Significance of Non-Aggression Pact With the assurance that the Soviet Union would not attack Germany Hitler made his move on Poland. On September 1, 1939 Hitlers troops stormed across the border of Poland. On September 3, 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany and WWII had begun.
Blitzkrieg Hitlers attack on Poland unveiled the Nazi strategy of war called the Blitzkrieg. The word means lightening war. It involved using fast-moving airplanes and tanks, followed by massive numbers of troops.
The Soviets Get their Prize Part of the agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany was a secret pact that said the Soviets would get half of Poland and be able to take control of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Next the Soviets attacked Finland, but things were not as easy to defeat as the others. It would take a year to defeat them.
Hitler and the Germans take Denmark and Norway On April 9, 1940 Hitler launched a surprise invasion of Norway and Denmark. Denmark fell in two days and Norway two months later. This set the stage for the invasion of France, and gave Germany bases to launch attacks on Britain.
The Invasion of France In May of 1940 Hitler sent troops through the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg. Next he sent troops through the Ardennes, a heavily wooded area in Northern France, Luxemburg, and Belgium. They reached the Northern coast of France in the next ten days.
Dunkirk After uniting with other German forces coming through Belgium. Soon they had trapped the Allied troops in the small port town of Dunkirk. To save the British army from complete destruction the British sent a fleet of 850 ships across the English Channel to Dunkirk. Along with navy ships hundreds of civilian ships helped save the British army. A month later France surrendered.
Battle of Britain With the surrender of France on June 22, 1940, Great Britain was left alone to fight against Nazi Germany. The new prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, proclaimed that the British would fight the Germans in every way possible. Meanwhile, Hitler was planning its attack.
Britains Advantages Two things that gave the British an advantage over the Germans. First, was radar. This allowed them to track German Luftwaffe before they got to Britain. Second, the British had stolen the Enigma Machine from the Germans allowing them to break the German code.
Britain is Victorious When the bombing of Britain began Germany focused on the RAF bases, but in September of 1940 they began bombing the cities. Despite terrible conditions caused by the bombings the RAF were able to fight back against the Luftwaffe. On May 10, 1941 Hitler called of the attack on Britain and focused on the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.
The War in North Africa While the Battle of Britain raged, Italy struck the British in North Africa. They fought to a stalemate. Then the British struck back, and soon were driven the Italians back. However, in mid-1941 Hitler sent his best general Erwin Rommel. Rommel, aka the Desert Fox quickly restored the Axis control of North Africa.
Note Quiz What country did Germany invade on September 1, 1939? What was the strategy the Germans used and what did it involve? What countries did the Soviet Union get as a result of the non-aggression pact with Germany? Describe the German invasion of France. What happened at Dunkirk?
Hitler Stabs the Soviets in the Back With North Africa under control for awhile, and the Balkans under control Hitler now turned his attention towards the Soviet Union. On June 22, 1941 German tanks and airplanes roared across the the border of the Soviet Union. The Soviets were not prepared for this.
Invasion For weeks the Germans moved steadily across the Soviet Union. Eventually, pushing 500 miles into the Soviet Union. On September 8, 1941 Hitlers troops besieged the city of Leningrad. To force surrender Hitler wanted to starve the city. Despite, losing 1 million between 1941-42 the city refused to fall.
Hitler Moves on Moscow Impatient with the progress at Leningrad Hitler moved on the capital of Moscow. By December of 1941 the Nazis were on the outskirts of the city. Then the Soviets dug in, and refused to move. Next, and most importantly the Russian winter set in, and Hitler refused to retreat. This set the stage for what would become one of Hitlers greatest defeat, and his undoing.
The United States Aids its Allies Most Americans still felt the United States should stay out of the war. However, President Roosevelt felt the U.S needed to do something. In March 1941 the United States passed the Lend-Lease Act. This allowed the President to lend or lease war supplies to any country vital to the U.S.
Other American Steps Also, the United States began using Navy ships to escort British ships back to Europe. This was to protect them from German U-Boats that patrolled the Atlantic. The United States then signed the Atlantic Charter with the British. This upheld free trade, and the right of a person to choose their own government. On September 4, 1941 a German U-Boat fired on a U.S Navy destroyer and the U.S entered an undeclared naval war with Germany.
A Quick Review Non-Aggression Pact Invasion of Poland Blitzkrieg Soviet Union and their prizes Invasion of France Dunkirk Battle of Britain Germany and North Africa Invasion of Soviet Union Lend-Lease Program
Problems with Japan By 1940 the United States were not only being hunted by the Germans, the Japanese also held a grudge against the United States. Due to the United States placing an embargo on Japan the Japanese were short on oil and other supplies for their war in the Pacific. This led to the inevitable.
The Plan Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto came up with the plan to rid the Japanese their problems in the Pacific. It called for a simultaneous assault on the British and Dutch in Southeast Asia and the United States fleet in the Pacific located in Hawaii.
The Day of Infamy On December 7, 1941 the Japanese launched the attack. The British, Dutch, and U.S. were caught by surprise. At Pearl Harbor the Japanese sunk or damaged 19 ships, and more than 2300 Americans were killed. The next day Roosevelt called 12/7/41 a date which will live in infamy. Congress quickly accepted his request to declare war on Japan and its Allies.
The Allies Retaliate First, the United States launched an air raid on Japan. This became known as the Doolittle Raid. The Battle of the Coral Sea. The Allies stopped the Japanese advance south. The next battle would determine the fate of the Pacific.
