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Word Count: 492
This second global conflict resulted from the rise of totalitarian militaristic regimes in Germany Italy and Japan a phenomenon stemming in part from the Great Depression that swept over the world in the early 1930s and from the conditions created by the peace settlements 191920 following World War I After World War I defeated Germany disappointed Italy and ambitious Japan were anxious to regain or increase their power all three eventually adopted forms of dictatorship see National Socialism and fascism that made the state supreme and called for expansion at the expense of neighboring countries These three countries also set themselves up as champions against Communism thus gaining at least partial tolerance of their early actions from the more conservative groups in the Western democracies Also important was a desire for peace on the part of the democracies which resulted in their military unpreparedness Finally the League of Nations weakened from the start by the defection of the United States was unable to promote disarmament see Disarmament Conference moreover the long economic depression sharpened national rivalries increased fear and distrust and made the masses susceptible to the promises of demagogues The failure of the League to stop the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1931 was followed by a rising crescendo of treaty violations and acts of aggression Adolf Hitler when he to power 1933 in Germany recreated the German army and prepared it for a war of conquest in 1936 he remilitarized the Rhineland Benito Mussolini conquered 193536 Ethiopia for Italy and from 1936 to 1939 the Spanish civil war raged with Germany and Italy helping the fascist forces of Francisco Franco to victory In Mar 1938 Germany annexed Austria and in Sept 1938 the British and French policy of appeasement toward the Axis reached its height with the sacrifice of much of Czechoslovakia to Germany in the Munich Pact When Germany occupied Mar 1939 all of Czechoslovakia and when Italy seized Apr
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