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#38—Crash Course World History Video Notes
World War II
When did World War II start? In September 1939, when the Nazis invaded ____________? Or did it
actually started when ____________ invaded Manchuria in 1931, or at the very latest when the Japanese
invaded ____________ in 1937, because they didn’t stop fighting until 1945. Then again, you could also
argue 1933, when ____________ took power, or 1941, when ____________ started fighting.
In China the fighting was very brutal, as exemplified by the infamous rape of ____________, which
featured the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Chinese people and is still so controversial today that
it still affects relations between Japan & China.
The World War II we know the most about from movies and TV is primarily the war in the
____________ Theater, the one that Adolf Hitler started.
After coming to power in 1933, Hitler promises to return the homeland to its former glory, infused with
quite a bit of paranoia and anti-Semitism, Germany also saw rapid ____________________ and
eventually, inevitably, war.
In the beginning there was ____________, a devastating tactic combining quick movement of troops,
tanks, and massive use of air power to support infantry movements. The Nazis were able to roll over
____________, Norway, Denmark, the ____________, and then all of France, all within about 9 months
between the fall of 1939 and the summer of 1940.
After knocking out most of central Europe, the Nazis set their sights on ____________
____________, but they didn’t invaded the island, choosing instead to attack it with massive _____
The Battle of Britain was a duel between the _________ ______ _________and the Luftwaffe, and
while the RAF denied the Nazis total control of British airspace, the Nazis were still able to bomb Great
Britain over and over again in what’s known as the ____________.
Meanwhile, Europeans were also fighting each other in ____________ ____________. The Desert
campaigns started in 1940 and lasted through 1942—this is where British general “____________”
Montgomery outfoxed German general Irwin “________ ___________ _____” Rommel. It’s also the
place where ____________ first fought Nazis in large numbers.
_________ was a big year for World War II. First, the Nazis invaded ____________, breaking a nonaggression pact that the two powers had signed in 1939. The Nazi invasion of Russia opened the war up on
the so-called ____________ ____________, and it led to millions of deaths, mostly Russian.
Also, 1941 saw a day that would "live in infamy" when the Japanese bombed ____________
____________, hoping that such an audacious attack would frighten the United States into staying
neutral, which was a pretty stupid gamble because (1) The U.S. was already giving massive aid to the
____________ and was hardly neutral and (2) The United States is not exactly famed for its pacifism or
political ____________.
1941 also saw Japan invading much of ____________ Asia, which made Australia and New Zealand
understandably nervous. As part of the ____________ Commonwealth, they were already involved in the
war, but now they could fight the Japanese closer to home.
You don’t think of ____________ as being a World War II powerhouse, but they were vital to the Allies,
supplying ____________ of British meat during World War II.
The big battles of 1942 include the Battle of ____________, which effectively ended Japan’s chance of
winning the war, and the Battle of ____________, which was one of the bloodiest battles in the history
of war, with more than two million dead.
14. Stalingrad turned the war in Europe and by 1944; the American strategy of “___________
____________” in the Pacific was taking GIs closer and closer to Japan; Rome was liberated in June by
Americans and Canadians; and the successful British, Canadian, and American D-Day invasion of
____________ was the beginning of the end for the Nazis. (Canadians fought with the Royal Air Force
to defend Great Britain from the beginning of the war and you were there on D-Day, successfully invading
____________ ____________.)
15. So, by the end of 1944, the Allies were advancing from the West and the Russian Red Army was advancing
from the East and then, the last-ditch German offensive at the Battle of the ____________ in the
winter of 1944-1945 failed.
16. Mussolini was executed in April of 1945. Hitler committed ____________at the end of that month. And,
on May 8, 1945 the Allies declared victory in Europe after Germany surrendered ____________.
17. Three months later, the United States dropped the only two ____________weapons ever deployed in
war, Japan surrendered, and World War II was over.
18. The war had a definite cause: unbridled ____________ expansion by Germany, Japan, and, to a small
extent, Italy.
19. There are many possible explanations beyond mere evil; but the most interesting one, to me, involves
____________. Hitler had a number of reasons for wanting to expand Germany’s territory, but he often
talked about lebensraum or ____________ ____________for the German people. German agriculture
was really inefficiently organized into lots of small farms, and that meant that Germany needed a lot of
land in order to be self-sufficient in food production. The plan was to take Poland, ___ ___________,
and Eastern Russia, and then resettle that land with lots of Germans, so that it could feed German people.
