Q:

How did World War II begin?

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Quick Answer

World War II began when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The invasion began on September 1, but the war didn't begin officially until Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.

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How did World War II begin?
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Full Answer

Prior to invading Poland, Germany took over Austria and Czechoslovakia. The nations of Europe, led by Great Britain and France, hoped that by allowing Adolf Hitler, Germany's dictator, to have additional territory, that they could avoid war. Hitler, however, saw the concessions as a sign of weakness and continued his conquest of Europe.

To create a justification for invading Poland, Heinrich Himmler devised a plot in which a prisoner was taken from a German concentration camp, dressed in a Polish army uniform and shot near the border between Germany and Poland. The Germans then used the dead soldier as evidence of a Polish attack on Germany. The German army quickly defeated the Polish forces and proceeded to attack and conquer most of Western Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and France.

The United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941 by declaring war on Japan for bombing the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7. The U.S. entered the war in Europe when Germany declared war on December 11, 1941.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What started World War II?

    A:

    Although World War II was officially started by Germany invading Poland, there were several events that led up to this war. Some causes include the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of fascism.

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  • Q:

    Who started World War II?

    A:

    Adolph Hitler started World War II on Sept. 1, 1939, by invading Poland. While he had earlier taken over Austria and Czechoslovakia, these actions were ignored or explained away by European leaders who did not want a war.

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  • Q:

    When did World War II start?

    A:

    World War II started on September 17, 1939, with the joint Soviet and Nazi invasion of Poland. Following this invasion, Britain and France declared war on Germany.

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  • Q:

    What countries did Hitler invade in World War II?

    A:

    Between 1939 and 1941, Germany invaded and occupied Poland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria and Italy. Italy began as an ally of Germany; however, after Italy surrendered to United States and British forces, Germany marched in and seized Rome.

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