Dictators threatern world peace

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  • From the leaders listed in this chapter be able to describe their political groups and the actions they took during the 1920’s & 30’s.

  • Define “Totalitarian” and “Neutrality Acts


Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity.


  • Hitler gained power in a Germany that was facing an economic crisis after WWI.

  • Hitler used propaganda (ask what that is and give examples) and was very charismatic (ask to explain and give examples) captivating oratory (ask to explain and give examples).

  • He was able to appeal to the economic needs of the lower and middle class.

  • Repeated messages of extreme nationalism (ask to explain and give examples) militaristic expansionism, anti-Semitism/racism (ask to explain and give examples), private property and anti communism.

  • With the establishment of a restructured economy, a rearmed military, and a totalitarian and fascist regime.

  • Hitler pursued an aggressive foreign policy with the intention of expanding German Lebensraum ("living space"). Ultimately, the Nazis sought to create a largely homogenous and self-sufficient ethnic state.

  • In terms of ideology, Nazism has come to stand for a belief in the superiority of an Aryan master race, an abstraction of the Germanic peoples.

  • Hitler described the symbolism involved: "In the red we see the social idea of the movement, in the white the national idea, in the swastika the mission to struggle for the victory of Aryan man and at the same time the victory of the idea of creative work, which is eternally anti-Semitic and will always be anti-Semitic."

  • During the time of Hitler, the Nazis advocated a strong, centralized government under the Fuhrer and claimed to be defending Germany and the German people (including those of German ethnicity abroad) against communism and so-called Jewish subversion.

  • Hitler’s actions bring about the creation of the Third Reich, and he pulls Germany out of the League of Nations, builds up the German military, sends troops into the Rhineland and creates the Rome-Berlin Axis Pact.


  • He established a repressive fascist regime that valued nationalism, militarism, anti-liberalism and anti-communism combined with strict censorship and state propaganda.

  • The term fascism was first used by Mussolini, and in Italian, which means "union" or "league", and from the Latin means rods bundled around an axe.

  • The fasces were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break.

  • Mussolini served at the front between September 1915 and February 1917. During that period he kept a war diary in which he prefigured himself as a charismatic hero leader of a socially conservative national warrior community. In reality, however, he spent most of the war in quiet sectors and saw very little action.

  • Skillfully using his secret police to intimidate his opponents into silence, and exercising his absolute control over the press, Mussolini gradually built up the legend of Il Duce.

  • Like Hitler, Mussolini builds a strong sense of extreme nationalism, militaristic expansionism, establishes private property, a strong centralized government and was anti-communist.

  • In 1925, he introduced the press laws which stated that all journalists must be registered fascists. All teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath to defend the Fascist regime.

  • Newspaper editors were all personally chosen by Mussolini himself, and no one who did not possess a certificate of approval from the Fascist party could practice journalism. These certificates were issued in secret, so the public had no idea of this ever occurring, thus skillfully creating the illusion of a "free press". The trade unions were also deprived of any independence.

  • Mussolini assumes control of the country with his “march on Rome”, joins with Hitler in establishing the Rome-Berlin Axis Pact and invades Ethiopia.

Is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownership of the means of production.

Man of Steel

  • Stalin’s parents were serfs and his father was unsuccessful shoe maker. Stalin’s siblings died early on in his which left him as an only child. His father also severely beat him creating hatred toward any authority.

  • After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin creates in the Soviet Union a repressive state that dominated every aspect of life. Later, growth declined, and corruption by state officials increased, which dented the legitimacy of the Soviet system.

  • Stalinism is an extensive use of propaganda to establish a personality cult around an absolute dictator, extensive use of the secret police to maintain social submission, and most notably, the promotion of communism as the highest political and economic ideal.

  • The late 1920’s Joseph Stalin created the “Five Year Plan” that would transform the Soviet Union to an industrialized nation.

  • He also forced farmers and peasants to give up their land and to work on collectives, large government owned farms. Some 80% of the nation’s people lived on farms. If they refused to follow Stalin’s demands they would be either killed or sent off to Siberia to work at prison camps. The U.S. officially recognized the Soviet Union in 1933.

