Europe on the Eve of WWII, 1939


Simeon Netchev
published on 18 March 2024
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A map illustrating the geopolitical shifts and escalating tensions in Europe on the eve of the Second World War in 1939. Beginning with the Saarland's rejoining of Germany in 1935, followed by the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, had undergone major expansion events amongst which were the annexation of Austria in March 1938 (Anschluss) and the occupation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland later that year (following the Munich Agreement). These actions violated the Treaty of Versailles and raised concerns among European powers about Hitler's aggressive territorial ambitions. Additionally, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in August 1939, paved the way for further expansionist activities. The pivotal event that precipitated the outbreak of World War II was the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, leading to the declaration of war by Britain and France, ultimately plunging the continent into a devastating conflict.

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About the Author

Simeon Netchev
Simeon is a freelance visual designer with a deep interest in the human side of history. He believes that every image should be an interaction, a commentary, and a narrative, and every map should lead on an exciting journey of exploration and discovery.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Netchev, S. (2024, March 18). Europe on the Eve of WWII, 1939. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Netchev, Simeon. "Europe on the Eve of WWII, 1939." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 18, 2024.

MLA Style

Netchev, Simeon. "Europe on the Eve of WWII, 1939." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 18 Mar 2024. Web. 20 May 2024.