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Major Battles of World War II

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Presentation on theme: "Major Battles of World War II"— Presentation transcript:

1 Major Battles of World War II

2 Invasion of Poland background
In 1939, Adolf Hitler was looking to further expand Germany’s borders. He had already taken Austria and the Sudetenland without a fight. Next, he set his sights on Poland.

3 "The tragedy of this Sudeten woman, unable to conceal her misery as she dutifully salutes the triumphant Hitler, is the tragedy of the silent millions who have been `won over' to Hitlerism by the `everlasting use' of ruthless force."

4 Soviet Union sign a Nonaggression Pact
August 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union sign a Nonaggression Pact They also secretly agree to divide Poland. Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov signs the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact; Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin stand behind him. Moscow, August 23, 1939

5 Germany invades Poland
September 1st, 1939 – Germany invades Poland The German blitzkrieg easily overwhelms Polish defenses. In response, Britain and France declare war on Germany World War II begins

6 German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland.
September 1939

7 The Fall of France May - June 1940
After taking Poland, Hitler looks West. April 1940: Nazis invade Denmark and Norway May 10, 1940: Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands


9 The Maginot Line

10 Fall of France battle animation

11 British POWs at Dunkirk


13 France surrenders. Only Britain is left to oppose Hitler in Europe.

14 Battle of Britain August - October 1940 The German Luftwaffe
attacks British air fields, towns, and cities. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) takes to the skies to defend the British homeland.


16 London 1940


18 London 1940

19 The RAF saves the day. Hitler abandons plans to invade.
Use of RADAR helps Britain head off Nazi bombing raids. British pilots show their skills. The Luftwaffe cannot control the skies over Britain. Hitler abandons plans to invade.

20 War in the Pacific While Hitler is running amok in Europe,
Japan is grabbing territory in Asia and the Pacific.

21 After the Fall of France, Japan moves into French Indochina.
In 1940, Japan signs a pact with Germany and Italy, forming the Axis Powers. After the Fall of France, Japan moves into French Indochina. The United States condemns Japans actions, and declares an oil embargo. Japan thinks war with the U.S. is inevitable.

22 Hoping to neutralize the U. S
Hoping to neutralize the U.S. in the Pacific, Japan plans an attack on the Navy’s Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Captured Japanese photograph taken aboard a Japanese carrier before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. December 7, 1941

23 On December 7, 1941, Japan launches the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

24 USS Shaw USS Arizona 188 aircraft destroyed, 5 battleships sunk,
155 aircraft damaged, 2,345 military and 57 civilians killed, 1,247 military and 35 civilians wounded 5 battleships sunk, 2 destroyers sunk, 1 damaged 1 other ship sunk, 3 damaged 3 battleships damaged, 3 cruisers damaged USS Shaw USS Arizona

25 The U.S. declares war on Japan, officially entering World War II.
President Roosevelt signs declaration of war against Japan

26 Pearl Harbor attack map

27 Battle of Midway June 4th – 7th, 1942
Japanese Navy wants to take Midway Island, tries to lure U.S. Navy into trap. BUT…U.S. had broken Japanese secret code. Admiral Chester Nimitz sends all available carriers to the area.

28 U.S. Naval forces and planes sink four Japanese aircraft carriers.
Japanese Navy is crippled. Pacific war turns in America’s favor. Japan goes on the defensive.

29 Diorama by Norman Bel Geddes, depicting the attack by USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) dive bombers on the Japanese aircraft carriers Soryu, Akagi and Kaga in the morning of 4 June 1942.


31 Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945
From the beginning of the war, the German and British navies battle it out in the Atlantic. One of the German goals is to cut off supplies from North America. In March 1941, U.S. Congress passes the Lend-Lease Act, loaning Britain $7 billion in weapons and supplies. In order to cut off this aid, German U-boats sink Allied cargo ships.

32 In September 1941, a German U-boat fires on a U.S. destroyer.
The Allies organize ships into convoys, protected by British and Canadian navy ships and planes. With the Lend-Lease Act, the U.S. also begins escorting ships as far as Iceland. In September 1941, a German U-boat fires on a U.S. destroyer. FDR tells U.S. forces to shoot threatening U-boats on sight.