  • Moreover, the population suffered immensely during the Great Terror of the 1930s, during which Stalin purged the party of 'enemies of the people', resulting in the execution of thousands and the exile of millions to the gulag system of slave labor camps.

  • The Great Purge severely depleted the Red Army, and despite repeated warnings, Stalin was ill prepared for Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941.

  • Stalin hoped to strengthen communism in the Soviet Union and spread communism by worker’s revolutions throughout the world eventually creating rule by the working class.

With debts from WWI and the growing Depression across Europe some countries turned to Totalitarianism, a political system in which the government controls every aspect of the citizen’s life.

The attempt is to mobilize the entire population to support the official state ideology and to be intolerant of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, such as involvement with labor unions, churches or political parties.

Totalitarian regimes maintain themselves in political power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics.

Government by the people by a majority, a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
A political unit that has a democratic government with the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions and privileges.


  • Were a British statesman, soldier, and author, best known as Prime Minister of England during the WWII.

  • Well-known as an orator, strategist, and politician, Churchill was one of the most important leaders in modern British history.

  • He won the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature for his many books on English and world history. Sir Winston Churchill was voted the greatest-ever Briton in the 2002 BBC poll the 100 Greatest Britons.

  • As was typical for upper-class boys at that time, he spent much of his childhood at boarding schools. He had an independent and rebellious nature and generally did poorly in school, for which he was punished. However, he did well in English and history.

  • He was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph), whom he loved very dearly, and wrote letters begging her to either come or let his father permit him to come home. As an adult, Winston developed a closer, sibling-like relationship with his mother. He followed his father's career keenly but had a distant relationship with him.

  • In May 1940, hours before the German invasion of France, it became clear that, following failure in Norway and general incompetence, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain's prosecution of the war and so Chamberlain resigned.

  • Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in the House of Commons. A meeting with the other two party leaders led to the recommendation of Churchill, and, as a constitutional monarch, George VI asked Churchill to be Prime Minister and to form an all-party government.

  • Churchill, breaking with tradition, did not send Chamberlain a message expressing regret over his resignation.

  • Churchill's greatest achievement was that he refused to capitulate when defeat by Germany was a strong possibility and all seemed hopeless, and he remained a strong opponent of any negotiations with Germany. Few others in the Cabinet had this degree of resolve.


Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as Prime Minister was the famous "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech.

He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the immortal line, "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

The other included the equally famous "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' "

At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".


    • An emperor is usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Emperors are generally recognized to be above kings in honor and rank.

    • According to the Japanese Constitution, the Emperor , (heavenly sovereign) is a symbol of the Japanese nation and the unity of its people.

    • The role of the emperor of Japan has historically alternated between that of a supreme-rank cleric with largely symbolic powers and that of an actual imperial ruler. An underlying cult regards the emperor as being descended from gods.

    • Until 1945, the Japanese monarchs had always been, officially, military commanders. However, contrary to the usual role of a Western monarch, they did not practically function as such. Japanese emperors have nearly always been controlled by other political forces, to varying degrees


  • Hideki Tojo held extreme right-wing views and was a supporter of Nazi Germany. He also feared the long-term plans of Stalin and in 1938 he advocated pre-emptive air strikes on both China and the Soviet Union.

  • In July 1941 Hideki Tojo was appointed as minister of war. He advocated an aggressive foreign policy and strongly opposed plans to remove Japanese troops from China and Korea.

  • Hideki Tojo became prime minister on 16th October 1941. He initially backed the foreign office's efforts to reach agreement with the U.S.. However, when convinced that a negotiated deal was possible, ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December,1941.

  • He made the final decision to lead his country into war with the U.S. and Britain, but he was not an absolute dictator like Mussolini or Hitler, and this was largely a matter of taking the last step in the plan that the rest of the government had finally accepted.

