo Bridge, starting a war.
  • Hitler takes over Austria

    Hitler takes over Austria
    This event, called the Anschluss, was among the first major steps of Adolf Hitler's creation of a Greater German Reich, which was to include all of the German-speaking lands, and territories which Germany had lost after World War I, although Austria had never been a part of Germany.
  • Russian war plan

    Russian Army Commander B.M. Shaposhnikov produces a war plan, proposing a Red Army offensive or counter-offensive either north or south of the Pripet marshes, with a strong defence in the other sector.
  • Conference in Munich

    Conference in Munich
    After Germany took over Austria, Hitler demanded the right to take over the Sudetenland, the German-speaking region in western Czechoslovakia. In September 1938, at a conference in Munich, Britain and France agreed. Hitler pledged that this would be his last demand. This agreement is called "appeasement", i.e. when many leaders make concessions in order to prevent the start of a war.
  • Kristallnacht

    The Nazi Party was deeply racist. Its members believed the German people were a "master race”, called the "Aryans". The most discriminated people were the Jews. The Nazis encouraged mobs to destroy their properties. The most notable event of this phenomenon was November 9, 1938, when a lot of Jewish people where killed and their businesses attacked.
  • Hitler ignores his pledge

    Hitler ignored his pledge to Britain and France and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia. Western leaders were beginning to fear that only war would stop Hitler from invading the rest of Europe.
  • Italian invasion of Albania

    Italy invaded and annexed Albania.
  • Non-agression pact

    Non-agression pact
    Hitler wanted to invade Poland, but this meant to start a war with the Soviet Union, so he decided to sign a non-agression pact with Joseph Stalin.
    Both leaders pledged not to fight each other if one of them went on war and they agreed to divide Poland between them.
  • Germany invades Poland

    Germany invades Poland
    Germany, free to make its move after the non-agression pact, invaded Poland and bitter fighting followed.
  • Britain and France declared war on Germany

    Britain and France ordered Germany out of Poland. When Germany ignored this deadline, Britain and France declared war on Germany. This marked the beginning of World War II.