Battle of Midway This is the turning point of the war in the Pacific. Thanks to United States code breakers the U.S. military learned of the Japanese plan to attack the base at Midway Island. When the Japanese on June 4 th 1942 they met the United States navy in full force. By June 7 th, 1942 the Japanese fleet was crippled. The Allies would stay on the offensive for the rest of the war in the Pacific.
The Beginning of a Tragedy Kristallnacht- The Night of Broken Glass This was a violent uprising against Jews in Germany. It was caused by the murder of a German diplomat by a Jewish youth who sought to avenge his father who had been deported. Close to 100 Jews were murdered, and thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. This event marked the beginning of the Holocaust.
Jewish Migration Realizing that the situation in Germany was bad many Jews began to leave. At first, Hitler favored this solution to what he called the Jewish problem. However, many countries began to close their borders to the Jews. This led to Hitler moving to a harsher plan to deal with the people he believed to be inferior.
The Ghettos Hitler soon ordered that all Jews be moved into designated cities. Their the Nazis had created specific areas of the cities. These areas became known as ghettos. Conditions in the ghettos were very bad. They were overcrowded, sealed off from outside contact, their was little food, and many were murdered by Nazi soldiers.
The Final Solution Hitler grew impatient with the ghettos. His next plan was called the final solution. It was actually a program of genocide, the systematic killing of an entire people. The Nazis sought to murder the Gypsies, Poles, Russians, homosexuals, the insane, the disable, and the incurably ill. But it especially focused on the Jews.
The Killings Begin As Nazi troops swept across Europe units of SS soldiers went from town to town to hunt down the Jews. These units rounded up men, women, children, and even babies and murdered them in isolated places. Those that were not murdered were sent to work camps called concentration camps. Where many were beaten and worked to death.
The Extermination Camps The last stage began in 1942. This involved shipping the Jews to camps such Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Sobibor. These camps had been equipped with huge gas chambers that were designed to murder almost 6,000 people a day. When prisoners arrived at the camp they were separated into weak and the strong. The weak were immediately sent to be killed.
How We Know About the Holocaust Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a blue sky. Never shall those flames which consumed my faith forever… Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my to dust… Never. (Elie Wiesel, quoted in Night) It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. (Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank, July 15, 1944)
The War Turns From 1938 through 1941 the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan had been very successful. However, with the addition of the United States things began to change. Stalin had asked the allies to open a second front to relieve the pressure the Germans putting on the Soviet Union. This would also split the German forces in two. Churchill agreed. However, Churchill and Roosevelt had a different ideas on how to do it.
North African Campaign In mid-1942 the British General Bernard Montgomery was sent to North Africa to drive the Germans out. On October 23, 1942 the Battle of El Alamein began. By November 4 th the Germans under Rommel had forced to retreat. Then on November 8 th, 1942 Operation Torch was launched led by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower. By May 1943 Rommels Afrika Korps had been defeated.
The Eastern Front As Rommel was being defeated in North Africa the Germans were also meeting their match in the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1942 Hitler sent his armies to capture oil fields in the southern USSR. This set the stage for one of the largest battles and bloodiest battles in history.
Battle of Stalingrad It began on August 23, 1942 when the German Luftwaffe began bombing the city. By November 1942 the Germans controlled 90 percent of the city. Then the Russian winter set in again. On November 19 th the Soviets launched a counter-attack. This trapped the Germans inside the city. On February 2 nd 1943 the 90,000 remaining Germans surrendered. The Germans would fight on the defensive the rest of the war.
Italian Campaign On July 10, 1943 the Allies invaded Sicily and captured it. This toppled Mussolini from power. On June 4 th 1944 the Allies captured the capital of Italy, Rome. However, fighting continued in Italy until the end of the war. On April 27, 1945 Mussolini was arrested, and he was killed the next day.
Victory in Europe With North Africa under allied control, Italy in disarray, and the Soviets pushing the Germans back toward Germany the Allies began to focus on liberating Western Europe. This led to the largest invasion in History.
D-Day (Operation Overlord) On June 6 th, 1944 the Americans, British, French, and Canadians landed on 60 square mile of beach known as Normandy. Despite heavy losses the allies held the beachheads. By the end of September the allies had liberated France, Belgium, and Luxemburg. However, Germany had one last effort to give.
The Battle of the Bulge On December 16, 1944 the Germans counter-attacked at a weak point in the Allied line. This was the Ardennes. After an almost month long fight the Allies turned back the assault. This spelled the end for Nazi Germany.
Surrender of Germany In March of 1945 the Allies entered Germany. By late April the Soviets were in control of much of Berlin the capital of Germany. On April 30, 1945 Hitler and his wife of one day Eva Braun committed suicide. On May 7 th, 1945 the Germans surrendered.
Victory in the Pacific By the fall of 1944 the Allies led by the Americans were closing in on Japan. In October of 1944 General MacArthur made good on his promise of recapturing the Philippines. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf the Japanese navy was almost completely destroyed. In March 1945 the American Marines took Iwo Jima, and on in June took Okinawa.
Two Bombs end the War Faced with the prospect of invading Japan and losing thousands of more lives the Americans turned to a different solution. On August 6 th, 1945 the Americans dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. On August 9 th they dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. On September 2 nd 1945 the Japanese surrendered and World War II came to an end.
Peace Process In February 1945 Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at Yalta. It was decided that it would temporarily be split among United States, France, Great Britain, and USSR. Potsdam Conference from July to August 1945 decided what post-war Germany would be like and what punishments the Germans would have placed on them.
Nuremberg Trials These were the trials to of the worst Nazi war criminals. 22 top surviving members of the Nazi party were tried for crimes against humanity. 19 were convicted and 12 were sentenced to death.