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World War ll

  • Japanese Invasion of Manchuria (1)

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria (1)
    Halfway around the world, nationalistic military leaders were trying to take control of the imperial government of Japan. These leaders shared in common with Hitler a belief in the need for more living space for a growing population. 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.
  • Joseph Stalin's totalitarian government in the Soviet Union

    Joseph 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.
  • Benito Mussolini's fascist government in Italy

    Benito 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. (The Latin fasces—a bundle of rods tied around an ax handle—had been a symbol of unity and authority in ancient Rome.)
  • Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany

    Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany
    At the end of World War I, Hitler had been a jobless soldier drifting around Germany. In 1919, he joined a struggling group called the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, better known as the Nazi Party. Despite its name, this party had no ties to socialism. Hitler proved to be such a powerful public speaker and organizer that he quickly became the party’s leader. Calling himself Der Führer—“the Leader”—he promised to bring Germany out of chaos.
  • Mein Kampf (1)

    Mein Kampf (1)
    In his book Mein Kampf [My Struggle], 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. Hitler also wanted to enforce racial “purification” at home. In his view, Germans—especially blue-eyed, blond-haired “Aryans”—formed a “master race” that was destined to rule the world.
  • Mein Kampf (2)

    Mein Kampf (2)
    “Inferior races,” such as Jews, Slavs, and all nonwhites, were deemed fit only to serve the Aryans. A third element of Nazism was national expansion. Hitler believed that for Germany to thrive, it needed more lebensraum, or living space. One of the Nazis’ aims, as Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, was “to secure for the German people the land and soil to which they are entitled on this earth,” even if this could be accomplished only by “the might of a victorious sword.”
  • Storm Troopers

    Storm Troopers
    The Great Depression helped the Nazis come to power. Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments, Germany’s economy was hit hard. By 1932, some 6 million Germans were unemployed. 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.
  • Third Reich

    Third Reich
    By mid 1932, the Nazis had become the strongest political party in Germany. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor (prime minister). 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 (2)

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria (2)
    Within several months, Japanese troops controlled the entire province, a large region about twice the size of Texas, that was rich in natural resources. The watchful League of Nations had been established after World War I to prevent just such aggressive acts. In this greatest test of the League’s power, representatives were sent to Manchuria to investigate the situation. Their report condemned Japan, who in turn simply quit the League.
  • Hitler's military build-up in Germany

    Hitler's military build-up in Germany
    The failure of the League of Nations to take action against Japan did not escape the notice of Europe’s dictators. In 1933, Hitler pulled Germany out of the League. In 1935, he began a military
    buildup in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 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. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia (1)

    Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia (1)
    Meanwhile, 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.“We knew, we just knew,” recalled Martha Gellhorn, “that Spain was the place to stop fascism.”
  • Rome-Berlin Axis

    Rome-Berlin Axis
    The Western democracies remained neutral. Although the Soviet Union sent equipment and advisers, 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. After a loss of almost 500,000 lives, Franco’s victory in 1939 established him as Spain’s fascist dictator. Once again a totalitarian government ruled in Europe.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    Hitler's Anschluss
    Austria was Hitler’s first target. The Paris Peace Conference following World War I had creat- ed the relatively small nation of Austria out of what was left of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 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. The United States and the rest of the world did nothing.
  • Munich Agreement (1)

    Munich Agreement (1)
    Hitler then turned to Czechoslovakia. About 3 million German-speak- ing people lived in the western border regions of Czechoslovakia called the Sudetenland. The mountainous region formed Czechoslovakia’s main defense against German attack. (See map, p. 538.) Hitler wanted to annex Czechoslovakia in order to provide more living space for Germany as well as to control its important natural resources.
  • Munich Agreement (2)

    Munich Agreement (2)
    Hitler charged that the Czechs were abusing the
    Sudeten Germans, and he began massing troops on the
    Czech border. The U.S. correspondent William Shirer, then stationed in Berlin, wrote in his diary: “The Nazi press [is] full of hysterical headlines. All lies. Some examples: ‘Women and Children Mowed Down by Czech Armored Cars,’ or ‘Bloody Regime—New Czech Murders of Germans.’” Early in the crisis, both France and Great Britain promised to protect Czechoslovakia.
  • Nonaggression pact (1)

    Nonaggression pact (1)
    Like Czechoslovakia, Poland had a sizable German-speaking population. In the spring of 1939, Hitler began his familiar routine, charging that Germans in Poland were mistreated by the Poles and needed his protection. Some people thought that this time Hitler must be bluffing. After all, an attack on Poland might bring Germany into conflict with the Soviet Union, Poland’s eastern neighbor.
  • Blitzkrieg (1)

