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World War II – The Battlefronts

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1 World War II – The Battlefronts

2 Two Wars Pacific Theater European Theater
In the Pacific it was largely the U.S. challenging Japan. When the U.S. got involved in Dec. 1941, Germany controlled most of Europe.

3 Military Leaders to Know
George Marshall – Chief of Staff of Military Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower – Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe Gen. Douglas MacArthur – Leader of Pacific Forces Others to be familiar with: U.S. – Gen. Omar Bradley, Gen. George Patton, Adm. Chester Nimitz German – Erwin Rommel, British – Bernard Montgomery, French – Charles de Gaulle, Chinese – Chaing Kai Shek, Mao Zedong

4 Atlantic Ocean War U.S. had to overcome German subs (Wolfpacks)
Used Convoys and produced more Liberty Ships Use of sonar, radar and bombing of bases. What was the impact of subs on Florida?

5 Africa and Europe 1942 & 1943 Operation Torch – taking of North Africa. What was important about North Africa? 2nd Front – Stalin was calling for a 2nd front. In Feb., 1943, the Soviets stopped the German advance at the Battle of Stalingrad. Began slow push back. U.S./British would invade Sicily and Italy in It would take 2 years to fully defeat Germans there.

6 France On June 6, 1944, the 2nd front requested by Stalin finally came with the largest air-sea-land battle. D-day with the codename Operation Overlord with the landing on the Normandy coast of France. By the end of August, Paris was liberated.


8 German Surrender Germans had desperate counterattack at the Battle of the Bulge in Dec., 1944, but eventually lost. April 30, 1945 – Hitler kills himself May 8, 1945 – VE Day In final months, U.S. troops discovered the concentration camps.

9 Pacific Theater After Pearl Harbor, Japan continued their expansion.
April, 1942 – MacArthur pushed out of Philippines and the Bataan Death march. Turning point – Battles of Coral Sea and Midway in May and June Stopped invasion of Australia and destroyed four Japanese carriers (& 300 planes)

10 Island Hopping Plan in Pacific – skip over (and isolate) strongly held islands and advance towards Japan Aug – Guadalcanal - 1st land defeat

11 1944 & 1945 Pacific Oct, 1944 – Leyte Gulf (Philippines) – Mac returns as Japanese Navy is virtually wiped out. (kamikazes used) Spring, 1945 – Iwo Jima and Okinawa – fierce fighting to the death by the Japanese. From Iwo Jima, U.S. could now launch air bombing raids on Japan Question for new President Truman – If the Japanese would fight that hard on other land, what would happen in an invasion of their home country?

12 Manhattan Project Who convinced FDR to approve the Manhattan Project in the early part of the war? Robert Oppenheimer – head of project What was the decision that now President Truman had to make? Hiroshima and Nagasaki – only places in world that have ever had an atomic bomb used. Enola Gay – plane that dropped 1st bomb (Little Boy) Besides saving lives, what was another reason Truman decided?

13 VJ Day VJ Day – September 2, 1945 On USS Missouri
Japan accepts unconditional surrender

14 Wartime Conferences Atlantic Charter – FDR and Churchill before U.S. in war Casablanca – FDR and Churchill (Jan ’43) Will accept only an Unconditional Surrender Teheran – FDR, Churchill, and Stalin (Nov ’43) Plan for 2nd front Yalta – FDR, Churchill, and Stalin (Feb ’45) Plan for post-war Eastern Europe and U.N. Potsdam – Truman, Attlee, and Stalin Truman does not trust Stalin (how will that affect bomb decision?)

15 Nuremberg Trials Military Tribunals to try the lead Nazis.
Why is this something different from prior history?

16 Marshall Plan George Marshall’s plan to rebuild war-torn Europe
Any other reasons? Did it work? Why did the USSR and Eastern bloc countries not participate?

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