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A Military History of World War II.

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Presentation on theme: "A Military History of World War II."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Military History of World War II

2 Operation Torch: After deciding to eliminate Hitler first, the Allies attacked German controlled North Africa. British and American troops led by D. Eisenhower landed on the coast of Algeria and Morocco in Nov The invasion caught German high command by complete surprise—Hitler then ordered the occupation of all France. After pushing the Axis powers east from Egypt, the Germans surrendered in Tunisia. Early 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill conferred in Casablanca, Morocco.

3 1942: Rommel's Afrika Korps had a strong hold in unoccupied Northern Africa

4 Known as the Desert Fox He was a skilled commander of desert warfare.
Erwin Rommel was a German Field Marshall. He was a skilled commander of desert warfare. His Afrikakorps was never accused of war crimes. He was linked to a conspiracy to kill Hitler. Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly. In trade for the protection of his family, Rommel agreed to commit suicide in 1944.

5 El Alamein Oct.-Nov. 1942 The battle for this small port in Egypt lasted from October 23 to November 3, 1942. Rommel's German and Italian troops were outnumbered two-to-one and were short reinforcements and supplies. After ten days of repeated attacks, the Allies finally broke through the enemy lines during an intense night battle and the Axis forces retreated as far back as Tunisia. When the Allies secured El Alamein they held North Africa and the Suez Canal – the gateway to the East and to British oil supplies. The Battle of El Alamein was the first major Allied victory. Churchill later said: “We had neither a victory before it, nor a defeat after it.”

6 Approximately 350,000 Axis soldiers killed, wounded or captured
Approximately 350,000 Axis soldiers killed, wounded or captured. Allies, about 70,000 casualties.

7 Operation Husky: Sicily July-Aug. 1943
Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis. It was a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign. Husky began on the night of July 9-10, 1943, and ended August 17th. The Allies drove Axis air, land and naval forces from the island; the Mediterranean's sea lanes were opened and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was toppled from power. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy.

8 Benito Mussolini: Il Duce
Mussolini became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and began using the title Il Duce by 1925. He remained in power until he was replaced in The Allied invasion of Italy prompted his being deposed and subsequent arrest. Soon after his incarceration began, Mussolini was rescued from prison by German special forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape to Switzerland, only to be quickly captured and then executed by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a petrol station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise. He led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism.

9 Invasion of Italy On Sept. 3, 1943, the British crossed the Strait of Messina. The Allies conducted a multi-pronged invasion of Italy. Italy became a co-belligerent and declared war on Germany, Oct. 13th. The struggle up the Italian boot proved slow due to a large German army (Gothic line in northern Italy and the Gustav line in central Italy), floods, mud, the Apennines Mountains, and winter cold.

10 Fall of Rome: June 4, 1944 In World War II, Churchill thought he could keep casualties down by attacking Germany through the 'soft underbelly' of Italy. Liberated - On June 4, American forces, under the command of General Mark Clark, entered Rome, from which the Nazis were quickly retreating. The capture of Rome marked the first Axis capital captured by Allied forces.

11 The Invasion of Europe: Operation Overlord: D-Day, June 6, 1944
June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler. Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before the invasion.

12 June 1944 was a major turning point of World War II, particularly in Europe. Although the initiative had been seized from the Germans some months before, the western Allies had been unable to mass sufficient men and material to risk an attack in northern Europe.

13 The Battle of the Bulge: Dec. 16, 1944-January 1945
The battle was fought on an 80-mile front running from southern Belgium through the Ardennes Forest, and down to Ettelbruck in the middle of Luxembourg. The Battle of the Bulge, so named because of the westward bulging shape of the battleground on a map, lasted from mid-December 1944 to the end of January It was the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States directly participated. More than a million men fought in the battle — 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British.

14 Eastern Front: Leningrad & Stalingrad
Operation Barbarossa was the codename for the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. The German plan to capture Leningrad was motivated by its status as the former capital of Russia, the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution, its military importance as a main base of the Soviet Baltic Fleet, and its industrial strength. The battle began on July 10, 1941 and lasted over 3 years. During that time 641,803 people died of starvation.

