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Italy laid claim on Ethiopia and conquered it in 1935, Japan created a puppet state in Manchuria in 1931 and expanded beyond in China from 1937, and Germany systematically flouted the Versailles treaty, reintroducing conscription in 1935 with the Stresa Front's failure after having secretly started re-armament, remilitarizing the Rhineland in 1936, annexing Austria in March 1938, and the Sudetenland in October 1938.All those aggressive moves met only feeble and ineffectual policies of appeasement from the League of Nations and the Entente Cordiale – in retrospect symbolized by the "peace for our time" speech following the Munich Conference, that had allowed the annexation of the Sudeten from interwar Czechoslovakia.
Under the Nazi regime, Germany began its own program of expansion, seeking to restore the "rightful" boundaries of historic Germany.
As a prelude toward these goals the Rhineland was remilitarized in March 1936.
When the German Führer broke the promise he had made at that conference to respect that country's future territorial integrity in March 1939 by sending troops into Prague, its capital, breaking off Slovakia as a German client state, and absorbing the rest of it as the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia", Britain and France tried to switch to a policy of deterrence.
As Nazi attentions turned towards resolving the "Polish Corridor Question" during the summer of 1939, Britain and France committed themselves to an alliance with Poland, threatening Germany with a two-front war.
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Britain and France then gave Germany an ultimatum to withdraw, which Germany ignored, and Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
Following the Fall of France in June 1940, the Vichy regime signed an armistice, which tempted the Empire of Japan to join the Axis powers and invade French Indochina to improve their military situation in their war with China.
On their side, the Germans assured themselves of the support of the USSR by signing a non-aggression pact with them in August, secretly dividing Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence.
The stage was then set for the Danzig crisis to become the immediate trigger of the war in Europe which started on 1 September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.