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Hitler Enters Politics
After WW1, Hitler decided his life’s purpose was to help Germany. In 1919, still enlisted in the German army, the German
government assigned him to spy on a political party called the German Workers Party. After spying on them, Hitler joined this
political party, and quickly gained power inside the party. By1921, Hitler renamed it the Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi
for short). He gave the party the Swastika as a symbol and organized a personal army of ‘storm troopers’ (brown shirts) and
bodyguards (black shirts) to attack political opponents. Hitler also discovered his powerful ability for public speaking.
Hitler Attempts to Overthrow Germany
In1923, Hitler organized about 3,000 nationalists who were against the democratic government in Germany. They marched
through the streets to the government capital, but they were met by police, who opened fire, killing 16. Hitler was arrested,
but was sentenced to only five years in prison. Out of those 5 years, Hitler served only nine months in prison, during which
he wrote his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). His book outlining his theories on race, Germany, Jews, and how to restore
the nation of Germany from its post-WW1 failure. It sold five million copies; now, Hitler realised he could be more than a Nazi
Party leader, he could be the leader of Germany.
Hitler Takes Control of Germany
In 1932 Hitler acquired German citizenship and ran for president. Though he lost the presidency, he was appointed
Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Hitler moved with great speed to eliminate his political opponents from power, so he would
soon be able to fully control Germany. When the President of Germany died, Hitler took control of Germany, naming himself
Führer (‘Leader’) of Germany.
Germany’s Defeat, Marriage and Death
With Germany close to defeat in WW2, Hitler was forced to live an operate out on an underground bunker in Berlin.
Alongside him was his mistress, Eva Braun whom he married. On 30th April 1945, Hitler and his new wife Eva Braun
committed suicide.
Mussolini Breaks from Socialism and Rises to Power
When Italy joined World War I, Mussolini was outraged, but soon saw that the war was an opportunity for Italy to become a great power. His
change in attitude caused him to be kicked-out of the socialist party. He joined the Italian army in 1915 and fought on the front lines during
WW1. After the war, Mussolini went back to his political career and strongly criticised the Italian government for weakness at the Treaty of
Versailles. He organised Italians who shared his same opinions and formed them into a single force. In 1919, Mussolini turned Italy into the
world’s first Fascist government, making himself dictator and taking the title "Il Duce" ("the Leader"). Supporting nationalism and building
up Italy’s military, Mussolini promised to grow Italy’s empire back to the days of the Roman Empire. He then destroyed all democracy in
Italy. To his credit, Mussolini carried out helpful programs that reduced unemployment, making him very popular with the people.
Military Success
To quickly add to his empire, Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia; the Ethiopians were no match for Italy's modern tanks and airplanes, and
was quickly captured. In 1939, he sent support to Fascists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and helped Franco become dictator of
Spain, hoping fascism would spread all over Europe.
Impressed with Italy's success, German dictator Adolf Hitler wanted to form an alliance with Mussolini; the two countries soon signed a
military alliance known as the "Pact of Steel.“
Italy's Defeat and Mussolini's Downfall
During WW2, Mussolini’s military took heavy blows from Allied forces. With pressure mounting from unhappy citizens, Mussolini was forced
to step down from office. The only people willing to help him escape the angry Italians were Germans under Hitler’s command. Mussolini
hid out among German soldiers, but was captured by Italian revolutionaries in 1945. He was executed and his body was hung on display in
Italy. The Italian people were happy about his death; Mussolini had promised his people Roman glory, but brought them only war and
misery.
Tojo Admires European Dictators
In 1940, Tojo was put in charge of Japan’s military branch of government. He felt like his personal goals for Japan's future were
the same as European dictators’ - especially Hitler - who wanted to grow their nation’s military in order to expand their empires and
world influence. While the European dictators were admired and respected in Japan, the opposite was true for America’s leaders.
Japanese people viewed Americans as lazy, greedy people without morals, compared to the disciplined workforce of Japan that
worshipped their emperor, Hirohito. Tojo made it clear that he thought Japan should take land owned by European and American
nations in the Pacific Ocean. In1941, Tojo was appointed Prime Minister of Japan. Tojo was convinced that a war with America
could not be avoided, so he decided to make the first move and knock-out America’s military from the Pacific. As a result, Tojo
authorised the attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii in December 1941.
Rise and Fall of Tojo
The huge success enjoyed by the Japanese Army in the months after Pearl Harbor strengthened Tojo's support in Japan and from
European dictators.
However, it was only a matter of time before the Americans and their allies reorganised themselves in the Pacific Ocean. As the
Americans advanced throughout the many islands in the Pacific, Japan came into range of American bombers. With bombing raids
turning much of Japan to rubble, the emperor, Hirohito, believed that Tojo had lost control of events and forced Tojo to step-down
from office in 1944.
In 1948, after WW2 was over, Tojo was put on trial as a war criminal. He was accused of starting Japan's aggressive attacks in the
1940's and allowing the abuse of prisoners-of-war, contrary to the world’s rules of war. He was found guilty at his trial, and tried to
commit suicide immediately after, but failed. He was hanged later.
Communist Party Leader
After Lenin and the Bolsheviks took full control of Russia in 1917, Stalin moved up inside the Communist Party.
Stalin made his evil demeanor known to all who crossed him, but was very good at his job within the Communist
Party. Even Lenin realised he was helpless to regain control from Stalin; when Lenin died, Stalin quickly took
total control.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Stalin reversed Lenin’s decision to give all proletariats (working class) land,
and instead forced people to work on large government farms. Millions were killed in forced labor or starved
during the famines that followed. Stalin also brought industrialisation to Russia that achieved huge success at
first, but over time cost millions of lives. Anyone who went against Stalin’s orders was met with swift response;
millions of people sent to labor camps, called Gulags, or were executed.
