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World War II
1) Causes of World War II
A) Treaty of Versailles caused anger and resentment
B) Totalitarian Dictators Threaten World Peace
I) Totalitarian Government – Exerts complete control over its citizens
(a) Joseph Stalin turned the Soviet Union into totalitarian state
(b) Fascism – Stressed nationalism and placed the interests of the state above those
of the individual
(i) Benito Mussolini – Established a totalitarian regime in Italy where
unemployment and inflation were problems
(ii) Adolph Hitler takes power in Germany
(c) Militarists Gain Control in Japan
C) Failure of the League of Nations
I) Germany, Italy, and Japan began wars of aggression and the League did nothing
2) Americans Cling to Isolationism
A) Most Americans opposed involvement in international conflict
I) Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) – Declared war would not be used as an instrument of
national policy
II) Neutrality Acts – Laws designed to keep the US out of future wars
(a) Acts outlawed arms sales/loans to nations at war
(i) FDR spoke out against isolationism
3) War in Europe
A) Anchluss 1938 – Germany invades Austria unopposed
B) Munich Agreement (1938) – France and Britain appease Germany by turning over the
Sudtenland without conflict
I) Appeasement – Policy of giving up principles to pacify an aggressor
C) In 1939, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler
I) Agreed in secret to divide Poland between the two
D) September 1st, 1939 – Germany invades Poland
I) Blitzkrieg “Lightning War” – Military strategy that used new technology to take the
enemy by surprise and crush them using superior force
E) Britain and France declare war on Germany
I) World War II begins
II) France Falls to Germans almost immediately
(a) Charles de Gaulle – French general who fled to England and set up a government
in exile
F) The Battle of Britain
I) The Blitz – The battle for control over England’s skies
(a) Luftwaffe vs. RAF
4) The Holocaust
A) Holocaust – Systematic murder of 11 million people across Europe
I) Long history of anti-Semitism in many European countries
(a) Hitler blamed Jews for Germany’s economic problems and defeat in World War I
(b) Nuremburg Laws – Stripped Jews of their German citizenship, jobs, and property
B) Kristallnacht “Night of Broken Glass”
(a) Nazi storm troopers attacked Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues across
C) The Final Solution
I) Hitler’s plan to rid Europe of its Jews by policy of genocide
(a) Genocide – The deliberate and systematic killing of an entire population
II) Nazis targeted more than just Jews
(a) Political Opponents
(b) Gypsies
(c) Homosexuals
(d) Mentally Ill
D) Hitler began implementing his Final Solution in Poland
I) Schutzstaffel (SS) – Hitler’s highly trained security squadron
II) Jews also ordered into ghettos and then moved into Concentration camps
III) Auschwitz – The largest of the Nazi death camps
5) America Moves Toward War
A) In 1939, Congress passed a “cash-and-carry” provision that allowed warring nations to
buy US arms as long as they paid cash and transported them in their own ships
B) Axis Powers – Germany, Italy, Japan
C) Selective Training and Service Act – Nation’s first peacetime military draft
D) The Lend-Lease Plan
I) By 1940, England had run out of cash to purchase weapons and supplies from the US
II) Lend-Lease Act (1941) – Allowed the US to lease arms and other supplies to any
country whose defense was vital to US security
E) The Atlantic Charter
I) Helped to establish the purposes of the Allies – Those nations at war with the Axis
F) Japan Attacks the United States
I) Hideki Tojo – Japan’s prime minister who ordered the Pearl Harbor attack
II) On the morning of December 7th 1941, Japanese planes attacked the US naval base
at Pearl Harbor
III) Congress declared war on Japan
6) Americans Join the War Effort
A) The Industrial Response
I) Factories retooled to support the war effort
II) Women filled factory positions left vacant by men serving in the military
(a) Rosie the Riveter
III) Defense plants also hired many racial minorities
B) The Federal Government Takes Control
