Wwii starts September 1st, 1939-Hitler invades Poland Uses blitzkreig- “lightening war” Blitzkreig-How it Works?

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WWII Starts

  • September 1st, 1939-Hitler invades Poland

  • Uses blitzkreig- “lightening war”

Blitzkreig-How it Works?

Luftwaffe, the German air force, bombed airfields, factories, towns, and cities

Dive bombers fired on troops and civilians

Tanks moved quickly and troops moved into Poland, surrounding whole divisions and forcing them to surrender

Soviet Union Attacks

Soviet Union attacks in the east and took lands promised to them by Nazi-Soviet Pact

Soviet Union - forced Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to host military bases

Seized part of Finland

Battle of Dunkirk

French positioned behind Maginot Line

Britain sent troops to wait with French

German – little fighting during Winter

April 1940 - Hitler launches blitzkrieg against Norway and Denmark

Moved onto Netherlands and Belgium

May 1940 - Germany attacks through Ardennes Forest in Belgium

Bypassed Maginot Line, allowing German troops to enter into France

Retreating British found trapped between the English Channel and the Nazi army

British gamble and send all boats to rescue troops from beach of Dunkirk

Saved 300,000 troops and increased morale

France Falls

Germany forces head to Paris

Italy declared war on France and attacked from south.

June 22, 1940 - France surrendered

Forced to sign surrender in same railroad car that Germany had signed armistice ending WWI

Germany occupied northern France and set up a “puppet state” with a capital at Vichy

Some French officers able to escape to England

Led by Charles de Gaulle, exiled French set up a government working to liberate France

Operation Sea Lion/Battle of Britain

Britain stood alone in Western Europe

Winston Churchill - new prime minister

Operation Sea Lion - planned invasion of Britain, but never happens

August 1940 - Hitler has German bombers bomb England’s southern coast daily

Royal Air Force battled the Luftwaffe for a month

Germany Launches the Blitz

Germany changes tactics and begin bombing major cities

September 7, 1940 - German bombers first appeared over London

Continued for 57 consecutive nights and then sporadically until May

Citizens resumed daily lives only taking shelter during the attacks

Hitler unsuccessful in claiming air superiority and Britain was more determined to defeat the Nazis

Axis Powers

Tripartite Agreement – Sept. 27, 1940

Germany, Italy, & Japan become alliesFight Soviet communism

Agreed to not interfere with one another’s plan for territorial expansion

Hungary and Romania joined in November 1940 and Bulgaria joined March1941.

Africa and the Balkans

September 1940 – Mussolini order forces from their colony Libya into Egypt.

Hitler sent General Erwin Rommel; “Desert Fox” to North Africa.

Pushed the British back across the desert towards Cairo, Egypt.

October 1940 – Italian forces invaded Greece

1941 – Germany provided reinforcements

Greece and Yugoslavia added to growing Axis Empire.

Greek and Yugoslav guerillas plagued the occupying forces

Bulgaria and Hungary joined the Axis alliance.

Germany Invades Soviet Union

June 1941 – Hitler nullified the Nazi-Soviet Pact-Nullified – made invalid

Operation Barbarossa – invaded the Soviet Union

Crush Communism in Europe and defeat Stalin: “If I had the Ural Mountains with their incalculable store of treasures in raw materials, Siberia with its vast forests, and the Ukraine with its tremendous wheat fields, Germany under National Socialist leadership would swim in plenty.” – Hitler

Hitler unleashed blitzkrieg in the Soviet Union about 3 million German soldiers invaded.

Stalin suffering from the Great Purge

Soviet Union lost 2 and a half million soldiers

When retreating – destroyed factories, farm equipment, and burned crops

By autumn, Nazis were poised to take Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg)

Siege of Leningrad – started September 1941 and lasts two and a half years

Leningrad did not fall to the Germans

Stalin urged Britain to open a second front in Western Europe.

Churchill did not offer much help, but the two powers agreed to work together.

United States

Isolationism – The policy or doctrine of isolating one’s country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc…, seeking to devote the entire efforts of one’s country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities.

Declared neutrality at beginning of war, but found ways to provide aid around Neutrality Act.

