Events Leading Up To World War 2

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World War II killed more people, destroyed more property, disrupted more lives, and probably had more far-reaching consequences than any other war in history. The war, which ended in 1945, eventually involved 61 countries, claimed 50 million lives, and completely changed the geopolitical landscape. The causes of World War II can be easily traced back to many of the unsolved issues from the end of World War I and the treaties that ended it also created new political and economic problems. Forceful leaders in several countries took advantage of these problems to seize power. The desire of dictators in Germany and Italy, and Japan to conquer additional territory brought them into conflict with the democratic nations.

After World War I ended, representatives of the victorious nations met in Paris in 1919 to draw up peace treaties for the defeated countries. When the Germans heard about the Treaty of Versailles anger raged throughout the country. They had not been allowed to take part in the talks yet, they were being forced to sign the treaty. The Germans felt they were not to be blamed for the war. Even the soldier sent to sign the Treaty refused to sign it "To say such a thing would be a lie," and only after the treat of being invaded did they sign. The Treaties were worked out in haste by these countries with opposing goals; and failed to satisfy even the victors. Of all the countries on the winning side, Italy and Japan left the peace conference most dissatisfied. Italy gained less territory than it felt it deserved and vowed to take action on its own. Japan gained control of German territories in the Pacific and thereby launched a program of expansion. But Japan was angered by the peacemakers' failure to endorse the principle of the equality of all races.

The countries that lost World War I--Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey--were especially dissatisfied with the Peace of Paris. They were stripped of territory, arms and were required to make

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