chapter  12
Classical Liberalism and the Bourgeois State
ByKathleen Callanan Martin
Pages 9

The coming to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany was the crucial link in a chain of events that ultimately led to World War II. During the 1930s there were undemocratic regimes both in Asia and Europe whose aggressive designs threatened international peace. In southern Europe, Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini moved to expand its colonial possessions in Africa and to act on its territorial ambitions elsewhere in the Mediterranean region. Yet only Germany among the world's growing assortment of fascist and authoritarian countries had the military and economic potential to challenge the international order established after World War I. The deep mistrust Europe's democratic leaders held for the Soviet Union, a totalitarian regime officially committed to promoting communist revolutions worldwide, further stymied efforts to stand up to Nazi Germany. The result was the most total and destructive war in human history.