• 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

    By 1912, Mussolini had established the fascists 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.
  • Storm troopers

    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's rise to power in Germany

    In Germany Adolf Hitler had followed a path to power similar to Mussolini's. at the end of WWI, Hitler had been a jobless soldier drifting around Germany. In 1919, he joined a struggling group called the National Socialists Party Workers Party, better known as the Nazi party. Despite its name, this party had no ties to Socialism.
  • Mein Kampf

    In his book mein kampf (my struggle), Hitler set forth the basic beliefs of Nazism that became the plan of action fro the Nazi party. Nazism, the German brand of fascism, was based on extreme nationalism. Hitler, who had been in Austria, dreamed of uniting all German speaking people in a great German empire.
  • Third Reich

    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

    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.
  • 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. By the fall of 1935, tens
    of thousands of Italian soldiers stood ready to advance on
  • Francisco Franco

    N 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.
  • 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.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany

    On September 3, two days following the terror in Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • 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.
  • 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). Hitler had 2,600 planes at his disposal. On a single day—August 15—approximately 2,000 German planes ranged over Britain.
  • 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
  • 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.”
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 1945, when Germany itself was close to collapse.
  • 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

    On December 16, 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 GI's near Malmédy. Elite German troops—the SS troopers—herded the prisoners into a large field and mowed them down with machine guns and pistols.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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

    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 WAAC's an official status and salary but few of the benefits granted to male soldiers. WAC's worked as nurses, ambulance drivers, radio operators, electricians, and pilots—nearly every duty not involving direct combat.
  • 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.
  • 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

    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.
  • 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.
  • Hitler's Anschluss

    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

    Then, just when war seemed inevitable, Hitler invited French
    premier Édouard Daladier and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain to meet with him in Munich. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

    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.
  • Germany and Italy's invasion of France

    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. 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.
  • Marshal Philippe Petain

    a Nazi-controlled puppet government, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain.
  • 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.
  • 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.By mid-1943, the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic had turned. A happy Churchill reported to the House of Commons that June “was the best month [at sea] from every point of view we have ever known in the whole 46 months of the war.”
  • 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

    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—prepared 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 abandoning the city. Stalin said stay
  • 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

    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.
  • Manhattan Project

    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.
  • 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.