Vocabulary for the World at War



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Vocabulary for the World at War

  1. Adolf Hitler - 1889–1945, Nazi dictator of Germany, born in Austria: Chancellor 1933–45; dictator 1934–45.

  2. Allies - Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States joined together in World War II against Germany, Italy, and Japan

  3. Anti-Semitism - discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews.

  4. Archduke Franz Ferdinand - Whatever else he may have done in life, Archduke Franz Ferdinand is known now as the man whose assassination touched off World War I. The nephew of the Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef, Ferdinand was first in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne when he visited Sarajevo in June of 1914.

  5. Armistice - a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement of the warring parties

  6. Axis - The name for the alliance formed by Germany, Italy, and Japan alliance during World War II

  7. Battle of Britain - from August to October 1940, the prolonged bombing of S England by the German Luftwaffe and the successful resistance by the RAF Fighter Command, which put an end to the German plan of invading Britain

  8. Benito Mussolini - known as il Duce. 1883--1945, Italian Fascist dictator. After the Fascist march on Rome, he was appointed prime minister by King Victor Emmanuel III (1922) and assumed dictatorial powers. He annexed Abyssinia and allied Italy with Germany (1936), entering World War II in 1940. He was forced to resign following the Allied invasion of Sicily (1943) and was eventually shot by Italian partisans

  9. Blitzkrieg - A form of warfare used by German forces in World War II. In a blitzkrieg, troops in vehicles, such as tanks, made quick surprise strikes with support from airplanes. These tactics resulted in the swift German conquest of France in 1940 ( see fall of France). Blitzkrieg is German for “ lightning war.”

  10. Bolshevik Revolution - was a communist uprising by the Bolshevik party of Russia. After the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917, a provisional government had been established to rule Russia, however World War I was in progress and their system of government was weak. This led to much unrest, only increasing support for the Bolsheviks, although they were by no means the majority revolutionary party.

  11. Central Powers - Germany and its allies (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) in World War I.

  12. D-Day - The code name for the first day of a military attack, especially the American and British invasion of German-occupied France during World War II on June 6, 1944. This marked the beginning of the victory of the Allies in Europe. Germany surrendered less than a year later.

  13. Dictator - a ruler who has almost absolute power

  14. Fascism - a political system based on nationalism and strong government; Adolph Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy were the first fascist leaders

  15. Fourteen Points - Fourteen goals of the United States in the peace negotiations after World War I. President Woodrow Wilson announced the Fourteen Points to Congress in early 1918. They included public negotiations between nations, freedom of navigation, free trade, self-determination for several nations involved in the war, and the establishment of an association of nations to keep the peace. The “association of nations” Wilson mentioned became the League of Nations.

  16. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - known as FDR . 1882--1945, 32nd president of the US (1933--45); elected four times. He instituted major reforms (the New Deal ) to counter the economic crisis of the 1930s and was a forceful leader during World War II

  17. Great Depression - the economic crisis and period of low business activity in the U.S. and other countries, roughly beginning with the stock-market crash in October, 1929, and continuing through most of the 1930s.

  18. Holocaust - the Nazis’ effort to wipe out the Jewish people in World War II, when 6 million Jews throughout Europe were killed

  19. Josef Stalin - The man who turned the Soviet Union from a backward country into a world superpower at unimaginable human cost. Stalin was born into a dysfunctional family in a poor village in Georgia. Stalin always felt unfairly treated by life, and thus developed a strong, romanticized desire for greatness and respect, combined with a shrewd streak of calculating cold-heartedness towards those who had maligned him. He always felt a sense of inferiority before educated intellectuals, and particularly distrusted them

  20. Kristallnacht - a Nazi pogrom throughout Germany and Austria on the night of November 9–10, 1938, during which Jews were killed and their property destroyed.

  21. League of Nations - An international organization established after World War I under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The League, the forerunner of the United Nations, brought about much international cooperation on health, labor problems, refugee affairs, and the like. It was too weak, however, to prevent the great powers from going to war in 1939.

  22. Manchuria - In 1931, the Japanese Kwangtung Army attacked Chinese troops in Manchuria in an event commonly known as the Manchurian Incident. Essentially, this was an attempt by the Japanese Empire to gain control over the whole province, in order to eventually encompass all of East Asia. This proved to be one of the causes of World War II.

  23. Marshall Plan - a program of US economic aid for the reconstruction of post-World War II Europe (1948--52)

  24. Militarism - the tendency to regard military efficiency as the supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military.

  25. Nazi Party - the political party founded in Germany in 1919 and brought to power by Hitler in 1933

  26. Neutrality - the policy or status of a nation that does not participate in a war between other nations

  27. Pearl Harbor - A major United States naval base in Hawaii that was attacked without warning by the Japanese air force on December 7, 1941, with great loss of American lives and ships.

  28. Propaganda - information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

  29. Spanish Civil War - A war fought in the late 1930s in Spain. On one side were the Loyalists, Spaniards loyal to a recently elected government in the form of a republic; on the other side were fascists led by General Francisco Franco. The Spanish fascists won the war and set up Franco's long rule of Spain as a dictator.

  30. Superpowers - an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations.

  31. Totalitarianism - absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution.

  32. Treaty of Versailles - the treaty imposed on Germany by the Allied powers in 1920 after the end of World War I which demanded exorbitant reparations from the Germans

  33. Trench Warfare - combat in which each side occupies a system of protective trenches.

  34. Triple Alliance - the secret alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy formed in 1882 and lasting until 1914

  35. Triple Entente - an informal understanding among Great Britain, France, and Russia based on a Franco-Russian military alliance (1894), an Anglo-French entente (1904), and an Anglo-Russian entente (1907). It was considered a counterbalance to the Triple Alliance but was terminated when the Bolsheviks came into control in Russia in 1917.

  36. U-boats - German submarine, esp. in World Wars I and II

  37. Vladimir Lenin - Russian founder of the Bolsheviks and leader of the Russian Revolution and first head of the USSR

  38. Weimar Republic - A common name for the democratic government of Germany between the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the assumption of power by Adolf Hitler in 1933

  39. Western Front - Stretching 440 miles from the Swiss border to the North Sea, the line of trenches, dug-outs and barbed-wire fences moved very little between 1914-1918, despite attempts on both sides to break through.

  40. Winston Churchill - British statesman, orator, and author who as prime minister (1940–45, 1951–55) rallied the British people during World War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.


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