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The Second World War

Total War
War made on an entire population, regardless of their direct involvement in a war.

Europe, 1942

Pacific, 1942

In general
global military conflict that, in terms of lives lost and material destruction, was the most devastating war in human history. It began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germany and an Anglo-French coalition but eventually widened to include most of the nations of the world. It ended in 1945, leaving a new world order dominated by the United States and the USSR.

World War II blurred of the distinction between combatant and noncombatant, and the expansion of the battlefield to include all of the enemy's territory.



Treaties between Germany, Italy, and Japan in 1936-37 brought into being the Rome-BerlinTokyo Axis. The Axis thereafter became the collective term for those countries and their allies.

time line of key dates in Europe

Aug 25, 1939 - Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty. Aug 31, 1939 - British fleet mobilizes; Civilian evacuations begin from London. Sept 1, 1939 - Nazis invade Poland. Sept 3, 1939 - Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany.

Time line, cont.

Sept 5, 1939 - United States proclaims neutrality; German troops cross the Vistula River in Poland. Sept 10, 1939 - Canada declares war on Germany; Battle of the Atlantic begins. Sept 17, 1939 - Soviets invade Poland.

Time line, cont.

May 10, 1940 - Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. May 15, 1940 - Holland surrenders to the Nazis. May 26, 1940 - Evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk begins.

May 28, 1940 - Belgium surrenders to the Nazis. June 3, 1940 - Germans bomb Paris; Dunkirk evacuation ends. June 10, 1940 - Norway surrenders to the Nazis; Italy declares war on Britain and France. June 14, 1940 - Germans enter Paris.

Battle of Britian
July10, 1940 - Battle of Britain begins. First German air raids on Central London.( think Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe Aug 25/26 - First British air raid on Berlin. Shocked Germans. Sept 7, 1940 - German Blitz against England begins. was an air campaign

December 7, 1942. Peal Harbor attacked by Japan. US declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. Japan s reasons were that the United States were the only other major power in the Pacific in 1941 and had ceased to ship scrap metal and and especially oil.

While the Japanese were planning the Attack at Peal Harbor, the United States and Japan were negotiating a peace treaty. The war in the Pacific will take on a racial element on both sides.

Post card

With the declarations of War on the US by Germany and Italy, the US wsa engaged in a war on opposite sides of the world.

The US war effort

An estimated 5 million men enlisted in the military the day after the US declaration of war. This was not enough. The government initiated a draft to add additional forces to the Military. All in all, about 10 million soilders would be drafted

US cont
Women would be be allowed to join the Women s Army Corp and served in noncombat position, especially as nurses, radio operators, ambulance drivers, and pilots. At first(1941) women did not receive full military benefits, this changed in 1942.

Minorities and the war

For African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans the war posed a delimma: Do you fight a war in defense of Freedom when one isnt free in the US How Do I feel about my country and how does my country feel about me? Are we only to be American s when the mood suits you? Colonel Benjamin Davis to the US Senate Committee on the War


Internment, Cont

Internment, Cont

Starting in 1942, about 110,000 Japanese Americans were ordered by the federal government to move away from their homes in the west coast to camps. Many of the people who were interned lost their homes and livelihood. In 1944, The US supreme court upheld the internment as being constitutional

As the war effort geared up, the US economy boomed. Many Women and Minorities would work in war production factories. The Ability to mass produce weapons gave the Allies an edge over the Axis in the War.

The ability of a nation to keep their soldiers supplied with edible food and modern weapons. As a military is not able to do this, they demodernize. Germany and Japan will suffer from this. This also explains the number of very young and very old soldiers that became common among the Axis in 1943

The Manhattan Project

Was the code name for the US military project for developing the Atomic Bomb. Began in 1939 At its height, it will employ 130,000 people.

The Einstein Szilrd letter

The letter, cont

The letter asserted that it was possible to construct a weapon that harnessed the power of the splitting of the atom. The bomb was first tested in New Mexico, 1945. The results were so shocking that the majority of scientists who worked on the project signed a petition against using the bomb.

