Outbreak of WWII

Main

Japan Seizes Manchuria

1931

Japan wanted an empire such as Western empires, and to reach this goal, Japan seized Manchuria. The League of Nations condemned this, but Japan just withdrew from the organization.

Trouble in Spain Begins

1931

Popular unrest against old order causes King to leave the throne.

Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany

1933

Hindenburg appoints Hitler as Chancellor and signs the Enabling Act

Italy Invades Ethiopia

1935

Italy invades Ethiopia. The Ethiopians resisted bravely but they were no match for Mussolini and his weapons. Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League created sanctions against Italy, but the League could not enforce the sanctions. Italy then conquered Ethiopia.

Italy Conquers Ethiopia

1936

Hitler Sends Troops into Rhineland

1936

First, Hitler built up his military in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. After he sent his troops in the "demilitarized" Rhineland, which bordered France. This was another violation of the treaty. Western countries denounced his moves but they took no action.

Francisco Franco Leads Revolt in Spain

1936

This touched off a bloody civil war in Spain. People from other nations began to jump onto sides in the civil war. Hitler and Mussolini sent in troops and supplies to help France

Japanese Overruns Most of China

1937

This started the second Sino-Japanese War. Again Western Nations did not stop Japan

German Air Raids on Guernica

April 1937

1,000 innocent civilians were killed. Germany claimed it was an experiment to see what the planes could do. To the rest of the world, it reminded them of what new warfare could do.

Hitler Is Ready to Engineer the Anschluss

1938

Hitler was ready to unite Germany and Austria. The Anschluss violated the Versailles Treaty and it created a brief war scare. Hitler had his way because no Western nations took any action against Hitler

Munich Conference

1938

Britain and France caved to Hitler's wishes. They chose appeasement. They persuaded the Czechs to surrender Sudetenland without a fight. In return, Hitler assured Britain and France that he had no plans to further his territory.

Franco Wins Civil War

1939

Franco creates a fascist dictatorship similar to Hitler or Mussolini's dictatorship.

Hitler Breaks Promise With Britain and France

1939

Hitler takes the rest of Czechoslovakia. The democracies accepted the fact that the appeasement had failed. The Western nations promised to protect Poland, which was the most likely target of Hitler

Hitler Announces Non-Aggression Pact

1939

Non-Aggression pact with Stalin. The Nazi-Soviet Pact bound Hitler and Stalin to peaceful relations. Hitler feared communism and Stalin feared fascism.

German Forces Invade Poland

December 1939

A week after the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Germany invaded Poland. Two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany. WWII had begun.