    Blitzkrieg (1)
    As day broke on September 1, 1939, the German Luftwaffe, or German air force, roared over Poland, raining bombs on military bases, airfields, railroads, and cities. At the same time, German tanks raced across the Polish countryside, spreading terror and confusion. This invasion was the first test of Germany’s newest military strategy, the blitzkrieg, or lightning war.
  • Blitzkrieg (2)

    Blitzkrieg (2)
    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. On September 3, two days following the ter- ror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    Britain and France declare war on Germany
    The blitzkrieg tactics worked perfectly. Major fighting was over in three weeks, long before France, Britain, and their allies could mount a defense. In the last week of fighting, the Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east, grabbing some of its territory. The portion Germany annexed in western Poland contained almost two-thirds of Poland’s population. By the end of the month, Poland had ceased to exist—and World War II had begun.
  • phony war (1)

    phony war (1)
    For the next several months after the fall of Poland, French and British troops on the Maginot Line, a system of fortifica- tions built along France’s eastern border, 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.
  • Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway

    Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway
    After occupying eastern Poland, Stalin began annexing the
    Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Late in 1939, Stalin sent his Soviet army into Finland. After three months of fighting,
    the outnumbered Finns surrendered. 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.
  • Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia (2)

    Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia (2)
    When the invasion began, however, the League’s response was an ineffective economic boycott—little more than a slap on Italy’s wrist. By May 1936, Ethiopia had fall- en. In desperation, Haile Selassie, the ousted Ethiopian emperor, appealed to the League for assistance. Nothing was done. “It is us today,” he told them. “It will be you tomorrow.”
  • Munich Agreement (3)

    Munich Agreement (3)
    Then, just when war seemed inevitable, Hitler invited French premier Édouard Daladier and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain to meet with him in Munich. When they arrived, the führer declared that the annexation of the Sudetenland would be his “last territorial demand.” In their eagerness 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.
  • Nonaggression pact (2)

    Nonaggression pact (2)
    At the same time, such an attack would most likely provoke a declaration of war from France and Britain—both of whom had promised military aid to Poland. The result would be a two-front war. Fighting on two fronts had exhausted Germany in World War I. Surely, many thought, Hitler would not be foolish enough to repeat that mistake.
  • Nonaggression pact (3)

    Nonaggression pact (3)
    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. Germany and the Soviet Union also signed a second, secret pact, agreeing to divide Poland between them. With the danger of a two-front war eliminated, the fate of Poland was sealed.
  • Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (2)

    Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (2)
    Despite opposition from some members of Congress who scorned the bill as “the silliest piece of legislation” they had ever seen, the bill establishing the WAAC became law on May 15, 1942. The law gave the WAACs an official status and salary but few of the benefits granted to male soldiers. In July 1943, after thousands of women had enlisted, the U.S. Army dropped the “auxiliary” status, and granted WACs full U.S. Army benefits.
  • Manhattan Project (4)

    Manhattan Project (4)
    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.
  • Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands

    Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands
    Next, Hitler turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May. The phony war had ended.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France
    The German offensive trapped almost 400,000 British and French soldiers as they fled to the beaches of Dunkirk on the French side of the English Channel. In less than a week, a makeshift fleet of fishing trawlers, tug- boats, river barges, pleasure craft—more than 800 vessels in all—ferried about 330,000 British, French, and Belgian troops to safety across the Channel. 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.
  • Marshal Philippe Petain

    Marshal Philippe Petain
    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, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy, in southern France. After France fell, a French general named Charles de Gaulle fled to England, where he set up a government-in-exile.
  • The battle of Britain (1)

    The battle of Britain (1)
    In the summer of 1940, the Germans began to assemble an invasion fleet along the French coast. Because its naval power could not compete with that of Britain, Germany also launched an air war at the same time. 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.
  • The battle of Britain (2)

    The battle of Britain (2)
    l 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 pounded London.
    The Battle of Britain raged on through the summer and fall. Night after night, German planes pounded British targets. At first the Luftwaffe concentrated on airfields and aircraft. Next it targeted cities. Londoner Len Jones was just 18 years old when bombs fell on his East End neighborhood.
  • The battle of Britain (3)

