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The United States in World War II

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1 The United States in World War II
Ch. 17 The United States in World War II

2 Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Fighting in WWII – Europe & North Africa Allied War Plans FDR & Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of Great Britain) felt that Allies were not ready for a massive invasion of Europe. Objectives - Hitler first; Churchill & FDR wanted to concentrate on defeating Germany before giving Japan higher priority. Prime Minister Winston Churchill FDR

3 Major U.S. Military Commanders of WWII
Fighting in WWII Major U.S. Military Commanders of WWII George C. Marshall U.S. Army Chief of Staff & chief military adviser to FDR - known as the “organizer of victory”. Dwight Eisenhower Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WWII. Planned successful invasion of North Africa & Normandy, France. Omar Bradley He led First U.S. Army in D-Day invasion & invasion of Europe - known as the “GI’s General” for his positive interaction with troops. George Patton A leading Army General during campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany - known as "Old Blood and Guts”. George Marshall Dwight Eisenhower Omar Bradley George Patton

4 Major U.S. Military Commanders of WWII (cont.)
Fighting in WWII Major U.S. Military Commanders of WWII (cont.) Chester Nimitz From Fredericksburg, TX Admiral of the U.S. Navy & selected by FDR to be Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet in war against Japan. Douglas MacArthur Under command of Nimitz, he was the U.S. Army General in charge of the Pacific campaign against Japan – at end of war, he accepted Japan’s surrender. Chester Nimitz Douglas MacArthur

5 Fighting in WWII - Europe
Battle of Stalingrad – Germans began offensive in southern Soviet Union. Soviet army surrounded city & cut off German supply lines. Over 300,000 Germans trapped & surrendered. Geography of Russia (large & vast) played key role in German defeat. Battle of Stalingrad turning point in war on the Eastern front. Halted German advance in USSR as Soviet troops began to advance toward Germany. Joseph Stalin

6 Fighting in WWII – North Africa
North African Front – British had been fighting German Panzer divisions since 1941. Germans led by Irwin Rommel (the “Desert Fox”) U.S. & G.B. launched Operation Torch – an invasion of Axis-controlled North Africa. Nov ,00 Allied troops invaded North Africa in Algeria & Morocco. Battle of El Alamein – signaled end of German presence in North Africa (Oct. – Nov. 1942) Pushed Rommel all the way to Tunisia; massive German casualities. One of the first major Allied victories in WWII. Also opened up Allied shipping in Mediterranean and made invasion of southern Europe possible.

7 North Africa, 1942 Irwin Rommel, the “Desert Fox”

8 Fighting in WWII - Europe
The dead Mussolini & his mistress Invasion of Italy – 1943 Summer 1943, Allies launched invasion of southern Italy. Italian army collapsed under Allied attack. Encouraged, anti-fascists overthrew dictator Benito Mussolini. Hitler was determined to stop Allies rather than fight on German soil. Sent troops to northern Italy. Germans halted Allied advance in Italy until end of the war.

9 Minority Heroes in Combat
Fighting in WWII Minority Heroes in Combat Although minority groups often dealt with segregation & discrimination on the homefront and in the military, some groups distinguished themselves for exceptional heroism in combat. Navajo Code Talkers Approx 420 young Navajo Indian men were recruited to be “code talkers” in WWII. Created an unbreakable military code using their native Navajo language. Greatly assisted U.S .victory in Pacific War against Japan.

10 Fighting in WWII Minority Heroes in Combat (cont.) Tuskegee Airmen
First African American fighter pilots in U.S. military During WWII, Tuskegee Airmen received multiple military honors for their outstanding aerial combat against the German Luftwaffe Their success helped to pave the way for later integration of U.S. Armed Forces Flying Tigers During , 300 young Americans known as the “American Volunteer Group” fought to defend China from the Japanese airforce. Nicknamed the “Flying Tigers”, they had many notable victories in combat.

11 Fighting in WWII - Europe
D-Day - June 6, 1944 Code named Operation Overlord, Allied plan to send 3 million British, American, Canadian troops to invade Nazi-controlled France across the English Channel. D- Day opened second major front in Europe. General Dwight Eisenhower would lead Allied invasion of Europe.

12 Fighting in WWII - Europe
D-Day - June 6, 1944 (cont) June 6, 1944, Allied troops began largest land-sea-air invasion in history when they landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.