  • Hideki Tojo’s strong sense of nationalism and militaristic expansion also led to the invasion of Manchuria and the pulling out of the League of Nations.

  • Hideki Tojo was a highly capable bureaucrat, who did not so much lead Japan, as carry out the policies decided by the imperial cabinet.

  • As well as prime minister Hideki Tojo also held the posts of minister of war, home minister and foreign minister. General Hideki Tojo became the Prime Minister of Japan in October 1941, more as a symbol of the success of the pro-war faction he led, than because of his own political ability.

  • Hideki Tojo, aware that Japan was unable to win the war, resigned from office after the loss of Saipan in July 1944. He shot himself in the chest just before he was arrested by the US Military in 1945.

  • Hideki Tojo survived and after being nursed back to health was tried as a war criminal. Hideki Tojo was executed on 23rd December 1948.

A civil war broke out between the Fascists, under the leadership of Francisco Franco and the current Republican government.
This battle was considered a fight to contain fascism. The Western democracies remained neutral and sent limited supplies and financial aide.

  • 3,000 of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion went to fight in Spain

  • Hitler and Mussolini send troops and equipment to help Franco’s attempt to create another Fascist government.

In 1939 Franco’s troops gained control of the country

Of the three main leaders of Germany (Hitler), Italy (Mussolini) and Japan (Tojo) who displayed the strongest desire to improve their countries stature within the World and why?


The US fears the events in Europe, yet hold onto the fact that 62 nations had signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact stating that “war not be used as an instrument of national policy


An attempt to maintain peace and keeping the U.S. out of war was a challenging act. Many Americans favored isolationism and to focus more upon the domestic problems here at home.

  • The Nye Committee discloses that huge profits were made by banks and corporations during the war

  • Roosevelt develops foreign policy that is open to world nations. Good Neighbor Policy in 1933,

  • Pushes for the approval of the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act in 1934 and in 1935 passes the Neutrality Acts. The act disallows any arms sale or loans to Spain or nations involved in the civil war. Roosevelt saw the increasing spread of aggression around the world and sought to stop its spread.

WAR IN EUROPE (Chapter 16 / Section 2)

Payment of war reparations, the depression and near economic collapse caused German’s to support Adolf Hitler. He placed the blame upon the Jews, Communists and the intellectuals for Germany’s failure in WWI and the plight that has followed.

A major drop in unemployment and industrial development drove Hitler to become very popular. Hitler’s popularity was in part because the Germans wanted to reclaim their status among the world as a power.

After the 1936 Olympic Games (held in Germany) Germany and Italy formed an alliance know as the Axis Powers. It was those nations who opposed the Allies during WWII.

The three major Axis Powers were Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan and Fascist Italy. At their zenith, the Axis Powers ruled empires that dominated large parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Ocean.

On March 12, 1938, German forces march into Austria unopposed. The next day Hitler proclaims that the “Anschluss” or union with 6 million Germans within the country was complete.
France and the Soviet Union both had alliances with Austria. The US and the rest of the world stood by and did nothing.

The Munich Conference was a meeting regarding the Sudetenland Crisis between France, Britain and Germany in 1938.

  • The Sudetenland was an area of Czechoslovakia where ethnic Germans formed a majority of the population. Hitler proclaimed that 3 million Sudeten German speaking people on the western boarder of Czechoslovakia were being abused and prepared to send in troops.

  • The Sudetenland was of immense strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defenses were situated there, along with a huge armament facility.

  • The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of Czechoslovakia and it ended up surrendering much of that state to Germany. Because Czechoslovakia was not invited to the conference.

  • Czechoslovakia, but both were unprepared materially and politically for war. Indeed, Stalin and Soviet Russia were very wary of any capitalist alliances and the French were under the leadership of a politically weak leader. None of the powers in Western Europe wanted war.

  • They severely overestimated Hitler’s military ability at the time, and while Britain and France had superior forces to the Germans they felt they had fallen behind, and both were undergoing massive military rearmament to catch up.

  • Hitler, on the other hand, was in just the opposite position. He far exaggerated German power at the time and was desperately hoping for war with the west which he thought he could easily win.

