The Second World War

By katyd
  • Invasion of Poland

    Invasion of Poland
    Germany invaded Poland with their Luftwaffe and Panzer divisions using a tactic called blitzkrieg. Britain and France declared war two days later but couldn't do much. The Polish army had a weak airforce, no motorized divisions, and a heavy dependance on cavalry. This was significant because it showed the contrasts of 20th century warfare with older outdated tactics. On the 17th the Soviet Army joined in attacking Poland. By the 29th, Poland no longer existed.
  • Winter War

    Winter War
    The Winter War was fought by Finland after being attacked by the Red Army. Finland put up a spirited fight, but surrendered to the Red Army in the end and signed a peace treaty.
  • Evacuation of Dunkirk

    Evacuation of Dunkirk
    Britaish and French forces were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk by the Germans after the collapse of Belgium. However, instread of finishing them off, Hitler restrained his forces. This allowed around 340,000 troops to be evacuated accross the channel using everything from navy ships to pleasurecraft. Despite being a military defeat, it was also a moral victory for the Allies. Most of the forces stranded at Dunkirk were the best of Britains forces, and they would be able to fight again.
  • Fall of France

    Fall of France
    The Germans drove through France using their blitzkrieg technique, and brought France to surrender in a little over a week.
    This was accomplished because Hitler was able to bypass the Maginot Line that the French had depended on by going through Luxembourg. In addition the French air force could not match the Luftwaffe, and although their tanks were wll made and matched in numbers, they were deployed in inefficeient ways. France was also divided internally by extremests, both opposed to war.
  • Battle of Britain

    Battle of Britain
    For Germany, the battle was a preliminary step in the plan for invasion. For Britain, it was a battle of survival.
    The turning point happened when a German bomber squadron accidentally bombed civillians in London. The British retaliated by bombing Berlin. Hitler was enraged by this, and shifted his focus from bombing airfield and radar stations to bombing London.
    This shift in focus gave the Royal Air Force a chance to recuperate, and is likely what cost Hitler the war.
  • Barbarossa

    Barbarossa was the code name given to Hitler's plan to attack the Soviet Union. Through this, the Nazis hoped to accomplish three goals: to further their policy of "Lebensraum", to control the Ukraine and the vast resources of the Soviet Union, and to destroy communism.
    Stlain was surprised and unprebared for the attack and the first stages of Hitler's barbarossa blitzkreig were very sucessful. The soviet army had weak leadership as a result of Stalin's purges, and suffered for it.
  • Battle of Stalingrad

    Battle of Stalingrad
    Figting in the Battle of Stalingrad was vicious, and consisted of taking each streat and each building. Casualties were heavy on both sides.
    When the Germans were cut off, Hitler ordered the commander to fight until death. But when he air support they were promised never arrived, and the German troops surrendered.
    This was a significant battle as Hitler lost some of the best units of his army, and was denied access to the Caucasus oil feilds. This would force Germany into a defensive position.
  • Battle of El Alamein

    Battle of El Alamein
    The Battle of El Alamein took place in the deserts of North Africa.
    It was fought for contol of the Suez Canal, located about 60 miles from El Alamein.
    This war was a victory for the Allies, with Montogmmery's "Desert Rats" defeating Rommel and sending the Germans and Italians into retreat.
    It was a significant victory because it allowed the Suez Canal to remain in Allied hands while denying Hitler access to the oil in the Middle East. Also, it proved Hitler's best forces could be beat.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    Battle of the Atlantic
    The battle of the Atlantic was the ongoing struggle of Brtain to keep the sea ways to North America and the rest of the Empire open thoughout the war. It was a problem getting supplies to Europe because most of Britain's shipping was being sunk by German U-boats and bombers. By the middle of 1942, the Germans were sinking Allied ships faster than they were being made. Eventually Britain was able to turn this battle around, and between June and August of 1943 they had sunk 79 U-boats.
  • Italian Campaign

    Italian Campaign
    While the Italians did not put up much resistance, the German troops continued to fight as hard as ever. Even after Mussolini had been deposed and the new Italian government had surrendered, the Italian Campaign was not over. It would not be until May 2, 1945 that the fighting in Italy would end. The Italian Campaign was significant because it was needed in order to liberate the rest of Europe, and it occupied many Geman troops who would have otherwise been able to defend France.
  • Invasion of Normandy

    Invasion of Normandy
    The Invasion of Normandy goes by many names, and can also be called "D-Day", "Operation Overlord', "opening a Second Front", or "The Longest Day". In the invasion the Allies targeted five beaches, each with a code name. The Americans took Utah and Omaha, the British took Gold and Sword, and the Canadians took Juno.
    Rommel predicted that whoever won on the beaches that day would win the rest of the war, and while the Allies did sacrifice for their gains on the beach, they were significant.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    The Battle of the Bulge took place in the Ardennes where the Germans had found a weakly defended area in the Allied front. In this last German offensive, 200,000 German troops attacked an area held by 80,000 Allied trops. They were able to advance about 60 miles, but were stopped on Christmas. The Germans suffered several critical losses. They no longer had any more reserves, the luftwaffe was in tatters, and the remaining German forces in the west were being pushed back to the Siegfried Line.