    The battle of Britain (3)
    The RAF fought back brilliantly. With the help of a new technological device called radar, British pilots accurately plotted the flight paths of German planes, even in darkness. On September 15, 1940 the RAF shot down over 185 German planes; at the same time, they lost only 26 aircraft. Six weeks later, Hitler called off the invasion of Britain indefi- nitely. “Never in the field of human conflict,” said Churchill in praise of the RAF pilots, “was so much owed by so many to so few.”
  • The battle of Britain (4)

    The battle of Britain (4)
    Still, German bombers continued to pound Britain’s cities trying to disrupt production and break civilian morale. British pilots also bombed German cities. Civilians in both countries unrelentingly carried on.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack (1)

    Pearl Harbor Attack (1)
    Earlythenextmorning, a Japanese dive-bomber swooped low over Pearl Harbor— the largest U.S. naval base in the Pacific. The bomber was followed by more than 180 Japanese warplanes launched from six aircraft carriers. As the first Japanese bombs found their targets, a radio operator flashed this message: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill.” For an hour and a half, the Japanese planes were barely disturbed by U.S. antiaircraft guns and blasted target after target.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack (2)

    Pearl Harbor Attack (2)
    By the time the last plane soared off around 9:30 A.M., the devastation was appalling. John Garcia, a pipe fitter’s apprentice, was there.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.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack (3)

    Pearl Harbor Attack (3)
    By chance, three aircraft carriers at sea escaped the disaster. Their survival would prove crucial to the war’s outcome. In Washington, the mood ranged from outrage to panic. At the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt watched closely as her husband absorbed the news from Hawaii, “each report more terrible than the last.” Beneath the president’s calm, Eleanor could see how worried he was. “I never wanted to have to fight this war on two fronts,” Roosevelt told his wife.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack (4)

    Pearl Harbor Attack (4)
    “We haven’t the Navy to fight in both the Atlantic and the Pacific . . . so we will have to build up the Navy and the Air Force and that will mean that we will have to take a good many defeats before we can have a victory.” The next day, President Roosevelt addressed Congress. “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy,” he said, “[the Japanese launched] an unprovoked and dastardly attack.” Congress quickly approved Roosevelt’s request for a declaration of war against Japan.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack (5)

    Pearl Harbor Attack (5)
    Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. For all the damage done at Pearl Harbor, perhaps the
    greatest was to the cause of isolationism. Many who had
    been former isolationists now supported an all-out American effort. After the sur- prise attack, isolationist senator Burton Wheeler proclaimed, “The only thing now to do is to lick the hell out of them.”
  • Internment (1)

    Internment (1)
    This sense of fear and uncertainty caused a wave of prejudice against Japanese Americans. Early in 1942, the War Department called for the mass evacuation of all Japanese Americans from Hawaii. General Delos Emmons, the military gover- nor of Hawaii, resisted the order because 37 percent of the people in Hawaii were Japanese Americans. To remove them would have destroyed the islands’ economy and hindered U.S. military operations there.
  • Internment (2)

    Internment (2)
    However, he was eventually forced to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population. On the West Coast, however, panic and prejudice ruled the day. In California, only 1 percent of the people were Japanese, but they constituted a minority large enough to stimulate the prejudice of many whites, without being large enough to effectively resist internment.
  • Korematsu v. United States (1)

    Korematsu v. United States (1)
    Japanese Americans fought for justice, both in the courts and in Congress. The initial results were discouraging. 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.
  • Korematsu v. United States (2)

    Korematsu v. United States (2)
    In 1965, Congress authorized the spending of $38 million for that purpose—less than a tenth of Japanese Americans’ actual losses.
    The JACL did not give up its quest for justice. In 1978, it called for the pay- ment of reparations, or restitution, to each individual that suffered internment. A decade later, Congress passed, and President Ronald Reagan signed, a bill that promised $20,000 to every Japanese American sent to a relocation camp.
  • Korematsu v. United States (3)

    Korematsu v. United States (3)
    When the checks were sent in 1990, a letter from President George Bush accompanied them, in which he stated, “We can never fully right the wrongs of the past. But we can take a clear stand for justice and recognize that serious injustices were done to Japanese Americans during World War II.”
  • Battle of the Atlantic (1)

    Battle of the Atlantic (1)
    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler ordered submarine raids against ships along America’s east coast. The German aim in the Battle of the Atlantic was to prevent food and war materials from reaching Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Britain depended on supplies from the sea. The 3,000-mile- long shipping lanes from North America were her lifeline. Hitler knew that if he cut that lifeline, Britain would be starved into submission.
  • Battle of the Atlantic (2)

