The Move to Global War


Washington Agreements

12 November 1921 - 6 February 1922
  • Conference to discuss naval disarmament.
  • 5-Power Treaty: Tonnage ratio of 5:5:3.
  • 4-Power Treaty: Each power would respect the territory of each other.
  • 9-Power Treaty: Japan would recognize Chinese territory and sovereignty.

Kwantung army assassinates the Manchurian warlord

04 June 1928
  • Zhang Zuolin is assassinated by officers of the Kwantung.
  • His successor and son, Zhang Xueliang, hoisted the Nationalist flag over Manchuria.

Militarism replaces democracy in the Japanese Diet

1930 - 1931
  • Coup but called back at the last moment; militarists control the gov´t and made life difficult for the japanese Diet (Parliament).
  • Moderates were labeled “un-japanese” if they did not support the military with the New Hamaguchi government.

Mukden Incident

18 September 1931
  • An explosion occurred on the Southern Manchurian railway, which damaged the track just outside Mukden.
  • Bomb planted by Kwantung exploded on the track of Japanese-owned railway → used as an excuse to invade Manchuria.
  • japanese created own state: Manchukuo.

Creation of Manchukuo

18 February 1932
  • Known as "Wei Manzhouguo"—meaning "false state of Manchuria". Puppet state created by Japan out of the three historic provinces of Manchuria (northeastern China).
  • Henry Pu-Yi—former Chinese emperor—installed as head of the puppet government.

Assassination of Prime Minister Inukai

15 May 1932
  • Inukai Tsuyoshi, who opposed the seizure of Manchuria and growing control of the military, was assassinated by a group of right-wing naval officers.
  • Marked the end of pre-World War II Japanese democracy and the triumph of militarism and fascism.

Lytton Report

September 1932
  • Leage of Nations' response to Mukden incident.
  • Japanese should give Manchuria back to China and the League will not recognize Manchukuo.

Japanese Withdrawal from the League of Nations

24 February 1933
  • The Japanese delegation—defying world opinion—withdrew after the assembly had adopted a report blaming Japan for events in Manchuria.

Japanese Withdrawal from the Naval Treaties

15 January 1936
  • Japan resented the 5:5:3 tonnage ratio established, considering it as an offense from the West.
  • "(...) the basic principles embodied in our proposal for a comprehensive limitation and reduction of naval armaments cannot secure general support (...)"

The (Second) Sino-Japanese War

07 July 1937 - 09 September 1945
  • China fought Japan, with aid from Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States (which had interests in China).
  • (December 1936) Japan sinks USS Panay in the Yangtze River as it ensconced an oil tanker.

The Rape of Nanking

13 December 1937 - January 1938
  • The Japanese Imperial Army marched into China's capital city of Nanking and proceeded to murder 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city.
  • Represented the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific warzones.

Concept of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere

29 June 1940 - 15 August 1945
  • Based on  the idea of Pan-Asianism.
  • Militant rise in Japan meant more autonomy for the  military.
  • Economic Depression → less cooperation with the West → Japan would guide Asia against the West.
  • (1941) Great East Asian War
  • (1942)Colonial Ministry replaced with the Great East Asia Ministry.

US institutes embargoes on Japan

26 July 1941
  • US becomes aggressive toward Japanese expansionism.
  • (1939) Moral embargo on pioneers credit to Japan was stopped. United States ignored neutrality act and gave $25 billion to nationalists in China

Attack on Pearl Harbor

07 December 1941
  • Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and more than 300 airplanes.


Mussolini takes power

22 October 1922 - 29 October 1922
  • Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) rose to power as a leading proponent of Fascism.
  • Forged the paramilitary Fascist movement in 1919 and became prime minister.

Establishment of the Stresa Front

14 April 1935
  • Italy, France, and Britain.
  • Maintain the Locarno agreement and support the independence of Austria.

Conquest of Abyssinia

October 1935 - May 1936
  • Italy invades the only African opponent in colonial era, using a disagreement over grazing rights as an excuse.
  • Mussolini sends 500,000 soldiers with the latest weaponry against Ethiopians, many using spears.

Hoare-Laval Pact

December 1935
  • Britain and France—hypocritically—proposed giving Italy ⅔ of Abyssinia.
  • The proposed deal collapsed once it was leaked to the press.

Collapse of the Stresa Front

06 January 1936
  • After the Hoare-Laval Pact's failure, the League of Nations imposes oil embargo on Italy (although not implemented).
  • Nationalist support for Mussolini grew, it pushed Italy and Germany closer to one another. The League of Nations is seen as weak.
  • Mussolini had the first steps of his “New Roman Empire”.

