Hitler’s aims were aggressive. He planned to destroy the treaty of Versailles, create a country of all German people and conquer land in Eastern Europe. But many other factors are thought to be the main reason war broke out in 1939. Hitler’s aims were aggressive and he made this aims very clear in his book ‘Mein Kampf’ (my struggle). To test the courage of the British and French to stand up to Hitler on an important matter of principle, Hitler announced publicly in March 1935 that he was rearming Germany despite prohibition of German rearmament in the Treaty of Versailles. The maintenance of peace to the British and French governments was so high at this time and they would do anything at almost any cost. Both governments protested formally to Hitler, but did nothing more, despite the fact that their armies could have been crushed the much smaller German army at this stage. In response to Britain and France’s protests, Hitler offered vague assurances of people which were gratefully accepted as evidence of Hitler’s goodwill. Not only this but Britain also allowed Hitler to break the terms of the treaty of Versailles by allowing Germany an army 1/3 the size of Britain’s. This evidence shows that Hitler plan all along was to break the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which could lead to war.
However Hitler gained support from German people who hated the treaty of Versailles, not for the money that the country had to pay but under article 213 of the treaty of Versailles which stated that the cause of all the loss and damage was as a consequence of Germany and her allies’ actions. At the time war guilt was regarded as being not a problematic cause given the intention was to limit German liability and most people were surprised at the violent reaction it generated with Germans. It could be seen in Hitler’s eyes as merely using his resources as he promised to destroy the Treaty of Versailles it gave him public support and would gain him the power he needed to put his aims into practise. Feeling that he had correctly assessed the spinelessness of the British and French governments at this time, in March 1936, Hitler ordered German troops to re-enter the demilitarised Rhineland in a further breach of the Treaty of Versailles. The German troops were under strict orders from their nervous generals to withdraw at once if the French responded to this breach of the Treaty with military force.
The German generals knew that the much larger French army could crush their army and believed that their fuhrer was taking a dangerous gamble. Next Hitler turned to Austria. Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich on 12 March 1938. Earlier, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist party in its bid to seize power from Austria’s Austrofascist leadership. The Nazis held a plebiscite within the following month, asking the people to ratify the accomplished fact. They claimed to have received 99.7% of the vote in favour. This shows that Hitler was at it again destroying the treaty of Versailles which lead to intense pressure between nations to put a stop to his actions. Some people would blame the League of Nations for the outbreak of World War 2. Their main reasons for failure can be summarised as the following. The main weapon of the League was to ask member countries to stop trading with an aggressive country. However, this did not work because countries could still trade with non- member countries. When the world was hit by depression in the late 1920s countries were reluctant to lose trading partners to other non-member countries. Another reason to why the league failed was because they had no army. Soldiers were to be supplied by member countries. However these countries would risk provoking aggressive countries into taking direct action and so wouldn’t provide troops. The League of Nations was unable to act quickly. The council of the only met four times a year and decisions had to be agreed by all nations. When countries called for the League to intervene, the League had to set up emergency meetings, hold discussions and agin the agreement of all members.
This process meant that they could not act quickly to stop an act of aggression. But Hitler did not stop there; he was still hungry for more land. He demanded later that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia was to be handed over to Germany. Neville chamberlain, Prime minister of Britain, met with Hitler three times during September 1938 to try to reach an agreement that would prevent war. The Munich Agreement stated that Hitler could have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia provided that he promised not to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia. Hitler was not a man of his word and in March 1939 invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. Despite calls for help from the Czechoslovak government, neither Britain nor France was prepared to take military action against Hitler. However, some action was now necessary and believing that Poland would be Hitler’s next target, both Britain and France promised that they would take military action against Hitler if he invaded Poland. Chamberlain believed that, faced with the prospect of war against Britain and France, Hitler would stop his aggression. Chamberlain was wrong. German troops invaded Poland on 1st September 1939. This shows that Hitler’s actions were to blame for World War 2 and that he had many chances to stop, but did not. On the other hand it could be argued that Britain’s policy of appeasement made war more likely. The Munich agreement, signed by the leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy, agreed that the Sudetenland would be returned to Germany and that no further territorial claims would be made by Germany. However, the Munich Agreement was generally viewed as a triumph and an excellent example of securing peace through negotiation rather than war. When Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, he broke the terms of the Munich Agreement.
Although it was realised that the policy of appeasement had failed, Chamberlain was still not prepared to take the country to war over into a far away country. Instead, he made a guarantee to come to Poland’s aid if Hitler invaded Poland. The appeasers were too busy looking at chances to give Hitler what he wanted that they missed excellent opportunities to stop him. After the remilitarisation of the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler admitted that any sign of military action by the French would have lead his to withdraw his troop immediately. It was also a mistake to treat Hitler as they would treat each other. They did not realise until too late that they were dealing with a determined, unscrupulous, tyrant who would interpret any concession as a sign of weakness. The more they gave him, the more he demanded. To conclude I think that Hitler was to blame for World War 2 because of the actions he took to gain what he wanted. He annexed Austria as well as demanding the Sudetenland and invading the rest of Czechoslovakia after he had signed the Munich agreement saying he wouldn’t. He then marched into Poland and also remilitarised the Rhineland. His actions were violent and provoked war. Karishma Yadav