Presentation on theme: "WWII: The Middle Years. In Europe: By mid-1942, it was becoming clear that the Germans were losing their early advantage. Hitler’s war against the USSR."— Presentation transcript:
In Europe: By mid-1942, it was becoming clear that the Germans were losing their early advantage. Hitler’s war against the USSR was continuing. The Allies were winning the war at sea in the Atlantic Ocean. The Allies were winning the war in North Africa. The USA had joined the war against Germany.
By this point, Stalin was getting restless: He was tired of having to fight the Germans by himself in Europe. He pressured the Allies into opening a second front by invading German-held Western Europe.
Result: The Allies decided to test the German defences in Western Europe by launching a series of small raids. In August of 1942, the Canadian troops that had been sitting in Britain for 2 years were finally given a chance to fight during the Dieppe Raid. This raid turned into a disastrous failure for the Canadians, as most of them were killed, wounded or captured. By early 1943, the Allies had taken all of North Africa from the Axis powers. It was then decided that they would create their “second front” by attacking Hilter’s biggest ally, Italy. Churchill referred to Italy as the “soft underbelly of Europe”.
Why did Churchill think that this was a good idea? The Italian army was weaker than the German army He hope to knock Italy out of the war He believed he would catch the Axis powers by surprise.
The Invasion of Italy: This invasion was launched from North Africa in July of 1943. The Allies moved from the southern tip of Italy (Sicily) towards the North. Over 23,000 Canadians were involved in the fighting on this front! The most important battle in Italy for Canadians was the Battle of Ortona in 1943. Canadians (Vandoos) managed to capture this town by pushing the Germans out in house to house fighting.
Consequences in Italy: Mussolini became very unpopular in Italy. As the Allies continued to advance, he was deposed and put in prison. The new Italian government asked for a ceasefire in September of 1943. The next month, the Italians declared war on Germany.
German reaction: The Germans quickly invaded Italy and captured the northern half. They also rescued Mussolini from prison and set him up as a puppet dictator in Northern Italy. Italy was now divided in two, and the Allied invasion was stalled.
What did the Allies do next? Churchill and American President Roosevelt, decided not to invade Western Europe yet. Instead, they decided to focus on bombing strategic targets in German-held Europe. Their goal was to weaken the Germans by destroying Communication Transportation Industry Power plants Cities where aircraft were produced
Canadians were heavily involved in the bombing of German-held Europe Being part of the Royal Canadian Airforce’s Bomber Command was the most dangerous job a Canadian could have in WWII. Over 10,000 Canadians were killed while bombing German targets. Their sacrifice was significant because they helped to win the war by hurting the Germans: German ability to produce weapons was weakened ;hundreds of thousands of German civilians were killed by bombs. BUT... The moral of the German people was as strong as ever.
At the same time... In eastern Europe, the USSR was beginning to gain a huge advantage over the Germans!