34 Allied victory remains possible.
The Germans and the Allies battle at sea until the end of the war in 1945. The British use SONAR to detect German U-boats. German U-boats are unable to cut off supply lines. Allied victory remains possible.

35 Back in Europe…

36 Operation Barbarossa In June 1941 (6 months before Pearl Harbor), Hitler betrays Stalin. Nazi forces begin Operation Barbarossa – an invasion of Soviet Union. Their aim is to take Moscow. Largest military operation in History. 900,000 German and 3,000,000 Russian casualties.

37 Even though the Soviets sustain greater losses, the operation is a failure for the Germans.
The Nazi Army regroups, goes after Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad will become the bloodiest in history, with over 1,500,000 casualties. 750,000 Germans killed or wounded, 91,000 captured. 478,000 Russians killed or missing, 650,000 sick and wounded. Over 40,000 civilian deaths.

38 Battle of Stalingrad July 1942 – February 1943
The Nazis want Soviet oil fields. Controlling Stalingrad will give them access. Neither army will retreat or surrender. September – German and Romanian forces surround Stalingrad.

39 German Luftwaffe attacks
on Stalingrad Summer 1942

40 November – January Red Army counterattacks, defeats the Romanian forces, pushes the Nazi Army away from the city. German commander Friedrich Von Paulus sees hope is lost. His force of 300,000 is down to 91,000 starving, freezing men. But Hitler won’t let him surrender. He surrenders anyway.

41 German POWs in Stalingrad February 1943

42 Stalingrad, 1943

43 Russia stops the blitz. Crushing defeat for the Germans ends their advances in Eastern Europe. The tide in Europe begins to turn in the Allies’ favor.

44 War in Africa British Commonwealth forces fight back and forth with Italian and German forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean Both sides want to control the Suez Canal

45 The Battle of El Alamein
October 23 – November 5, 1942 British General Bernard Montgomery German General Erwin Rommel Their forces meet at El Alamein, near Alexandria, Egypt. Montgomery uses superior numbers to overwhelm German forces. Rommel convinces Hitler that he has to withdraw; begins 1,400 mile retreat across North Africa.

46 Australian soldiers at El Alamein

47 The Battle of El Alamein
Soon after the battle, U.S. forces under Generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower land in Africa. End of Axis threat in Africa. Allies can focus on Mediterranean

48 After El Alamein (1943-1944) Operation Overlord February ‘44
Allied bombing of Germany begins. June ‘44 Allies capture Rome. Operation Overlord July-September ‘43 Allies land in Italy. Mussolini overthrown. 1944 Allied bombing of German targets in France.

49 General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses U. S
General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses U.S. troops prior to the Invasion of Normandy. 49

50 D-Day Operation Overlord
Allies cross the English Channel to retake France from Germany. June 5th, 1944: paratroopers descend behind German lines June 6th, 1944: D-Day

51 D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)
Over 160,000 US, British, and Canadian troops and 30,000 vehicles land on the beaches of Normandy, France. Landings begin at 6:30 am. By midnight, the Allies control the beaches. 51



54 After D-Day US soldiers in Belgium, December 1944 Allied forces and French Resistance liberate Paris in August. Liberations of France, Belgium, Luxembourg.

55 Battle of the Bulge December 1944 - January 1945
Hitler’s last offensive. 250,000 Nazi soldiers advance through Ardennes forest, pushing 50 miles into Allied lines. 55

56 White bedsheets camouflage them in the snow.
Three members of an American patrol cross a snow-covered Luxembourg field on a scouting mission. White bedsheets camouflage them in the snow. 56

57 57

58 Description of battle McAuliffe’s surrender message

59 Battle of the Bulge December 1944 - January 1945
Over 76,000 Americans are killed, wounded, or captured, mostly in the first three days of battle. UK forces under Montgomery attack the ‘bulge’ from the north, US forces under Patton attack from the south. German forces - cold, frustrated, and low on fuel and ammunition - withdraw. The end is near for Nazi Germany.

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