  • He was pushed into holding the conference, however, by Mussolini who was totally unprepared for a Europe-wide conflict, and was also concerned about the growth of German power. The German military leadership also knew the state of their armed forces and did all they could to avoid war.

How did European leaders exist in a false sense of security when facing Germany and Hitler?


    • What did Chamberlin hope to gain by signing the pact?

    • What is Churchill’s response to the pact?



The Munich Agreement signed by Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini signed. The Czech government gave in and agreed to abide by the agreement.

Neville Chamberlain, the current British Prime Minister, received an ecstatic reception upon his return to Britain he made the now infamous "Peace for our time" speech and waved the agreement to a delighted crowd.

The agreement is considered by many as a major example of appeasement, giving into an aggressor to maintain peace.

Winston Churchill responds “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They choose dishonor.”

The settlement gave Germany the Sudetenland and de facto control over the rest of Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further. The pact was dishonorable and wouldn’t prevent war.



  • A Soviet poster of 1930 showed Western powers giving Hitler Czechoslovakia on a dish.

  • The British and French were pleased, as were the German military and diplomatic leadership, but Hitler was furious. He felt like he had been forced into acting like a lower class leader by his diplomats and generals.

  • The Soviets had not been represented at the conference and felt they should be acknowledged as a major power.

  • The British and French, however, mostly used the Soviets as a threat to dangle over the Germans.

    • Stalin was distressed by the ease of which the west would hand over an ally to the Nazis, causing concern that the same would happen to the Soviet Union in the future.

  • Stalin feared that the Communists and the Fascists would kill one another off, after which the western powers would step in and pick up the shattered pieces of both.

  • Hitler personally inspected the Czech fortifications, he privately admitted to Goebbels that ‘We would have shed a lot of blood,’ and said that it was fortunate things turned out the way that they did.


As had been warned by Winston Churchill Germany’s territorial consumption continued. Hitler charges that Germans living within Poland were being mistreated and that he should move in to protect them.

The bold move was not taken seriously at first due to the potential response by the Soviet Union. Also an attack would cause Britain and France to declare war.

A *non-aggression pact is an international treaty between Hitler and Stalin, agreeing to avoid war or armed conflict between them and resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations.


  • What did Hitler and Stalin hope to gain from their secret agreement?

Hitler was planning against the possibility of a two front war. Since fighting a two front war in World War I had split Germany's forces, it had weakened and undermined their offensive; thus, played a large role in Germany losing the First World War.

Hitler was determined not to repeat the same mistakes. So, he planned ahead and made a pact with the Soviets - the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.
Publicly, this agreement stated that the two countries - Germany and the Soviet Union - would not attack each other. If there were ever a problem between the two countries, it was to be handled amicably.


  • What happens to Poland?

  • How does Britain and France respond?

The pact was supposed to last for ten years; it lasted for less than two, until Germany's surprise attack and invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Poland was divided between Germany and the USSR and the country ceased to exist.
On September 1, 1939 the German invasion of Poland begins World War II. Britain, France, known as the Allied Powers, declared war on Germany.

*Blitzkrieg, in German, literally means lightning war. From which the attack involves an initial bombardment followed by employment of mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from implementing a coherent defense.
These tactics required the development of specialized support vehicles, new methods of communication, and an effective decentralized command structure.

The Maginot Line was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defenses which France constructed along its borders with Germany and with Italy in the wake of WWI.
The French believed the fortification would provide time for their army to mobilize in the event of attack and also compensate for numerical weakness. The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking.

The fortifications did not extend through the Ardennes Forest (which was believed to be "impenetrable" and "impassable") or along the border with Belgium because the countries had signed an alliance.

When Belgium abrogated the treaty in 1936 and declared neutrality, the Maginot Line was quickly extended along the Franco-Belgian border, but not to the standard of the rest of the line.

And as the water table in this region was high, there was the danger of underground passages getting flooded, which the designers of the line knew would be difficult and expensive to overcome.

