The Great Depression and WWII

Did the 1930s Depression cause the war?

There is no doubt that the Great Depression helped to bring war:

  

  1. Unemployment

    Mass unemployment (eg Germany) and poverty (eg Japan silk workers) caused great anger = people put in power/accept right-wing, dictatorial governments who told them their country was superior and it was OK for them to take what they wanted by force.   It was the kind of thing they wanted to hear in the circumstances.   25 countries became dictatorships 1929-39.

     

  2. America

    America called in her loans to Germany .   This caused the collapse of Germany industry = led directly to Hitler’s rise to power.

     

  3. Politics

    Many leaders know that, when things get bad at home, one way to stay in power is to turn people’s attention to foreign affairs/ direct people’s hatred against other countries/ to have a few successes in foreign policy = more aggressive, nationalistic foreign policy.

     

  4. Empire-building

    In the atmosphere of cut-throat economic trade, the answer of countries like Japan & Italy was to build an empire – this would secure their supplies of raw materials and natural resources.   Countries like Japan ( Manchuria ), Italy ( Abyssinia ) and Germany (eastern Europe), therefore, set about building an empire = international conflict and tension.

     

  5. Self Interest

    Countries who were prepared to be philanthropic during the 1920s, could not afford to give way during the 1930s = countries left the League instead (eg Japan over Manchuria ).   Self-interest destroyed the international co-operation ideal of League of Nations .

     

  6. Britain and France

    were suffering too – that was one reason why they did not send an army to Manchuria or impose sanctions on Italy over Abyssinia (could not afford).   Again, that was a reason they did not begin to rearm against Hitler in the 1930s = appeasement/ failure of League of Nations .