Stalin in WW2
As war started in Europe in 1939, Stalin made a seemingly brilliant move, signing a pact with Adolph Hitler and
Nazi Germany. Stalin was convinced of Hitler's promise to help Russia and ignored warnings from his military
commanders that Germany was planning an attack on Russia. When the Nazis struck Russia in 1941, the
Soviet Army was completely unprepared and suffered massive losses. To make matters worse, the Stalin’s
Great Purges had killed many men in the Soviet Army and government; both were dysfunctional. Stalin had
been suspicious of the Western Powers, but had no choice but to join them after Hitler’s attack.
After WW2 was over, however, Stalin continued to rule the Soviet Union as a Communist dictator, and once
again became an enemy of the West.
Joining the Military
Churchill attended London’s Royal Military College and joined the British cavalry upon graduation. At first, because he was such
a talented writer, Churchill actually worked as a newspaper reporter instead of fighting, writing stories about battles and being in
the military.
During the age of imperialism, while Britain was conquering South Africa, Winston Churchill was fighting and got captured; he
became a Prisoner of War. He managed to escape from his African prison and traveled over 400kms to be rescued. As a result,
he became a hero in Britain and joined Britain’s parliament, like his father.
WW1
During WW1, Churchill was given the title as head of Britain’s Navy. He was viewed as a strong leader until the Battle of
Gallipoli. In the Battle of Gallipoli, Churchill ordered British troops to attack the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Unfortunately, this
decision proved disastrous for Britain’s Navy, and they lost the Battle of Gallipoli, as well as many soldiers. This decision cost
Churchill his position in politics for a long time. After this, Churchill went into a depression.
WW2
At the outbreak of World War II, Churchill again became in command of the Royal Navy. At the same time the current British
Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, wanted to appease Hitler by giving into his demands and avoiding war. Churchill knew this
would not work and warned the government that they needed to help fight Hitler or Hitler would soon take over all of Europe.
As Germany continued to advance, Britain lost confidence in Chamberlain, and Winston Churchill was chosen to become the
new Prime Minister of Britain in 1940. Churchill then bravely led Britain throughout the entire WW2 conflict.
Political Career
During the 1912 National Democratic Convention, Roosevelt supported presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson and was rewarded with a career as
Assistant Secretary of the Navy; this was the same job his idol (and 5th cousin), Theodore Roosevelt, had used to climb up to the presidency. It is
said that one reason why FDR chose to marry his 5th cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt, was because she was Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite niece. With
his political career thriving, Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the nomination for vice president, as James Cox's running mate at the 1920 Democratic
Convention. The pair was soundly defeated by Republican candidate Warren G. Harding, but the experience gave Roosevelt national exposure.
Polio and Presidency
In 1921, FDR was diagnosed with polio; this resulted in losing the use of his legs. FDR was confined to a wheelchair, but kept his paralysis hidden
from the public, never wanting to be photographed in his wheelchair. For a time, FDR felt his political career was over due to polio. Eleanor
encouraged him to press on, and eventually Franklin learned to walk short distances using leg braces. In 1928, FDR was elected as governor of New
York. By 1930, the American public was blaming Republicans for the Great Depression, so Roosevelt saw his chance to run for office of the
President. In 1932, FDR defeated President Hoover and took office as the 32 nd President of the USA.
WW2
There were approximately 13 million unemployed Americans when FDR took office in 1933. In his first 100 days in office, FDR instituted economic
reforms, known as the New Deal. By 1936, the American economy was showing much improvement. Still, Franklin Roosevelt faced criticism for
increased government spending, unbalanced budgets, and what some perceived as moving the country toward socialism due to his increasing
welfare plans. In 1940 Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented third term as president. He felt that only he had the experience and skills to lead America
in such trying times as WW2. The stress of war, however, began to take its toll on Franklin Roosevelt. In March 1944, hospital tests indicated he had
atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. In February 1945, Roosevelt attended the Yalta Conference with British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin to discuss post-war reorganisation. He then returned to the United States and
on the afternoon of April 12, 1945, Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died. His vice President, Harry Truman, assumed office.
Entry into Politics
Curtin entered federal parliament after winning the seat of Fremantle, WA, in 1928. He lost the seat in 1931 but regained it in 1934
and held it through the next three general elections: 1937, 1940 and 1943. He replaced James Scullin as leader of the federal
parliamentary Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition in 1935. He effectively reunited the divided and discredited Labor Party
over the next six years, re-establishing public confidence in its ability to govern.
Prime Minister
Curtin became Prime Minister on 7 October 1941. Curtin managed Australia's response to the wartime emergency beginning with
the outbreak of the Pacific War after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, soon followed by the fall of
Singapore, the Japanese invasion of New Guinea and the bombing of Darwin and Broome.
Curtin defied Australia's senior allies, insisting that Australian troops fight the Japanese in the South West Pacific Area. He fostered
the close wartime partnership with the United States, accepting the American General Douglas MacArthur as 'Supreme
Commander' directing Australia and its war effort. Seeking to use the nation's resources fully, Curtin also sent Australian conscripts
to fight in its overseas territories.
The wartime years under Curtin's government were a period of social and cultural change, with the introduction of ARPs (air raid
precautions) including blackout and air raid shelters; rationing; wholesale entry of women into the workforce to replace male
workers away on military service; and the arrival of US troops.
Death in Office
Curtin died in Canberra, ACT, on 5 July 1945 only a month before the end of the war. He died from war-weariness, over-exertion,
stress and heart disease. He was the second Australian Prime Minister to die in office.
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