The Germans attack through the Ardennes bypassing the Maginot Line, catching the French off guard. Within days 400,000 French & British troops were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk.
Italy declares war a few days later and attacks from the South. Germany occupied the northern part of France and Charles De Gaulle flees to Britain and proclaims that France has lost the battle, but not the war.
On June 22, 1940 France accepts the terms of surrender from Hitler. Germany establishes a Nazi-controlled puppet government was set up at Vichy in Southern France.


  • How was Britain attacked by Germany?

  • Why was it important that Britain not surrender to Germany?

The Battle of Britain is the name commonly given to the attempt by the German Luftwaffe to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), before a planned sea and airborne invasion of Britain.
Neither Hitler nor the German Generals believed it possible to carry out a successful assault on the Britain until the RAF had been neutralized.
German objectives were to destroy aircraft production and ground infrastructure, as well as terrorizing the British people so they would seek surrender.
On that September day, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters blasted London until 6:00 PM and for the next 57 days Britain was bombed continuously.
For 2 solid months the Germans pounded Great Britain. Yet the British air force and fought off and forced Hitler to call off the invasion of Britain indefinitely.
Failure of the Blitz

Germany continued to bomb the cities in hope of breaking the British morale. In fact it inspired many Britons to fight on. Hitler’s plan for invasion had become a total failure.

Hitler would then invade the Soviet Union which would become Hitler’s worst mistake.
Great Britain survived from a 600 million dollar gift of gold bullion from Belgium (Today it would be equal to $12 Trillion)


At the end of the 1920s, most German Jews were loyal to their country, assimilated and relatively prosperous. They served in the German army and contributed to every field of German science, business and culture.
After the Nazis were elected to power in 1933, as a result of progressively harsher state-sponsored anti-Semitic persecution, by 1938 the Jews had been almost completely excluded from German social and political life.


  • What did the Nuremberg Laws do?


Nuremberg Laws

The first law,

  • The Law for the Protection of the German Blood and German Honor, prohibited marriages and extra-marital sexual relations between “Jews ” (the name was now officially used in place of “non-Aryans ”) and “Germans ” and also the employment of “German ” females under forty-five in Jewish households.

The second law,

  • The Reich Citizenship Law stripped Jews of their German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich citizens” and “nationals.”

The Nuremberg Laws, with the support of the Nazi leaders, made a point of stressing the demanded that Jews should be deprived of their rights as citizens.

Many Jews began to seek asylum abroad, and thousands did manage to leave, but the world seemed to be divided to two parts, those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter.

Germany stripped the Jews of their civil rights and property if they tried to leave Germany. Germany forced Jews that stayed behind to wear Jewish stars sewn to their clothing.

*Kristallnacht, also known as Imperial Crystal Night and in English as the Night of Broken Glass, was a massive nationwide attack of the Jewish people in Germany and Austria on the night of November 9, 1938.
Gangs of Nazi storm troopers and citizens attacked Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues ransacking all throughout Germany and also in Vienna going to destroy buildings with sledgehammers.
The damage, in many cases destroyed, about 1574 synagogues (constituting nearly all Germany had), many Jewish cemeteries, more than 7,000 Jewish shops, and 29 department stores. Some Jews were beaten to death while others were forced to watch.

More than 30,000 Jewish males were arrested.

Under what conditions could a Kristallnacht happen in the US today?

  • Why did the people of Germany allow such things to occur?

Widespread anti-Semitism; desire to avoid greater competition for jobs during the Depression; fear of “enemy agents”

Why was the U.S. allowing such events to happen in Germany? During the 1930’s twenty five percent of the U.S. population was of German descent.
There was also a growing membership with the U.S. Nazi party. Currently, Nazism is outlawed as a political ideology in Germany, as are forms of iconography and propaganda from the Nazi era.
An example was the Flight of the St. Louis on which some 938 passengers, of which 740 had US immigration papers was forced to return to Germany.

  • What groups of people did the Nazis single out for extermination?

