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North African Campaign

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Presentation on theme: "North African Campaign"— Presentation transcript:

1 North African Campaign
On January 1, 1942 the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union (Allies) joined to defeat the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) Even though Japan was conquering much of the Pacific the Allies agreed to concentrate on fighting Germany in Europe first. Europe and Africa were almost completely conquered by Hitler and the Allies felt if the Soviet Union were conquered, Germany might prove unstoppable. Although Stalin wanted an assault on Europe by the Allies to open a second Western Front, it was deemed to difficult at the start of the war and instead the Allies started by attacking German forces in North Africa Axis forces in Africa were under the command of General Erwin Rommel known as the “Desert Fox” because of his success in desert warfare. In November 1942, the British defeated Rommel at El Alamein, (on the boarder of Libya and Egypt) that prevented the Germans from capturing the Suez Canal linking the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

2 American Forces in Africa
In November 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived with American forces Initially American forces were inexperienced and met defeat in Tunisia. The arrival of General George Patton however signaled a new direction for U.S. forces and by May of 1943 Rommel and the Germans were driven out of Africa by Allied forces. The Allies achieved the first step toward depriving German of natural resources they needed to fight the war.

3 The Invasion of Italy The Allies now had areas to prepare military bases to launch an invasion of southern Europe They took the Island of Sicily in the summer of 1943 and landed on the Italian mainland in September of 1943. As the Allies advanced on their capture of Italy, Hitler had to divert men and resources to try and help his Italian Allies. With Allied advances on Rome the Italian population grew disenchanted with Mussolini and the war. Mussolini was overthrown by the Italian people and Italy surrendered and Italian forces were out of the war. However, German forces continued to fight. Fighting in the Italian mountains slowed the Allies who made an amphibious landing at Anzio, near Rome in an attempt to capture the capital. The Allies were pinned down on the beach for four months until they finnaly broke through German forces and advanced to take Rome and liberate the capital in June of 1944.

4 Air War over Germany The Allies also launched an air war against Germany In the summer of 1942, using bombers, the British and U.S. air forces began bombing Germany. The Allies looked to destroy the manufacturing capability of Germany and prevent them from supplying the war. The bombing caused massive damaged to Germany and killed many civilians. The British and U.S. forces suffered many casualties as bombers were shot down at an alarming rate. The capacity of U.S. factories to re-supply planes quickly was a major factor in helping to defeat Germany. Intense Allied bombing of cities often resulted in firestorms in the cities. In one attack on Hamberg in 1943, 30,000 people died in the firestorm that resulted from the bombing.

5 The Tide Turns in Europe
On the Eastern Front it was the Soviets that bore the brunt of the fighting as there forces battled German troops. German forces had advanced far into the Soviet Union after their initial invasion and by September of 1941 they surrounded Leningrad. The Germans began a siege ( military blockade to starve a city) of the city. The blockade lasted 900 days. Leningrad did not fall, and as food ran out people of the city ate the animal (even dogs and cats) as well as bread made from wall paper paste. In 1944, Soviet forces broke the siege and Germany retreated, many civilians were killed or suffered malnutrition and disease after it was over. German forces also tried to capture the Soviet capital of Moscow and reached the cities outskirts before bad weather and a Soviet counteroffensive forced a German retreat.

6 Stalingrad In 1942, the Germans attempted to capture Stalingrad, a city near rich oil fields. The Germans fought house to house to take the city. No sooner than the German victory and capture of Stalingrad, Soviet forces surrounded the city cutting off German supply lines and laying siege to the city. Cold and Starving and running out of ammunition German forces fought until February 1943, when the remains of their Army surrendered. The Soviets then launched an offensive that drove back the Germans hundreds of miles. Germany counterattacked but the loss of their Army at Stalingrad marked a turning point in the war as there forces were no longer able to dominate the field of battle as they had before. Hitler would suffer a major blow because of his attack on the Soviet Union. Even though his forces were initially superior, the vastness of the Soviet Union, its large supply of men, and its cold harsh winter (the coldest in a generation after Hitler’s attack with temperatures dropping that winter to 60 degrees below zero) would be to much for Germany to overcome.

7 The Allied Invasion of France
D-Day By 1944, the Allies were preparing to open a new front on Germany by landing forces in France and opening a second Western Front to the war. General Eisenhower was named the Supreme Allied Commander and code named the invasion “Operation Overlord” It would be a massive invasion using U.S., British, and Canadian forces in a massive amphibious assault that included Allied paratroopers, the French underground, and a massive bombing campaign from both the air and sea. The Germans were convinced that the invasion would come at the port city located closest to England. General Patton was assigned to the area where the Allies created a fake army to fool the Germans. Instead, Eisenhower chose the French costal area of Normandy for the invasion. The plan was set to correspond to the proper tides for the landing at the beginning of June but poor whether delayed the invasion. With a glimmer of hope for a break in the weather Eisenhower ordered his troops to their ships on June 5th where they stayed till June 6th when the weather cleared.

