After World War 1
After Germany lost World War 1 (which took place from 28 July 1914 – 11 Nov 1918), they had to sign the Treaty of Versailles. This was a document which forced Germany to accept responsibility for all the loss and damage caused by the war. Germany was forced to disarm. They had to give up their weapons and were not allowed to have any armed forces. They also had to give some of their land to France and pay lots of money (around 132 billion Marks / around 333 billion pounds) to repair the damage they had caused to other countries.
This meant that Germany did not have much money left and lots of people lost their jobs and could not afford much.
Adolf Hitler had been a soldier in World War 1. After the war, he went into politics. Many Germans were upset that they had lost the war. They were also not happy with the Treaty of Versailles, which not only blamed the war on Germany, but meant that they had to give up some of their land. Many people had become poor as a result of losing the war.
After going into politics, Hitler became very good at giving speeches which encouraged the people of Germany. He joined the Nazi party and soon became their leader. He promised the Germans that if they voted for him to become became their leader, he would restore Germany to greatness in Europe. In 1933 he was elected as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler had studied his idol, Benito Mussolini (the prime minister of Italy), and learnt how to become a dictator. Soon, Hitler was dictator of Germany.
Germany Invades Poland
Hitler had promised to make Germany great again and quickly began to rebuild the German armed forces and seize land from other countries.
Just before 5am on Friday 1st September 1939, German forces invaded Poland. They used tanks and other vehicles to race into the country over ground, supported by Stuka dive bomber planes overhead, dropping bombs. Around 1.25 million German soldiers swept into Poland.
World War 2 is Declared
World War Two in Europe officially began on 3rd September 1939. The British Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, had tried to contact Hitler to tell him to pull his armies out of Germany. Hitler did not respond and continued with his invasion, so Britain declared war on Germany.
Neville Chamberlain announced the beginning of the war on the Wireless (radio)