How World War II Began
At daybreak on the first day of September 1939, the people of Poland awakened to vital news. A force of tanks, guns, and countless soldiers from nearby Germany had torn across the countryside and were making a total invasion of the Pole's homelands. Germany's actions on that fateful morning ignited a conflict that would spread like a wildfire, engulfing the entire globe in a great world war. This scenario is many people's idea of how World War II started. In reality, the whole story is far more detailed and complex. The origins of war can be traced as far back as the end of the first World War in 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles placed responsibility for that terrible war all on Germany. Years later, in the Far East, Japanese ambition for territory led the nation to invade Manchuria and other parts of nearby China, causing hostilities to flare in the Pacific Rim. Great Britain, the United States, and many other nations of the world would all be drawn into battle in the years to come, and each nation had it's own reason for this huge rage of war.
Although Germany was the major player in World War II, the thoughts of war had already been started in the Far East years before conflict in Europe began. On September 18, 1931, the powerful Japanese military forces began an invasion of the region known as Manchuria, an area belonging to mainland China. This action broke non-aggression treaties that had been signed earlier. Japanese generals without the consent of the Japanese government also carried it out. After all of this, no one was ever punished for the actions. Soon after the assault on China, the Japanese government decided it had no choice but to take over Manchuria. By the next year the region had been completely cut off from China (Ienaga 60-64). Because of the Japanese offensive in China, the League of Nations held a vote in October to force Japan out of the captured territory. The vote was passed, 13 to 1, but Japan remained in control of Manchuria. A second vote, taken in February 1933, a formal disapproval of the Japanese occupation, was passed 42 to 1. Instead of expelling Japan from the area of Manchuria, it caused the nation to formally withdraw its membership in the League of Nations the next month (Ienaga 66).
Now uncontrolled by the suggestions of the League of Nations, Japan continued it's intrusion onto Chinese soil. By 1937 Japan had moved military forces into Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing, as well as other regions of China. By 1940, Japanese abduction of territory had spread to Southeast Asia and even parts of Australia (Sutel et al). Also in 1940, the Triparte Pact was signed, allying Japan, Germany, and Italy into a powerful force that stretched halfway around the planet. The association with Hitler and Germany unified the war in the Pacific and the war in Europe. Japan was now fully involved in what came to be known as World War II. As warfare was stirring rapidly in
the Pacific Rim, a chain...