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World War II
I. France/Britain Declared War on Germany After Polish Invasion (9/1939)
A. “Blitzkrieg” attack helps Germans conquer W. Poland in 4 weeks
B. Russia defeated E. Poland & Baltic countries quickly, then Finland
C. Nothing more happened for seven months – “phony war”
II. Hitler Launched a Surprise Attack (April 1940)
A. Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Lux. defeated in 2 months
B. Fall of France (June 1940)
1. Maginot Line, defense along border, was a failure
2. Evacuation at Dunkirk—British rescued trapped
French/British armies
3. Germans took over direct control of northern France
4. German controlled government “Vichy France” in south
III. Battle of Britain
A. Germans bombed Britain for 9 months to prepare for land invasion
B. British people rallied under new prime minister, Winston Churchill
C. Royal Air Force, using radar, fought off German planes
D. Smuggled German code machine “Enigma” helped British prepare
E. Hitler gave up plan
IV. War in North Africa
A. Italy controlled Somalia, Ethiopia, Libya (Sept 1940)
B. Italians and Germans wanted Egypt to control Suez Canal
C. After initial losses, Allies, with US help, defeated Axis
V. Invasion of Soviet Union
A. Germans broke Nazi-Soviet Pact (June 1941)
B. Soviets used “scorched earth policy” as they retreated
C. Russia was weak at first but held off Germans
D. Harsh winter took toll on German soldiers
VI. United States Involvement
A. Lend-Lease Act allowed US aid to Britain & USSR
B. US protested Japanese colonial aggression with economic sanctions
C. US moved west coast fleet to Hawaii to show military readiness
D. Pearl Harbor attacked by Japanese – Dec. 7, 1941
E. US forced Japanese Americans into “internment camps”
World War II – Turn of the Tide
VII. Allied Invasion of Italy
A. Troops landed in Sicily, then moved up along the peninsula
B. Mussolini escaped to German-controlled north
C. New Italian leader, Pietro Badoglio, joined Allies
D. Allies reached Rome by 6/1944, rest of Italy freed by spring 1945
VIII. Allied Invasion of France
A. Operation Overlord (D-Day) began on June 6, 1944
B. Over 120,000 troops participated in amphibious landing on 5
beaches of Normandy Coast, one million troops landed later
C. Paris was liberated by August 1944
D. Last German offensive, Battle of Bulge, unsuccessful – Jan 1945
IX. Attack on Germany
A. Allies attacked from USSR, Italy, and France
B. Hitler committed suicide – April 30, 1945
C. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945 (V-E Day)
X. Wartime Conferences (Peace Talks)
A. Atlantic Charter: Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill agree on
the principals of defeating totalitarianism and promoting democracies
B. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin (Big Three) met near war’s end
1. Yalta – Feb. 1945
a. Stalin agreed to elections in Poland
b. Divided Germany into occupation zones
2. Potsdam – July 1945
a. Tensions emerge between US and USSR
b. We have the bomb, Poland has no elections
c. A warning given to Japan to surrender or face “utter
destruction”
C. United Nations formed – June 1945
1. Main goal – prevent conflicts
2. Permanent members have veto power
3. US did join
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