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The Rise of Dictators in Europe

The Great Depression spread around the world. In Germany and Italy, dictators appealed to desperate citizens by promising to restore prosperity. In Italy, Benito Mussolini built a political movement called fascism a system under which the government rules through terror and by appeal-ing to racism and nationalism.(2)

In Germany, Adolf Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers, or Nazi Party. He tapped the bitter anger many Germans felt about the unfairness of the peace agreement ending World War I. The treaty required Germany to pay millions for war damages. Hitler skillfully blamed the nation's economic woes on Jews and other groups.(2)

The Beginning of WWII

World War a two began when Britain's Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. The war was started when Germany attacked Poland unprovoked. When Hitler attacked Poland Britain and France declared war on Germany. Even after the two countries declared war Hitler still refused to end his invasion in Poland. (1) (5)

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. It was an unfair fight for Poland because there were five German armies with 1.5 million men, 2,000 tanks, 1,900 modern airplanes. While Poland had lees than 1 million troops, 500 air planes, and few armored vehicles. On September 17, the war was over and Germany crushed Poland. After Hitler defeated Poland he went to war with Britain and France. (1) (2) (5)

Major Events of World War II

Germany invades Poland

When Hitler and the Germans invaded Poland on September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. After the invasion and successful conquering in Poland, Germany moved on to invade France. In June of 1940 France fell to the Nazi's. Soon Adolf Hitler was in control of most of Europe and North Africa. Winston Churchill in Britain was yet to be defeated.(3)

Pearl Harbor

On the morning of December 7,1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. The attack lasted two hours, and the Japanese destroyed 20 naval vessels, including 8 battleships, and 200 airplanes. There were more than 2,000 American casualties, and 1,000 wounded.

One day after President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. The declaration was approved. Japan allied with Germany three days after and Italy declared war on the U.S. and America had joined WWII.(3)
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Battle of Midway

After Pearl Harbor, Japanese armies destroyed Southeast Asia, The Philippines, and the East Indies. The fighting in the Pacific was on land, in the air, and at sea. A key battle and turning point in the war was the Battle of Midway. On June 4 1942 the battle started. The battle lasted 4 days and the U.S. demolished hundreds of Japanese planes and aircraft carriers. The United States regained control of the Pacific.(3)


Four million troops rushed across the Russian border on June 22, 1941. Within a month two and a half million Russians had been killed captured, or wounded. The Nazi's advanced into portions of Russia, such as Moscow, Stalingrad, and Leningrad. Over time winter started approaching. Germans in summer uniforms were left to freeze and some died.

Stalin saw the advantage and ordered two million troops at the Germans. Stalin was very strategic and many ill Germans were killed. Stalingrad was one of the biggest defeats of the German Army and was a huge turning point in the war. The end was just beginning for the Germans.(3)


On June 6 1944 Dwight D Eisenhower launched an invasion on the beach of Normandy. It led to an Allies victory, but many lives were lost. 10,00 casualties and 4,000 confirmed dead on the Allie side. 4,000-9,000 casualties on the German side. (3)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Japanese fought on even after war in Europe ended. Truman had the atomic bomb, and he had a plan to use it. He wanted to prevent American casualties, but also end the war with Japan. On August 6, 1945, The Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It killed 78,000 people and injured 100,000 more. Three days after Hiroshima another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which killed 40,000.(3)

The U.S. Involvement in WWII

The U.S. got involved in World War Two when Japan attacked the U.S. military in the Pacific, mainly Pearl Harbor. The Japanese sunk 18 warships, destroyed 164 war planes, and killed over 2,400 soldiers and civilians. On December 8, 1941, the U.S. declared war on Japan. Then three days later Germany and Italy declared war on Japan. (6)

America was not expecting a war so they were not prepared for one. The military stared a draft and all men ages 18-64 had to sign up for it. If you were called into battle you had to go or face military prison. Eventually over 36 million men registered. You were assigned a certain job depending on your age, height, weight, skills, education, and previous occupation. (6)

