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World War 2

  • Stalin's Totalitarian Government in the Soviet Union

    Stalin's Totalitarian Government in the Soviet Union
    By 1939, Stalin had firmly established a totalitarian government that tried to exert complete control over its citizens. In a totalitarian state, individuals have no rights, and the government suppresses all opposition.
  • Mussolini's Fascist Government in Italy

    Mussolini's Fascist Government in Italy
    By 1921, Mussolini had established the Fascist
    Party. Fascism stressed nationalism and placed the interests of the state above those of individuals. To strengthen the nation, Fascists argued, power must rest with a single strong leader and a small group of devoted party members.
  • Hitler's rise to power in Germany

    Hitler's rise to power in Germany
    Hitler had been a jobless soldier drifting around Germany. In 1919, he joined a struggling group called the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party. The Great Depression helped the Nazis come to power because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments. Many men who were out of work joined Hitler’s private army, the storm troopers (or Brown Shirts). The German people were desperate and turned to Hitler as their last hope.
  • Mein Kampf

    Mein Kampf
    Hitler set forth the basic beliefs of Nazism that became the plan of action for the Nazi Party. Nazism, the German brand of fascism, was based on extreme nationalism. Hitler, who had been born in Austria, dreamed of uniting all German-speaking people in a great German empire.
  • Storm Troopers

    Storm Troopers
    men who were out of work joined Hitler’s private army
  • Hitler invades the Rhineland

    Hitler invades the Rhineland
    A year later, he sent troops into the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Third Reich

    Third Reich
    Once in power, Hitler quickly dismantled Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic. In its place he established the Third Reich, or Third German Empire. According to Hitler, the Third Reich would be a “Thousand-Year Reich”—it would last for a thousand years.
  • Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria
    Ignoring the protests of more moderate Japanese officials, the militarists launched a surprise attack and seized control of the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931. Within several months, Japanese troops controlled the entire province, a large region about twice the size of Texas, that was rich in natural resources.
  • Hitler's Military Build-Up in Germany

    Hitler's Military Build-Up in Germany
    In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League. In 1935, he began a military buildup in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. A year later, he sent troops into the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Mussolini's Invasion of Ethopia

    Mussolini's Invasion of Ethopia
    Mussolini began building his new Roman
    Empire. His first target was Ethiopia, one of Africa’s few
    remaining independent countries. By the fall of 1935, tens
    of thousands of Italian soldiers stood ready to advance on
    Ethiopia. The League of Nations reacted with brave talk of
    “collective resistance to all acts of unprovoked aggression.”
  • Francisco Franco

    Francisco Franco
    In 1936, a group of Spanish army officers led by General Francisco Franco, rebelled against the Spanish republic. Revolts broke out all over Spain, and the Spanish Civil War began. The war aroused passions not only in Spain but throughout the world. About 3,000 Americans formed the Abraham Lincoln Battalion and traveled to Spain to fight against Franco.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis

    Rome-Berlin Axis
    Although the Soviet Union sent equipment and advis- ers, Hitler and Mussolini backed Franco’s forces with troops, weapons, tanks, and fighter planes. The war forged a close relationship between the German and Italian dictators, who signed a formal alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    Hitler's Anschluss
    The majority of Austria’s 6 million people were Germans who favored unification with Germany. On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria unopposed. A day later, Germany announced that its Anschluss, or “union,” with Austria was complete.
  • Munich Agreement

    Munich Agreement
    Both France and Great Britain promised to protect Czechoslovakia. Then, just when war seemed inevitable, Hitler invited Édouard Daladier and Neville Chamberlain to meet with him in Munich. The führer declared that the annexation of the Sudetenland would be his “last territorial demand.” To avoid war, Daladier and Chamberlain chose to believe him. On September 30, 1938, they signed the Munich Agreement, which turned the Sudetenland over to Germany without a single shot being fired.
  • Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg
    This invasion was the first test of Germany’s newest military strategy, the blitzkrieg, or lightning war. Blitzkrieg made use of advances in military technology—such as fast tanks and more powerful aircraft—to take the enemy by surprise and then quickly crush all opposition with overwhelming force.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    Britain and France declare war on Germany
    On September 3, two days following the ter- ror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway

    Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway
    Suddenly, on April 9, 1940, Hitler launched a surprise invasion
    of Denmark and Norway in order “to protect [those countries’] freedom and independence.” But in truth, Hitler planned to build bases along the coasts to strike at Great Britain. Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May.
  • Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands

    Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands
    Suddenly, on April 9, 1940, Hitler launched a surprise invasion
    of Denmark and Norway in order “to protect [those countries’] freedom and independence.” But in truth, Hitler planned to build bases along the coasts to strike at Great Britain. Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May.
  • Marshal Philippe Petain

    Marshal Philippe Petain
    a Nazi-controlled puppet government, head- ed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France.
  • Internment

    Internment
    This sense of fear and uncertainty caused a wave of prejudice against Japanese Americans. The War Department called for the mass evacuation of all Japanese Americans from Hawaii. To remove them would have destroyed the islands’ economy and hindered U.S. military operations there. He was eventually forced to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 per- cent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • Unconditional Surrender

    Unconditional Surrender
    Even before the battle in North Africa was won, Roosevelt, Churchill, and their commanders met in Casablanca. At this meeting, the two leaders agreed to accept only the unconditional surrender of the Axis pow- ers. That is, enemy nations would have to accept whatever terms of peace the Allies dictated.
  • D-Day

    D-Day
    Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for D-Day—June 6, 1944, the first day of the invasion.Shortly after midnight, three divisions parachuted down behind German lines. They were fol- lowed in the early morning hours by thousands upon thousands of seaborne soldiers—the largest land-sea-air operation in army history.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    Tanks drove 60 miles into Allied territory, creating a bulge in the lines that gave this desperate last- ditch offensive its name. The Germans had lost 120,000 troops, 600 tanks and assault guns, and 1,600 planes in the Battle of the Bulge— soldiers and weapons they could not replace. From that point on, the Nazis could do little but retreat.
  • V-E Day

    V-E Day
    A week later, General Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich. On May 8, 1945, the Allies celebrated V-E Day—Victory in Europe Day. The war in Europe was finally over.
  • Harry S. Truman

    Harry S. Truman
    President Roosevelt did not live to see V-E Day. On April 12, 1945, while posing for a portrait in Warm Springs, Georgia, the pres- ident had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman became the nation’s 33rd president.
  • Woman's Auxiliary Army Corps

    Woman's Auxiliary Army Corps
    “There are innumerable duties now being performed by soldiers that can be done better by women,” Marshall said in support of a bill to establish the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Under this bill, women volunteers would serve in noncombat positions.
  • Office of Price Administration

    Office of Price Administration
    Roosevelt responded to this threat by creating the Office of Price Administration (OPA). The OPA fought inflation by freezing prices on most goods. Congress also raised income tax rates and extended the tax to millions of people who had never paid it before. The higher taxes reduced con- sumer demand on scarce goods by leaving workers with less to spend.
  • War Productions Board

    The War Production Board (WPB) assumed that responsibility. The WPB decided which companies would convert from peacetime to wartime production and allocated raw materi- als to key industries. The WPB also organized drives to col- lect scrap iron, tin cans, paper, rags, and cooking fat for recycling into war goods.
  • Nonaggression Pact

    Nonaggression Pact
    As tensions rose over Poland, Stalin surprised everyone by signing a nonaggression pact with Hitler. Once bitter enemies, on August 23, 1939 fas- cist Germany and communist Russia now committed never to attack each other.
  • Phony War

    Phony War
    French and British troops on the Maginot Line, a system of fortifica- tions built along France’s eastern border (see map on p. 538), sat staring into Germany, waiting for something to happen. On the Siegfried Line a few miles away German troops stared back. The blitzkrieg had given way to what the Germans called the sitzkrieg (“sitting war”), and what some newspapers referred to as the
    phony war.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France
    A few days later, Italy entered the war on the side of Germany and invaded France from the south as the Germans closed in on Paris from the north. On June 22, 1940, at Compiègne, as William Shirer and the rest of the world watched, Hitler handed French officers his terms of surrender. Germans would occupy the northern part of France, and a Nazi-controlled puppet government, head- ed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France.
  • The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain
    The Luftwaffe began making bombing runs over Britain. Its goal was to gain total control of the skies by destroying Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). Hitler had 2,600 planes at his disposal. On a single day—August 15—approximately 2,000 German planes ranged over Britain. Every night for two solid months, bombers pound- ed London.
  • Pearl Harbor attack

