Analysis of the Inter-War Period

Summary of the Contributions of Countries


Japan contributed to the escalation of tension between the countries and the deterioration of world-wide stability. Its disregard for the League of Nation’s values, even though it was a member, encouraged Hitler that he could get away with violations as well. Its expansionist views and complete disregard for China’s borders also encouraged Hitler to expand into the smaller countries, such as Czechoslovakia, and its disrespect to the orders of the League of Nations showed the world how undedicated the League truly was towards its ideals. Its inaction made the concept of collective security a joke, something that Hitler realized when he demanded the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations also gave it the freedom to make an alliance with Germany.


Italy contributed to the escalation of tension between the countries and Hitler’s confidence in his ability to expand Germany. Mussolini’s invasion into Abyssinia and the League’s pitiful response showed Hitler that he could get away with expansion. The fact that both Britain and France, two powerful nations that could have easily stopped Italy’s military effort by simply refusing to trade with them, tried to negotiate such a forgiving treaty emboldened Hitler, and made him confident that they would try to appease him even if he began to expand. Italy’s withdrawal from the League also allowed an alliance to develop between Germany and Italy.


France was a major contribution to the escalation of World War II.   This is due to the fact that France was angry at Germany for forcing them to pay the reparations after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 ending in a lost for France.  Therefore, after World War I when Germany surrendered and allowed the allies to win, France forced Germany to pay reparations for the war.  When Germany wasn’t able to pay all of the reparations, the governments decided to send French and Belgium troops into the Ruhr land and occupy this area of Germany.  The Ruhr land is also known as the industrial heart of Germany because it has most of the coal of Germany mined from here.  Due to this fact, the French wanted control over this part of Germany in order to take away one of Germany’s more important resources to weaken Germany’s economy.  France’s occupation in the Ruhr ended in 1925 when they accepted the Dawes Plan to withdraw from Germany.  But in 1936, Hitler used Appeasement in order to remilitarize the Rhineland for Germany and hence make it stronger.  In conclusion, the conflicts between France and Germany stirred up World War II and led to its inevitability.


Britain both escalated and deescalated tension during the interwar periods. Britain attempted to deescalate tension by appeasing Hitler and his Nazi party. However, by this was a failure as this policy allowed Hitler to gain more and more power. In trying to deescalate the tension, they instead made Hitler even more powerful.

Also, they tried to deescalate tension by simply giving in to the demands of aggressors. As shown in the Abyssinia Crisis and the Manchuria Crisis, they were so desperate to avoid war that they simply gave up.


The Soviet Union was seen mainly as a non-aggressor state. It played no part in the start of World War Two, and was not even involved in the war until the Germans invaded them in 1941. The main goal of the Soviet Union during this time period was to industrialize. Stalin in this time period had put in motion his Five Year Plans, to industrialize his country. As such, they had neither the time, nor the materials necessary to wage war. This aspect is further reinforced when one considers that the Soviet Union had to stop the Five Year Plans, after Germany invaded, because there were not enough resources to both industrialize and wage war at the same time. The Soviets can therefore be viewed to have neither directly increased nor directly decreased tensions pre-World War Two. However, there were some aspects by which the Soviets indirectly affected these tensions. A prime example would be the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. A clause in the pact allowed for, in times of war, the Nazis and the Soviets to support each other, economically. This economic security gave Germany a sense of invincibility, which contributed to the start of World War Two, however, from a standpoint of direct conflict, the Soviet Union was merely industrializing, and therefore had no interest in the affairs of Europe at the time.


ermany increased the tension among the European nations during 1919-1941 which led to WWII. Germany was the cause of WWII. As Hitler came to the power, he began to violate Treaty of Versailles. He violated the Treaty of Versailles by Occupation of Rhineland, Annexation of Austria, Seizure of Czechoslovakia and the Invasion of Poland. 

When Hitler occupied the Rhineland by remilitarizing he increased the tension among the other countries. The formation of Anschluss violated the treaty of Versailles because Germany was not allowed to form any alliances under the treaty of Versailles. The failure of League of Nations to recognize Germany as a threat and the Seizure of Czechoslovakia allowed Germany to grow in power and prepare for WWII. The Invasion of Poland by Germany trigged the WWII. Poland was suppose to be protected by Britain and France, when Germany attacked Poland to expand its territories, Britain declared war on Germany.

The U.S. practiced a policy of isolationism during the interwar period; therefore it was generally not responsible for escalating or deescalating the start of the Second World War. However, some of America’s actions such as the Young Plan, the Dawes Plan, as well as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, did have an effect on the situation in Europe. 

The Dawes Plan and the Young Plan were designed to help Germany pay off its war reparations. The Dawes Plan eventually failed, and the Young Plan replaced it in 1930, at the start of the worldwide economic depression. The economic conditions in Europe were crucial for relations between western European powers; political stability often depended on Germany’s ability to pay off its war debt, as shown by the occupation of the Ruhr. The economic depression in the thirties would deteriorate the situation even further, as most of the world’s economy was tied to the U.S. Plans for assisting Germany to pay its war debt could have helped, however they did not address more short term problems such as the banking crisis, unemployment, and general economic troubles. The failure to solve the financial crisis would have a strong impact on political opinion in Europe. 

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was initially designed as a pact between only America and France; however, as it could be viewed as a military alliance between the two countries, it was extended to include all countries. The treaty was a bold attempt to ban war and remove it as an instrument of national policy; however it was completely without any measures for enforcement.

The role of the U.S. was generally moderate, and it attempted to stay at a distance from European politics. Isolationism removed the influence of a major world power, so it is difficult to judge whether or not America could have enforced treaties made after World War I.