World War II (1939–1945)

How can war affect civilians?

Poland was rapidly overrun by the German blitzkrieg, sparking the start of the European war. German soldiers participated in a victory parade in Warsaw. The horrors of Hitler’s reign quickly spread to Poland, where individuals were subjected to torture, forced deportation, slave labor, and execution. You will discover more about the path and consequences of World War II in this chapter.
• What was the Holocaust and how did it impact the inhabitants of countries under Nazi rule?
• What effects do current wars have on civilian populations?


Both Germany and Japan attacked nearby nations in the 1930s in an effort to expand their empires’ holdings of resources and land. Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia, allied with Italy, and conquered Austria. Manchuria was quickly conquered by Japan. Other global powers first made an effort to overlook these violent activities. Even if they desired to prevent conflict, it was already inevitable.

Adolf Hitler’s ideologies were the inspiration for the start of World War II in Europe. He thought that the Aryan race, which included the Germans, was superior to all other races and ethnicities. Hitler thus thought that Germany was able to create a great civilisation. Germany needed additional space to maintain a greater population if it was to become a major power, though.
Hitler had stated that a Nazi rule will be found in this area to the east—in the Soviet Union—as early as the 1920s. As a result, Germany must get ready for war with the Soviet Union. Hitler envisioned German farmers settling the Soviet Union’s territory once it had been vanquished.

The Treaty of Versailles had constrained Germany’s military might following World War I. Hitler emphasized as chancellor that Germany wanted to amend the discriminatory terms of the pact by peaceful methods while acting as a man of peace. He said that Germany just sought to occupy its proper position among the European nations.
Hitler, however, declared the formation of a new air force on March 9, 1935. He started a military draft a week later that would increase Germany’s army from 100,000 to 550,000 soldiers. These actions constituted a clear breach of the Versailles Treaty.

Germany’s actions were denounced by France, Great Britain, and Italy, who also cautioned against more aggressive acts. However, these countries did nothing more during the Great Depression because they were preoccupied with internal issues.

Hitler felt certain that the Western nations would not resort to force to uphold the Treaty of Versailles. As a result, he dispatched German soldiers into the Rhineland on March 7, 1936. Despite being a part of Germany, the Rhineland was a demilitarized region as per the Treaty of Versailles. In other words, Germany was not allowed to have fortifications or armaments there.

Although France had the legal authority to employ force to enforce this clause, it would not take such action without British backing.

However, the use of force against Germany was opposed by Great Britain. The takeover of German land by German forces was seen by the British administration as a rational response by a disgruntled power.

The Germans were only “walking into their own back garden,” according to The London Times. Thus, Great Britain started to employ an appeasement strategy. Based on the idea that disgruntled nations would be satisfied if European governments met their reasonable requests, stability and peace would be attained in Europe.