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Download Major Themes of World War II
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Implications for the United States Rise of fascism and totalitarianism United States and Soviet Union emerge from the war as major world powers Between groups: ethnocentrism and racial “superiority” Nuremberg Laws The Holocaust Japanese war crimes in East and Southeast Asia Civilians targeted (45 million as opposed to only 15 million battle-related deaths) Air raids (destroy communities/cities) Plundered property Concentration/Forced labor/Death camps Internment camps Atomic bombs Sexual violence against women Between countries Allied vs. Axis Powers German submarines (improved by recent development of radar) Crytanalysis: the “breaking” of Enigma and Purple Development of nuclear weapons (ends WWII, major source of America’s later strength as a world power) The hardships of the Great Depression are exploited by fascist dictators like Hitler and Mussolini Economic improvement, in many cases, is the result of militarization (overproduction at it’s most effective; with a guaranteed buyer for your product!) The U.S. economy explodes during and after the war, making it the most successful in the world Because of increased economic opportunity on the Home Front, a more diverse middle class emerges in America Some of the contributing causes and outcomes of WWII, as unnerving as it may be, can be attributed to simple factors Geography Russia’s extremely harsh climate was undoubtedly among the reasons for the German army’s failure to successfully complete Operation Barbarossa Japan’s lack of natural resources (oil, rubber) and their dependence on the U.S. and Great Britain (who did everything they could to limit Japanese expansion) surely contributed to their push toward imperialist expansion Random chance Hitler’s reluctance to pursue the 330,000-strong Allied army who were evacuated at Dunkirk, and reluctance to pursue Operation Sea Lion has been seen by many historians as a crucial turning point in a chain of events that eventually cost the Axis powers the war. Hitler’s invasion of Russia was also seen as a bad decision Recovery of “Enigma” Churchill’s plane nearly shot down twice by German AND British bombers U.S. perfects weaponized nuclear technology before the Germans or Japanese are able to While WWI was really the beginning of the “special relationship” that exists between the United Kingdom (Great Britain) and the United States, this relationship would become permanently cemented during WWII From this time on, Britain, once America’s greatest enemy, would become her closest ally Worked closely together through both World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Gulf War and the War on Terror This “special relationship” became the center of an international coalition which, while it evolved tremendously over the 20th century, still exists today Reduced tariffs or free trade is more frequently called for, and protectionism begins to be seen as a limitation From this period on, trade would often be used to issue sanctions to countries that the U.S. felt they should not support for moral reasons Communism Human rights abuses Beginning of “world police” mentality (spreading democracy, preventing the spread of communism) Isolationism would fade American “exceptionalism” would continue to grown in strength (would only trade openly with countries with similar ‘values’) Helping to win two world wars and emerging as one of the strongest world powers was the source of a huge surge of American pride World War II is viewed by many as a “battle between good and evil”, a war of ideas which highlighted the struggle for higher standards of freedom, justice and peace. The struggles of all Americans during the war paved the way for the further redress of long-standing injustices (gender inequality, civil rights, racial discrimination) Those who fought on the Allied side or actively supported the cause became known as “the greatest generation” to their children and grandchildren.