The Holocaust is the name applied to the state-led systematic genocide of the some 6 million Jews and other minorities by Germany and its collaborators.
Extermination camps were built in centrally organized areas to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by Hitler.

The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust but the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists and political dissidents, trade unionists, Eastern Christians, Catholic and Protestant clergy, were also killed.

Taking all these other groups into account, however, the total death toll rises considerably, estimates generally place the total number of Holocaust victims at 9 to 11 million, though some estimates have been as high as 26 million

  • How did the Nazis go about exterminating some 11 million Jews and others during the Holocaust?

  • What is Genocide?



Genocide (Geno- Greek for Race / Cide-Latin for killing) Is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;

  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group & forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Concentration and Labor Camps (1933-1945)

Starting in 1933, the Nazis set up concentration camps within Germany, many of which were established by local authorities, to hold political prisoners and "undesirables".

After 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, the concentration camps increasingly became places where the enemies of the Nazis, including Jews and POWs, were either killed or forced to act as slave laborers, and kept undernourished and tortured.

The most notorious of the death camps was Auschwitz.


Euthanasia (1939-1941)

The T-4 Euthanasia Program was established to "maintain the genetic purity" of the German population by systematically killing citizens who were physically deformed, disabled, handicapped, or suffering from mental illness.

Between 1939 and 1941, over 200,000 people were killed.

Ghettos (1940-1945)

After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis created ghettos to which Jews were confined, until they were eventually shipped to death camps and killed.

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people The Ghettos were established throughout 1940 and 1941, and were immediately turned into immensely crowded prisons.

Though the Warsaw Ghetto contained 30% of the population of Warsaw, it occupied only about 2.4% of city's area, averaging 9.2 people per room.

From 1940 - 1942, disease and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos.



  • What did the Neutrality Acts allow the US to do?

In late 1939 Roosevelt persuades Congress to pass the cash & carry” provision that stipulates the US can sell arms to warring nations as long as they transport the goods.
Roosevelt began to realize that this might be too little too late. By the summer of 1940:

  • The US had sent Britain 500,000 rifles & 80,000 machine guns

  • The US traded 50 old destroyers for leases on British military bases in the Caribbean & Newfoundland.

Churchill remarks “as a decidedly un-neutral act”

  • Who were the Axis Powers?

  • How did their alliance threaten the US?

The US was shocked by the Tripartite Pact with Japan, Germany, and Italy allied together in the case if any one of them comes under attack the other two would come to their aide.
If the U.S. was to declare war on any of the Axis powers, it would have to fight a two ocean war.
The Selective Training and Service Act created the first peace time draft in 1940. The Act gave the President the power to draft soldiers.
This Selective Service Act required that all men between the ages 21 and 30 register with local draft boards. The age range was later changed to 18-45.

  • Why was the Lend Lease Plan important?


Lend-Lease was a major US which provided Britain, Russia, China and other Allied nations with a 7 billion dollar loan in weapons and other war materials. Unlike the loans of World War I, the transfers were gifts that were not to be repaid.
This allows the president to lend or lease arms and supplies to “any country whose defense was vital to the U.S.”

The Battle of the Atlantic played a very significant part in WWII. After the escape at Dunkirk and the inspiration of the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic was Britain's next nightmare.
As an island Britain needed to bring in a vast amount of food and military equipment to survive the war.

A great deal of our raw materials came from America and therefore had to cross the Atlantic. In normal times this journey could be hazardous because of the weather but in the war the German submarines estimated that they needed to sink 150 merchant ships each month to starve us out.

German submarines hunted in what were called wolf-packs. The ships that brought in our food etc. were slow and they could barely protect themselves.

Thus the British supply ships crossed in convoys, to help prevent loses they would escorted by the U.S. Navy.

  • What Pledges were parts of the Atlantic Charter?


In July 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill met for the first time in Argentia Bay off Newfoundland, to issue a joint declaration on the purposes of the war against fascism.

