• 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
  • 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. 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.
  • Japanese invasion of Manchuria

    Japanese invasion of Manchuria
    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. Meanwhile, the success of the Manchurian invasion put the militarists firmly in control of Japan’s government.
  • 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.
  • Adolf Hitler rises to power in Germany

    Adolf Hitler rises to power in Germany
    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.
  • Third Reich

    Third Reich
    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 Military build-up in Germany

    HItler Military build-up in Germany
    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.
  • 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.
  • Francisco Franco

    Francisco Franco
    In 1936, a group of Spanish army officers led by General Francisco Franco, rebelled against the Spanish republic.
  • Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia

    Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia
    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 fallen. 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

    Munich Agreement
    On September 30, 1938, they signed the Munich Agreement, which turned the Sudetenland over to Germany without a single shot being fired.
  • Hitler Anschluss

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

    Britain & 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
    The blitzkrieg had given way to what the Germans called the sitzkrieg (“sitting war”), and what some newspapers referred to as the phony war.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nonaggresion pact

    Nonaggresion 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.
  • Hitler's invasion on Denmark & Norway

    Hitler's invasion on Denmark & 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. The phony war had ended.
  • Marsha Philippe Petain

    Marsha 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. Its goal was to gain total control of the skies by destroying Britain’s RAF. Hitler had 2.6k planes at his disposal. On a single day August 15 approximately 2k German planes ranged over Britain.
  • Interment

    To remove them would have destroyed the islands’ economy
    and hindered U.S. military operations there. However, he was eventually forced to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • Lend-Lease Act

    Lend-Lease Act
    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.”
  • Pearl Harbor attack

    Pearl Harbor attack
    Early the next morning, 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.”
  • Battle of Atlantic

    Battle of 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. The 3,000-milelong shipping lanes from
    North America were her lifeline. Hitler knew that if he cut that lifeline, Britain would be starved into submission.
  • 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 reduce consumer demand on scarce goods by leaving workers with less to spend.
  • 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. 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.
  • U.S. convoy system

    U.S. 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.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    Instead, they launched Operation Torch, an invasion of Axis-controlled North Africa, commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Women Auxiliary Army Corps

    Women Auxiliary Army Corps
    The military’s workforce
    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.
  • War Productions Board

    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 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. Across America, children scoured
    attics, cellars, garages, vacant lots, and back alleys, looking
    for useful junk.
  • 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.
  • unconditional surrender

    unconditional surrender
    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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • The Battle of Bulge

    The Battle of 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.
  • Bloody Anzio

    Bloody Anzio
    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 1945, when Germany itself was close to collapse.
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    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.
  • 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 president had a stroke and died. That night, Vice President Harry S. Truman became the nation’s 33rd president.