America had to change its economy so they could make and supply uniforms, guns and bullets, tanks, and aircrafts. The change in economy lead to inflation and poverty in America. The military needed more food so they launched a "Food for Victory" campaign. Eating leftovers became a patriotic duty. (6)

On June 6, 1994, General Dwight Eisenhower lead the U.S. troops into an invasion on Normandy, France. This fight was known as D-Day. In this fight the U.S. fought their way through France and Belgium, into Germany, while Russian troops fought from the East. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered to the U.S. (3)

To bring the Nazi war leaders to justice the U.S. held the Nuremberg Trials. It was 13 trials held in Nuremberg, Germany in which the U.S. held trials and interrogations on Nazi party leaders and high ranking Nazi military officers. The leader of the Nazis, Adolf Hitler, was never put on trial because he killed himself before the U.S. could find him. Most of the Nazis that were a part of the Nuremberg Trial received the death sentence. (4)

Japan's pacific campaign
Japan’s expansion had begun in 1931. That year, Japanese troops took over Manchuria in northeastern China. Six years later, Japanese armies swept into the heartland of China. They expected quick victory. Chinese resistance, however, caused the war to drag on. (1)

In January 1942, they marched into the Philippine capital of Manila. American and Filipino forces took up a defensive position on the Bataan Peninsula on the northwestern edge of Manila Bay. The Japanese also continued their strikes against British possessions in Asia. After seizing Hong Kong, they invaded Malaya from the sea and overland from Thailand. By February 1942, the Japanese had reached Singapore.(1)

The Holocaust

Holocaust which comes from the Greek words holos(wholes) and kaustos(burned) was used to describe a sacrificial offering which was burned on an altar. The Holocaust as we know it is not even close to sacrificial offerings. It was the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II. Adolf Hitler saw Jews as a racial threat to the German community. Hitler was an anti Semitic leader, and would always persecute Jews while they were under Nazi control, but he had one "final solution" of wiping out the race entirely.

The first camp was opened in 1933 in Dachau. It held Communists and was led by Heinrich Himmler. The burning of Jewish books, Communists, and liberals showed strength in the Nazi party. In 1933 Jews in Germany took up about 1 percent of the population. Germany undertook an "Aryanization" of Germany. It dismissed non-Aryans from civil service, liquidating Jewish businesses, and taking clients from Jewish doctors and lawyers. Under Nuremberg Laws if you had three or four Jewish Grandparents you were considered a Jew. Those with two were considered Mischlinge(half-breed). Under the laws Jewish people became more vulnerable and targets for stigmatization and persecution.

This came to a climax on November 9 to 10 1938. German synagogues were burned and Jewish shop windows were broken. 100 Jews were killed and thousands were arrested. From 1933-1939 hundreds of thousands of Jews left Germany if they could, but those who stayed lived in fear.

Germany occupied the western half of Poland in September 1939. German police soon started forcing Polish Jews outside of their homes to live in the ghettoes. The Jews would give up their houses to Germans or a Polish Gentiles. The ghettoes were surrounded by high walls with barbed wired fences, and in addition there was poverty, unemployment, hunger, and overpopulation. This made the ghettoes breeding grounds of disease such as typhus.

In the fall of 1939, Nazi officials took 70,000 Germans with mental illnesses or disabilities and had them gassed to death in the Euthanasia Program. German religious leaders protested causing Hitler to put an end to the program in August of 1941. Many killings of the disabled were continued in secrecy, and by 1945, 275,000 Germans with disabilities or deemed handicapper were killed. The Euthanasia Program seemed to be the beginning of the Holocaust.

Germany conquered Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France during the spring and summer of 1941. European gypsies and Jews from everywhere were transported to the Polish ghettoes. When the Germans invaded the Soviets in June 1941 there were mass killings of the Jews. Mobile units killed 500,000 Soviet Jews.