Italy withdraws from the League of Nations

13 December 1937
  • Due to the sanctions imposed to Italy during the Abyssinian War, declaring it as the aggressor nation (from collective security).

Italy declares war (enters WWII)

10 June 1940
  • Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, declares war on France and Great Britain.
  • Mussolini worried that there was nothing left for him after the “Blitzkrieg”.


Germany withdraws from the Geneva Conference

23 October 1933
  • Withdrawal from both the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations.
  • in response to the Western powers’ refusal to meet its demand for equality.

Germany signs a 10 year Non-Aggression Pact with Poland

26 January 1934
  • After border disputes due to the Treaty of Versailles, their relations were controlled.
  • The treaty said there had to be bilateral negotiations without armed conflict between the countries, recognizing each of the borders.
  • Hitler breaks the Pact in the end.

Hitler becomes the Führer

02 August 1934
  • The Weimar Republic’s constant mistakes made them unpopular with the people, they wanted a change and the Nazi Party was a radical one.
  • Hitler said he would get rid of the Treaty of Versailles, since multiple people believed it made Germany bankrupt.

Germany reintroduces conscription and the Air Force

16 March 1935
  • Hitler denounced the military clauses of the Versailles Treaty and proclaimed immediate general military conscription in Germany.

Reoccupation of the Rhineland

07 March 1936
  • Germany´s military forces reoccupied Rhineland for the first time since the end of WWI, shifting power from France to Germany.
  • Allowed Germany to follow its policy of aggression.

Hossbach Memorandum

05 November 1937
  • Meeting that Hitler had with his ministers and military commanders discussing the motivations and intentions for a war of expansion in Europe, summarized.


12 March 1938 - 1945
  • Austria and Germany united into one country to form a “Greater Germany”.

Munich Conference

29 September 1938
  • The Czech government agreed to give Czech territory where 50% or more of the population were German.
  • The agreement permitting Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland, giving Hitler the domination of Central Europe.

German troops occupy all of Czechoslovakia

15 March 1939 - 08 May 1945
  • Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia due to 3 million German speakers in Sudetenland.

Nazi-Soviet Pact (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:

23 August 1939 - 22 June 1941
  • A neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Germany.
  • They divided territories of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Romania into each Sphere of Influence.
  • Remained in forcé until Germany invaded Poland.

Germany invades Poland (WWII begins)

01 September 1939 - January 1945
  • The Polish army was defeated within weeks of the invasion.
  • Britain and France—standing by their guarantee of Poland's border—had declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
  • The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on September 17, 1939.


Locarno Treaties

16 October 1925
  • Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

  • Germany accepts Western borders with France and Belgium, previously settled in the Treaty of Versailles.

  • The Rhineland is permanently demilitarized.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact

27 August 1928
  • France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, and others.

  • Outlaws war; tried to prevent another World War.

  • It failed.

  • The Mukden Incident—where Japan invaded Manchuria—tested the Pact, given that Japan signed it.

The Great Depression

1929 - 1939
  • Unemployment was high; many businesses failed.
  • No investment or entrepreneurship.

Stock Market Crash

29 October 1929
  • Wall Street, New York, United States.

  • Stock sale increased → greater amount of investors → Money is loaned to buy stocks → Stock prices drop → A total of $25 billion was lost (Suddath, 2008).

  • Unemployment, low wages, debt, a struggling agricultural sector and an excess of large bank loans.

Spanish Civil War

17 July 1936 - 1 April 1939
  • Military revolt against the Spanish Republican government  supported by the conservatives.
  • The Nationalists (rebel group) got help from Italy and Germany.
  • The Republicans got help from the USSR and the International Brigades.
  • Resulted in the victory of the Nationalists led by Francisco Franco, who afterwards ruled Spain for 36 years.

Rome-Berlin Axis Alliance

25 October 1936
  • Italy and Germany.
  • Pact between both Fascist countries.

Anti-Cominterm Pact

25 November 1936
  • Germany, Japan.
  • Pact against Communist International.

  • Later included Italy on November 6, 1937.

Pact of Steel

22 May 1939
  • Italy and Germany.
  • Trust and cooperation between both countries.
  • Secret Supplementary Protocol: Encouraged the union of military and economic policies.

The Tripartite Act

27 September 1940
  • Germany, Japan, and Italy.
  • Maintaining peace and prosperity; directed at the United States.
  • It failed. There were disagreements and countries were on different sides of the globe.