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World War II 1939-1945 Part I: The Road to War, 1919-1939 Describe the 1920s-1930s. • In the 1920s the world was troubled following World War I. • The Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919) failed: – Germany was punished; – It and the Soviet Union were isolated; and – Democracies were weak. • Italy turned to Fascism • Then the Great Depression (1929) hit. • It heightened Fear of Communism • The United States turned to isolationism Describe life in the 1920s and 1930s. • Troubles grew after the Great Depression began. • The League of Nations failed to keep the peace when: – Japan invaded Manchuria (1931). – Hitler rose to power (1933). His goals included: • a Third Reich, or larger German-speaking nation with Lebensraum from Poland; • Rearmament; and • To exterminate all Jewish people. – Italy attacked Ethiopia (1936): and a Rome-Berlin axis formed. – The Spanish Civil War began (1936-1939): Fascists ignored democratic election results and led an army against the Republic. This war was training ground for the alliances and tactics used in World War II. • Instead nations reacted with appeasement. Guernika by Pablo Picasso • A training ground for World War II: Aerial bombardment was used against civilians. • Bonus: Watch Pan’s Labyrinth. What were the causes of World War II? • What does appeasement mean? To give in to a bully to try to make them stop. • Appeasement policies: – Hitler took over Austria through the Anschluss union (1938). – Hitler occupied the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia (1938). – The world does nothing. – At the Munich Conference (1938) Hitler stated “I have no more territorial demands to make in Europe.” Allied leaders let him keep the land he had taken over, saying they had achieved “peace in our time.” – Within months Hitler occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia (March 1939). What were the causes of World War II? • Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (August 1939): Secret provisions for division of Poland and the Baltic states between Germany and Russia. What were World War II’s main events? • War Begins: Blitzkrieg and the fall of Poland (September 1, 1939): – Lightning warfare, swiftly fought by German army tanks and troops backed by Luftwaffe, led to the fall of Poland within hours. What were World War II’s main events? • The calm before the storm: Sitzkrieg, or the phony war (September 1939-Spring 1940): – After Poland fell the western front of the war remained quiet until spring. What were World War II’s main events? • Hitler invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Spring 1940): – This removes the buffer between Germany and France. – British and French troops in Belgium fled to the English channel. What were World War II’s main events? • Failure of the Maginot line (1940): – The Maginot line was built by the French to protect the Franco-German border. – It was an imaginary line that ran from Switzerland to the Belgian frontier. – It was exposed on the left flank when Hitler remilitarized; Hitler’s march through Belgium avoided French defense. What were World War II’s main events? • The Fall of France and the Vichy Regime (1940-1944): – France fell due to German invasion from the east and Italian invasion in the south. – Less than a week later, France asked for an armistice. – The Vichy government that followed Germany’s aggression was a source of national controversy. – It encouraged an intense nationalism and anti- Semitism. What were World War II’s main events? • French resistance (1940- 1944): – Internal resistance to the Vichy regime developed in 1942, but did not become large scale until 1944. – General Charles de Gaulle, who had fled to Britain, urged French people to resist Nazi collaboration. What were World War II’s main events? • Prime Minister Winston Churchill ends Britain’s appeasement policy (1940): – After the fall of France, Britain was isolated. – Churchill ended appeasement and went to war against Hitler. – He bonded with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the U.S. aided Britain before it entered the war, as evidenced by the Atlantic Charter (August 1941), when FDR and Churchill met at sea and outlined the peace that they would seek when the war ended. What were World War II’s main events? • The Battle of Dunkirk (1940): – British and French forces evacuated continental Europe to Britain from the beaches of Dunkirk. – The retreat across the English Channel saved thousands of life and allowed British-led Allied forces to fight Hitler later in the 1940s. The Battle of Britain What were World War II’s main events? • The Battle of Britain (1940): – Hitler attempted to invade Britain in 1940, aerially bombing London with his Luftwaffe and destroying much of the city. British morale grew during this time and united the nation against Hitler. On the domestic front Britain’s government and people organized for victory and eventually succeeded. What were World