• Marshal Philippe Petain

    Marshal Philippe Petain
    A French general officer who attained the position of Marshal of France at the end of World War I, during which he became known as The Lion of Verdun, and in World War II served as the Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944.
  • U.S. convoy system

    U.S. convoy system
    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.
  • Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany

    Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany
    In Germany, Adolf Hitler had followed a path to power similar to Mussolini’s. 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.
  • 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
    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. Japanese troops controlled the entire province, that was rich in natural resources.
  • Benito Mussolini's fascist government in Italy

    Benito Mussolini's fascist government in Italy
    Benito Mussolini was establishing a totalitarian regime in Italy, where unemployment and inflation produced bitter strikes, some communist-led.
  • Stormtroopers

    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.
  • Third Reich

    Third Reich
    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.
  • Non-aggresion pact

    Non-aggresion pact
    an attack on Poland might bring Germany into conflict with the Soviet Union, Poland’s eastern neighbor. 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. Fighting on two fronts had exhausted Germany in World War I. Surely, many thought, Hitler would not be foolish enough to repeat that mistake. As tensions rose over Poland, Stalin surprised everyone by signing non-aggression pact with Hitler.
  • 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. While this was happening, the League of Nations did nothing to stop Hitler.
  • Hitler invades the Rhineland

    Hitler invades the Rhineland
    He sent troops into the Rhineland, a German region bordering France and Belgium that was demilitarized as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. While this was happening, the League of Nations 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 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.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis

    Rome-Berlin Axis
    Rome-Berlin Axis, Coalition formed in 1936 between Italy and Germany. An agreement formulated by Italy’s foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano informally linking the two fascist countries was reached on October 25, 1936.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    Hitler's Anschluss
    Anschluss refers to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938.
  • Munich Agreement

    Munich Agreement
    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.
  • 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.
  • Francisco Franco

    Francisco Franco
    Francisco Franco Bahamonde was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as a dictator under the title Caudillo from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975.
  • Blitzkrieg

    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 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 terror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • Phony War

    Phony War
    For the next several months after the fall of Poland, French and British troops on the Maginot Line, a system of fortifications 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, and what some newspapers referred to as the phony war.
  • Manhattan Project

    Manhattan Project
    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.
  • Battle of the Atlantic

    Battle of the Atlantic
    Hitler ordered submarine raids against ships along America’s east coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The German aim in the Battle of the Atlantic was to prevent food and war materials from
    reaching Great Britain and the Soviet Union. 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. the first four months of 1942, the Germans sank 87 ships off the Atlantic shore.
  • 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 turned against the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, which were overrun by the end of May.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France
    Hitler’s generals sent their tanks through the Ardennes, a region of wooded ravines in northeast France. The Germans continued to march toward Paris. 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. 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.
  • The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain
    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.
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Attack on Pearl Harbor
    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. A radio operator flashed this message: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill.” this had killed 2,403
    Americans, wounded 1,178. 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.
  • Lend- Lease Act

    Lend- Lease Act
    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. Isolationists argued bitterly against the plan, but most Americans favored it, and Congress passed the LendLease Act in March 1941.
  • 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 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.
  • Internment

    General Delos Emmons, the military governor 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. However, he was eventually forced to order the internment, or confinement, of 1,444 Japanese Americans, 1 percent of Hawaii’s Japanese-American population.
  • Battle of Stalingrad

    Battle of Stalingrad
    The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia.
  • 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 (WAAC)

    Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)
    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.
  • 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.”
  • 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 Battle of the Bulge

    The Battle of the Bulge
    On December 16, under cover of dense fog, eight German tank divisions broke through weak American defenses along an 80-mile front. 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 lastditch offensive its name, the Battle of the Bulge. Elite German troops herded the prisoners into a large field and mowed them down with machine guns and pistols.
  • D-Day

    the first day of the invasion. Shortly after midnight, three divisions
    parachuted down behind German lines. They were followed in the early morning hours by thousands upon thousands of seaborne soldiers the largest land sea air operation in army history. German retaliation was brutal, particularly at Omaha Beach. “People were yelling, screaming, dying, running on the beach, equipment was flying everywhere, men were bleeding to death, crawling, lying everywhere, firing coming from all directions"
  • 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. An unconditional surrender is a surrender in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times, unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law.
  • V-E Day

    V-E Day
    A week after Hitler killed himself, 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.
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    Hitler 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.