Militarism as a feature of the 1930s

How did militarism contribute to war?

   

Militarism has three facets:

 

1.   Build up of armed forces

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Between 1932 and 1939 Germany increased the navy from 30 to 95 warships, the airforce from 36 to 8250 planes, and the army from 100,000 to almost a million soldiers.  (see also this article on German remilitarisation)

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I have not been able to find figures for Japan and Italy , but both built up huge armed forces so that, in 1939, even Italy (whose armed forces were small compared to Germany and Japan ) had an army greater than that of the United States .

 

2.   Control of the government by the military

and by the 'hawks' (people who want war)

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In Germany , Hitler gave a key role to the army, and openly said that he was going to go to war to gain lebensraum in the east.  

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Mussolini boasted that he was going to rebuild the Roman Empire .  

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In Japan , the army established almost complete control over the government. Political enemies were assassinated on 26 February 1936 , about 1,500 soldiers went on a rampage of assassination against the current and former prime ministers and other cabinet members, and even members of the imperial court.   Navy and army officers soon occupied most of the important offices, including the one of the prime minister.   The civilian government was powerless to stop them doing what they wanted.

 

3.   Aggressive foreign policy

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Germany marched into the Rhineland (1936), Austria and the Sudetenland (1938) and Czechoslovakia and Poland (1939)

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Italy invaded Abyssinia (1935) Albania (1939) and Libya (1939), and attacked Egypt (1940)

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Japan invaded Manchuria (1931), Jehol (in China , 1933), China (1937) and attacked Pearl Harbor (1941)