This was called the Hunger Plan because the plan called for 20 million people to starve to death. Many
would be the Poles, Ukrainians, and Russians who’d previously lived on the land.
20. The rest would be Europe’s ____________, who would be worked to death. Six million Jews were killed
by the Nazis, many by starvation, but many through a chillingly planned effort of extermination in
____________ camps. These death camps can be distinguished from ________________ camps or
labor camps in that their primary purpose was extermination of Jews, Roma people, communists,
homosexuals, disabled people, and others that the Nazis deemed unfit.
21. Similarly, Japan, at the beginning of the war, was suffering from an acute fear of food shortage because
its agricultural sector was having trouble keeping up with population ____________. And the Japanese
too, sought to expand their agricultural holdings by, for instance, resettling farmers in ____________.
22. So while it’s tempting to say that World War II was about the Allies fighting for ____________ ideals
against the totalitarian militaristic imperialism of the fascist ____________ powers, it just doesn’t hold
up to scrutiny.
23. For instance, a hugely important Allied power, ____________ Soviet Union, was, like, the least
democratic place, ever. Stalin’s Soviet Union is tied with all of the other completely undemocratic
countries for last place on the democracy scale.
24. By far, the biggest imperialists of the war were the ____________. They couldn’t have fed or clothed
themselves—or resisted the Nazis—without their colonies and commonwealth.
25. So, why is World War II so important? Well first, it proved the old Roman adage homo homini lupus:
_____ ___ _____ ___ ______. This is seen most clearly in the ____________, but ALL of the
statistics are staggering. Millions of civilians died on both sides; some from ____________ while others
were targeted because they helped sustain the war, mostly through ____________ and agricultural
26. World War II saw modern industrial nations, which represented the best of the ____________ and the
Scientific Revolution, descend into once unimaginable cruelty. And what makes World War II such a
historical watershed is that in its wake, all of us—in the West or otherwise—were forced to question
whether ____________ dominance of this planet could, or should, be considered progress.
Episode 38: World War II
Name: ___________________________________________________________ Date: ______________________
What arguments exist for stating the WWII really began prior to the Nazi invasion of
Poland in 1939?
What happened during the “Rape of Nanking?”
Describe the rhetoric Hitler used to campaign his way to power in Germany.
What new type of combat was made possible with tanks, airplanes, and trucks, using
them to combine massive troop movements supported by air power?
List the nations Hitler conquered within a 9-month period beginning in the fall of 1939?
Where did the Nazis attack with massive air strikes, but never invade?
Where did Americans first fight the Nazis in large numbers?
What country was invaded by Hitler in 1941 even though German had signed a nonaggression pact with it?
What country bombed Pearl Harbor, triggering American entry into the war?
10. Why were Australia and New Zealand nervous in 1941?
11. How did the South American nation of Argentina prove vital to the British war effort?
12. What 1942 battle basically ended Japan’s chances of winning the war in the Pacific?
13. Which battle between Germany and Russia was one of the bloodiest of the war, resulting
in more than 2 million dead?
14. Which American strategy in the Pacific brought its troops closer and closer to Japan?
15. Which nations invaded Normandy on D-Day?
16. Which last effort at German resistance failed during the winter of 1944-1945?
17. How did Italian leader Mussolini and German leader Hitler meet their ends?
18. Why did Japan surrender?
19. What reason did Hitler have to talk so often about living space for the German people?
20. Which peoples were targeted for extermination in the Nazi death camps?
21. Who were the biggest imperialists involved in the war?
22. In what two Asian countries did more than a million people die, mainly due to famine?
23. What part of the 20 million Soviet dead were civilians?
24. What huge question does WWII raise?
Episode 38: World War II
Name: ______________________________________________ Date: ______________________
The map below shows the world with modern borders.
Label these nations and regions: Poland, Japan, China, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands,
France, Britain, Russia, Southeast Asia, Italy, Korea and Ukraine.
