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Japan at War
• December 7, 1941, Japanese
aircraft attacked the U.S. Naval
Base at Pearl Harbor in the
Hawaiian Islands.
•The same day, other Japanese
units launched additional assaults
on the Philippines and began
advancing toward the British
colony of Malaya.
•Next, the Japanese invaded the
Dutch East Indies and occupied a
number of islands in the Pacific
•Bataan Peninsula
•By the spring of 1942, almost all
of SE Asia and western Pacific
area had fallen to the Japanese.
Japan’s New “Community”
• Japan
declared a
creation of a
community of
– Greater East
Asia CoProsperity
– Japan
wanted to
liberate the
SE Asian
Global War
• Japanese leaders had hoped their
lightening strikes on American bases
would destroy the U.S. fleet in the
• They also assumed the Roosevelt
administration would accept Japanese
domination of the Pacific.
• Japanese leaders assumed the
American people were soft, and that
their easy, rich life had made them
unable to fight.
– The attack on Pearl Harbor unified
Americans and most agreed that
American needed to enter into WWII.
– The U.S. joined with European nations
and Nationalist China in a combined
effort to defeat Japan.
• Hitler declared war on the United States
4 days after Pearl Harbor.
The Allies Advance
With the U.S. involved with the allies,
they needed a new name: Grand
Axis Powers-Germany, Italy, Japan
– Great Britain, U.S., Soviet Union
agreed to come together, forget any
political differences.
– Beginning of 1943, they all agreed to
fight until the Axis powers
surrendered unconditionally.
While Japan was taking over SE Asia,
Hitler and his European allies
continued fighting against Great
Britain and the Soviet Union.
In North Africa, the Afrika Korps,
German forces were led by General
Erwin Rommel, broke through the
British defenses in Egypt and
advanced towards Alexandria.
The Tide Turns
• In North Africa, British
forces had stopped
Rommel’s troops at El
Alamein in the summer
of 1942.
– The Germans had
retreated back across
the desert.
• In November, 1942,
British and American
forces invaded French
North Africa.
– They forced the
German and Italian
troops there to
surrender in May
The Tide Turns
• Hitler’s next move was to take
over Stalingrad, a major industrial
center on the Volga River in the
Soviet Union.
– In perhaps the most terrible battle
of the war, between November
1942 and February 2, 1943, the
Soviets launched a counterattack.
– German troops were stopped,
then encircled, their supply lines
were cut off, all in extremely
harsh winter conditions.
– The Germans were forced to
surrender at Stalingrad.
– The entire German Sixth Army,
considered the best of the
German troops, was lost.
– By the Spring of 1943, even Hitler
knew that Germans would not
defeat the Soviet Union.
The Asian Theater
• Battle of the Coral Sea- May
7-8, 1942
– American Naval forces
stopped the Japanese
advance and saved
Australia from being
• The turning point of the war
in Asia came on June 4 at
the Battle of Midway Island.
– U.S. planes destroyed four
attacking Japanese aircraft
– The U.S. defeated the
Japanese Navy and
established naval
superiority in the Pacific.
The Asian Theater
By the fall of 1942, Allied
forces in Asia were
gathering for two operations.
– U.S. General Douglas
MacArthur, would move
into the Philippines
through New Guinea and
the South Pacific Islands.
– The other would move
across the Pacific with a
combination of U.S.
Army, Marine, and Navy
attacks on Japanese-held
– The policy was to capture
some Japanese-held
islands and bypass
others, “island Hopping”
up to Japan.
Last Years of the War
• By the beginning of
1943, Axis powers had
surrendered in Tunisia
on May 13, 1943.
• The Allies then
crossed the
Mediterranean Sea and
carried the war to Italy.
– This area had been
called the “soft
underbelly” of Europe
by Winston Churchill.
– After taking Sicily,
Allied troops began
an invasion of
mainland Italy in
The European Theater
After Sicily fell, King Victor Emmanuel II of
Italy arrested Mussolini, but the Germans
eventually liberated him.
– He was then made the head of a German
puppet state in Northern Italy as German
troops moved in and occupied much of Italy.
– Germans had set up defense lines South of
The Allies advanced up the Peninsula with
heavy causalities, but they took Rome on June
4, 1943.
By then, the Italian war was secondary as the
Allied forces opened their long-awaited
“second front” in western Europe.
– Since the fall of 1943, the Allies had planned
an invasion of France from Great Britain,
across the English Channel.
– Finally, on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), Allied forces
under U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower
landed on the Normandy Beaches in history’s
greatest naval invasion.
The European Theater
• The Allies fought their way past
hidden underwater mines,
treacherous barbed wire, and
horrible machine gun fire.
• Believing the battle was a diversion
and the real invasion would occur
elsewhere, the Germans responded
• This gave the Allied forces time to
set up a beachhead.
• Within 3 months, the Allies had
landed 2 million men and 500,000
• Allied forces then began pushing
inland and broke through German
defensive lines.
The European Theater
• Allied troops liberated Paris by the end of August.
– In March, 1945, they crossed the Rhine River and advanced into
– At the end of April 1945, Allied armies in northern Germany moved
toward the Elbe River, where they linked up with the Soviets.
• The Soviets had come a long way since the Battle of Stalingrad
in 1943.
– They had soundly defeated the German forces at the battle of Kursk
(July 5-12), the greatest tank battle of WWII.
– Soviet forces now began a steady advance westward reoccupying
Ukraine by the end of 1943, then moved into the Baltic states by
early 1944.
– Advancing along a northern front, Soviet troops occupied Warsaw
in January, 1945 and entered Berlin in April.
– Meanwhile, Soviet troops along a southern front swept through
Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.