Rise of Mussolini and Facism in ItalyFascism arose in Europe after World War I when many people yearned for national unity and strong leadership. In Italy, Benito Mussolini used his charisma to establish a powerful fascist state.
ManchuriaJapan invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931, in hopes of finding raw materials to fuel its growing industries. With Japan running Manchuria the Japanese and Soviet armies clashed, resulting in a significant defeat for Japan. This lead other countries to harshly criticize Japan such as, the US. The Japanese felt it was only right to respond to this criticism in the form of Pearl Harbor, officially entering the US into WWII.
EthiopiaItaly invaded Ethiopia because they saw the invasion as an opportunity to provide land for poor Italians and also gain more mineral resources to fight off the effects of the Great Depression. Italy also attacked because of an incident in 1934, between Italian and Ethiopian troops, where 200 soldiers lost their lives. Both parties were cleared of the incident, but Mussolini felt Ethiopia should have been held accountable.
Germany’s RearmamentHitler revealed that Germany had begun to build an air force, and unveiled plans to reinstitute conscription and create an army of more than half a million men. Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations all issued statements condemning Hitler’s decision, but did little else to penalize Germany. Due to little response to Germany’s violations they were able to grow into the powerhouse that soon took over Europe.
Spanish Civil WarFrancisco Franco led a group of Catholic generals and half the Spanish Army against the liberal, elected Spanish government. An internal military revolt turned into an international struggle because of ideology and fascism won. In show of their support for the rebels, Germany sent the Condor Legion, a twelve-thousand-strong force equipped with bombers, fighters and tanks and Italy sent fifty thousand solders.
UnionGerman troops marched into Austria because of a “plea” for German help from inside the Austrian government (from a German agent). Hitler proposed a union, and a vote was held, where he gained a 99.7% approval for the union. Austria was absorbed by Germany and Nazis soon began their ruthless policy of persecuting political dissidents and all Jews.
CezchoslovakiaThe Munich Pact basically handed Czechoslovakia to Germany in the name of peace. Although the agreement was to give Hitler only the Sudentenland, where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over 66% of the nations coal, 70% of its iron and steel, and 70% of its electrical power. The Czech nation was left vulnerable to complete German domination, and it did so without much of a fight.
Invasion of PolandNazis wearing Polish uniforms staged an invasion of Germany, leaving dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms as “evidence”. Germany invaded in the name of “protection” but Britain and France demanded that Germany withdraw or face war. When Germany didn’t stop, Britain and France declared war, but little was done to stop Poland’s invasion and they soon fell to Germany, initiating WW2.