    Battle of the Atlantic (2)
    For a long time, it looked as though Hitler might succeed in his mis- sion. Unprotected Amer- ican ships proved to be easy targets for the Ger- mans. In the first four months of 1942, the Germans sank 87 ships off the Atlantic shore. Seven months into the year, German wolf packs had destroyed a total of 681 Allied ships in the Atlantic. Something had to be done or the war at sea would be lost.
  • U.S. Convoy system (1)

    U.S. Convoy system (1)
    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.
  • U.S. Convoy system (2)

    U.S. Convoy system (2)
    With this improved tracking, the Allies were able to find and destroy German U- boats faster than the Germans could build them. In late spring of 1943, Admiral Karl Doenitz, the commander of the German U-boat offensive, reported that his losses had “reached an unbearable height.”
    At the same time, the United States launched a crash shipbuilding program. By early 1943, 140 Liberty ships were produced each month. Launchings of Allied ships began to outnumber sinkings.
  • Battle of Stalingrad (1)

    Battle of Stalingrad (1)
    The Germans had been fighting in the Soviet Union since June 1941. In November 1941, the bitter cold had stopped them in their tracks outside the Soviet cities of Moscow and Leningrad. When spring came, the German tanks were ready to roll. In the summer of 1942, the Germans took the offensive in the southern Soviet Union. Hitler hoped to capture Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus Mountains. He also wanted to wipe out Stalingrad, a major industrial center on the Volga River.
  • Battle of Stalingrad (2)

    Battle of Stalingrad (2)
    The German army confidently approached Stalingrad in August 1942. “To reach the Volga and take Stalingrad is not so difficult for us,” one German soldier wrote home. “Victory is not far away.” The Luftwaffe—the German air force—pre- pared the way with nightly bombing raids over the city. Nearly every wooden building in Stalingrad was set ablaze. The situation looked so desperate that Soviet officers in Stalingrad recommended blowing up the city’s factories and abandon- ing the city.
  • Battle of Stalingrad (3)

    Battle of Stalingrad (3)
    A furious Stalin ordered them to defend his namesake city no matter what the cost. For weeks the Germans pressed in on Stalingrad, conquering it house by house in brutal hand-to-hand combat. By the end of September, they controlled nine-tenths of the city—or what was left of it. Then another winter set in. The Soviets saw the cold as an opportunity to roll fresh tanks across the frozen landscape and begin a massive counterattack.
  • Battle of Stalingrad (4)

    Battle of Stalingrad (4)
    The Soviet army closed around Stalingrad, trapping the Germans in and around the city and cutting off their sup- plies. The Germans’ situation was hopeless, but Hitler’s orders came: “Stay and fight! I won’t go back from the Volga.” The fighting continued as winter turned Stalingrad into a frozen wasteland. “We just lay in our holes and froze, knowing that 24 hours later and 48 hours later we should be shivering precisely as we were now,” wrote a German soldier, Benno Zieser.
  • Battle of Stalingrad (5)

    Battle of Stalingrad (5)
    “But there was now no hope whatsoever of relief, and that was the worst thing of all.” The German commander surrendered on January 31, 1943. Two days later, his starving troops also surrendered.
    In defending Stalingrad, the Soviets lost a total of 1,100,000 soldiers—more than all American deaths during the entire war. Despite the staggering death toll, the Soviet victory marked a turning point in the war. From that point on, the Soviet army began to move westward toward Germany.
  • 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.
  • Unconditional Surrender (1)

    Unconditional Surrender (1)
    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. The two leaders also discussed where to strike next.
  • Unconditional Surrender (2)

    Unconditional Surrender (2)
    The Americans argued that the best approach to victory was to assemble a massive invasion fleet in Britain and to launch it across the English Channel, through France, and into the heart of Germany. Churchill, however, thought it would be safer to first attack Italy. The Italian campaign got off to a good start with the capture of Sicily in the summer of 1943. Stunned by their army’s collapse in Sicily, the Italian government forced dictator Benito Mussolini to resign.
  • 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.
  • D-Day (1)

    D-Day (1)
    Under Eisenhower’s direction in England, the Allies gathered a force of nearly 3 million British, American, and Canadian troops, together with moun- tains of military equipment and supplies. Eisenhower planned to attack Normandy in northern France. To keep their plans secret, the Allies set up a huge phantom army with its own headquarters and equipment.
  • D-Day (2)

    D-Day (2)
    In radio messages they knew the Germans could read, Allied commanders sent orders to this make- believe army to attack the French port of Calais—150 miles away—where the English Channel is narrowest. As a result, Hitler ordered his generals to keep a large army at Calais. The Allied invasion, code-named Operation Overlord, was originally set for June 5, but bad weather forced a delay.
  • D-Day (3)

