WWII Timeline

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    Benito Mussolini

    •Italian dictator who was a leading proponent of Facism
    •Originally a revolutionary Socialist, he abandoned his party to advocate Italian intervention
    •Forged the paramilitary Facist movement in 1919
    •Became prime minister in 1922
    •Allied himself with Adolf Hitler in 1939
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    *Emperor of Japan
    *In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in which they agreed to assist one another should any of them be attacked by a country not already involved in the war.
    *Hirohito consented to the decision of his government to battle the Americans. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombarded the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor
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    Joseph Stalin

    *Dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953.
    *Stalin ruled by terror and with a totalitarian grip in order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him.
    *Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower.
    *By some estimates, he was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people during his brutal rule.
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    Adolf Hitler

    •Led the Nazi Party
    •Son of a minor Austrian civil servant
    •Violently anti-Semitic
    •Preached that the greatest threat confronting Germany was the Jewish people who lived there
    •Appointed chancellor of Germany in January 1933
    •Symbol of his totalitarian regime
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    The Holocaust

    •The Nazi attempt to kill all Jews uner their control
    •Mass genocide
    •By the end of WWII, the Nazis had murdered 6 million Jews and 5 million other people they considered inferior
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    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    •Created the New Deal programs and reforms during the Great Depression
    •Led the United States from isolationism to victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II
    •Came up with the Atlantic Charter with Winston Churchill which declared the “Four Freedoms” on which the post-war world should be founded: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
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    Neville Chamberlain

    *British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940
    *Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of World War II.
    *Best known for his policy of "appeasement" toward Adolf Hitler's Germany
    * Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact in 1938, which gave parts of Czechoslovakia to Germany.
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    *The Blitzkrieg is not a specific battle, but reflects a specific warfare tactic used by the Germans.

    *The term refers to a large motorized force (at high speed) using tanks, infantry, artillery and air power.

    *The constant motion successfully kept the enemy off-balance and made it difficult for a quick, effective response.

    *Blitzkrieg proved to be very beneficial for the Germans from 1939-1941
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    Winston Churchill

    •Served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945 (and again from 1951 to 1955)
    •Led Britain's fight against Nazi Germany in WWII
    •Talented orator who gave many captivating speeches to boost national morale during the war
    •Churchill hoped to join the Americans in building a postwar order that limited Soviet leader Josef Stalin's ability to dominate European affairs.
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    Hideki Tojo

    *Wartime leader of Japan’s government
    *Known for his bureaucratic efficiency and for his strict, uncompromising attention to detail
    *Tojo was never able to establish a dictatorship on a par with those wielded by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
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    The Manhattan Project

    •A research and developmental project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II.
    •Led by the US with support from Canada and the United Kingdom
    •Developed two types of atomic bombs: uranium (gun-type fission weapon) and plutonium (implosion type weapon)
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    *Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii
    *The Japanese destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded.
    *The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan; Congress approved his declaration with just one dissenting vote.
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    Internment Camps

    *Two months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 ordering all Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast.
    *This resulted in the relocation of approximately 120,000 people, many of whom were American citizens, to one of 10 internment camps located across the country.
    *The US justified their action by claiming that there was a danger of those of Japanese descent spying for the Japanese.
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    Battle of Stalingrad

    *The successful Soviet defense of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the U.S.S.R. during World War II.
    *Russians consider it to be the greatest battle of their Great Patriotic War, and most historians consider it to be the greatest battle of the entire conflict.
    * Heavy fighting ensued throughout this battle resulting in a heavy loss for the Germans and triumph for Russia.
    *Once the Soviets reached Berlin, it took an additional 10 days beforeBerlin finally surrendered.
  • Battle of Leyte Gulf

    *The Battle of Leyte Gulf destroyed the Japanese Navy as an effective fighting force.
    *As many as sixty-five thousand Japanese soldiers died defending Leyte.
    *More than 15,000 Americans were killed or wounded.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    *On December 16, 3 German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the poorly roaded, rugged, heavily forested Ardennes.
    *As the German armies drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads west of the River Meuse quickly, the line defining the Allied front took on the appearance of a large protrusion or bulge
    *Suffered over 100,000 casualties, the costliest action ever fought by the U.S. Army
  • Battle of Iwo Jima

    *American forces invaded the tiny island of Iwo Jima to secure airstrips for American B-29 flyers.
    *They encountered 21,000 well-entrenched Japanese defenders. *It would take the Marines over a month of fighting over an inhospitable terrain to dig out and overtake the Japanese.
    *As many as 7,000 Americans were dead and 24,000 wounded. Almost 6,000 of those killed were U.S. Marines.
    *Only 1,038 of the 21,000 Japanese defenders were captured alive
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    Battle of Okinawa

    *Last and biggest of the Pacific island battles of World War II
    *Involved the 287,000 troops of the U.S. Tenth Army against 130,000 soldiers of the Japanese Thirty-second Army.
    *At stake were air bases vital to the projected invasion of Japan. *By the end of the 82-day campaign, Japan had lost more than 77,000 soldiers and the Allies had suffered more than 65,000 casualties—including 14,000 dead.
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    Harry Truman

    •Made the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, helped rebuild postwar Europe, worked to contain communism and led the United States into the Korean War.
  • Battle of Berlin

    *This battle was the final major offensive of the European Theater of WWII.

    *Lasted less than two weeks.

    *Soviet forces attacked Berlin from the East, South and North. *Before the battle was over, Hitler and several of his followers committed suicide.
  • Hiroshima bombing

    •Explosion wiped out 90% of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would die later due to radiation exposure
    •The plane dropped the bomb–known as “Little Boy”–by parachute at 8:15 in the morning, and it exploded 2,000 feet above Hiroshima in a blast equal to 12-15,000 tons of TNT, destroying five square miles of the city.
  • Nagasaki bombing

    •The plutonium bomb “Fat Man” was dropped at 11:02 am and was more powerful than the one used at Hiroshima
    •The bomb weighed nearly 10,000 pounds and was built to produce a 22-kiloton blast.
    •On August 15, just days after the bombing of Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies.