52:18 | Modern history

World War 2: The Complete History

The Stumble to War  |  Season 1  |  Episode 1  |  The History Channel

This is the story of the greatest war of world history, of men and encounters that cast huge shadows across time. In this 13-part series we examine the events and personalities that drove World War II. In part one of this series we look at the legacy of Versailles and the League of Nations and their impact on events to come. The Versailles Conference and Treaty supposedly ended World War I; the guarantee of peace was the punishment and weakening of Germany. This humiliation would fuel the fire of one man's ambition to exact revenge - Adolf Hitler. When Hitler came to power in 1933 he did so on a wave of anti-Versailles feeling, assuring the German people that he would destroy the slave treaty of Versailles and once again make Germany a great power. With the impotence of the League of Nations further illustrated by their failure to act against Italy's invasion of Ethiopia and Japan's subsequent war on China, Hitler realised there was nothing to stop his plans for German rearmament and expansion. In 1938 he announced his plans to annexe Austria. With this country now in his pocket the way was clear for Hitler to move on to his next target - Czechoslovakia. As 1938 drew to a close Britain's Prime Minister was talking of appeasement, whilst a lone voice in Parliament, Winston Churchill, was warning the world about the coming dangers of Nazism.

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