World War II

World War II was arguably the most significant and biggest period of the 20th century. It brought about major leaps in technology and laid the groundwork that permitted post-war social changes including the end of European colonialism, the civil rights movement in the United States, and the modern women’s rights movement, as well as the programs for exploring outer space. (1)

The Rise of Dictators

Dictators are absolute rulers that seized power; they can make the laws, rules, and do what they want with no one to say anything about it. There were dictators in Italy, Germany, Japan, Soviet Union after World War I. Germany was treated harsh after WWI they were stripped of territory, forced to disarm, pay reparations. Worldwide Depression also hit – many people looked to new leaders to solve problems. The rise of dictators took over to restore the economy and the nation's hardship. Out of many dictators the main one were: Benito Mussolini in Italy, Adolf Hitler in Germany, and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Benito Mussolini in Italy. He preached a government called Fascism includes intense patriotism & nationalism. Very much linked to racism and cultural superiority. Adolf Hitler was in Germany. He was a ruthless leader, who wanted to shape his image on the world. Joseph Stalin was in Soviet Union. (1)

The Beginning of the World War II

In the beginning 1939 Hitler and Stalin both dictators sign the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Poland had an agreement with Great Britain and France. The pact with Stalin (Russia) would mean that Hitler wouldn't face a war by himself once he invaded Poland, and would have Soviet assistance in conquering and dividing the nation itself. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from the west; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning World War II. Begin attacked by both Russia and Germany Poland fell quick to them. (2)

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Major Battles

Many people know there where many battles in World War II, they were fought in the West and the East and also in the Pacific. In Europe Germany was involved in pretty much all of the battles. One of the largest battles of the whole war was the Battle of Britain. If Great Britain was to fall out of the war Adolf Hitler could've put his whole army on the Eastern front and focus on the Soviet Union. If that were to happen the world may not be the same as it is right now. Another big battle was the Battle of Stalingrad, it was a disaster in the East and made Germany have virtually no chance to win the East the capture of Stalingrad was very important to the Soviets because it was a major trade route between the Caspian Sea and Northern Soviet Russia. One of the biggest battles in all of the war was the storming of Omaha Beach. It was part of the D- Day assault.(1)

Americas involvement in WWII

On December seventh 1941, Japan staged a surprise attack on the U.S. State of Hawaii, the biggest attack was on a Naval base called Pearl Harbor. The reason Japan was able to hit the Naval base so hard was because it was a Sunday morning and on Sunday's many men slept in or went off the ships if they didn't sleep in. On December eighth President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked congress to declare war on Japan. Later that day the declaration was passed all but one congressman voted for war. Americans faced a real challenge they had to fight on too very far fronts and to very different climates. With one front in Germany fighting with Great Britain and fighting against Germany and on the other front fighting alone against the Japanese many men were needed. By 1942 almost all men aged 18- 64 were drafted, unless,they could pay a steep amount not to go to war. With almost all the men in the war woman had to step up big in the home-front they had big responsibilities they had to send the supplies and make the military vehicles that were in need across both oceans.(2)

Japan's Pacific Campaign

Japan launched their pacific campaign on December 7, 1941 when they attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, they also attacked the Philippines, Wake Island, Malaya, Thailand, Guam, Midway, and Shanghai. The next day December 8 the United States and Great Britain declared war on Japan then on December 9 China declared war on Japan. Britain was very open for attack on their islands like British Borneo, this was due to the British fighting at there homeland, they couldn't send as many resources as China and the U.S. could. (3)

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The Holocaust

"In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the "Final Solution," the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe." (3). The Holocaust is a Greek word that means "sacrifice by fire"! The holocaust slowly altered from 1933 to 1945. It start out with discrimination but, then Jews were being separated from there families, lives, and communities. Lastly, they were thrown in camp and treated with no rights like they were less than human beings. (4) There was were more than one type of camp they had numerous amount. Some were transit, forced-labor, and death camps. " The Nazis targeted Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists, twins, and the disabled. Some of these people tried to hide from the Nazis. A few were successful; most were not. Those that were captured suffered sterilization, forced resettlement, separation from family and friends, beatings, torture, starvation, and/or death." (5)

