Since just war theory suggests that the side fighting against aggression is the just side, in the First World War the United States could argue that they were fighting on the side of justice. In fact, that is exactly what Wilson claimed in his declaration of war. When the Germans implemented their Schlieffen Plan, invading neutral Belgium, they committed an act of aggression. While other countries had mobilised they had not opened fire. The same could be said for the outbreak of the Second World War. In this case, aggression began long before the war. In 1931 Japan began its expansionist campaign in Manchuria and in 1935 Mussolini did the same in North Africa. In fact, Hitler was the last of the aggressors to begin his campaign of conquest when he entered Austria in 1938, although he claimed he was only re-uniting German peoples. None of these early acts of aggression brought a wider war although under just war theory they could, even maybe should, have. The League of Nations, however, was weak and offered no meaningful response even though leaders such as Hailie Selassie asked for assistance. At any stage countries willing to stand up to this aggression would have been able to claim that they were fighting a just war, but it was not until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 that other countries attempted to stop further aggression by resort to declarations of war.
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