Trinity Test

Popular Culture in the 1940 s

The Pop culture landscape was dominated by the war This would be reflected in much of music, film, art, and literature.

Pop culture
Film was the largest artistic medium. The all tended to be about the war Those that weren't, tended to be gritty and dark. These were called Film Noir Actors such as Humphrey Bogart were popular because of their depictions of the brooding man.

Humphrey Bogart, Maltese Falcon, 1941

Pop culture
In regards to music, Big Band Jazz was most popular. Originally an african American music, it had earned wide spread appeal among white audiences. Famous Artists: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday

Benny Goodman

Pop culture
Frank Sinatra was the most famous singer. Swing Dancing was all the most common form. Like film, much of the music focused on urban life and the war

Frank Sinatra

Pop Culture
Sport remained very popular. The most popular sport at the time was boxing. Joe Louis was the second Black heavy weight champion of the world after he defeated James Braddock( Cinderella man) During the war he would join the Army and put on hundreds of exhibitions

Joe Louis

Popular Culture
In regards to literature, Authors Like Ernest Hemingway were popular. Also, philosophy books became common reads EX: Ayn Rand, Jean Paul Sartre A common theme in most war era books is a since loss and estrangement.

During the war, propaganda was common. It was not limited solely to the allies. The purpose of propaganda is to put forward an image of the enemy that makes your own people eager to fight. It, by rule, must dehumanize the enemy.







Economic control
With the formation of Office of Price Administration and the War Production Board, the government took control of the entire US economy. They would also being to ration food, plastic, oil, tin, and other goods for the war effort. The War itself was very popular in the US

The German Invasion of the USSR

The war's most massive encounter began on the morning of June 22, 1941, when slightly more than 3 million German troops invaded the USSR.

Nov 19, 1942 - Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad begins. The majority of Germany causlties will occur on the Eastern Front.

Feb 8, 1943 - Soviet troops take Kursk This is the largest battle in Human History The Soviet Union wins and begins a counter offensive against the Nazis that will end in Berlin.

June 6 D-DAY----> Allied troops land in Normandy to begin the invasion in northern France. The operation was the largest amphibious invasion of all time, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.

Liberation of Paris

The Allies liberate Paris The Allies discover the first concentration camps in Europe.

March 16 U.S. marines capture Iwo Jima. April 30 Hitler commits suicide in Berlin. May 7 Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies in Reims, France ending World War II in Europe.

The Pacific
Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invade the Philippine Islands in 1942. They also take control of Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, much of China, and Malaysia

Doolittle s raid: The US air raid on Tokyo. Physical damage was little but the psychological damage to the Japanese was considerable. Battle of the Coral sea: the US and Australians turned back a Japanese invasion of Australia

The Battle of Midway( island) was the turning point of the war in pacific in 1942. The Japanese navy was crippled after it and unable to maintain an offense. After the battle, the US policy became Island Hopping, which meant that the US took one Japanese occupied island at a time.

With each Island that the US takes, they meet more viscous Japanese resistance. The Americans are shocked by this and by the rarity of Japanese surrender. ( Kamikaze pilots) Guadalcanal: 1942

Battle of Leyte Gulf: reduces the Japanese navy to ineffective levels, giving the US dominance over the oceans and the air. Iwo Jima: of the 20,700 Japanese soldiers on the Island only 200 survive. 6000 US marines will die.

Iwo Jima

1945, the US invades Okinawa 7000 US soldiers would die 110,000 Japanese would die 1900 kamakazi attacks upon the US navy Many Okinawan and Japanese civilians would commit suicide out of fear of the US army. This shocks the US military

The Pacific, 1945

Following Okinawa, the US military gets nervous about the prospect of invading Japan August 6 An atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. August 8 The Soviet Union declares war on Japan. August 9 An atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.

Pacific, 1945
August 14, the Japanese agree to surrender September 2 Japan signs surrender terms aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

FDR dies in 1944 and his vice president Harry Truman takes over. At the end of the War, Truman has to deal with the rebuilding of Europe, Japan, and an aggressive Soviet Union.