In September of 1941 every Jew was painted with a yellow star, which made them open targets. Thousands were transported to ghettoes and German occupied cities in the USSR. Since June 1941 killing of Jews had already started at the prison camp, Auschwitz. Germans began to transport Jews fro, the ghettoes to concentration camps. They took the old, very young, and sick first because they were the people who were not useful. Mass gassings began at Belzec on March 17 1942. Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz were all camps that were built. In the fall of 1942 300,000 people were transported from the Warsaw ghetto.

In Auschwitz 2 million people, people died mostly because of being gassed, but some died because of starvation or disease. In the Summer of 1944 Jews were deported to Auschwitz, where 12,000 would die everyday. German leaders would start to fall and they were losing in the war. Hitler blamed the war on "International Jewry and its helpers", he wanted people to keep following his harsh punishment of the Jews and he committed suicide on April 30, 1945.

Even after Hitlers death there were still "Death Marches" where 200,000 to 300,000 people died. The Nazis were punished for their harsh actions against the Jews with the Nuremberg Trials by the Allies. (4)

The Allied Victory

The allies greatest success in the end was the use of aircraft. Their aircrafts out powered and out numbered the Nazi party had. The allies frequently destroyed German cities and transport industries. They had landing strips in northern and southern France. (8)
On the eastern front the Soviet armies swept through most of Eastern Europe. Then the military leader of the allies broke through the strongly fortified Siegfried line. Then soon after Germany surrendered and the allies stopped the Germans in Europe. Soon after came the Nuremberg Trials. (8)

The Aftermath of World War II

World War II was a financial burden, but people learned and developed new things during the war. Scientists developed mass amount of quantities of penicillin. They also developed DDT to fight jungle disease. People bought war bonds and built weapons there were also many different scientific inventions that could be used in the future that were used in the war. After World War II there was a position to be a leader in Europe because of Germany's downfall. The Soviet Union quickly took over and was the main leader in Europe. When the Soviets took control they wanted to go after Japan for a position as leader of Asia also.

While China, France, and Great Britain were all hurt financially, The Soviet Union and United States took over as the two prominent powers of the world. The Allies tried to set up a peace organization after the war. In June of 1941 nine European governments-in-exile joined Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries to sign the Inter-Allied Declaration. The Inter-Allied Declaration called for nations to have peace and cooperate with each other.

In 1944 postwar international organization was an idea that was in progress, and then on October 24,1945 the United Nations was created and its first meeting was in London. The United Nations would help with problems between two countries and also try to create peace with everyone. The United Nations has helped keep peace and helped keep war from happening at times. It heals financially too.

World War II was the most expensive in all of history. The war totaled between $1 to $2 trillion, and property damage was totaled to $239 billion. The U. S. spent about 10 times as much as it did in all of its wars in the past put together. In 1940 national debt was at $42 billion and in 1946 it was at $269 billion. (7)

The Battle of Stalingard

“The Battle of Stalingrad began on August 23, 1942. The Luftwaffe went on nightly bombing raids that set much of the city ablaze and reduced the rest to rubble. Stalin had already told his commanders to defend the city named after him to the death.

By early November 1942, Germans controlled 90 percent of the ruined city. Then another Russian winter set in. On November 19, Soviet troops outside the city launched a counterattack. Closing in around Stalingrad, they trapped the Germans inside and cut off their supplies. General Paulus begged Hitler to order a retreat. But Hitler refused, saying the city was “to be held at all costs.

On February 2, 1943, some 90,000 frostbitten, half-starved German troops surrendered to the Soviets. These survivors were all that remained of an army of 330,000. Stalingrad’s defense had cost the Soviets over one million soldiers. The city was 99 percent destroyed.”

(1) http://history.howstuffworks.com

(2) http://primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk

(3) http://solpass.org

(4) http://HISTORY.com

(5) World History Patterns Interaction Textbook

(6) http://nagionalww2museum.org

(7) http://u-s-history.com

(8) http://infoplease.com