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Some countries were friends with certain
countries and not others!
France and Britain were friendly with each
Germany and Italy were friendly with each
To find out how
the Second World
War started we
have to look back
at the First World
This map of
Europe shows
some of the
countries involved.
World War I began in 1914 and lasted until
1918. It was supposed to be ‘The war to end all
Countries had formed friendships or alliances
with each other.
Different countries began to build up their
armies and build bigger, more powerful ships.
By September 1918 the German High
Command realised that the war was lost.
The Armistice was signed at 11 a.m. on
November 11th 1918.
In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Many people were
determined to stop
war happening
A League of Nations
was established to
enable countries to
keep peace.
Germany was made
to take the blame.
Germany was made
to pay out huge sums
of money in
They were also made
to give up some land.
Germany was also
forced to reduce the
size of her armies and
to sink her ships.
As a result the
country became
The country had no money, people had no jobs and
were starving.
Some people resented the status and money that
others, such as Jews had. Jews were persecuted and
made to give up their jobs and money
Adolf Hitler rose to power with promises to help the
German people.
He set up youth groups and spoke at rallies.
All over Europe, people began to suffer
as jobs disappeared.
Germany began to re-build her ships
and build up her armies.
The British Prime Minister, Neville
Chamberlain believed that he could negotiate
with Adolf Hitler.
He met Herr Hitler at Munich in 1938 and
declared the meeting was successful, ‘Peace in
our time’ he said.
Unfortunately not!
Germany, with the
support of her allies,
continued to invade
other countries.
In September 1939
Britain issued an
ultimatum, after
Germany invaded
Poland. It was
ignored, so war was
War was declared
on September 3rd
Air raid sirens
sounded, but it
was a false alarm.
The evacuation of
children began.
Before WWII: Remains the leading European power, despite taking
lumps as a victor in WWI, and the interwar Global Depression. As a
result, hesitant to oppose Germany as it started to become aggressive
and difficult during the 1930s.
During WWII: Declares war on Germany in 1939, after its invasion of
Poland. Most powerful navy of the European powers, but the British
army was not prepared. We offered troops to France, Norway, Middle
East, Africa, India, Greece to assist in the invasion of Italy and the
Pacific/Asian Theatre.
After WWII: Part of the big 3 powers that decided the fate of post-war
Europe. Like all other European nations, suffered a high loss of life, and
economic damaged. It did lose most of its empire, as many countries
that had belonged to it before the war now wanted independence.
Invaded by Nazis in 1940 to provide base of operations for its
invasion of France. Liberated by the Allies as they closed in on
Germany in 1944/45.
They were neutral until conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940.
Liberated by Allies in 1944.
Before WWII: Experienced economic and political turbulence during interwar
years, leaving it vulnerable to future German and Soviet expansionist
During WWII: In 1939, invaded by Nazi Germany from the west, and the
Soviet Union from the east. Despite resistance, was quickly conquered and
occupied. West and Central Poland would fall to the Nazis, and Eastern Poland
to the Soviets. Poland would serve as a battleground throughout the war,
utterly devastating the nation. In addition, millions of Poles (including about 3
million Polish Jews) were exterminated by the Nazi regime. Conquered by
Russia in 1944, as Red Army pursued the Nazi army back to Germany.
After WWII: The Soviets rigged the post-war election to ensure the
installation of a communist government. Poland would remain under Soviet
control/influence until the collapse of the USSR in 1990.
When the war started Poland was counting on France and Great Britain.
These countries were bound by a treaty with Poland, that in the case of
aggression they would help. Poles were convinced that when France and
Great Britain became officially in state of war with Germany they would start
fighting. But nothing happened, on either the British or the French side.
The war started in the time when Polish economy was finally recovering
after years of international crisis from the early thirties. The Polish sovereign
state at that time was very young. Polish independence between the First
and the Second World War lasted for no more than twenty years, after over
a hundred of years of partitions between Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
The war brought terrible economic losses as it destroyed infrastructure,
housing etc. Poland was in fact the most destroyed country in the world,
except for Germany and Japan who were the aggressors. The war also
brought terrible human losses - six million Poles, half of them Jewish and
half of non-Jewish. The fact that over 90% of Polish Jews were murdered
during the war is horrible and at the same time well known around the
world. What is less well known is that every Polish family lost somebody
also, either in combat against Germany or Soviet Union, or in German
extermination and labour camps, or in Siberia.