I) Office of Price Administration (OPA) – Fought inflation by freezing prices on most
II) War Production Board (WPB) – Government agency responsible for ensuring the
armed forces received the resources needed to win the war
III) Rationing
(a) The OPA set up a system of rationing that set fixed allotments of scarce goods
7) Major Battles and Turning Points
A) The Battle of the Atlantic
I) Hitler ordered submarine raids on ships along America’s east coast
(a) Convoys were able to destroy U-boats faster than Germans could build them
B) Operation Barbosa
I) Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union in 1940
II) The Battle of Stalingrad
(a) In defending Stalingrad the Russians lost more than one millions soldiers
(i) Turning point in the war
C) The North African Front
I) Dwight D. Eisenhower – American general in command of Operation Torch
II) Hitler’s Africa Corps led by General Erwin Rommel “The Desert Fox”
(a) By May 1943, the last of the Africa Corps surrendered
D) Casablanca Conference - Allied forces agreed they would only accept unconditional
surrender of the Axis powers
I) Unconditional Surrender – Enemy nations have to accept whatever peace terms the
victors dictate
E) Allies captured Sicily in the summer of 1943
F) The Invasion or Normandy
I) Operation Overlord – Plan to invade France and liberate Europe from Nazi control
(a) Led by Eisenhower
II) By September 1944, the Allies had freed France
G) The Battle of the Bulge
I) Hitler’s last major offensive in the war
8) The War in the Pacific
A) In the first six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese expanded rapidly
B) In the Spring of 1942, the Allies began to turn the tide against the Japanese
I) Douglas MacArthur – Commander of American Army forces in the Pacific
II) Chester Nimitz – Commander of American naval forces in the Pacific
C) The Battle of Midway
I) Huge victory for Allies
(a) Turning point for the war in the Pacific
D) Island Hopping – Military strategy in which the Allies took back territory from the
Japanese island by island
I) Goal was to eventually reach Japan
E) The Battle for Iwo Jima
I) Small pacific island that had vast strategic importance
(a) Could be used as the staging area for bombers headed to Japan
(b) 20,000 Japanese killed, Only 200 survived
F) The Battle for Okinawa
(a) Fiercest opposition of war
(b) Death toll
(i) Americans: 7,600
(ii) Japanese: 110,000
9) War Winds down
A) By April 25, 1945, the Soviet army had stormed Berlin
I) V-E Day May 8, 1945 – Victory in Europe Day
B) On April 12, 1945, Roosevelt died of a stroke
I) His vice president, Harry S. Truman, became the 33rd president
C) The Manhattan Project – Secret project dedicated to the development of the first
atomic bomb
I) J. Robert Oppenheimer – Lead scientist on the Manhattan Project
II) Trinity Test – First test of the atomic bomb
D) Hiroshima and Nagasaki
I) On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay released an atomic bomb,
codenamed Little Boy, over Hiroshima
II) A second bomb, codenamed Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki
(a) 200,000 dead as a result of both bombs
III) Japan surrenders on September 2, 1945
E) The Yalta Conference
I) Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at and discussed the fate of Germany and the
postwar world
F) The Nuremburg War Trials - twenty-four surviving Nazi leaders on trial for war crimes
G) The Occupation of Japan
I) Japan was occupied by US forces under the command of Douglas MacArthur
10) The Home Front
A) Women found new work opportunities
B) GI Bill of Rights – Provided education and training for veterans
C) Civil Rights Protests
I) Tuskegee Airmen – Distinguished all black air squadron that served in the Italian
II) Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) – Interracial organization founded to confront
urban segregation in the North
III) Zoot Suit Riots – Anti-Mexican riots that swept Los Angeles in the summer of 1943
IV) Internment of Japanese Americans
(a) On February 19, 1942, FDR ordered the removal of people of Japanese ancestry
from parts of the West Coast
(i) Korematsu v. United States – upheld the U.S. right to intern Japanese