Inside China, label the region of Manchuria and the city of Nanking. Inside Russia, label the city of
Stalingrad (now Volgograd)
During WWII, both Russia and Ukraine were a part of what larger nation? _________________________
Box the name of the nation the Nazis invaded on Sept. 1, 1939, starting WWII.
Fighting in North Africa took place in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Label each of these
nations. Consider their status in 1940. Ring the names of French colonies; box the names of Italian colonies;
star the nation that was under British control.
VOCAB: This section is for words that one does not understand.
1. Mechanized:
2. Luftwaffe:
3. Holocaust:
1. When did WWII start?
2. What was one of the effects today of the Rape of Nanjing?
3. Describe the mechanized war of the 1940’s? Was it successful?
4. Why was 1941 such a big year in the war?
5. What happened at the Battle of Stalingrad?
6. What was the main cause of the war?
7. Why was WWII so important?
1. When did the war start and why?
2. Why did Hitler invade Russia?
3. Why did Japan invade the US?
Franklin D. Roosevelt
• Supported England through the ____________________ prior to entering WWII
• After Pearl Harbor, he supervised the transition to a ______________ economy
• Active in planning the Allied war ______________ against Germany & Japan
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
• Led successful invasions in ______________ & ______________
• Named ______________ Commander of all Allied forces in Europe
• Planned and led the Allied invasion of France (Operation _____________________)
General George S. Patton
• Led Operation ______________ and the invasion of North Africa
• Commanded the US Third Army after the ______________ invasion
• Inspired his tired troops to victories across ______________ and into Nazi Germany
General Douglas MacArthur
• Supreme Commander of US forces in the ______________
• Forced to flee the ________________________ after Japan attacked
• Led US forces through __________________ and back to the Philippines
• Accepted and signed Japan’s official ______________ in September 1945
Winston Churchill
• Warned about ______________ Germany prior to WWII
• Became England’s Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlain’s ______________ in 1940
• Refused any _______________________ with Nazi Germany
• His ______________ and broadcasts inspired the British people
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
• Commanded the ______________ Eighth Army
• Led forces through North ______________ and important victory at El Alamein
• Led the Allied invasions of ______________ and ______________
• Was in command of Allied ground forces for ______________
Charles de Gaulle
• Commanded ______________ armored division against Nazi Germany
• Refused to accept France’s ______________ & led the Free French government in exile
• Commanded the French __________________________ from England and North Africa
An Unlikely Hero at Pearl Harbor
Doris Miller, known as “Dorie,” was born in Waco, Texas,
in 1919 to Connery and Henrietta Miller. He was the third
of four sons and grew up helping around the house,
cooking meals and doing laundry, as well as working on
the family farm. He played fullback on the football team at
Waco’s A.J. Moore High School.
He worked on his father’s farm until 1938 when he
enlisted in the Navy as mess attendant (kitchen worker) to
earn money for his family. At that time, the Navy was
segregated so combat positions were not open to AfricanAmericans.
After training in Norfolk, Virginia, and serving a stint on
the ammunition ship Pyro, Miller was assigned to the
battleship West Virginia in 1940. The ship was in port at
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Dorie rose that morning at 6 a.m. to begin work and was doing laundry when the siren went off warning of an
attack. He immediately reported to his assigned battle station when word came that the ship’s captain was
injured on the bridge. Dorie rushed up and picked up the captain and brought him down to the first aid station.
He returned to deck and saw that the Japanese planes were dive-bombing the U.S. Naval Fleet and they had
little defense. He picked up a 50-caliber antiaircraft machine gun (which he had never been trained on) and
managed to shoot down three to four enemy aircraft. (In the chaos of the attack, reports varied, and not even
Miller was sure how many he hit.) He fired until he ran out of ammunition and by then the men were being
ordered to abandon ship. The ship had been severely damaged and was sinking. Of the 1,541 men on board
during the attack, 130 were killed and 52 wounded.
“It wasn’t hard,” said Miller after the battle. “I just pulled the
trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these
guns. I guess I fired her for about 15 minutes.”
On April 1, 1942 Miller was commended by the Secretary of the
Navy, Frank Knox, and on May 27, 1942, he received the Navy
Cross for his extraordinary courage in battle. His rank was raised
to Mess Attendant First Class on June 1, 1942.
