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The Causes of WWII & How the US Got Involved

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Presentation on theme: "The Causes of WWII & How the US Got Involved"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Causes of WWII & How the US Got Involved

2 The big idea: WWII came directly from the aftermath of WWI
Germany devastated by terms of Treaty of Versailles U.S. Isolationist League of Nations weak Great Britain and France want to avoid another ruinous war Some WWI allies wanted more: Italy felt like it was left out of spoils of Treaty of Versailles - wanted territory Japan still wanted China

3 The march towards WWII German anger, Hitler, aggression
Fascism in Italy Spanish Civil War Militarism in Japan


5 1. Germany Faces Economic Collapse
Germany in debt $67 billion dollars after WWI So it prints more money which leads to enormous inflation 1914 $1 = 4.2 marks, 1923 $1= 1billion marks These economic problems led to a depression - widespread unemployment and poverty Germans were unhappy and blamed their problems on communists, Jews, and the new Wiemar Republic gov’t (b/c they signed the Treaty of Versailles) Germans want revenge

6 U.S. Response to German Depression
Isolation from European affairs Did send some relief/food to Germany immediately after WWI Insisted Germany pay back the debt When it was suggested they didn’t have any money to pay with, Pres. Coolidge said “They hired the money, didn’t they?” In 1924 created the Dawes Plan which gave new loans to Germany so they could pay back the old ones Worked briefly until the US couldn’t make the loans during the Great Depression

7 What signal did US action send to Germany?

8 2. Rise of Adolph Hitler Served in WWI - became an extreme nationalist
Thought Germany was sold out by Weimar gov’t b/c signed TofV Joined National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party) in 1921 Became a popular speaker Imprisoned 1923 for leading an uprising Wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in jail Outlined ideas of supreme Aryan race Blamed Jews - said inferior, too Said USSR was an obstacle to German expansion

9 Hitler Becomes a Dictator
After prison, Hitler worked on increasing Nazi membership - gaining seats in the legislature (Reichstag) Nazis were largest political party - chose Hitler to head the gov’t Hitler increases his power Reichstag fire blamed on communists, Hitler suspends constitutional rights 1934 Hitler declares himself the “Fuhrer” (leader) and heads a fascist gov’t (authoritarian, nationalistic, conservative)

10 Hitler’s Policies Deprived Jews of jobs, civil
rights, made them wear stars for easy ID (Nuremburg Laws) 1938 Kristallnacht “night of the broken glass” in Germany/Austria Destroyed 200 sysnagogues, 7,500 Jewish businesses, killed 100, arrested 30,000 and put in prison camps (115,000 emigrate from Germany) Preached a platform of German expansion and economic recovery based on supremacy of Aryan race

11 U.S. Response US focuses on domestic issues - dealing with the Great Depression $ was spent on New Deal programs, not US military in 1930s the US military was 15th largest in the world - same size as Sweden’s) US hopes that arms control and international peace agreements will work to stop war

12 What signal did the US response send to Hitler?

13 3. Fascism in Italy Italy poor and politically unstable after the war, wanted more land under TofV Fascism gains ground Restore glory of Rome Thought democracy destroyed unity and order Hated communists & socialists Appealing b/c people wanted stability and improvement Benito Mussolini - WWI Vet, Fascist

14 Benito Mussolini Takes Over
1922 “March on Rome” succeeds in scaring King into making Mussolini Prime Minister Mussolini increases his power - controls elections, censors media Improved economy - modernized agriculture, industry, education Imperialist foreign policy Invaded Ethiopia Oct. 1935

15 US & Allied Response League of Nations did not help Ethiopia and did not punish Italy US continues to be isolationist 1935: 90% Americans say they are isolationist FDR’s “moral embargo” against Italy Asked US businesses not to sell anything that might help Italy’s aggression US businessmen do not comply. Dow, “We do not inquire about the uses of the products. We are interested in selling them.” US Neutrality Acts (1935-7) No sale of weapons to aggressive countries No traveling on ships of countries at war No loaning money to countries at war

16 What signal did that send Mussolini?

17 4. Spanish Civil War 1936-9, Francisco Franco
leads the Nationalists in a civil war to defeat the Republicans (socialism & communism) Germany & Italy sent troops & air force to aid Franco & Nationalists Nationalists win & set up a fascist state Germany, Italy, Spain set up a military alliance “The Rome-Berlin Axis” (beginning of the Axis powers)

18 US & Allied Response America continues to be neutral
Does not supply weapons to the Republicans b/c feared it could then turn into a larger conflict FDR wanted to keep American isolationist voters happy 3000 Americans go on their own to fight on side of Republicans France, Britain do not do anything either

19 What signal did that response send the Axis powers?

20 5. Rise of Militarism in Japan
Japan endured the world’s depression, too. They also wanted to become more of a world power. This led to a group of military leaders controlling the gov’t in the 1930s Dissent with the gov’t was seen as harmful to the country’s power Censorship, arrested critics, secret police

21 Japanese Imperialism 1931- invaded & occupied Manchuria
(northern China) coal/iron “We are only seeking room that will let us breathe.” - Japanese politician Brutal treatment of Chinese (denied today) 1933 resigns from League of Nations 1936 became part of the Axis Hitler wanted Japan to attack Russia and British colonies in Asia Japan wanted to gain territory & resources