War II’s main events? • Operation Barbarossa (May 1941): – Hitler overturned the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and turned toward the eastern front next, hoping that a Blitzkrieg victory against Russia would demoralize the Allies. War was supposed to begin May 15 and intended to subdue Russia before winter. – Yet Italy, Germany’s ally, felt jealous and attacked Britain in Egypt. Despite initial Italian successes, soon after Allies pushed back and Hitler was forced to redirect his attention to Africa. – This moved Barbarossa back by six weeks. Although Germany was extremely successful in Russia through the summer, in August Hitler paused outside Moscow. This cost him the eastern front--Russian winter decimated Hitler’s army. – Russians view WWII as the great patriotic war--they suffered most. 16 million died, cities and villages were destroyed and Russia lost half its transportation and industry. Its totalitarian leader, Stalin, used the war to consolidate power further. What were World War II’s main events? • Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941): – The Americans joined the war after Japan, an Axis member, bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. – This changed the U.S.’s previous isolationist policy. – The next day, the U.S. and Britain declared war on Japan; three days later Germany declared war on the U.S. – By January 1942 the U.S., Britain and Russia allied to fight the Hitlerreich, Italy and Japan-- and to form a United Nations afterward. What were World War II’s main events? • Island Hopping: Allied Landings in Africa, Sicily, Italy and the Pacific – In 1942 and 1943, the Allies fought campaigns in North Africa and in the Pacific. – After gaining initial footholds in North Africa and the Pacific, Allied forces began island hopping closer to Italy and Japan. – In 1942 Allies gained control of the Mediterranean Sea, and in 1943 they conquered German-controlled Italy, gaining the new leader of the government as an ally against Germany. What were World War II’s main events? • The Battle of Stalingrad (1942): – In the battle of Stalingrad, the Russians lost more soldiers than the United States did during the entire war, but they prevailed against Germany and Hitler’s army was destroyed. – Allied forces began to aggressively bomb German cities (strategic bombing). What were World War II’s main events? • D-Day (June 6, 1944): – On D-Day, British, Canadian and American troops landed on the German-occupied French coast at Normandy and penetrated the German defense. France was liberated by September. What were World War II’s main events? • Battle of the Bulge (December 1944): – Although the battle resulted in heavy Allied losses, the Allies pushed on and crushed German resistance. – This battle allowed Allied forces to push into Germany toward the capital, Berlin. What were World War II’s main events? • Yalta (1945): – In this February 1945 conference, the Big Three (Churchill of Britain, FDR of the United States, and Stalin of Russia) planned for Europe’s future after the eminent German defeat. Strategic bombing: • Meanwhile Allies conducted a campaign of strategic bombing against German military and industrial targets, further disabling their military power. • Psychologically this led to many Germans realization that contrary to the Hitlerreich’s message they were losing the war. • Dresden was hurt most. What were World War II’s main events? • The Fall of Berlin (May 1945): – By May 1, 1945, the German resistance was completely defeated and Berlin was occupied by Allied troops. – Hitler and his cronies committed suicide. – Germany surrendered and victory was declared in Europe on May 8, 1945. – Denazification, disarmament and division by the Allies followed. What were World War II’s main events? • The Potsdam Conference (July 1945): – The last conference of the war by the Big Three (Stalin, Truman and Attlee), Potsdam resolved how to divide Germany and Central Europe between the Allied Powers – leading to the Cold War. – During this meeting Truman was made aware of the atomic bomb. – The Big Three disagreed on numerous issues and eastern European nations were also dissatisfied with the peace-- foreshadowing the Cold War to come. What were World War II’s main events? • Meanwhile in the Pacific Allied forces continued to recapture Pacific islands and move toward Japan. Despite devastating battles like Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Japan refused to surrender. • Hiroshima (August 6, 1945): – The United States’s war planes dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing a third of its residents. What were World War II’s main events? • Nagasaki and the Fall of Imperial Japan (August 8 and 14, 1945): – Two days later the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. – The Japanese government under Emperor Hirohito surrendered on August 14, 1945. – Victory in Japan was declared on August 15, 1945. World War II was over.
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