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World War II, 1939-1945

Paths to War The Course of World War II The New Order and the Holocaust The Home Front and the Aftermath of the War

Paths to War

The German Path to War

World War II in Europe had its beginnings in the ideas of *Adolf Hitler Hitler believed that Germany was capable of building a great civilization; Germany needed more land The Nazi regime would nd this land to the eastin the Soviet Union Once the Soviet Union had been conquered, its land would be resettled by German peasants

The First Steps

As chancellor, Hitler, posing as a man of peace, stressed that Germany wished to revise the unfair provisions of the treaty by peaceful means March 9, 1935Hitler announced the creation of a new air force military draft100,000 to 550,000 troopsa direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles France and Great Britain was distracted by their own internal problems

March 7, 1936, he sent German troops into the *Rhineland, the *demilitarized area Great Britain did not resist the force against Germany Great Britain thus began to practice a policy of *appeasement

New Alliances
Hitler gained new allied *Benito Mussolini wanted to create the new Roman Empire and invaded Ethiopia (1935) Both Germany and Italy sent troops to Spain to help in the Spanish Civil War (1936) *Rome-Berlin Axis Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Communist Pacta common front against communism

Union with Austria By 1937, Germany was once more a world power In 1938, he decided to pursue one of his goals: Anschluss, or union, with Austria, his native land Austrian Nazis were soon placed in-charge of the government and annexed it

Demands and Appeasement Hitlers next objective was the destruction of Czechoslovakia, seizing the *Sudetenland (the Northwestern region) Munich Conferencethe hight of of Western appeasement of Hitler Neville Chamberlin peace for our time

Great Britain and France React Hitler was more convinces than ever that the Western democracies were weak Hitler invaded and took control of Bohemia and Moravia in western Czechoslovakia Great Britain saw the danger and offered to protect Poland in the event of war; They began negotiations with *Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator

Hitler and the Soviets Hitler made his own agreement with Joseph Stalin Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (1939)the two nations promised not to attack each other The treaty gave Hitler the freedom to attack Poland

The Japanese Path to War Japanese soldiers seized Manchuria (1931) Worldwide protests against the Japanese led the League of Nations to send investigators to Manchuria Japan withdrew from the league and strengthened its hold on *Manchukuo (former Manchuria) and expanded Northward

War with China *Chiang Kai-shek tried to avoid a conict with communism so that he could deal with the greater threat Japan
Chiang ended his military efforts against the Communists and formed a new united front against the Japanese However, the Japanese seized the Chinese capital of Nanjing in December

The New Asian Order Japanese military leaders had hoped to force Chiang to agree to join a New Order in East Asia, comprising Japan, Manchuria, and China Part of Japans plan was to seize Soviet Siberiabut Japan did not have the resources to do this alone; moving south instead, Japan demanded economic resources in French Indochina

The US threatened Japan with *economic sanctions Japan badly needed the oil and scrap iron from the US but sought it elsewhere, launching attacks in the colonies of Southeast Asia

The Course of World War II

Europe at War Hitlers attack on Europe *blitzkrieg lighting war using armored columns (panzers), and airplanes Each division was a strike force of about three hundred tanks with accompanying forces and supplies Within four weeks, Poland had surrendered

Hitlers Early Victories

Hitler resumed the attack after a short winter break in 1940 breaking into Denmark and Norway One month later they launched an attack on the Netherlands, Belgium, and France The French signed an armistice on June 22, occupying threefths of France and established an authoritarian regime under German control

Vichy Francethe remaining portion of France led by the WWI hero Marshal Petain The British appealed to the United States for help but Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) followed a policy of isolationism but denounced the aggressors

The Battle of Britain

Hitler realized that an amphibious (land-sea) invasion of Britain could succeed only if Germany gained control of the air The Luftwaffethe German air forcelaunched a major offensive bombing British cities the goal was to break British morale At the end of September, Hitler postponed the invasion

Attack on the Soviet Union

If the Soviet union was smashed, Britains last hope would be eliminated Hitler had convinced himself that the Soviet union had a pitiful army and could be defeated quickly Hitler gained the cooperation of hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania and seized Greece and Yugoslavia

Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 An early winter and erce Soviet resistance halted the German advance The Germans had no winter uniforms and not enough supplies

Japan at War
On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands Japanese forces invaded the Dutch East Indies and occupied a number of islands in the Pacic Ocean By 1942, almost all of Southeast Asia and much of the western Pacic had fallen into Japanese hands

Japan needed the resources of the region for its war machine, and it treated the counties under its rule as conquered lands The American people had been made soft by material indulgence The attack on Pearl Harbor unied American opinion about becoming involved in the war both in the Pacic and in Europe

The Allied Advance *The Grand Alliance Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union They agreed to stress military operations and ignore political differences and became known as the Allies The Axis Powers Germany, Italy, and Japan

The Asian Theater

In the battle of the Coral Sea, American naval forces stopped the Japanese advance and saved Australia from the threat of invasion The policy was to capture some Japaneseheld islands and bypass others, islands hopping up to Japan

Last years of the War By the beginning of 1943, the tide of battle had turned against Germany, Italy, and Japan The Allies attacked Italy, what *Winston Churchill called the soft underbelly of Europe

Last years of the War By the beginning of 1943, the tide of battle had turned against Germany, Italy, and Japan The Allies attacked Italy, what *Winston Churchill called the soft underbelly of Europe

The European Theater After the fall of Sicily, Mussolini was removed from ofce and placed under arrest and the Italian government surrendered to the Allied forces Mussolini was rescued by German forces and established a stronghold in the north

