Historical Context

World War II
The world experienced a decade of aggression in the 1930s that would culminate in World War II. This second world war resulted from the rise of totalitarian regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan. These militaristic regimes gained control as a result of the great depression experienced by most of the world in the early 1930s and from the condi- tions created by the peace settlements following World War I. The dictatorships established in each country encouraged expansion into neighboring countries. In Germany Hitler strengthened the army during the 1930s. In 1936 Benito Mussolini’s Italian troops took Ethiopia. From 1936 to 1939 Spain was engaged in civil war involving Francisco Franco’s fascist army, aided by Germany and Italy. In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria and in March 1939 occupied Czechoslovakia. Italy took Albania in April 1939. One week after Nazi Germany and the U.S.S.R. signed a Treaty of Nonaggression, on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany after a U-boat sank the British ship Athenia off the coast of Ireland. Another British ship, Courageous, was sunk on September 19. All the members of the British Commonwealth, except Ireland, soon joined Britain and France in their declaration of war.

Ten Little Indians was published in 1939, the year World War II began. While the novel is set in an...

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