The substantial impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the emergence of the conditions that eventually led to World War II should not be underestimated by any means, but under dissimilar circumstances the Treaty by itself would only doubtfully have been enough to create circumstances of inevitability. The thing that has become inevitable, of course, is that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles have been routinely blamed by lazy historians and ideologically unsound revisionists for producing the level of economic fear and insecurity among Germans that could manufacture a psychological state of mind embraced by the nation as a whole that facilitated the unquestioned acceptance of the patently ludicrous political message at the heart of Hitler and the National Socialists. Lost admit this assurance of a correspondence between divergent events, however, is that Germany was not exactly unaccompanied in the global economic devastation that gripped the world during Hitler’s rise to power.
The impact on the inevitability of World War II by the 1920 stock market crash thousands of miles away from Berlin cannot be underestimated. This event brought the boom market of the Roaring Twenties to an instantaneous halt not just in America, but around the world. While it is true that Germany suffered enormously, so too were other major players in World War II affected. The utmost impact of the economic hesitation engendered by the stock market collapse was not relegated to economic viability such as the inability to conduct necessary trade, but to political opportunism. The massive loss of jobs and income threw many people around the world into abject poverty, and with poverty comes despair, and with despair comes the willingness to look for an answer out. The Great Depression created the perfect opportunity for extremist or radical ideas to flourish. The 1930s saw the rise in power of proponents of both communism and fascism, each of whom promised a way out of hopelessness.
This hopelessness presented especially ripe opportunities for those who had been most devastating by the Treaty of Versailles and the loss of World War I. The fascists in Italy quickly gained support by appeals to nationalism by being quite capable of pointing the finger toward America and England as the cause of their misery. It was the rampant capitalism and the power of the banks and the blind greed that had thrown the world into turmoil. Promises of prosperity and the realignment of their own rightful place among the world leaders proved to be instruments of great appeal to those who saw in these pledges the best opportunity to fill their hungry bellies and meager bank accounts. The real key to the success of the fascist revolt resided in tying the emotional power of nationalist sentiment to a xenophobic hatred of the outsiders who had allegedly been responsible for all their problems.