What led to the rise of dictatorships prior to the beginning of WWII?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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One of the reasons why World War I was fought was to make the world safer for democratic governments.  For example, at the end of World War I, a democratic government came to power in Germany.  It was called the Weimar Republic.  However, by the time World War II began, dictatorships had returned to power in Europe. One of the reasons for this was economic.  The Versailles Treaty was so harsh on Germany, the Weimar Republic could not deal with Germany’s economic problems.  The economy collapsed in part because of the heavy reparations Germany had to pay to the Allies. There was also anger in Germany about how harsh the Versailles Treaty was on the Germans.  Hitler used this anger to get into power, vowing to get revenue and to rebuild the economy.  In Italy, anger existed because people felt the Italians were not given enough of what they wanted in the Versailles Treaty.  Mussolini came around and made many promises that the Italian people liked.  As a result, he eventually became dictator of Italy.  Dissatisfaction with the Versailles Treaty and significant economic problems were big factors leading to the rise of dictatorships before World War II began.

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