A number of historians view World War II as the sequel to, or the finishing of the World War I. Although the two wars were in retrospect, very different, they can be viewed as chapters of the same war. When evaluating Hitler’s rise to power, there is a definitive link between World War I and World War II. This same ’link’ is evident in the Treaty of Versailles and the articles therein.
At the end of World War I, soldier Adolf Hitler lay wounded in a military hospital. The armistice had been declared, the throne abdicated, and the war over with Germany blown away. Hitler’s believed the armistice had not resulted from defeats on the battlefield, but had instead come about because the Jews and Socialists had undermined the government and the war effort, leading to the armistice and the advent of the Weimar Republic. This principal was adopted and used as a running campaign by Hitler, and was known as Dolchestossiegend (the stab in the back theory).
According to author and historian Ian Kershaw, it would be these same ideas that “ Hitler so lamented […], that truly allowed him to emerge from obscurity and… become one of the most powerful […] dictators in history” (Kershaw).
Hitler used this principle as reasoning for his war, saying it [the war] would be the means of paying back the Jew and socialist whom he believed caused the Great Germanys’ defeat.
The Treaty of Versailles also hugely instigated the rising of WWII. When the Weimar Republic begrudgingly signed the armistice, the allies wished to assure that Germany would not be strong enough to engulf Europe in war again, but at the same time did not want to completely cripple the country, as it could act as a barrier to the epidemic of continental communism. The treaty was written up with the following major provisions:
... worse Mussolini said that if Hitler attacked Poland, Italy would not join him in war despite their treaty. Hitler was forced to postpone his ... had to serve in with Jews. The First World War in 1914 was Hitler’s chance to let go of his frustrating childhood ... would be divided with Stalin. It also allowed Hitler to launch the second world war. He planned to attack Poland on August 26 ...
1. The surrender of all German colonies as League of Nations mandates;
2. The return of the Alsace-Lorraine to France;
3. Cession of Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, Memel to Lithuania, and the Hultschin district to Czechoslovakia
4.Poznania, parts of East Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland;
5. Danzig to become a free city;
6. Plebiscites (an issue put before the electorate which does not effect the Constitution, the peoples vote) to settle the Danish-German frontier;
7. Occupation and special status the Zaar under French control;
8. The Demilitarization and a fifteen year occupancy of the Rhineland;
9. A ban on the union of Germany and Austria
10. Provisions for the trial of the former Kaiser
11. Limitation of Germany’s army to 100,000 men with no conscription, tanks, heavy artillery, poison gas supplies, air crafts or ships
12. Limitation of naval vessels to 100,000 tons, no submarines;
and, 13. German reparations of 6,000 million (32 billion American dollars), and full acceptance for guilt in causing the war(war guilt clause).
Germany signed the treaty after major protest and soon after came the Great Depression. Every nation in the world was having trouble coping, and with the addition of having to pay insane reparations in conjunction with merely trying to economically stay afloat, and with money lost during the war, the Great Depression all but destroyed Germany. With rapid decline of Germany from the Great Depression, and the anger and embarrassment over the war guilt clause (which was meant as insult to injury) and reparations, Germany was left wounded, looking for someone, something, anything to make it strong again. The German people wanted not just promises, but actions, and change. Entrée Hitler, a man with outrageous means, an entourage, charisma and just the right words. Its was holding bologna in front of a starving dog; Germany became Hitlers’ best friend.
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As can been seen, the finale of WWI was really the Prologue of WWII. The tragedies that took place in WWII and their circumvention is debatable, it always will be. But the fact of the matter is that in the pursuit to justly place blame, one of the biggest mistakes in history was born. Journalist Henry Hamilton Fyfe wrote : “If all had worked together as comrades to repair the damage done and to build up better conditions than existed before-had worked at this task without resentment, recognizing that all had been to blame, the would have been employment for all and the promises of a ‘better world’, made so glibly for recruiting purposes, could have been fulfilled. But that called for a clearness of foresight, an honesty of purpose, which the politicians in power at that time did not possess.”