Discuss how the events and aftermath of World War I created the political, social, and economic conditions that led to World War II.



Article 231: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies….

The Allied and associated Governments…require, and Germany undertakes, that she will make compensation for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allied and Associated Powers and to their property….

SOURCE:  Excerpt from The Treaty of Versailles, 1919.



"The provinces of Posen and almost the whole of West Prussia are to be separated from the German Empire in consideration of the former extent of the old Polish state, although millions of Germans are living there….

For the purpose of securing to Poland free access to the sea, East Prussia is to be completely cut off from the rest of the empire and thereby condemned to economic and natural decay….Such terms are not founded on any principle of justice…."

SOURCE:   Criticisms of the German delegation to the Paris Peace Conference to the Treaty of Versailles, 1919.



"In the first place, the vast expenditures of the war, the inflation of prices, and the depreciation of currency, leading up to a complete instability of the unit value, have made us all lose sense of number and magnitude in matters of finance. What we believed to be the limits of possibility have been so enormously exceeded….The danger confronting us, therefore, is the rapid depression of the standard of life of the European populations to a point which will mean actual starvation for some (a point already reached in Russia and approximately reached in Austria)."

SOURCE:   John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of Peace, 1919.



"What we see before us of human culture today, the results of art, science, and techniques, is almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan….

The Jew forms the strongest contrast to the Aryan. Hardly in any people of the world is the instinct of self-preservation more strongly developed than in the so-called "chosen people."…

But how far the Jew takes over foreign culture, only imitating, or rather destroying, it, may be seen from the fact that he is found most frequently in that art which also appears directed least of all towards invention of its own, the art of acting. But here, too, he is really only the "juggler," or rather the ape; for here, too, he lacks the ultimate touch of real greatness; here, too, he is not the ingenious creator, but the outward imitator, whereby all the turns and tricks he applies cannot deceive us concerning the inner lack of lowers man, and never again can its consequences be removed from the body and mind."

SOURCE:   Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1923.



In the event of Poland or France suffering from a failure to observe the undertakings arrived at this day between them and Germany, with a view to the maintenance of general peace, France and, reciprocally, Poland, acting in application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, undertake to lend each other immediate aid and assistance, if such a failure is accompanied by an unprovoked recourse to arms….

And in the event of Poland or France being attacked without provocation, France, or reciprocally, Poland, acting in application of Article 15, paragraph 7, of the Covenant of the League of Nations, will immediately lend its aid and assistance.

SOURCE:   Treaty of Locarno Between France and Poland, 1925.



I. For the Nation…

2. Patriotism is stimulated, and a sacred enthusiasm for the Fatherland is awakened….

4. Peoples learn to know each other better and to respect one another. There is an exchange of ideas, opinions, points of view….

II. For the Citizens

1. War gives them the opportunity to develop their talents. Without war the world would have fewer great men….

4. It is sweet to die for the Fatherland. The dead of the enemy live in the memory of the victor.

SOURCE:   Draft for a Student Composition on the Advantages of War, 1927.



"The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal Sate is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality – thus it may be called the "ethic" State…."

SOURCE:   Benito Mussolini, What is Fascism, 1932.



"An almost unbroken chain of homeless men extends the whole length of the great Hamburg-Berlin highway….

Whole families…had piled all their goods into baby carriages and wheelbarrows that they were pushing along as they plodded forward in dumb despair. It was a whole nation on the march…."

SOURCE:   Heinrich Hauser, "With Germany’s Unemployed", 1933.



"Herr Hitler’s action is alarming because of the fresh confirmation which it affords of the scant respect paid by German Government to the sanctity of treaties…by reoccupying the Rhineland…

The myth is now exploded that Herr Hitler only repudiates treaties imposed on Germany by force. We must be prepared for him to repudiate any treaty even if freely negotiated (a) when it becomes inconvenient; and (b) when Germany is sufficiently strong and the circumstances are otherwise favorable for doing so…."

SOURCE:   British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, 1936.



"There had been an effective reoccupation of the demilitarized zone, not by symbolic detachments, but in considerable force. What had taken place was a complete reoccupation. The French Government therefore considered that what had occurred was not merely an attempt at remilitarization, but actual and complete remilitarization….

What had been violated was a treaty into which Germany had freely entered. It was a violation of a territorial character, a violation following upon repeated assurances by the German Chancellor [Hitler] that he would respect the Locarno Treaty and the demilitarized zone on condition that the other parties did the same."

SOURCE:   French Minister of Foreign Affairs M. P.-E. Flandin, 1936.



"I do not wish to enter into any long argument about the historical narrative of events as described by (the German Foreign Minister), but I am bound at once to refute his statement to the effect that His Majesty's Government were not within their rights in interesting themselves in the independence of Austria, and that, as in the opinion of the German Government relations between Austria and Germany are a purely internal affair, His Majesty's Government, as a third party, has no concern in them."

SOURCE:   Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 1938.



  1. The evacuation will begin on 1st October.
  2. The United Kingdom, France and Italy agree that the evacuation of the territory shall be completed by the 10th of October, without any existing installations having been destroyed, and that the Czechoslovak Government will be held responsible for carrying out the evacuation without damage to the said installations.
  3. The conditions governing the evacuation will be laid down in detail by an international commission composed of representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia….

(6) The final determination of the frontiers will be carried out by the international commission. The commission will also be entitled to recommend to the four Powers, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in certain exceptional cases, minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination of the zones which are to be transferred without plebiscite.

SOURCE:   Agreement concluded at Munich, September 29, 1938, between Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy.



"The readiness on the part of the Kremlin to arrive at a reorientation of its relations with Germany…has become even stronger in the last few weeks and has made it possible for me…to send my Foreign Minister to Moscow for the conclusion of a treaty which is the most extensive non-aggression pact in existence…."

"Concerning the agreement with Russia, I approve of that completely….A rapprochement between Germany and Russia was necessary to prevent encirclement by the democracies….If Germany attacks Poland and the conflict remains localized, Italy will afford Germany every form of political and economic assistance which is requested."

SOURCE:   Hitler, Letter to Mussolini, 1939;  -Mussolini, Response to Hitler, 1939..


DBQ Question created by::

Maureen Daly
Class of 2002
Maria Regina H. S.
Hartsdale, NY  10530