8 D-Day June 6, 1944, the Allies waded ashore on the beaches of Normandy. The Germans had prepared the coasts with defenses that included land mines, barbed wire, and fierce artillery from fixed positions. Many soldiers were killed in the landing on the beaches as the Allies struggled in some areas to gain a strong foothold. Hitler refused to release the Panzer tanks he held in reserve to repel the attack believing the the real invasion would come at the Roux d Callis. The move proved to be an error as the Allies succeeded in securing a beachhead and began building docks to land troops and supplies. Within a few weeks the Allies had landed over 1 million men and the Germans were in retreat from what was now a two front war. On August 25, French and American soldiers marched through joyful crowds and liberated Paris. France was ruled by the French once more.

9 Victory in Europe The Germans were now fighting the Soviets on the Eastern front and the British and Americans on the Western Front. General Patton was brought to France and his Army raced across France quickly. In late 1944, the cold winter and German resistance slowed the Allied forces at the Rhine River. In mid-December the Germans mounted a desperate winter offensive along a 50 mile front in Belgium, trying to split Allied forces and regain an advantage in the war. The “Battle of the Bulge” as it became known, created a deep bulge in Allied forces leaving Allied forces in the position of having their lines broken. After several weeks, and with a long winter drive by Patton’s Army, the Germans were pushed back. German forces also suffered from a lack of gasoline for their tanks and trucks. The battle resulted in 75,000 casualties and marked the end of any real German resistance.

10 V-E Day The final phase of the war in Europe began in the spring of 1945. The Soviets surrounded Berlin, the capital of Germany. Hitler refused to leave the capital and spent the final few months of the war in an underground bunker. On April 30, 1945, when he realized the situation was hopeless he committed suicide along with his companion Eva Braun. On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender ending the war in Europe. The Allies declared May 8, V-E DAY for “Victory in Europe”

11 General George S. Patton
Patton was one America’s most remarkable military leaders of all time. He was a leading authority on tank warfare, a cleaver planner, a great combat officer, and a leader of men. Patton distinguished himself in North African Campaigns and the capture of Sicily. Although a brilliant military leader he was controversial throughout his career and after slapping and enlisted soldier his career in WWII was almost over. Eisenhower decided to return Patton to the war effort assigning him the Third Army in France. Patton quickly distinguished himself as a great commander. Patton’s Army helped turn the tide for the Allies and saved defeat at the Battle of the Bulge. By the end of the war the Third Army liberated 80,000 square miles of territory and took thousands of prisoners. Patton died in December 1945 in an automobile accident.

12 The Passing Of FDR In February of 1945, FDR had traveled to Yalta in the Soviet Union to meet Churchill and Stalin. After returning home, Roosevelt had gone to Warm Springs, Georgia on a vacation. On April 12, 1945, Roosevelt died suddenly. Americans were saddened by the loss of the man who had led them through the Great Depression and then through WWII. Roosevelt’s Vice President, Harry S. Truman took over and led America through the rest of the war.

13 The Holocaust As Allied and Soviet troops liberated areas under German control they found horrifying evidence of Nazi brutality. Nazi leaders had carried out Hitler’s plans to rid Europe of the Jews whom Hitler believed were in conflict with the Aryan race and prevented German domination of the world. In order to carry out Hitler’s plans Nazi leaders created what they called “the final solution of the Jewish question.” Their “solution” was genocide (wiping out and entire group of people)

14 “The Final Solution” After Hitler’s rise to power Nazi’s persecuted Jews. As Germany conquered more of Europe the persecution became widespread. They rounded up thousands of Jews and massacred them dumping their bodies in mass graves. Nazi troops crammed thousands of Jews into railroad cars, like cattle, and brought them to concentration camps. Concentration camps were prisons for civilians and upon arrival guards took prisoners’ belongings, shaved their heads, and tattooed prisoner numbers on their wrists. Prisoners lived in horrible conditions with little food and water and widespread disease. Many died living in the poor conditions. In the early 1940s, the Nazis embarked on the final solution by building death camps where they killed thousands a day in gas chambers, and then burned the bodies in ovens. At Auschwitz in Poland, the Nazis killed between 1 and 2 million Jews. As many as 6 million Jews died in what became known as the Holocaust.

15 “The Final Solution” The Nazis also killed millions of others including Soviet prisoners of war, Poles, Gypsies, and people with handicaps. As Allied troops moved through Germany after V-E Day, they witnessed firsthand the unspeakable horrors of the camps. Journalists sent back stories and photos of the atrocities as the world was stunned by Nazi tyranny.

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