Who is to blame for the second world war?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many factors to blame for the start of World War II. Individuals and governments are responsible for some of the blame while various events are responsible for the rest of the blame.

Some of the Allied leaders at the end of World War I deserve some of the blame for World War II. The leaders of France, Great Britain, and Italy were told by President Wilson not to have a harsh peace treaty on the Central Powers. Wilson believed that a harsh peace treaty would come back to haunt us, and he was right. The Versailles Treaty was very harsh. This led to many problems in Germany that ultimately brought Adolf Hitler to power looking for revenge.

The Allied nations during the 1930s ignored violations of the Versailles Treaty by Germany. German built up its military and moved its military into the Rhineland. Germany invaded Austria. Nothing was done about this. Other actions also occurred. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937. Again, nothing was done about these invasions. Italy invaded Ethiopia and Albania with no responses from the Allies. The lack of action by the Allies encouraged the leaders of these countries to continue to be aggressive. While the Allied leaders were dealing with the worst economic crisis ever, they still had an obligation to be aware of what was happening in the world and how those events could cause many problems for their countries if nothing was done about them.

Certainly much of the blame must go to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the Emperor as well as the military dictatorship that controlled Japan. These leaders broke agreements, invaded countries, and formed an alliance in order to pursue their aggressive military, economic, and political goals. The Allies were left little choice but to draw a line in the sand after Hitler broke the Munich Pact and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939. They had no choice but to say that any more aggression would lead to war. The United States had no choice but to declare war on Japan after Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. Therefore, the largest share of the blame for World War II must go to the leaders of Germany, Japan, and Italy.

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