After taking the north, the Allies planed to invade France from Great Britain June 6th, 1944 (D-Day), Allied forces landed on the *Normandy beaches2 million men and 500,000 vehicles Troops moved south and east and liberated French forces as they went

German forces were soundly defeated by the Soviets at the Battle of Kursk, the greatest tank battle of World War II By January 1945, Adolf Hitler had moved into a bunker 55 feet under the city of Berlin Hitler committed suicide on April 30, two days after Mussolini had been shot by Italian *partisans, or resistance ghters

The Asian Theater The war in Asia continued *Harry S. truman, who had become president after the death of Roosevelt in April decided to drop the newly developed atomic bomb on *Hiroshima and later on Nagasaki rather than an invasion of JapanThousands died immediately and later from radiation In total, some 50 million died during this global conict

The New Order and the Holocaust

The New Order in Europe Resettlement in the East

The East populated, according to Nazi thought, by racially inferior Slavic peoples *Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, was put in charge of German resettlement plans Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans were brought in to colonize the German provinces in PolandSocial engineering was central

Slave Labor in Germany

Poles, Ukrainians, and Russians were removed from their lands and became slaves By the summer of 1944, seven million European workers were laboring in Germany

The Holocaust Extermination of the Jews as parasites who destroy the Aryan race Himmler and the SS closely shared Hitlers racial ideas Final Solution was *genocide of the Jewish people

The Einsatzgruppen *Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SSs Security Service, was given the task of administering the Final Solution Special strike forces, called Einsatzgruppen they rounded-up all Polish Jews and put them in ghettos

The nazis attempted to starve residents by allowing only minimal amounts of food They became mobile killing units and death squadsthey rounded up Jews in their villages, execute them, and bury them in mass graves

The Death Camps

One million Jews were killed by the Einsatzgruppen Built death camps and rounded up, packed like cattle into freight trains, and shipped to Poland The largest was *Auschwitz gas chambers and medical experiments Jews were also being shipped from France, Belgium, Greece, and Hungary

The Death Toll The Germans killed between ve and six million Jews, over three million in the death camps The Nazis also considered the Roma (Gypsies) as an alien race and were rounded up for mass killing

Slavic peoples were also arrested and killed and four million Soviet prisoners of war were killed Most people pretended not to notice what was happening. Still other *collaborators helped the Nazis hunt down Jews Not until after the war did they learn the full extent of the horror and inhumanity of the Holocaust

Children in the War

Children, along with their mother, were the rst one selected for gas chambers upon arrival to the death camps In 1945, there were perhaps 13 million orphaned children in Europe In the last year of the war, Hitler Youth members, often only 14 or 15 year olds, could be found in the front lines

The Home Front and the Aftermath of the War

The Mobilization of Peoples: Four Examples

Even more than World War I, WWII was a total wareconomic *mobilization was more extensive Particularly Soviet Union, The United States, Germany, and Japan

The Soviet Union

Leningrad experienced 900 days of siege resulting in eating dogs, cats, and mice Soviet workers were forced to dismantled and shipped the factories in the western part of the Soviet Union to the interior 55 percent of the Soviet national income went for war material and with severe shortages of both food and housing

The United States

The United States was not ghting the war in its own territory but served as the arsenal of the Allied powers Six ships and day and 96,000 planes a year Over 1 Mil African Americans moved from the rural South to the cities of the North and West leading to racial tensions and riots 1 Mil African Americans joined the military (in segregated units)

110,000 Japanese Americans were removed to camps surrounded by barbed wire and required to take loyalty oaths


To maintain the morale of the home front during the war, Hitler refused to cut consumer goods production to increase armaments Early in 1942, Hitler nally ordered a massive increase in armaments production and in the size of the army *Albert Speer was able to triple the production of armaments between 1942-43 A total mobilization of the economy was put into effect in 1944

Wartime Japan was a highly mobilized society The government created a planning board to control prices, wages, labor, and resources Young Japanese were encouraged to volunteer to serve as pilots in suicide mission against US ghting ships*kamikaze, divine wind

Frontline Civilians: The Bombing of Cities The bombing of civilians in World War II made the home front a dangerous place The bombings and the reaction to them had given rise to the argument that bombing civilian populations would be an effective way to force governments to make peace

Peace and A New War The total victory of the Allies in World War II was followed by a real peace but by a period of political tensions, known as the *Cold War an ideological conict between the United States and the Soviet Union

The Tehran Conference

Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill were the leaders of what was called the Big Three of the Grand Alliance Their major tactical decision had concerned the nal assault on Germany The acceptance of this plan had important consequences. It meant that Soviet and BritishAmerican forces would meet in defeated Germany along a north-south dividing line

The Yalta Conference

The Big Three powers met again at yalta in southern Russia in 1945 Stalin was deeply suspicious of the Western powers. He wanted a buffer to protect the Soviet Union with pro-soviet governments Roosevelt favored the idea of self determination for Europe For Russias cooperation with Japan, the buffer zone was allowed

The creation of the United Nations was a major American concern at Yalta Both Churchill and Stalin accepted Roosevelts plans for the establishment of a United Nations organization and met in 1945 Germany was divided into four zones and Berlin itself was devised into four sections

The Potsdam Conference

Roosevelt had died on April 12 and had been succeeded as president by Harry Truman who demanded free elections in Eastern Europe The Soviets refused Crimes against humanity at the trials in Nuremberg

A New Struggle
A new struggle was already beginning. Many in the West thought Soviet policy was part of a worldwide Communist conspiracy The Soviets viewed Western policy as global capitalist expansionism Churchill and the Iron Curtain