As happened with other war heroes, Dorie Miller was sent on a
tour across the US to raise money for the war. However, Miller
he was soon called back to serve on a new escort carrier the USS
Liscome Bay. The ship was operating in the Pacific near the
Gilbert Islands in the Fall 1943. On the morning of November
24th, the ship was hit by a Japanese submarine’s torpedo. The
torpedo detonated the bomb magazine on the carrier and sank
the ship within minutes. Of the 918 sailors on board, Miller and
645 others were killed.
In 1973, the Navy commissioned a ship called the USS Miller in
his honor. There is also a Dorie Miller Park in Hawaii as well as
schools and buildings throughout the U.S. named in his honor.
Name _____________________________________
An Unlikely Hero at Pearl Harbor
Directions: After reading the article, answer the following questions.
1. What was Dorie Miller’s position on the ship?
a. Buglemaster
b. Mess attendant
c. Gunner’s mate
d. Commissary Steward
2. Why could Miller not serve in a combat position in the Navy?
3. What made Miller an unlikely hero?
4. What does Miller’s quote about his actions reveal about him?
5. Why was Miller sent on a tour of the US?
6. Which website would most likely be the best to evaluate the accuracy of this article?
7. Propaganda posters were
often made by the US in
honor of war heroes like
Miller. Create your own in
the space to the right or on a
separate sheet of paper.
In August 1937, the Japanese army invaded Shanghai, China where they met strong resistance and suffered
heavy casualties. The battle was bloody and often fought in urban hand-to-hand combat. By mid-November
they had finally captured Shanghai with the help of a naval bombardment. In December, the Japanese army
was next ordered to capture Nanking (now spelled Nanjing), then the capital of the Republic of China.
After losing the Battle of Shanghai, Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek knew that the fall of Nanking was
only a matter of time. To preserve his army for future battles, most of it was withdrawn in hopes of pulling
the Japanese army deep into China and using China’s vast territory as a defensive strength. As the Japanese
army moved closer to Nanking, panicked Chinese civilians fled in droves. The Japanese military breached
the last lines of Chinese resistance and arrived outside the walled city of Nanking on December 9. The
military dropped leaflets into the city, urging the surrender of Nanking within 24 hours and promising
annihilation if refused. Even though he had already fled, Chiang Kai-shek refused to surrender the city.
Eyewitness accounts say that over the next six weeks following the fall of Nanking, Japanese troops
engaged in rape, murder, theft, arson, and other war crimes. Some of these accounts came from foreigners
who opted to stay behind in order to protect Chinese civilians from harm. Other accounts include firstperson testimonies of Nanking Massacre survivors or eyewitness reports of journalists.
In Japan, newspapers covered
a “contest” between two
Japanese officers, Toshiaki
Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, in
which the two men were
described as competing with
one another to be the first to
kill 100 people with a sword
before the capture of Nanking.
The headline of the story of
December 13 read “Incredible
Record [in the Contest] to
Behead 100 People—Mukai
106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd
Lieutenants Go Into Extra
A small group of American
and European businessmen
and missionaries set up a
refugee camp within the city
known as the Nanking Safety
Zone. As the Japanese army
murdered and assaulted
thousands of people in the
city, all that could fled into the safety zone for protection.
After Japan surrendered and World War II ended, both Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, along with the
Japanese generals who led the massacre, were arrested and executed for their war crimes. There are no
official numbers for the death toll in the Nanking Massacre, though estimates range from 200,000 to
300,000 people.
Name _____________________________________
Directions: After reading about the Nanking Massacre, answer the following questions.
1. You can best infer that the Battle of Shanghai was fought –
a. at sea
b. on farmland
c. in the city
d. in trenches
2. What was Chiang Kai-shek’s strategy for defeating the Japanese?
3. In paragraph 2, the word “breached” means –
a. lost to
b. moved through
c. interacted with
d. violated a law
4. How would you describe the tone of the newspaper headline about Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda?
5. Which excerpt from the newspaper headline contains a metaphor?
a. Incredible Record [in the Contest
b. to Behead 100 People
c. Mukai 106 – 105 Noda
d. Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings
6. How do you think Japanese readers reacted to the newspaper story?
7. How did the Nanking Safe Zone provide protection for civilians?