Why was Australia involved in World War II?

Europe's path to War

During the 1930s two major problems faced the world:
  • the economic crisis that swept the world after the Wall Street Crash (see chapter 4)
  • the attempts by Germany, Italy and Japan (which became known as the Axis powers) to expand their territory.

Rise of fascism

After World War I (1914–18), Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war. Some parts of Germany were given to other countries, and Germany had to pay Britain and France reparations. The amount of money Germany was required to pay caused economic difficulties. During the 1920s in Germany, prices rose at a very fast rate (known as hyperinflation) and the Germans’ standard of living fell. Money became worthless. An item that cost 70 German marks to buy in 1921 required 4200 million marks to buy in 1923 and people's savings were quickly used up buying basic items of food.