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Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the dictatorial leader of the National Socialist German Workers

Party, or Nazi Party, commanding German forces throughout World War II. A fanatic nationalist,
miltarist, racist, and anti-Semite, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and quickly
transformed Germany into a totalitarian fascist state. His efforts to build a territorially larger and
ethnically purer fatherland for the German people ended in world war and Holocaust. Hitler
retained power in Germany until his suicide just before Germany's surrender in 1945.

In September 1938, leaders of France and Great Britain met Adolf Hitler to discuss his
demands, ultimately granting the German leader control over the Sudetenland region of
Czechoslovakia. In return, Hitler promised to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone, and to
abandon all further ambitions of territorial expansion. When Hitler broke his pledge and took the
rest of Czechoslovakia and then invaded Poland in 1939, France and Great Britain declared
war. Hitler's forces invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg, and
defeated France within the first year of war. Ultimately, however, Nazi Germany would fall to
Allied forces, surrendering on 2 May 1945, one day after Adolf Hitler's suicide.

Four factors - the basics

Was Hitler to blame for the Second World War?

However, it is easy but too simplistic to blame Hitler for causing the Second World War. Over the
years, historians have focussed on fourfactors that brought war:

 The Treaty of Versailles was unfair and made Germany determined to destroy it.
 The League of Nations was too weak to keep the peace.
 Hitler's policies were aggressive. Hitler went on until there was a war to stop him.
 The Nazi-Soviet Pact released Hitler to go to war in 1939.

Four factors in detail


The Treaty of Versailles
Created an anger in Germany that made many Germans support Hitler when he promised to
destroy the Treaty. Also, it was so unfair that it undermined the confidence of western politicians
to resist Hitler's demands, which many of them agreed with.

League of Nations
It was supposed to keep the peace, but it failed. It was too ambitious and badly organised. The
group was betrayed by America, Britain and France and it was destroyed by Japan and Italy.
Hitler's policies
It is easy to argue that Hitler's actions pushed a Europe, which was desperate to be reasonable,
into war. His invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland went beyond correcting the mistakes of
Versailles.

Nazi-Soviet Pact
Some historians argue that Hitler would not have gone to war in 1939 if he had been faced with
fighting Britain and France in the west and Russia and Poland in the east. Stalin gave Hitler the
green light for war.