    D-Day (3)
    Banking on a forecast for clearing skies, 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. Despite the massive air and sea bombardment by the Allies, German retaliation was brutal, particularly at Omaha Beach.
  • The Battle of the Bulge (1)

    The Battle of the Bulge (1)
    In October 1944, Americans captured their first German town, Aachen. Hitler responded with a desperate last-gasp offensive. He ordered his troops to break through the Allied lines and to recapture the Belgian port of Antwerp. This bold move, the Führer hoped, would disrupt the enemy’s supply lines and demoralize the Allies. On December 16, under cover of dense fog, eight German tank divisions broke through weak American defenses along an 80-mile front.
  • The Battle of the Bulge (2)

    The Battle of the Bulge (2)
    Hitler hoped that a victory would split American and British forces and break up Allied supply lines. Tanks drove 60 miles into Allied territory, creating a bulge in the lines that gave this desperate last- ditch offensive its name, the Battle of the Bulge. As the Germans swept westward, they captured 120 American GIs near Malmédy. Elite German troops—the SS troop- ers—herded the prisoners into a large field and mowed them down with machine guns and pistols.
  • The Battle of the Bulge (3)

    The Battle of the Bulge (3)
    The battle raged for a month. When it was over, the Germans had been pushed back, and little seemed to have changed. But, in fact, events had taken a decisive turn. 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.
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    On April 29, he married Eva Braun, his longtime companion. The same day, he wrote out his last address to the German people. In it he blamed the Jews for starting the war and his generals for losing it. “I die with a happy heart aware of the immeasurable deeds of our soldiers at the front. 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.
  • V-E Day

    V-E Day
    In accordance with Hitler’s orders, the two bodies were carried outside, soaked with gasoline, and burned. 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.
  • Lend-Lease Act (1)

    Lend-Lease Act (1)
    By late 1940, however, Britain had no more cash to spend in the arsenal of democracy. 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.”
  • Lend-Lease Act (2)

    Lend-Lease Act (2)
    Roosevelt compared his plan to lending a garden hose to a neighbor whose house was on fire. He asserted that this was the only sensible thing to do to prevent the fire from spreading to your own property. Isolationists argued bitterly against the plan, but most Americans favored it, and Congress passed the Lend- Lease Act in March 1941.
  • 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 president had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman became the nation’s 33rd president.
  • Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (1)

    Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (1)
    The military’s work force needs were so great that Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall pushed for the formation of a Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). “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.
  • Manhattan Project (1)

    Manhattan Project (1)
    That same year, in 1941, Roosevelt created the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) to bring scientists into the war effort. The OSRD spurred improvements in radar and sonar, new technologies for locating submarines underwater. It encouraged the use of pesticides like DDT to fight insects. As a result, U.S. soldiers were probably the first in history to be rel- atively free from body lice.
  • Manhattan Project (2)

    Manhattan Project (2)
    The OSRD also pushed the development of “miracle drugs,” such as penicillin, that saved countless lives on and off the battlefield.
    The most significant achievement of the OSRD, however, was the secret devel- opment of a new weapon, the atomic bomb. Interest in such a weapon began in 1939, after German scientists succeeded in splitting uranium atoms, releasing an enormous amount of energy.
  • Manhattan Project (3)

    Manhattan Project (3)
    This news prompted physicist and German refugee Albert Einstein to write a letter to President Roosevelt, warning that the Germans could use their discovery to construct a weapon of enormous destructive power. 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.
  • Office of Price Administration (1)

    Office of Price Administration (1)
    As war production increased, there were fewer consumer products available for purchase. Much factory production was earmarked for the war. With demand increasing and supplies dropping, prices seemed likely to shoot upwards. Roosevelt responded to this threat by creating the Office of Price Administration (OPA).
  • Office of Price Administration (2)

    Office of Price Administration (2)
    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. In addition, the government encouraged Americans to use their extra cash to buy war bonds. As a result of these measures, infla- tion remained below 30 percent—about half that of World War I—for the entire period of World War II.
  • War Productions Board (1)

    War Productions Board (1)
    Besides controlling inflation, the government needed to ensure that the armed forces and war industries received the resources they needed to win the war. 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.
  • War Productions Board (2)

    War Productions Board (2)
    Across America, children scoured attics, cellars, garages, vacant lots, and back alleys, looking for useful junk. During one five-month-long paper drive in Chicago, schoolchildren collected 36 million pounds of old paper—about 65 pounds per child.