Key Events and People of World War II

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    The Holocaust

    The time period of Hitler's rule. Over this time, Adolf Hitler executed several steps to attempt to create a superior race of Germans.
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    Italian Invasion of Ethiopia

    Italy returns to Ethiopia, and uses modern warfare to easily crush the Ethiopians. Ethiopia would look to the Legue of Nations for help, but would not get any due to the fact that the League of Nations had nearly no control.
  • German Occupation of the Rhineland

    The point where Germany began to defy the Treaty of Versailles, first by building up a strong military force and then by demilitarizing the Rhineland. The other Western powers responded with appeasement, by allowing the Germans to do whatever they pleased without conflict. This would eventually lead to Western Pacifism, where Western powers were completely opposed to all forms of war. Due to this disinterest in combat, Germany was allowed to do as they pleased.
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    Spanish Civil War

    Francisco Franco lead a revolt that later begins the Spanish Civil War. More than 500,000 were killed over this period, many of these deaths coming from the German air raid of Guernica. After the war, Franco was put into power, later becoming a brutal dictator.
  • Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

    The formation of the Axis Powers, a German, Italian, and Japanese group that agreed to fight Soviet Communism.
  • German Bombing of Guernica

    Germany tested new planes and bombing techniques on the small town of Guernica, Spain. Nearly 1,000 innocent residents were killed.
  • Anschluss

    Hitler's union of Austria and Germany. When the Austrian chancellor would not comply to Hitler's orders, Hitler's forces took control. This claim of Austria violated the Treaty of Versailles, creating a fear of war, which would soon dissapear as it became evident that the other Western Powers would not act.
  • Munich Conference

    France and Britain select appeasement, due to Hitler stating that after his claim of Sudetenland, his expansion would stop. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain believed he had achieved peace for the time period, only to see World War II begin just a few months later.
  • German Annexation of Czechoslovakia

    Hitler breaks his promise of the Munich Conference, claiming Czechoslovakia. This began to m ake other Western Powers nervous, and they responded by preparing to protect Poland, should Hitler try to expand once again.
  • Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact

    An agreement between Hitler and Stalin to not fight each other and split their territories equally between them. This pact was formed out of mutual fear and respect, in order for both Hitler and Stalin to avoid attempting to overtake each other
  • Germany Invades Poland

    Hitler invades Poland, causing Britain and France to declare war on Germany two days later. This was the beginning of World War II.
  • French Surrender to to Germany

    After being attacked from the south by Germany, France surrendered.
  • Formation of "Free French"

    Emigrants from France who had fled to England, who were led by Charles de Gaulle. These people worked to free their homeland from Germany, using techniques such as Guerilla warfare.
  • Establishment of Vichy Government in France

    After France's surrender, Germany occupied Northern France, setting the Vichy Government in the Souther territory. This area was known as a "puppet state" of Germany.
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    Battle of Britain

    Hitler Launches Operation Sea Lion in an attempt to take Britain through repeated bombings of the island. When the British did not easily give in, Germany changed tactics, bombing cities instead of less populated areas.
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    Operation Barbarossa

    The German invasion of the Soviet Union in order to aquire more territory. This event broke the non-agression pact between Hitler and Stalin.
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    Japanese airplanes, led by General Tojo Hideki, bombed the American military fleet in Pearl Habrob, Hawaii. 2,400 were killed, and numerous ships were sunk. The US would join into the war soon after.
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    Battle of Coral Sea

    The battle in which radar and sonar became prevalent. Ships fought each other without even seeing each other, using radar and sonar as weapons to track invisible enemies through the water.
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    Battle of Midway

    The American-Japanese battle over a mid-pacific US military base.
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    El Alamein

    Fought in North Africa, the battle between the Axis powers and the Allies that would later lead to German surrender, after 25,000 German soldiers were killed, forcing Germany to retreat. The battle was led by Montgomery and Rommel, two fierce leaders who each were determined to win the battle. Rommel would succeed in driving away enemy forces.
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    Battle of Stalingrad

    The battle in which Germany attempted to capture Stalin's namesake city. Germans encircled the city only to later be encircled by Soviet soldiers themselves. Germany was forced to surrender in January due to the extreme death toll of the battle, a result of the starvation, cold, and combat
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    The first offensive battle taken by the United States, as Marines attacked and won the battle, launching an "Island Hopping" campaign soon after, as they captured Japanese islands to use to their advantage in future battles.
  • D-Day

    The Allies' invasion of France. A massive battle that claimed thousands of lives, it would later lead to the freedom of France.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    A counteroffensive launched by Hitler after defeat on D-Day. The attack was intended to once again give Germany an advantage in the war, but failed to do so.
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    Iwo Jima

    The American-Japanese battle for the Island Iwo Jima, a territory that would later prove extremely useful as a base for US forces due to the territory providing an ideal area for planes in need of emergency landings. The base was close to the battlefields, meaning it was easily accessible in times of need.
    During this battle, Japanese pilots began to choose to become kamikaze pilots. These pilots would use both themselves and their planes as weapons, crashing them into a specific target
  • V-E Day

    V-E day, or Victory in Europe day, marked the day that German soldiers finally and officially surrendered, ending World War II in Europe.
  • Dropping of Atomic Bomb

    The US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It is, to this date, the only nuclear attack in history.
  • V-J Day

    V-J day, or Victory in Japan day, marked the day that the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II.