• 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.
  • 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 individ-
    uals. To strengthen the nation, Fascists argued, power
    must rest with a single strong leader and a small group
    of devoted party members.
  • Mein Kampf

    Mein Kampf
    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. He dreamed of uniting all Germans into one German empire. In addition, he believed in racial purification. Lastly, he also believed in national expansion, aka more free space.
  • Japanese Invasion of Manchuria

    Japanese Invasion of Manchuria
    There were militaristic leaders who shared a common belief w Hitler that
    living space was necessary for the growing population in Japan. 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.
  • Storm Troopers

    Storm Troopers
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Hitler invades the Rhineland

    Hitler invades the Rhineland
    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 demili-
    tarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The League did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia

    Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia
    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
    When the invasion began, the League’s
    response was an ineffective economic boycott. By May 1936, Ethiopia had fall-
    en. In desperation, Haile Selassie, the ousted Ethiopian
    emperor, appealed to the League for assistance. Nothing
    was done.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    Hitler's Anschluss
    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.
  • Muinch Agreement

    Muinch Agreement
    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
  • Joseph Stalin's totalitarian government in the SU

    Joseph Stalin's totalitarian government in the SU
    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.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis

    Rome-Berlin Axis
    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.
  • 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 fascist
    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.
  • Blitzkrieg

    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.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    Britain and France declare war on Germany
    On September 3, two days following the terror
    in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany
  • Phony War

    Phony War
    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
    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.
  • Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands

    Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands
    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. The phony
    war had ended.
  • Marshal Philippe Petain

    Marshal Philippe Petain
    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.
  • The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain
    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.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France
    Germany trapped France. 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, headed
    by Marshal Philippe Pétain, would be set up at Vichy,
    in southern France.
  • Pearl Harbor Attack

    Pearl Harbor Attack
    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.
  • 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 destroyers
    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 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.
  • 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 powers.
    That is, enemy nations would have to accept whatever terms of peace the Allies
    dictated. The two leaders also discussed where to strike next
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    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 LendLease
    Act in March 1941.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    Battle of the Atlantic
    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.
  • Internment

    However, he was eventually forced
    to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent
    of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    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.
  • Women's Auxiliary Army Corps

    Women's Auxiliary Army Corps
    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

    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
  • D-Day

    Under Eisenhower’s direction in England, the Allies gathered a force of
    nearly 3 million British, American, and Canadian troops, together with mountains
    of military equipment and supplies. Eisenhower planned to attack
    Normandy in northern France.
  • 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 encountered
    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
  • The Battle of the Bulge

    The Battle of the Bulge
    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.
  • 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.”
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    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.
  • V-E Day

    V-E Day
    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 president
    had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman
    became the nation’s 33rd president.
  • Office of Price Administration

    Office of Price Administration
    Roosevelt responded to prices shooting upward 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 consumer
    demand on scarce goods by leaving workers with less to spend.
  • War Productions Board

    War Productions Board
    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 materials
    to key industries. The WPB also organized drives to collect
    scrap iron, tin cans, paper, rags, and cooking fat for
    recycling into war goods.