Causes of World War II
Ages 8 to 12
OTTN Publishing, 2005, 1-59556-0041-9
Often, in hindsight, people say "if only we hadn't…" or "if only we had listened…" or "if only we had paid attention…" This is certainly true of World War II for if people had realised how humiliated, angry and impoverished Germany was because of what was demanded of them by the Treaty of Versailles, it is likely that they may have managed things differently. Perhaps the Europeans might have demanded less and therefore Hitler might have not had such fertile ground in which to plant the seeds for his infamous Third Reich. As it was, when World War I ended and for many years afterwards Germany was crippled by the reparation payments that she was expected to give her former enemies. In a climate where the people were angry and feeling vengeful, Hitler brilliantly manoeuvred himself into power.
On the other side of the world Japan realised that its old policy of complete isolationism was no longer an option and she began to flex her industrial muscles creating trading relationships with other nations and becoming a world power. The old ways of thinking were hard to eliminate though and there was a powerful group of Japanese leaders and soldiers who felt that the Japanese were still a superior race and that there was nothing wrong with acquiring additional resources at the expense of the Chinese and the Russians. In fact they felt that Japan had every right to take over as much territory as she wished, wherever she wished.
This "Road to War: Causes of Conflict" book perfectly captures the atmosphere that existed in Europe and in the Far East in the years preceding World War II. The reader is able to understand why the Germans and Japanese struck out at their neighbours and why too it took so long for the allies to respond to these aggressive acts.
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