15 Staggering loses on the Eastern Front
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between July 17, 1942 and February 2, 1943 and was among the largest on the Eastern Front, and was marked by its brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was amongst the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly 2,000,000 deaths. The outcome was disastrous for Germany, proving to be turning points in the tide of war in favor of the Allies, making a German victory in the East impossible. Soviet soldier waving the Red Banner over the central plaza of Stalingrad in 1943.

16 The Pacific Theater

17 Pacific strategy: Island Hopping
Major goals: Recapture the Philippines Cut Japan’s lines of communication Set up bases from which to attack Japan’s main islands

18 Coral Sea: May 4-8, 1942 The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during May 4–8, 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between Japan and Allied forces from the United States (U.S.) and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies. Japanese expansion, seemingly unstoppable until then, had been turned back for the first time.

19 Midway: June 4-6, 1942 Adm. Chester W. Nimitz knew about Yamamoto’s plans as codes were cracked before Pearl Harbor. It ended Japanese threats to Hawai’i and the U.S. The Battle of Midway, fought over and near the tiny U.S. mid-Pacific base at Midway atoll, represents the strategic high water mark of Japan's Pacific Ocean war. Prior to this action, Japan possessed general naval superiority over the United States and could usually choose where and when to attack. After Midway, the two opposing fleets were essentially equals, and the United States soon took the offensive.

20 Guadalcanal: Aug Feb. 8, 1943 Control of the Solomon Islands, of which Guadalcanal was a part, was considered militarily vital by both sides. Allied and Japanese forces won some battles in the area but both sides were overextended and a hostile physical environment hampered the abilities of the combat forces to operate. In the end Guadalcanal was a major American victory as the Japanese inability to keep pace with the rate of American reinforcements proved decisive.

21 Bataan Death March: 1942 The Bataan Death March took place in the Philippines in 1942 and was later accounted as a Japanese war crime. The 60 mi. march involved the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities. The exact death count is impossible to determine, but some historians have placed the minimum death toll between 6,000 and 11,000 men.

22 Leyte Gulf: October 23-26, 1944 Leyte Gulf was the biggest naval engagement in history from the point of naval tonnage involved. It was a decisive victory for the U.S. Japan lost 3 battleships, 4 carriers, 10 cruisers, and 9 destroyers. The Japanese began to strike with kamikazes or suicide planes.

23 Philippines Campaign 1944-45
The Philippines were invaded by Japan in December 1941 shortly after Japan's declaration of war upon the U.S. The combined American-Filipino army was defeated by Japan in April 1942. Due to the huge number of islands, the Japanese did not occupy them all. Japanese control over the countryside and smaller towns was often tenuous at best. MacArthur was ordered by Washington to relocate to Australia. His famous speech which made headlines stated, "I came through and I shall return." General Douglas MacArthur, President Osmeña, and staff land at Palo, Leyte on 20 October 1944.

24 Iwo Jima: Feb. 19-March 16, 1943 Located 750 miles from Tokyo.
On Feb. 23, 1943, the Marines hoisted the American Flag on Mount Suribachi. Chester Nimitz remarked “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” 20,000 enemy troops were killed at the cost of 6,000 U.S. troops

25 Okinawa: April-June 1945 The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War. The battle lasted 82 days. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 miles away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland. The battle resulted in one of the highest number of casualties of any World War II engagement. Japan lost over 100,000 troops killed or captured, and the Allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties of all kinds. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of local civilians were killed, wounded, or committed suicide.

26 Victory in Europe and Japan
V-J Day in Times Square is a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt that portrays an American sailor kissing a young woman in a white dress on V-J Day in Times Square on August 14, 1945. The official United States celebration is not on this date, however. V-J Day is instead celebrated on September 2, the date of the formal signing of the surrender. Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) commemorates May 8, 1945, the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Hitler had committed suicide on April 30th.

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