World War II was basically caused by the rise of totalitarian, militaristic regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan, which resulted partially from the Great Depression that plagued the world in the early 1930s and from the conditions created by the peace settlements following World War I.
After WWI, Germany, Italy and Japan were anxious to regain or increase their power; all three adopted forms of dictatorship, such as socialism and facism, which made the state supreme and called for expansion at the expense of neighboring countries. These three countries also set themselves up as fighters of communism, which made Western democracies more tolerant of their early actions. In addition, the democracies were so eager for peace that they did not adequately prepare their militaries. Finally, the League of Nations, which was weak from the start by the defection of the United States, was unable to promote disarmament. Basically, the drawn-out economic depression sharpened national rivalries, increased fear and distrust, and made countries susceptible to the promises of demagogues. The League of Nation’s failure to stop the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1931 was followed by an increase of treaty violations and acts of aggression. Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933 in Germany, redeveloped the German army and prepared it for a war of conquest.
In 1936, Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland. Benito Mussolini conquered Ethiopia for Italy; and from 1936 to 1939 the Spanish civil war carried on, with Germany and Italy assisting the fascist forces of Francisco Franco to victory. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria.
Shortly after, the British and French policy of appeasement toward the Axis reached its peak with the sacrifice of much of Czechoslovakia to In 1939, Germany occupied all of Czechoslovakia, and Italy seized Albania. AT this point, Great Britain and France abandoned their policy of…