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Chapter Sixteen World War II

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1 Chapter Sixteen World War II 1939-1945
Section One Hitler’s Lightning War

2 Germany Sparks a New War in Europe
Hitler takes: Rhineland, Austria, Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. Hitler promised peace each time he took a territory or nation. The allies believed him each time. Finally he turned his eyes on Poland. Hitler demanded the Polish Corridor and it’s city of Danzig be returned to Germany. Poland refused. Hitler and Stalin had signed a nonaggression pact. They agreed to divide Poland between them and agreed that the Soviet Union could take over Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

3 Germany’s Lightning Attack
At dawn on September 1st, 1939, Hitler attacked Poland. Thousands of tanks and troops moved across the border. At the same time, German aircraft bombed Warsaw. On September 3rd, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Hitler used his new weapon called blitzkrieg to attack. Blitzkrieg- “lightning war”, using fast moving airplanes and tanks, followed by massive infantry forces, to take the enemy by surprise and quickly overwhelm them.

4 The Soviets Make Their Move
On September 17th, Stalin sent Soviet troops to occupy the eastern half of Poland. He then moved on the countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. These three nations fell without a struggle. In November, he sent one million troops to invade Finland. Finland offered fierce resistance. The Finns were overwhelmed by the sheer number of Soviet troops.

5 The Phony War British and French forces had been mobilized along the French-German border. This region was called the Maginot Line. The two sides stared at each other waiting for orders to attack. Many newspapers called this the “phony war”. Suddenly on April 9th, 1940, Hitler launched a surprise invasion of Denmark and Norway. Denmark fell in four hours. Norway resisted, but fell two months later. The Germans began to build bases along the Danish and Norwegian coasts, form which to launch attacks on Great Britain.

6 The Fall of France: Rescue at Dunkirk
In May of 1940, Hitler swept through the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. He then moved through the heavily wooded Adrennes region of France and Belgium. He was able to squeeze through the Maginot Line and reach the French coast in ten days. German forces then swung north and trapped British and French forces along the coast in the city of Dunkirk. Britain launched an a rescue effort by sending 850 ships to carry the 338,000 soldiers to safety. This rescue effort was conducted by military and civilian ships under heavy fire by German forces.

7 France Falls Following Dunkirk, French resistance crumbled.
By June 14th, the Germans had taken Paris. On June 22nd, 1940, the French surrendered. The Germans took over the northern part of the country. The southern part of France was governed by Marshal Philippe Petain, from the city of Vichy. It was a puppet government of the Germans. Charles de Gaulle, a French general, set up a government in exile in London. He went on to organize French forces until France was liberated in 1944.

8 The Battle of Britain Great Britain now stood alone against Hitler.
Winston Churchill, the new prime minister of Britain, declared that his nation would never surrender. Hitler wanted to destroy the Royal Air Force (RAF). Then he wanted to launch an invasion of Britain with 250,000 German troops. In the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force, began bombing Great Britain. They first targeted military bases, but on September 7th, 1940, they started to bomb British cities, especially London. They bombed night and day. The British lived in air raid shelters and did not give in. The British military had radar and the Enigma, which provided an advantage. The Battle of Britain continued until May 10th, 1941.

9 The Mediterranean and Eastern Front
The resistance of the British forced Hitler to change his strategy. He decided to focus on the Mediterranean, Balkans, and the Soviet Union.

10 Axis Forces Attack North Africa
Mussolini declared war on France and Britain after Hitler’s occupation of France. During the Battle of Britain, Mussolini attacked British controlled Egypt. He wanted control of the Suez Canal and eventually the oil fields of the Middle East. Italian forces moved 60 miles inside Egypt. Both sides dug in and waited.

11 Britain Strikes Back In December of 1940 the British struck back in Egypt. BY February of 1941, the British had swept 500 miles across North Africa and had taken 130,000 Italian prisoners. Hitler sent Erwin Rommel to command German tank forces known as the Afrika Korps. Rommel had successfully pushed the British back by late March 1941. By mid January 1942, Rommel was forced back to where he started form. By June 1942, Rommel had finally succeeded in taking control of North Africa. He earned the nickname “Desert Fox”.

12 The War in the Balkans Hitler was making plans to invade the Soviet Union. He needed land in the Balkans to accomplish this. By early 1941, he had forced Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria to join the Axis powers. Yugoslavia and Greece resisted. Hitler invaded both countries. Yugoslavia fell in 11 days, Greece in 17 days.

13 Hitler Invades the Soviet Union
On June 22nd, 1941, Hitler began Operation Barbarossa, his invasion of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was not prepared for this attack. After a few weeks, the Germans had pushed 500 miles into Soviet territory. The Soviets burned and destroyed everything as the retreated. On September 8th, 1941, German forces began their siege of Leningrad. They surrounded the city and pounded it with bombs. One million of the city’s 2.5 million people died. Many of then starved to death, but they would not surrender. Hitler next turned on Moscow on October 2nd, 1941. Soviet general Zhukov defended the city with a counterattack. As the Russian winter set in, the German troops were not equipped to cope. Hitler refused to surrender. 500,00 German lives were lost.

14 The United States Aids Its Allies
Most Americans felt the United States should not get involved in the war. Congress passed a series of Neutrality Acts that made it illegal to sell military equipment to nations at war. President Roosevelt new that America would get drawn into the war if the Allies lost. Under the Lend-Lease Act passed in March of 1941, the president could lend or lease arms to nations. U.S. naval ships escorted British ships carrying American weapons. Hitler ordered these ships destroyed. On September 4th, 1941, a German submarine attacked an American destroyer. Roosevelt ordered all German submarine attacked on site. The U.S. was now in an undeclared war with Germany.

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