United States involvement grows

Americans sympathized with those who battled the Axis powers

Lend-Lease Act - allowed President Franklin D. Roosevelt to lend or lease war materials “to any country whose defense” the President deems vital to the US.

“the arsenal of democracy”

Roosevelt secretly met with Churchill on a warship in the Atlantic in August 1941

Atlantic Charter: “the final destruction of the Nazi Tyranny”

Support “the rights of people to choose the form of government under which they will live” and called for a “permanent system of general security.

Japan and the US Face off

Japanese saw a chance to grab European possessions in Southeast China

Rich resources: oil, rubber, and tin

Would be helpful in its war against the Chinese

1940, Japan advanced into French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies

Banned sale of war materials, such as iron, steel, and oil to Japan

Japanese saw this as an attempt to interfere with their sphere of influence

Japan and the US held talks, however extreme militarist, such as General Tojo Hideki, hoped to expand Japan’s Empire.

December 7, 1941 - Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor“a date which will live in infamy”

December 8, 1941 - United States declared war on Japan

December 11, 1941 - Germany and Italy declared war on the United States

Executive Order 9066- 2/19/42- “I hereby authorize the Secretary of War the right to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine from which any or all persons may be excluded.”

Allies Turn the Tide

Another TOTAL war: Rations, War bonds, Prices/wages regulated, Increase in production (helps end depression), Propaganda, “Rosie the Riveter”-women are key

The US Joins British Forces

1)Defeat of Axis in Europe = Top Priority

Adolf Hitler considered #1 enemy

Stalin (Allied power since 6/41) in need of help

U.S. could only look for help in Pacific when Hitler defeated

2) Only unconditional surrender of the Axis powers allowed

Russian Campaign

Germans fought in USSR since June ’41→ Siege of Leningrad

Initial German push into Moscow- early ‘42

Continued with Stalingrad (oil and industry)

Battle of Stalingrad (July 42-Feb 43)

Luftwaffe bombed, Soviet counter attack

Feb ’43- winter forced German surrender

Turning point for war in Eastern Europe

North African Campaign

“Operation Torch”- invasion of Axis-controlled North Africa

Commanded by Eisenhower, later by Patton – going against Axis commander Erwin Rommel

Nov. 1942- May 1943- Axis forces finally surrendered


May 1939-Pact of Steel Italy and SU enter into military alliance

Enters War June 1940

Sept 40-failed invasion of Egypt

April 41-attacks Yugoslavia-quickly surrenders

Italian Campaign (July 43-May 45)

Captured Sicily (Summer ’43)

King stripped Mussolini of power

Hitler continued Axis fighting anyways

18 months of fighting

April 1945- Mussolini Shot-and hung in public


Two years of building up troops

Targeted Normandy, fake force at Calais

June 6, 1944

Land-Air-Sea (Operation Overlord)

Allies took beaches

Massive air and land bombardment

Army headed east

August 25th- liberated Paris

Freed France, Belgium, Luxemburg

Battle of the Bulge

Last great offensive stand by Axis

Dec 1944- Hitler broke through US line

Battle lasted a month

Hitler lost many men and weapons he could not replace

Loss here meant end of the war

Yalta Conference

Feb 1945-Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin met at Yalta (S. SU)

Big Three-planned strategy-Stalin insists SU needed to maintain control of E. Europe to protect from future aggression

Roosevelt wanted self-determination for E. Europe

Churchill and Roosevelt need Stalin to win war

At Conference→3 agree SU would enter war in Pacific 3 months after Germany’s knocked out of war. Stalin in return would take possession of S. Sakhalin Islands, Kuril Island and occupation zone in Korea.

Germany would be temporarily divided into 4 zones. One to each ally-US, GB, France, SU

Stalin also agreed to free elections in Europe

Liberation of Camps

Soviets first, then Americans

V-E Day

April 25, 1945- Soviet Army stormed Berlin

Hitler prepares for end-marries Eva Braun April 29th-same day writes address to German people-blamed Jews for starting war and generals for losing it

Next day-shoots himself, Eva swallow poison→taken outside and bodies burned

May 8, 1945- V-E Day-General Eisenhower accepted unconditional surrender of 3rd Reich

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