13 Fighting in WWII - Europe
D-Day - June 6, 1944 (cont) By Sept., 1944, Allies had freed France and other countries on their way toward Germany. Allies needed clear weather, complete secrecy, and massive supplies. Spent months building floating harbors called Mulberries to carry troops & supplies across Eng. Channel

14 Fighting in WWII - Europe
Battle of the Bulge – December 1944 Germans launched last major offensive on U.S. positions in Belgium & Luxembourg. U.S. casualties nearly 80,000 General George Patton & his 101st Airborne Division stopped Hitler’s last-ditch counter offensive. By January, Allies again moving toward Germany. U.S. soldiers defending Ardennes area General Patton

15 Fighting in WWII - Europe
Holocaust Six million Jews were murdered as part of Hitler's "Final Solution" Six million others also killed including gypsies, homosexuals, physically handicapped, and political opponents Allied soldiers first began to liberate concentration & death camps in July of 1944 (most camps were located in Poland and liberated by Soviet soldiers) Soldiers found thousands of starving prisoners, mass graves filled with the dead, and crematoriums… of the true horrors of the Holocaust soon began to spread to the rest of the world… U.S. Ninth Army liberated this group of prisoners at the German concentration camp at Wobbelin

16 Allied Diplomacy in WWII
Yalta Conference - Feb. 1945 The “Big Three” – Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, met in city of Yalta in Soviet Union to discuss plans for post-war Europe. Agreed to divide Germany into four military occupation zones (Soviet, U.S., British, French) after war. Stalin agreed to “Declaration of Liberated Europe” which called for free elections. He also promised USSR would help U.S. in war against Japan (later, Stalin did not fulfill these promises). Allied Diplomacy in WWII

17 Fighting in WWII - Europe
Germany Surrenders – May 1945 April 1945, Soviet armies were closing in on Berlin. Hitler, in his underground bunker, committed suicide. Germany was nearly defeated, and had struggled to fight a two-front war. May 8, 1945 Germany surrendered. Celebrated as V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day). FDR did not live to see V-E Day. April 12, 1945 FDR had a stroke and died. Harry Truman (vice-president) was now in charge. Fighting in WWII - Europe President Harry S. Truman

18 Allied Diplomacy in WWII
Potsdam Conference – July-August 1945 Truman, Stalin, Churchill met at Potsdam in eastern Germany. Leaders disagreed on most issues; war alliance beginning to break down. Stalin distrustful of Allies (knew about secret U.S. atomic bomb project). During conference, Truman ordered dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. Approvals given to concept of war-crimes trials and the demilitarization and denazification of Germany. Allied Diplomacy in WWII

19 Fighting in WWII - Pacific
Japanese Victories in the Pacific After Pearl Harbor, Japan had a number of victories. Seized much of China, Guam, Wake Islands, some Aleutian islands, and others.

20 Fighting in WWII - Pacific
U.S. loss of the Philippines Philippine Islands had belonged to U.S. since 1898 (Spanish-American War) 20,000 U.S. troops led by General Douglas MacArthur withdrew to Bataan, close to Manila, but eventually surrendered to Japanese forces Bataan Death March – 85-mile forced march of U.S. GIs who were tortured and eventually burned alive - suffered unspeakably during the March. Although weak & starved, POWs who could not continue or keep up with the pace were executed MacArthur ordered by Washington D.C. to leave Philippines for Australia: “I shall return” Assumed command of all Allied Pacific forces against Japan Fighting in WWII - Pacific General Douglas MacArthur

21 Battle of Midway - June 1942 Fighting in WWII - Pacific
Americans had broken Japanese code, knew Midway Islands (northwest of Hawaii) were next target. Battle fought by air. U.S. planes found and destroyed large Japanese fleet. Turning point in Pacific War & halted Japanese advance. Americans began “leapfrogging” – island by island winning territory back from Japan. Fighting in WWII - Pacific Japanese ship under attack by U.S. planes

22 U.S. Marines raising flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima
Fighting in WWII - Pacific Iwo Jima - February, 1945 U.S. victorious - fighter planes now close enough to bomb Japan (would escort B-29s coming from the Marianas) Okinawa - April 1, ends in June 50,000 American casualties resulted from fierce fighting which virtually destroyed Japan’s remaining defenses. Bloodshed influenced the eventual use of the atomic bomb to prevent further U.S. casualties from ground assaults. U.S. Marines raising flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima

23 Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer
Led by scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, it was the top secret project to develop the atomic bomb. Almost completely funded by U.S. July 16, A-bomb first tested in New Mexico desert. July 25, President Truman made decision to drop bombs on Japan to end WWII and save American lives. Aug. 6, 1945 – first A-bomb (“Fat Man”) dropped on Hiroshima . Aug. 9 – second bomb (“Little Boy”) dropped on Nagasaki. Over 200,000 people dead. Japan surrendered September 2, 1945. J. Robert Oppenheimer

24 Hiroshima, after the bomb
Atomic bombs, “Fat Man” & “Little Boy”

25 End of WWII Conclusion….
World War II most costly, destructive war in history. Approx. 60 million people died (400,000 were Americans). United States had abandoned its policy of isolationism by entering WWII, and was now the reigning world superpower (victorious in war & only nation to have atomic weapons). U.S. would assume position as world leader in international affairs.

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