22 US Response Stimson Doctrine denounced Japan, did not recognize new land US stops trade with Japan FDR’s “Quarantine Speech” Argued to quarantine fascist aggression Met with a lot of criticism - people thought it would lead to war Didn’t act on it

23 What signal did that send Japan & Axis Powers?

24 6. Violation & Appeasement
Germany begins to expand - violating TofV 1936, occupies Rhineland (had been given to France in TovV 1938, occupies Austria, declares is part of Germany 1938 Germany demands that the Germans in Czechoslovakia have self gov’t Britain tries to avoid war and appeases Germany, negotiating a deal to give them self gov’t Hitler demands control of Czechoslovakia Munich Pact - Britain is okay with letting Hitler have Sudetenland, Hitler promises to leave rest alone British P.M. Neville Chamberlain declares “peace in our time”


26 U.S. & Allied Response Appeasement (gave into
demands of Hitler in order to avoid conflict) FDR sent telegram to Chamberlain urging him to reach a peaceful deal with Hitler FDR wrote to Hitler “The gov’t of the US has no political involvements in Europe, and will assume no obligations in the conduct of the present negotiations.”

27 What signal did that send Hitler and the Axis Powers?

28 7. Germany Demands More Land
March Germany invades Czech. No resistance b/c Czech leader feared widespread death, so did not resist Germany demands land in Poland August 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact USSR/Stalin tried to form a military alliance with Britain & France They didn’t want to b/c didn’t like communism, thought USSR was weak Stalin negotiates pact with Hitler - Hitler happy b/c USSR would not interfere with Poland plans Agreed to split lands in Poland/Eastern Europe


30 US & Allied Response Nobody stopped Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia Britain and France sign alliances with Poland to protect it if invaded FDR sent letters to Hitler & Pres. of Poland urging them to negotiate a peace Ignored, naive

31 What signal did that send to Hitler & the Axis Powers?

32 8. WWII Begins in Europe Sept.1, 1939 Germany invades West Poland
Sept. 17, 1939, Soviet troops invade Eastern Poland Sept. 3, 1939 France & Britain give Germany two days to withdraw, then declare war on Germany but do not send troops to Poland Poland’s armies defeated in three weeks Germany regroups during the winter - no fighting, then invades Denmark spring 1940 Meanwhile, USSR invades Finland Nov. 1939

33 US & Allied Response Britain & France declare war on Germany but send no troops FDR tries to end Neutrality Acts so he can send help to Britain & France faced large public resistance but prevailed b/c believed that if Britain & France lost, it would pose a direct threat to US Cash & Carry - US sells arms, supplies to F & B as long as they pick them up here Americans are divided over whether to get involved or remain neutral

34 What signal did this send to Hitler & the Axis Powers?

35 9. The War Continues Late Hitler controls Eastern Europe, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, & France June 1941, Hitler invades Soviet Union Knew he’d break earlier pact from the start Wanted to expand into W. USSR Britain is the last hope

36 US Response Spring 1941 - FDR proposes Lend-Lease Act
US would lend, lease, or give supplies to any country whose defense was considered vital to protecting US from threat (mostly give) Needed b/c Britain had no $ for supplies, so couldn’t do “Cash & Carry” anymore US started to ship goods in armored convoys to ship goods as far as Iceland End of isolationism Oct German subs sink two US destroyers song Sinking of the Reuben James by Woody Guthrie US population remained isolationist FDR has Congress agree to let US convoys to go all the way to British harbors

37 What signal did this send to Hitler & Axis Powers?

38 10. Japan Grabs Land Japan is gaining territory in Asia as war rages in Europe Threatens US & British resources Gen. Hideki Tojo becomes P.M. of Japan in 1941 he’s an expansionist

39 Japan & US Clash Nov 1941, Tojo sends messenger to US to try to negotiate a deal with US: Japan would withdraw from Indochina US would resume economic relations with Japan But back in Tokyo, Tojo plans to attack US Believed war with US was unavoidable b/c US was the naval power in the Pacific who might try to stop Japan from taking more land

40 Attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese air attack of
US military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Goal was to destroy US naval power in the Pacific Sank/damaged 8 battleships, 10 other ships, destroyed 188 planes, killed 2300 Americans US Aircraft carriers were safe (not in harbor)

41 US Response Early 1941 US moved Pacific Fleet from California to Hawaii to show power & readiness US rejected Japan’s negotiations in Nov didn’t like appeasement Dec. 8, 1941 FDR asks Congress to declare war on Japan following Pearl Harbor Attack “A day that will live in infamy.” -FDR Rest of Axis declares war on US days later and US declares war back at them US is now one of the Allied Powers Attack on Pearl Harbor ended isolationism

42 What signal did that send to the Axis Powers?

43 FDR’s “Declaration of War” Speech - Dec. 8, 1941
Imagine you’re a member of Congress listening to his speech. What reasons does Roosevelt give for declaring war? How would you vote? How would you explain your vote to the constituents you represent?

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