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WWII

By esra
  • 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 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.)
  • Mein Kampf

    Mein Kampf
    In his book Mein Kampf, 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 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. “Inferior races,” such as Jews, Slavs, and all nonwhites, were deemed fit only to serve the Aryans.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia

    Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia
    Meanwhile, Mussolini began building his new Roman
    Empire. His first target was Ethiopia, one of Africa’s few
    remaining independent countries.The League of Nations reacted with brave talk of “collective resistance to all acts of unprovoked aggression.” When the invasion began, however, the League’s
    response was an ineffective economic boycott—little more
    than a slap on Italy’s wrist.In desperation, Haile Selassie, the ousted Ethiopian emperor, appealed to the League for assistance.
  • Hitler's invades the Rhineland

    Hitler's 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.
  • 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.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    Hitler's Anschluss
    Austria was Hitler’s first target.The Paris Peace Conference following World War I had created 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

    Munich Agreement
    Hitler then turned to Czechoslovakia. 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.which turned the Sudetenland over to Germany without a single shot being fired.
  • Blitzkrieg

    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.
  • 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.It looked as though Hitler might succeed in his mission. Unprotected American ships proved to be easy targets for the Germans. In the first four months of 1942, the Germans sank 87 ships off the Atlantic shore.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands

    Hitler's invasion of the Netherlands
    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.
  • Marshal Philippe Petain

    Marshal Philippe Petain
    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.
  • 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.” Isolationists argued bitterly against the plan, but most Americans favored it, and Congress passed the Lend Lease Act in March 1941.
  • 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). 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. The law gave the WAACs an official status and salary but few of the benefits granted to male soldiers.
  • Operation Torch

    Operation Torch
    Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on 8 November 1942.
  • D-Day

    D-Day
    The Allied invasion, code-named Operation Overlord, was originally set for June 5, but bad weather forced a delay. 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 followed in the early morning hours by thousands upon thousands of seaborne soldiers—the largest land-sea-air operation in army history.
  • The Battle of the Bulge

    The Battle of the Bulge
    Americans captured their first German town, Aachen. Hitler responded with a desperate last-gasp offensive. 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.
  • Korematsu v. United States

    Korematsu v. United States
    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.
  • Death of Hitler

    Death of Hitler
    In his underground headquarters in Berlin, Hitler prepared for the end. 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    Germany and Italy's invasion of France
    The German offensive trapped almost 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, tugboats, river barges, pleasure craft—more than 800 vessels in all—ferried about British, French, and Belgian troops to safety across the 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
    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). The RAF fought back brilliantly. British pilots accurately
    plotted the flight paths of German planes, even in darkness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

    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
    (“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
    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
    (“sitting war”), and what some newspapers referred to as the
    phony war.
  • Pearl Harbor attack

    Pearl Harbor attack
    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. By chance, three aircraft carriers at sea escaped the disaster. Their survival would prove crucial to the war’s outcome.
  • Internment

    Internment
    Early in 1942, the War Department called for the mass evacuation of all Japanese Americans from Hawaii. 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 Japan-American population.
  • 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. 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Bloody Anzio

    Bloody Anzio
    Their cheers were premature. 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. 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
  • 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.