    Pearl Harbor attack
    In less than two hours, the Japanese had killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178 more. The surprise raid had sunk or damaged 21 ships, including 8 battleships—nearly the whole U.S. Pacific fleet. More than 300 aircraft were severely damaged or destroyed. These losses constituted greater damage than the U.S. Navy had suffered in all of World War I.
  • Korematsu v United States

    Korematsu v United States
    In 1944, the Supreme Court decided, in Korematsu v. United States, that the government’s policy of evacuating Japanese Americans to camps was justified on the basis of “military necessity.”After the war, however, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) pushed the government to compensate those sent to the camps for their lost property. In 1965, Congress authorized the spending of $38 million for that purpose—less than a tenth of Japanese Americans’ actual losses.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    Battle of the Atlantic
    The German aim in the Battle of the Atlantic was to prevent food and war materials from reaching Great Britain and the Soviet Union. German wolf packs had destroyed a total of 681 Allied ships in the Atlantic.The Allies responded by organizing their cargo ships into convoys. Convoys were groups of ships traveling together for mutual protection.
  • US Convoy System

    US Convoy System
    The Allies responded by organizing their cargo ships into convoys. Convoys were groups of ships traveling together for mutual protection, as they had done in the First World War. The convoys were escorted across the Atlantic by destroy- ers equipped with sonar for detecting submarines underwater. They were also accompanied by airplanes that used radar to spot U-boats on the ocean’s surface.
  • Battle of Stalingrad

    Battle of Stalingrad
    The German army confidently approached Stalingrad in August 1942. The Luftwaffe prepared the way with nightly bombing raids over the city. Nearly every wooden building in Stalingrad was set ablaze. For weeks the Germans pressed in on Stalingrad,conquering it house by house in brutal hand-to-hand combat.The Soviet army closed around Stalingrad, trapping the Germans in and around the city and cutting off their supplies.The German commander surrendered on January 31, 1943.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    While the Battle of Stalingrad raged, Stalin pres- sured Britain and America to open a “second front” in Western Europe. He argued that an invasion across the English Channel would force Hitler to divert troops from the Soviet front. Churchill and Roosevelt didn’t think the Allies had enough troops to attempt an invasion on European soil. Instead, they launched Operation Torch, an invasion of Axis-controlled North Africa, commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Bloody Anzio

    Bloody Anzio
    Hitler was determined to stop the Allies in Italy rather than fight on German soil. One of the hardest battles the Allies encoun- tered in Europe was fought less than 40 miles from Rome. This battle, “Bloody Anzio,” lasted four months—until the end of May 1944—and left about 25,000 Allied and 30,000 Axis casualties. During the year after Anzio, German armies continued to put up strong resistance. The effort to free Italy did not succeed until 1945, when Germany itself was close to collapse.
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    I myself and my wife choose to die in order to escape the disgrace of . . . capitulation,” he said. The next day Hitler shot himself while his new wife swallowed poison. In accordance with Hitler’s orders, the two bodies were carried outside, soaked with gasoline, and burned.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    Roosevelt tried to help by suggesting a new plan that he called a lend-lease policy. Under this plan, the president would lend or lease arms and other supplies to “any country whose defense was vital to the United States.”
  • Manhattan Project

    Manhattan Project
    Roosevelt responded by creating an Advisory Committee on Uranium to study the new discovery. In 1941, the committee reported that it would take from three to five years to build an atomic bomb. Hoping to shorten that time, the OSRD set up an intensive program in 1942 to develop a bomb as quickly as possible. Because much of the early research was performed at Columbia University in Manhattan, the Manhattan Project became the code name for research work that extended across the country.