The U.S. and Great Britain pledge the following:

  • Collective Security

  • Disarmament

  • Self Determination

  • Economic Cooperation

  • Freedom of the Seas

The charter is also the foundation of a document called the “Declaration of the United Nations” An alliance of 26 nations that had joined together to fight the Axis powers. The United Nations represents a total of four-fifths of the world population.

With Germany’s success and domination in Europe a door opens in the Far East for Japan. Japan already controls Manchuria. Over the next ten years they battle China.
However it is the invasion of the Dutch, French and British colonies that forces the US to place an embargo of iron and oil on Japan.
The U.S. currently is supplying Japan with 80% of those resources.

Japan would use military force to resolve their economic woes. To help lessen their dependence upon foreign goods Japan, in 1931 invaded Manchuria and later in 1937 invaded China.
On December 6th the Japan Ambassador delivers 13 of the 14 pages to their Washington counter parts stating that war was inevitable. Secretary of State Hall responds that the US will not back down (Roosevelt never knew of the statement by Hall) and Japan believes that Hall’s words were an unofficial declaration of war.
The Japanese diplomats did not deliver the 14th page until well into the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese military leaders felt dishonorable that they had attacked the US without warning.
The call came out “Tora – Tora – Tora” (Tiger), which meant that the Japanese fleet had not been detected and the surprise attack would begin. As the planes leave the cry goes out “Bonzi” (hooray).


  • What were the results of Japans attack at Pearl Harbor?

Attack on Pearl Harbor (Secrets of Invasion)
Yamamoto created a carefully-planned and well-executed attack that would remove the United States Navy's battleship force for about six months allowing the Japanese Empire's to continue its southward expansion.

Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead.

No sooner had the raid ended than U.S. forces attempted to locate the Japanese carrier fleet, with a hope to deliver some kind of counter-blow.

The aircraft carriers were out from Pearl to resupply Pacific bases that may come under attack.

Much of the search was directed southwards, rather than to the north where Japanese ships were already steaming away after recovering their planes. Fortunately for the outnumbered Americans, no contact was made.


  • C.I.A. Director William Casey, who was in the OSS in 1941, in his book The Secret War against Hitler, p 7, wrote "The British had sent word in November that a Japanese fleet was steaming east toward Hawaii."

  • In 1941 the US Ambassador to Japan Green over heard at a cocktail party, in February, that Pearl Harbor would be attacked later in the year. US intelligence does not give it much importance.

  • Washington, in an order of Nov 26 of a meeting the day before, ordered both US aircraft carriers, the Enterprise and the Lexington out of Pearl Harbor "as soon as practicable."

This order included stripping Pearl of 50 planes or 40 percent of its already inadequate fighter protection.

  • Churchill receives a secret message, on November 26, that there was specific evidence of the Japanese intention to wage offensive war against US.

  • Late November the Chinese intercept a message radioed to the Japanese Imperial Naval fleet:


The Chinese pass the message onto the British, who in turn do not pass it onto the US.




Deaths: 2403; Wounded 1,178.

Eighteen ships were sunk or seriously damaged including 5 battleships.

188 planes were destroyed and 162 were damaged.


Out of an attack force of 31 ships and 353 raiding planes the Japanese lost:
64 deaths, 29 planes, 5 midget submarines.

Three waves of attacks were planned for Pearl Harbor. The first two effectively delivered their damage against their targets. However the third wave never takes off. Japan will then miss two vital spots at Pearl Harbor:

  • The fuel depots

  • The shipping repair docks.

Some speculated that Japan was planning on using the facilities if they captured Pearl Harbor. Without knowing where the aircraft carriers are Yamamoto calls off the attack and the third wave is unable to take out the two targets.

Yamamoto declares My greatest fear is that we have awakened the slumbering giant”
In 1941 the Allies were experiencing some of their worst losses. Sub warfare was taking a high toll on the Atlantic supply lines and Germany was expanding its territory hold across the Mediterranean from Greece to North Africa.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor the Allies will meet and decide to focus on defeating Germany first and then Japan.
Directory: faculty -> dzache -> USHIstory

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