Beginning of World War II | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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May 12, 2015
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Beginning of World War II | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

TL;DR

World War II began with Japan's invasion of China in 1937 and escalated with Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were the major events leading up to the start of World War II in Asia?

Japan's increasing militarism and expansion, including the invasion of Manchuria and the ongoing Second Sino-Japanese War, were major events that led to the start of World War II in Asia.

Q: How did Germany's actions in Europe contribute to the start of World War II?

Germany's increasing aggression, conquest of Austria, takeover of the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia, and alliance with the Soviet Union through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact all contributed to the start of World War II in Europe.

Q: Why did the Allies appease Hitler's aggression in the late 1930s?

The Allies, scarred by the horrors of World War I, hoped to avoid another war and thus appeased Hitler's aggression, allowing Germany to annex Austria and Czechoslovakia.

Q: How did the invasion of Poland mark the formal beginning of World War II?

Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939 prompted Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany, with the Soviet Union later invading as well, solidifying the start of World War II.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Japan's increasing militarism and expansion in Asia led to the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.

  • In Europe, Germany becomes more militaristic and allies with Italy, leading to the Anschluss and the takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939.

  • Germany's pact with the Soviet Union in August 1939 is followed by the invasion of Poland, which sparks the formal beginning of World War II.

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