Nationalism's Contribution to the Origin of World War II

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To what extent did nationalism contribute to the origins of the Second World War? (2011, 2)

GERMANY:
-Hitler exploited the German people’s disillusionment with the Treaty of Versailles in order to come to power. He promised that he would fix the economy and pay off reparations, as well as increase employment. -Hitler made the people believe that only his leadership was strong enough to lead Germany back towards greatness. The German people had little faith in their government at that point (they felt it was weak) and were therefore susceptible to Hitler’s nationalistic appeals. -After being appointed Chancellor in 1933, Hitler instituted numerous nationalistic policies that led Germany towards WWII

Social/Economic Policies
-Reduced unemployment
-Appointed Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics in 1934; in 1935, Schacht also became head of preparing the economy for war. *Shows that Hitler was planning another war from the beginning, as this would be the best way to indicate Germany’s strength -Began major civil works programs, such as the construction of railroads, autobahns (roadways), and dams -Enemies of the state were arrested, namely Jews (they were used as the scapegoat for many of Germany’s economic problems, and the Nazi party itself was inherently racist) Foreign Policy

Main goals were:
1. Peace/union with Austria
2. Restoration of Germany’s national borders as they stood in 1914 3. Rejection of military restrictions imposed by Treaty of Versailles 4. Return of former German colonies in Africa
5. German zone of influence in Eastern Europe
-An axis declared between Italy & Germany
-Germany signed anti-Comintern (Anti-Communist) pact with Japan

Military Policy
-Hitler slowly began to strengthen the military more and more until the beginning of WWII -Withdrew from League of Nations in 1933
-Expanded navy and air force
*Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 1935 allowed for Germany to increase the size of its navy to 35% the size of the British fleet -Germany also violated the Treaty of Versailles by reoccupying the Rhineland beginning 1936 -Hitler sent troops to aid Franco’s Fascist revolution in Spain -From 1938 onwards, the ultimate goal of all of Hitler’s policies were to begin a war -Hitler believed that the German economic crisis could only truly be alleviated at that point by a policy of military aggression, namely towards seizing Austria & Czechoslovakia

USSR:
-After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the other nations at Versailles, fearing the spread of communism, did not invite Russia to the peace proceedings, even though Russia had been on the winning side *Russians felt betrayed

-USSR was a single-party, Communist state comprised of numerous smaller countries, led by Joseph Stalin from 1941-1953 (even before he became full leader, he was still in charge of the economy) -USSR’s nationalistic policies had the basic goal of re-expanding borders to increase the empire to the size of what Russia once was, as well as proving its power to other nations

Social/ Economic Policies
-Stalin’s Five-Year Plan to build a socialist economy was introduced in 1928: included internationalist policies, as well as a more domestic plan to zone in on socialism within Russia *State took control of all existing enterprises in Russia

*Major program of industrialization
*Forced collectivization of farms
-Great Purge (1936-1939) was meant to get rid of any of Stalin’s opposition, and instill fear in the Russian people in order to “unite” them. “Old Bolsheviks” (who had initially supported Lenin, but not Stalin’s new policies) were imprisoned and/or executed.

Foreign Policy
-USSR established diplomatic relations with the US in 1933
-USSR joined League of Nations in 1934
-USSR supported Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (as opposed to Italy and Germany, who supported Franco’s fascist Nationalists) -Non-Aggression Pact of 1939: Between Germany and USSR “gave Hitler the go...
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