World War II

World War II was a conflict between two global superpowers. It was so bloody that it became known as “the war to end all wars.” Discover the people, events and issues that led to this catastrophic world conflict in our detailed article.

The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, ignited a series of alliances that pushed the major European countries into war. The assassination was the spark that set off a war that killed 9 million people. Many factors contributed to this terrible war, including:

Militarism: Militarism was a philosophy that glorified the military and led to nations arming themselves for battle. This created tension and rivalry among countries, as they tried to outdo one another. Imperialism: A desire by some countries to expand their empires and control other countries and territories.

Secret Diplomacy: This was when countries met behind closed doors to discuss their tactics and alliances.

After a long and brutal campaign on the Western Front, Germany was pushed to the brink of defeat. The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept blame for the conflict, give up all of its overseas colonies and 13 percent of its European territory, limit the size of its army and navy, and pay reparations — financial damages – to the war’s winners. Many Germans felt this was a humiliating and unjust deal, which helped the Nazis to gain support. In 1923, Hitler claimed that the treaty was designed to bring “twenty million Germans to their deaths.” Despite its many problems, this Treaty did lead to a negotiated peace with Japan in 1928.