Allied Victory

By 1944 the allied powers were push the axis back and back after every battle. Allied victory was carried in Europe and in the Pacific. In Europe, "air warfare had turned overwhelmingly in favor of the Allies, who wrought unprecedented destruction on many German cities and on transport and industries throughout German-held Europe." (7) Axis powers dominated the beginning of World War II. The Allied forces didn't truly gain momentum until the second half of World War II. Commonly referred to as "D-Day," the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Their battle was a success. Throughout the next year the Allied forces experienced more military success. Germany finally surrendered on May 7, 1945. In the Pacific, "the Allied advance moved inexorably, in two lines that converged on Japan, through scattered island groups—the Philippines, the Mariana Islands, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. Japan, with most of its navy sunk, staggered beneath these blows. At the Yalta Conference, the USSR secretly promised its aid against Japan, which still refused to surrender even after the Allied appeal made at the Potsdam Conference. On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States first used the atomic bomb and devastated Hiroshima; on Aug. 9, the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The USSR had already invaded Manchuria. On Aug. 14, Japan announced its surrender, formally signed aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2." (8)

The Aftermath of WWII

After the war a conference in Potsdam Germany was held to create a
peace treaty. The country's that fought with the Nazi party lost
territory and had to pay hefty fines for there part in the war.
Germany had to pay such steep fines the whole country's economy
collapsed. Germany was divided into four parts. The country's that
controlled the parts was the U.S., Great Britain, China, and France.
Later Germany would be separated into two countries, one part of
Germany was East Germany the country was Communist. The other country
was Western Germany which was a democratic Country. The allies also
controlled the country Austria for 10 years (1945-1955). Also after
the war many Nazi leaders and high officials were captured and
punished for there part in the war. The largest war trials were held
in Nuremberg, Germany. The leaders and officials that were the most
responsible were sentenced to death. (2)


"Dictator Adolf Hitler was born in Branau am Inn, Austria, on April
20, 1889, and was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and
Klara Polzl. When Hitler was 3 years old, the family moved from
Austria to Germany. As a child, Hitler clashed frequently with his
father. Following the death of his younger brother, Edmund, in 1900,
he became detached and introverted. His father did not approve of his
interest in fine art rather than business. In addition to art, Hitler
showed an early interest in German nationalism, rejecting the
authority of Austria-Hungary. (9)

This nationalism would become the motivating force of Hitler's life.
Alois died suddenly in 1903. Two years later, Adolf's mother allowed
her son to drop out of school. He moved to Vienna and worked as a
casual laborer and a watercolor painter. Hitler applied to the Academy
of Fine Arts twice, and was rejected both times. Out of money, he
moved into a homeless shelter, where he remained for several years.
Hitler later pointed to these years as the time when he first
cultivated his anti-Semitism, though there is some debate about this
account. At the outbreak of World War I, Hitler applied to serve in
the German army. He was accepted in August 1914, though he was still
an Austrian citizen. Although he spent much of his time away from the
front lines, Hitler was present at a number of significant battles and
was wounded at the Somme. He was decorated for bravery, receiving the
Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge. (9)


The Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for
Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic and
increasingly open to extremist options. In 1932, Hitler ran against
Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler came in second in both
rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 percent of the vote in
the final election. The election established Hitler as a strong force
in German politics. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as
chancellor in order to promote political balance. (9)

By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to lose the
war. The Soviets had driven the German army back into Western Europe,
and the Allies were advancing into Germany. On April 29, 1945, Hitler
married his girlfriend, Eva Braun, in a small civil ceremony in his
Berlin bunker. Around this time, Hitler was informed of the
assassination of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Afraid of falling
into the hands of enemy troops, Hitler and Braun committed suicide the
day after their wedding, on April 30, 1945. Their bodies were carried
to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were
burned. Berlin fell on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945,
Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies." (9)

Sources (1) (2) (3)
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