In the early 1920s Hitler had indicated to the world that the Nazi regime would conquer the Soviet Union. Germany had to then prepare for a war with the Soviet Union. His plan was that once the Soviet Union had been conquered, he would resettle it with German peasants.
During the 1930's, Hitler became more aggressive , but no nation opposed him, even when he demanded a part of neighboring Czechoslovakia. However Winston Churchill sensed danger and believed Hitler's actions would only lead to war.
Hitler announced the creation of a new air force. This was a direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
Mussolini had long dreamed of creating a ne Roman Empire in the Mediterranean therefore Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia in October of 1935.
Both Germany and Italy sent troops to Spain to help general Francisco in the Spanish Civil War.
Hitler sent troops to Rhineland which was physically apart of Germany but was technically demilitarized because of the Treaty of Versailles. Due to the treaty Germany was not allowed to have weapons or fortifications there.
Mussolini and Hitler made an agreement recognizing their common political and economic interests. One month later, Mussolini called the alliance between Italy and Germany the Rome-Berlin Axis. Then in November, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact promising a common front against Communism
Hitler demanded that Germany be given the Sudetenland, an area in northwestern Czechoslovakia that was inhabited largely by Germans.
Hitler invaded and took control of Bohemia and Moravia in western Czechoslovakia. In the eastern part of the country, Slovakia became a puppet state controlled by Nazi Germany.
Hitler triumphantly declared in Prague that he would be known as the greatest German of them all.
Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact promising each other that the two nations would no attack each other.
German forces invaded Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany.
Japanese soldiers had seized Manchuria, which had natural resources that Japan needed. To justify their seizure, Japan cited a Chinese attack on Japanese railway near the city of Mukden.
Chiang ended his military efforts against the Communists and formed a united front against the Japanese.
Chinese and Japanese forces clashed south of Bejing. This incident eventually turned into a major conflict.
Japan seized the Chinese capital but Chang Kai-shek refused to surrender and moved his government upriver, first to Honkou, the to Chongqing.
When the Non-Aggression pact was signed the Japanese leaders had to rethink their goals. Japan did not have the resources to defeat the Soviet Union without Help. So Instead Japan turns its attention to raw materials that could be found in Southeast Asia to fuel its military machine.