Armed Hostilities

World War II: Causes, Objectives, and Lessons Learned

What were Hitler’s reasons and objectives for starting down the road to war?

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Hitler sought to conquer new lands for the good of the Volk or German people to expand its territory and influence. The ultimate goal was focused on establishing the “Aryan” race as a superior nation in the world, where vast Soviet lands would provide the nation with resources, and “non-Aryan” groups would serve as minions (“Adolf Hitler,” 2019). Therefore, the key objective was centered around making Germany a global dominator.

What steps did Hitler take to undermine and destroy the Versailles System?

Hitler undermined and destroyed the Versailles System by introducing the legislation of military conscription, which violated several points of the Treaty of Versailles. The punishing terms of the treaty allowed Hitler to capitalize on its effects by offering a radical solution to people in desperation. Hitler accentuated his attention on bolstering the German military, which also went against the Versailles System.

How did Britain and France respond to Hitler’s aggression?

Britain and France were the first ones to declare war on Germany after the latter invaded Poland. Although the previous actions of Hitler already hinted towards the course of action, such as the “Pact of Steel” with Italy and the non-aggression pact with the USSR, the turning decisive point was the invasion itself. However, both Britain and France condemned Germany’s actions before the invasion, but Hitler’s inconsideration led to the fact that these two nations declared war on Germany on September 1, 1939 (“Adolf Hitler,” 2019).

What was the policy of “appeasement”?

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The policy of “appeasement” is a foreign policy measure where one nation deliberately makes concessions for an increasingly hostile country to prevent an outbreak of war. For example, Britain “appeased” Germany when the latter absorbed Austria and German ethnic people from Czechoslovakia. These concessions were made to avoid the inevitable conflict, but rather it became a short-term solution, which gave Hitler more confidence.

What were Japan’s reasons and objectives for starting down the road to war?

Japan sought to become a superpower and economic heart of East Asia and the Pacific, which put it in direct competition against the United States. Experiencing shortages of essential resources, such as oil, Japan needed to expand and dominate these regions. At that time, the main rivals were China and the United States, where the latter had valuable resources.

What steps did the Japanese military take to launch aggression against China and expand Japan’s power in Asia?

To Japan from dependence on the United States’ oil and British rubber, Japan sought to find new territories rich with resources, such as China. Japan’s imperialist foreign policies towards China, where the war was initiated by the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. The following victories were mostly in favor of Japan, such as the Rape in Nanjing and the capture of Shanghai and Beijing. Before these events, the Japanese military was reluctant to invade China due to the Soviet Union’s support of the latter.

What was the “Rape of Nanjing”?

On December 13, 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army captured the city of Nanjing, where, for six consecutive weeks, the troops committed mass rape and mass murders, which approximately resulted in a total of 300 000 rapes and 200 000 murders. The massacre is still a major barrier between Japan and China relations, which also affects Japan’s collaborative efforts with other nations in the region.

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What lessons of history can be learned from the events of the 1930s?

The main lesson is manifested in the fact that any form of potential conflict and aggression needs to be prevented preliminarily rather than dealing with it after the outbreak. Both France and Britain should have introduced concessions before Hitler’s rise to power, or not offered them at all and been more aggressive when Hitler was absorbing Austria. Similarly, the Japanese threat should not have been overlooked, and proper measured should have been taken before the war.


Adolf Hitler. (2019). Web.

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