V. Origins of the WW II - The Origins of the Second World...

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The Origins of the Second World War (1929-1935) After 1930 and 1931, the great economic crisis shook up the industrial world and the political regimes. There were also serious failures of the system of collective security in the international affairs. The success of the National Socialist (Nazi) party in Germany was a great threat for peace and the status quo in Europe.
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Hitler and his Nazi party were determined to revise the Versailles and Locarno treaties, and wanted after 1934 to expand Germany at the expense of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and to gain the support of Italy and Japan. The final crisis at the end of the 1930’s was to lead to World War II.
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The economic crisis of 1929-1933 A grave economic and financial crisis occured in the USA in October 1929, spread in 1930-32 to Europe (except the Soviet Union) and the Far East, unprecedented in the modern world. The Crisis was originally American (inflation of credit, speculation, stock exchange crisis, panic, banking crisis). American banks withdrew their capital from Germany, Austria and Britain, resulting in banking crises in those and most other European countries.
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Industrial production and foreign trade were forced to slow down, rising unemployment in Europe and USA (43.7% in Germany in 1932 versus 22.2% in 1930; 15 million in USA in 1933 versus 3 million in 1930). The consequences of the Great Depression were: - In economic life, triumph of economic nationalism, protectionism, customs barriers, import reductions, exchange controls, investments stopped, free trade dropped. In USA, Roosevelt launched the “New Deal”, a vast experiment with directed economy lasting until 1936. Germany and Italy moved toward closed economies and economic independence.
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- In political life: use of decree-laws by the executive at the expense of the parliaments, although temporary in USA and other democracies. But in Germany, after Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, the constitutional regime was destroyed and replaced by a dictatorship able to carry out without controls domestic and foreign policy. Economic and social crisis was very severe in Germany, a very high rate of unemploment, the middle class was ruined and the parliamentary regime was unable to solve the crisis. All those circumstances were favorable to the spread of Hitler’s doctrine and political aims.
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Hitler’s foreign policy after 1933 started to threaten the world peace. His program outlined in Mein Kampf (My Struggle) written in 1924 included the national recovery of Germany, the policy of power, the racial purity, individual subordinated to the collective, elite to lead the people, foreign policy of territorial expansion (living space or Lebensraum ) to feed the people. According to Hitler, Germany had to free itself of
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V. Origins of the WW II - The Origins of the Second World...

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