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Causes of WWII
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World War II was caused by a wide combination of interrelated factors.  Since the purpose of this website is to be brief in order to maximize comprehension, the flow of events leading to WWII can be "told" through a graphical flowchart.

The Road to WWII (This is the sequence of worldwide events that brought about WWII. The best way to view this GIF file is to save it and open it with a graphics program. I apologize for the quality, but I didn't have access to better scanners at the school I attend.)

After WWII Began (This is when the United States was officially brought into the war. This is another GIF file, but it's thankfully easier to read.)

If you prefer the typical linear timeline to understand the sequence of events, there are many available on the web.

Thinkquest WWII Timeline: (Easy to Follow and includes pictures. My favorite site for a timeline.)

The History Place: WWII in the Pacific
The History Place: WWII in Europe

WWII Factbook

Lest we Forget: Europe 
Lest we Forget: Pacific 
(Events year by year)

List of Important Dates: (Simple listing of dates and events.)



How did the US get involved?

Basically, aggression by Germany, Italy, and Japan led to the war. 

Most of those in the US wanted to avoid going to another war at all cost and the physical separation of the US from Europe and the Pacific Theatre further supported this view. Although remaining neutral in name, the US began providing assistance to the Allies in the form of war loans and war materials. The US even took part in the Atlantic Charter where military strategy and "common principles" were discussed. 


The event that eventually pushed the US into war was the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. (Luckily, over half the U.S. Pacific fleet was out to sea, including the carriers.) The American deaths resulting from this attack provided the motive which unified the general American public in support of war. Not long after war was declared on Japan, Germany declared war on the US, and the US was finally brought into war in both the European and Pacific Theatres.

Pearl Harbor Links:

Pearl Harbor Remembered (Created to honor the memory of Pearl Harbor survivors, this site contains vivid descriptions of actual events as told by people that were serving on different U.S. ships.)

The Attack on Pearl Harbor (An essay describing the events that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the bombing itself and the aftermath. This site surprises you with an embedded sound file that starts up after the page is loaded.)

USS Arizona (Vast amounts of information, history, photos and sound recordings of the battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor. From the University of Arizona Library.)

Pearl Harbor - Mother of All Conspiracies: (Chronology of events that warned of Japan's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into the Second World War.)

Copyright 2000 [Matt Wilhelm]. All rights reserved.
This page was last updated on 07/25/00.