Before WWII: The General World Trivia Quiz

John Miller

Image: Mr. Beat

About This Quiz

World War II was the deadliest war in human history, a conflict that still tests our understanding of evil. But with the First World War still fresh in their minds, how did people ever let another world war happen? Dive into the political and cultural chaos of our quiz and see if you know why!

After the Treaty of Versailles finally ended the years-long meat grinder of WWI’s Western Front, Germany’s power was eroded and all of Europe was licking its wounds. Sadly, the treaty included so many punitive measures against Germany that its citizens were drawn to extremist political views. Do you know the name of the leader and the party that gained power in Germany?

As dark times descended on Germany, two nations on the other side of the world were already in the middle of a brutal conflict. Do you know how this fight affected the trouble brewing in Europe?

Meanwhile, Americans had their hands full, doing everything they could to find work and keep their families from starving. A new president and a fresh outlook improved matters a little, but then came the war. How did WWII affect the United States?

In our quiz, we’ll find out if you really know the inter-war years, a time of tumult and heartache and hope … hope that was bashed on the rocky reality of WWII. Take our World Before World War II quiz now!

The Treaty of Versailles ended World War I. How did this treaty affect Germany?

Following Germany’s defeat in WWI, the Allies used the Treaty of Versailles to implement harsh and humiliating terms on the war’s losers. Even casual observers realized that the German people might lash out at the treaty’s terms.

In October 1918, a revolution began in ______.

In the autumn of 1918, the German Revolution began, even as World War I raged. The revolution would later impact the politics that led to the Second World War.

Which major event affected much of the world just before WWII?

In the early ‘30s, the Great Depression devastated economies all over the world. The fun of the Roaring Twenties was over ... and the pain of the ‘30s impacted politics everywhere.

True or false, was the Great Depression an event that mostly affected just the United States?

Hardly. The 1929 Stock Market crash is often noted as the the start of the Great Depression, but this economic catastrophe didn't affect just Americans. It sent economies all over the world into spasms, and countless millions of people suffered through high unemployment and dire need.

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to restrict its military to how many troops?

Following WWI, the treaty forced Germany to demilitarize and limited its army to 100,000. As the world would learn, not all German politicians felt like following the rules.

Before the war, what was the approximate rate of unemployment in Britain?

At the beginning of the ‘30s, British unemployment stood at more than 20%, but it dropped to around 10% in 1939. Then, war broke out and industry snapped up many of the unemployed.

Which organization was formed in the wake of WWI in hopes of preventing another large-scale war?

After WWI, the League of Nations was founded, with an idealistic dream of stopping more wars before they began. But the toothless League had very little real power, a fact that became all too clear in the late ‘30s.

Prior to WWII, Japan, Italy and Germany all conducted small-scale intrusions and occupations. How did the League of Nations respond?

Because every nation in the League had veto power, it was nearly impossible to pass measures with any consequences. So as the countries that eventually formed the Axis bared their teeth, the League did nothing.

Which European country broke out in civil war in 1936?

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War ripped the country at its seams. Spain essentially became a proving ground for the weapons and tactics that would later dominate early WWII.

Which civil war ENDED in 1922?

In 1922, the Russian Civil War, which started in 1917, finally ended. From the ashes emerged Joseph Stalin and the USSR, which would become a major player in WWII.

Before the war, Germany "annexed" which country?

In the late 1930s, the Nazis made it clear that they wanted German-speaking Austria in the fold. On March 12, 1938, Germany annexed Austria, Hitler’s birthplace, and added it to the Third Reich.

World War II began when ____ invaded Poland.

On September 1, 1939, Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland. The violent rhetoric was no longer just words — the bullets were flying and the world could only watch in horror as Nazism unleashed its might.

Long before Germany invaded Poland, Japan had been at war with _____.

Japan had dreams of world conquest before Hitler and Germany. It invaded China in 1931, starting a conflict that would kill millions of people far from the European theater of the war.

In 1922, Benito Mussolini became prime minister of which nation?

In 1922, Mussolini was appointed prime minister of Italy. He began consolidating his power, which would eventually become absolute.

In 1933, Hitler was appointed ______ by German President Hindenburg.

In 1933, President Hindenburg made a fateful decision by appointing Hitler as chancellor. Hitler’s bold political gambling was beginning to pay immense dividends.

Which party became the official political party of Germany in 1933?

In 1933, the Nazi party was named the official political party of Germany. Perhaps more important — all other political parties were outlawed.

What was America’s foreign policy like before WWII?

After WWI, America retreated into an isolationist stance, minding its own business and trusting that other countries could take care of themselves. But it wasn’t long before that policy was severely tested by the Axis.

In 1933, who was elected president of the United States?

In 1933, Roosevelt was elected to his first term as president. His New Deal helped America slowly climb out of the Depression, and his indomitable leadership style became vital during WWII.

When did Germany complete construction of its first concentration camp?

Well, that escalated quickly. Hitler’s Nazis wasted no time in completing their first concentration camp, Dachau, in 1933. The camps were used to confine political opponents of all kinds.

What did America’s military do in the wake of WWI?

After WWI, America wanted no part of another war, foreign or otherwise. The military was deconstructed and the U.S. stuck its head in the sand with regard to disturbances in Europe.

True or false, after his election, did President Roosevelt immediately change America’s isolationist perspective on foreign policy?

FDR recognized some of the turmoil brewing in Europe. But he was far more concerned about the Great Depression and America’s struggling economy.

In 1939, Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty with which country?

Hitler was a clever man, and he signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with the USSR knowing that it would give him a cushion and buy him time on the Eastern Front. But as Stalin learned, Hitler wasn’t exactly a man of his word.

As Germany began occupying small areas of Europe, how did Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain respond?

Appeasement was the name of the game when it came to the unhinged Hitler and his Nazis. Chamberlain, like other European leaders, essentially looked the other way. Their pacifism was not a sustainable option.

In March 1934, the Night of the Long Knives happened in Germany. What happened?

During the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler’s allies in the SS and Gestapo wielded their might, killing political rivals in the Nazi party. Suddenly, Hitler was becoming more and more powerful.

The world moved to ban which weapon during the 1920s?

After the horrors of poison gas in WWI, the world at large moved to ban chemical weapons. The efforts were successful, meaning there would be all the more people to kill with bombs and machine guns instead.

How did France approach foreign policy after WWI?

After WWI, the French knew another conflict was inevitable. The country’s politicians began creating numerous alliances against Germany ... a great idea, but one that ultimately didn't halt the Nazis.

Which country single-handedly dragged America into the Second World War?

America was content to sit on the sidelines of WWII for a time. But after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the gloves came off, and a sleeping giant began to awaken.

Why did Britain stop importing much of its food at the start of WWII?

As war broke out, German submarines began sinking ships all over the Atlantic Ocean, including cargo ships with food. Britain gave up importing some of its food and resorted to rationing.

Why was Spain not really a fighting factor in WWII?

After years of civil war, Spanish society was in many ways already devastated. As Europe descended into war, the Spanish were officially neutral ... but really, their leadership loved the Nazis.

How did the civilian economies of Britain and the USSR fare DURING the war?

The war laid waste to the civilian economies of Britain and the USSR, shriveling those sectors by one-third. In America, though, business was booming on all fronts ... and a superpower was born.

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