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Main Causes Of World War II

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Published: Fri, 19 May 2017

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941- a date which will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) These are the beginning words of President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Speech. He made this famous speech on December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

There were three specific events that helped lead to World War II. The attack by the Japanese on the naval base Pearl Harbor is what brought America into the war. The formation of the Nazi Party was also a reason for much turmoil in Europe. One of the biggest reasons for war in Europe was the ruling of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was able to take a small political party and turn it in to an outstanding army.

The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese brought devastation and turmoil to the already hurting America. At this time America had elected their new president, Franklin Roosevelt, in hopes that he could bring them out of the great depression that they were suffering through. The Great Depression was causing unemployment rates to skyrocket across the country, and something needed to be done.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the Sunday morning of December 7, 1941. The Japanese planes were mistaken for friendly aircrafts on the base’s radars.

Pearl Harbor was a naval base, positioned in Hawaii. This naval base was home to some of the biggest battleships in the United States’ navy. One of these great battleships was the U.S.S Arizona. (Vandivor)

In an interview, George Phraner, former Aviation Machinist aboard the U.S.S Arizona said, “Behind me, a marine lay dead on the deck, his body split in two. I began to realize there were dead men all around me.” (Phraner) This quote shows how bloody and frantic this attack was.

In another interview of the Navy Seamen aboard the U.S.S California, John H. McGoran said this, “Only one who was there can fully appreciate what took place.”(McGoran)

The Japanese attacked in two waves, sinking or damaging all eight battleships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Over 350 aircrafts were destroyed or severely damaged. More than 3,500 people were killed or injured in those waves of attacks by the Japanese planes (Pearlharbor.org).

The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt gave his famous Pearl Harbor speech, and declared war against the Empire of Japan.

Some believe that World War II is what brought us out of our Great Depression. The war gave thousands of Americans a job. Women went to work in factories making tanks, aircrafts, and weapons to support the war. The men went to war fighting for their country.

The formation of the Nazi Party brought a quick start to World War II in Europe. In the year 1919, Anton Drexler, Godfried Feder and Dietrich Eckhart, formed the German Workers Party in Munich. This was considered a left-wing revolutionary group by the German Army. The German Army got worried and sent a young man named Adolf Hitler, who was one of the army’s education officers, to go behind the lines of this new party that had just formed (Kudlinski).

Soon, Hitler discovered that the political opinions of the German Workers Party were very close to his own views. Hitler approved of Drexler’s German nationalism and anti-Semitism but did not like the way the party was organized. Even though Hitler was a spy, whenever a member of the party made a point he disagreed with, Hitler would stand up and make a passionate speech on that subject.

Later Hitler would become a member of the German Workers Party, and would want to run the party the way he felt was right. He challenged Anton Drexler for the leadership of the party in 1921. Drexler accepted the inevitable, and let Hitler have leadership of the party.

Hitler would be put in prison for three months because of his violence towards his rival politicians. After Hitler was released he formed his own army which he called Sturm Abteilung (Storm Section). The SA, also known as the stormtroopers, was instructed to disrupt the meetings of Hitler’s political opponents and to protect Hitler himself from revenge attacks.

The party which was now called the Nazi Party was growing in numbers every day. It had an outstanding army of over 3,000 troops, and followers were beginning to adore the new Adolf Hitler (Vanderwerff).

As the Nazi Party grew, the hate crimes that they committed against the Jews grew along with it. Hitler, through propaganda, made it look like the Jews were of lower intelligence and that they were the center of every crime committed. He claimed that the “Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end satanically glaring at and spying on the unconscious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate” (Vanderwerff).

The rise of Hitler in the Nazi Party and his control in Europe played a big part in getting the war started. Hitler knew how to grab the attention of the German people. He would use whatever resources he had, to gain the trust and respect of the people.

Hitler would use propaganda to win the support of the people. Since he controlled the media, he could tell the German people whatever he wanted them to hear and they wouldn’t know if it was the truth or just the opinion of Hitler himself. In the propaganda that he would put out in the public, he would tell the people about how the Jews were bad people and how to tell if someone was a Jew by their facial features, such as a big nose or curly, dark hair (Rise of Hitler).

Hitler was extremely racist against almost everybody, but more in particular, he was racist against the Jews. He believed that they were a dirty race and that they should be killed. Hitler looked over the fact that some of his favorite composers were Jewish.

Hitler soon gained control of Germany. He had plans to take over the whole world, but his plans had to start somewhere. He had his army attack Poland. Poland was not ready for such an attack.

Although they fought bravely, Poland was using weapons and vehicles from the First World War. Germany on the other hand had started using different types of attacks. They used new strategies for their air raids and land attacks. One of these new techniques was the Blitzkrieg (Vanderwerff).

According to the History Learning Site, Germany’s air force had bombers in numbers up to 850, and over 400 fighters in the attack on Poland. The Polish Air Force had 210 bombers and 150 fighters.

When the Russians invaded eastern Poland on September 17th, Poland’s defeat was inevitable. On September 24th, Warsaw was bombed by 1150 German aircraft. On September 27th, Warsaw surrendered. The last Polish troops surrendered on October 6th (Attack on Poland).

After the attack on Poland, Hitler ordered the attack on many other countries such as France and Britain.

Hitler started some of his first concentration camps in Oranienburg Germany. These concentration camps would hold the captured Jews that Hitler had found. These camps are where nearly six million Jews were exterminated under the hand of Hitler.

In these camps, the Jews would work but barely get fed if they were fed at all. The Jews would work until they were gassed, burned, shot, or died from malnutrition.

On May 21st, 1935 Adolf Hitler announced, “Germany has concluded a Non-Aggression Pact with Poland… We shall adhere to it unconditionally… we recognize Poland as the home of a great and nationally conscious people.” Four years later, Adolf Hitler attacked Poland, beginning what is now called World War II.

There were three specific events that helped lead to World War II. The attack by the Japanese on the naval base Pearl Harbor is what brought America into the war. The formation of the Nazi Party was also a reason for much turmoil in Europe. One of the biggest reasons for war in Europe was the ruling of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was able to take a small political party and turn it in to an outstanding army.

Not many people know the real causes of World War II. This is one of the greatest events in our world’s history, and I believe everybody should know the facts about it.


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