How did events after World War I lead to dictatorship and U.S. neutrality?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The events after World War I helped bring about dictatorships in some European countries and helped push the United States into a position of neutrality. The Versailles Treaty helped lead to the rise of dictators in Europe.

The Versailles Treaty was very harsh in Germany. Germany had to pay $33 billion in reparations to the Allies. This crippled Germany’s economy. Germany also had to accept responsibility for World War I. Because the economy was in such bad shape, this opened the door for a leader like Adolf Hitler to come to power. He said he would improve the economic conditions in Germany and would get revenge for the harsh Versailles Treaty. To many Germans who were struggling, this sounded like wonderful news.

Italy felt it didn’t receive enough land from the Versailles Treaty. Benito Mussolini promised to avenge this injustice. He also talked about restoring Italian pride to the levels that existed during the days of the Roman Empire. He also promised the Italian people jobs and social security.

The United States wanted very little to do with world affairs after World War I. The Nye Committee suggested that one reason why we entered World War I was for our businesses to make money. This contributed to various neutrality laws in the 1930s that restricted our activities that could possibly lead us into war. For example, the Neutrality Act of 1935 prevented us from selling weapons to countries that were at war. The Neutrality Act of 1937 said we could sell nonmilitary supplies to countries at war on a cash and carry basis. We were very concerned that we could get drawn into another conflict if these laws weren’t passed.

The events after World War I impacted the world in several ways.