World War II Project
Molotov-Ribbentrop PactThis was a non-aggression pact passed signed by Germany and the Soviet Union shortly before WWII. The two enemies agreed to take no military action against each other for the next ten years. Germany did this so that they wouldn't have to fight on two fronts against the Soviet Union and France. The Soviet Union did this so they would have time to industrialize without conflict.
Germany's Invasion of PolandThis invasion marked the start of WWII. Germany launched a surprise attack on Poland. German forces quickly took down Poland's inferior military and strategy. After the invasion Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany. They were not able to help Poland.
German BlitzkriegGerman forces first employed these tactics in the invasion of Poland. Blitzkrieg is a term that describes a method of warfare that focuses on swift, mobile, and maneuverable strikes. Blitzkrieg included armored tanks and air support that helped minimize the loss of soldiers. This new method allowed them to roll through countries in the beginning of the war.
Battle of BritainAfter Nazi Germany had conquered most of Europe, and the only major power in Europe left was Great Britain. Germany wanted to invade Britain, but had to take out their Royal Air Force. Germany bombed Great Britain to try and destroy their air force in order to prepare for invasion. Although Germany had more planes and pilots, Britain's air force was able to fight Germany off with their radar and superior pilots.
Pearl HarborEarly Sunday morning Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base and destroyed 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. The day after the attack congress declared war on Japan.
Wannsee ConferenceThis was a meeting of Nazi officials where they discussed the details of the "final solution" of the "Jewish question." Several violent solutions were proposed, but they finally decided on rounding all the Jews up and putting them into concentration camps and work them to death. They eventually ended up deciding that this would take too long and ended up killing mass amounts of Jews in gas chambers.
Battle of MidwayThe Battle of Midway was a battle between the U.S. navy and the Japanese Navy. The U.S. was able to successfully defend their major base on Midway Island just 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This quickly dashed Japan's hopes of neutralizing the United States as a naval power and was a turning point in WWII in the pacific.
Battle of StalingradThis battle between Russia and Nazi Germany is known as one of the largest and bloodiest battles in modern time. Nearly 2 million people were killed or injured including Russian civilians. Germany tried to take Stalingrad, an important industrial country in Russia, but ultimately they failed and it caused the turn of the war.
Warsaw Ghetto uprisingThe Warsaw Ghetto uprising was a violent revolt in the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, Poland. Residents staged a revolt to try to prevent deportations to extermination camps. This uprising inspired other revolts in extermination camps and ghettos throughout Eastern Europe.
Operation GomorrahThis operation involved British bombers raiding Hamburg, Germany by day and American bombers raided them by night. This became known as "blitz week." British attacks continued until November and they dropped over 9,000 tons of explosives. Hitler refused to acknowledge the destroyed cities from these attacks, because he knew they were a sign of his defeat.
D-DayAllied forces sent in over 156,000 British, American, and Canadian troops to a 50-mile stretch of beaches on the coast of France's Normandy region. This invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning from the Allied forces. D-Day resulted in the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control and was the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Battle of the BulgeThis was Hitler's last major offensive moves in the war. Hitler wanted to split the Allied forces in their march towards Germany, so they attacked American troops in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The German's were eventually unsuccessful after 6 long weeks, and that helped pave the way to victory for the Allied powers.
Battle of Iwo JimaAmerican forces invaded the island of Iwo Jima, an island just off the coast of Japan that could stage the possible invasion of Japan. The battle lasted around 5 weeks and was one of the bloodiest of the war with all but about 200 Japanese forces killed and about 7,000 marines killed. While this island was very beneficial for America's campaign in the pacific, the strategic value of this battle was questioned.
Battle of OkinawaThis was the last major battle of WWII. The U.S. army and marine corps descended on the island of Okinawa for a final push on Japan. Although it was an Allied forces win, with the Japanese kamikaze bombers and the weather, it was one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
Dropping of the Atomic BombsAfter the Allied powers had defeated Germany in Europe Japan was still fighting and vowed to fight to the end. The U.S. had a choice, to keep fighting Japan until the end or to drop the atomic bombs on them and end the war. In order to avoid such high casualty rates of American soldiers President Truman decided to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities in Japan.