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War in Europe 1939-1941
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  1. War in Europe 1939-1941 • 01/09/1939: Germans invaded Poland; France and Britain declare war on Germans • Using mechanized units to form pincers to isolate and trap large armies, and the blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) the Germans “easily” took Poland • 17/09/1939: Soviets invade Eastern Poland to claim lands signed in non-aggression pact with Nazis • Soviets also attack Finland; it took a long time for the Soviets to win the Winter War • This falsely led Hitler to believe that the Soviet army could be easily defeated • 03/1940: Finland surrenders to the Soviets

  2. War in Europe 1939-1941 • “Phony War” • In Western Europe, there were no major battles until 05/1940 • There was a battle for Norway in 04/1940 • In this battle the Germans lost most of their naval vessels; the losses would be significant for the Germans when they attacked Britain • 05/10/1940: German offensive begins in Western Europe • Nazis swept through the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg to get to France

  3. War in Europe 1939-1941 • A large part of the French army surrendered, many escaped to Britain at Dunkirk • The soldiers were trapped between the sea and the Nazis, if it were not for the British troops, 338,000 French troops would have died or been taken prisoner • France surrendered in June, 1940 • The country was divided into two zones (see transparency) • Mussolini attacked France on 10/06/1940 • As soon as it was apparent the Germans won

  4. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Italy also attacked: • Greece • The British in North Africa by using Libya as its base Since Germany was definitely the superior partner with Italy, since it had good relations with France (Spain), and since the USSR was neutral, the Nazi Germans now dominated the European continent.

  5. War in Europe 1939-1941 “If necessary for years, if necessary alone.” -Winston Churchill, Prime minister of Britain • This statement was letting Hitler as well as the world know that the British would fight until the Germans were defeated.

  6. War in Europe 1939-1941 • The Battle of Britain • Hitler knew in order to win the battle he needed air superiority. He sent in the Luftwaffe, German air force to destroy the Royal Air Force (RAF) and take control of the skies • The British had two things going for them • Superior aircraft • Superior training

  7. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Other reasons the British held off ze Germans • Broke the German communication code • Used a new instrument called, “Radar” • The RAF destroyed 2 German aircraft for everyone they lost • Because the losses were so high the Germans changed the tactics September

  8. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Rather than daytime bombings they did them at night • Intention was to break civilian morale and force peace • These attacks failed in purpose and Germany lost the Battle of Britain and its chance to invade England

  9. War in Europe 1939-1941 • By the end of 1940, Hitler was at his height of power. He had won the early battles because he was ahead of everyone in armament, the rest were catching up. (Including the USA) • Tripartite Act • Sept. 1940: this pact divided Asia and Africa into spheres of influence • Italy received the Mediterranean; Japan received Southeast Asia; and Germany received most of Europe and Central Africa

  10. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Operation Barbarossa • German invasion of the USSR • Originally scheduled for mid-May 1941, but postponed until 22/06/1941 because the Italians needed help in Greece • Significant delay. Why? • Soviet winter to harsh to fight in • Strategy was to use blitzkrieg to get the Germans to the Volga River before winter • the conquered territory would provide Germany with abundant food, raw materials, and slave labor

  11. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Hitler only intended to keep the area west of the Volga. He thought he could create a self-sufficient, unconquerable force if he succeeded in the USSR. • The assault on the USSR was seen as a war of extermination. • The goal was elimination of the “inferior” races of Eastern Europe for later German settlement.

  12. War in Europe 1939-1941 • More than 500,000 (over 600,000 horses) German troops were used to invade the USSR • The Soviets were not ready, the Germans reached the suburbs of Moscow by December. Here they were stopped. • German soldiers were exhausted from 6 months of fighting, in their summer uniforms, equipment frozen, malfunctioning rifles and artillery

  13. War in Europe 1939-1941 • By the middle of January 1942 the Germans had been pushed 100 miles away from Moscow • Hitler was angered; he fired his commanders and assumed control of the fight • The Soviets were feeling proud because they stopped the Nazi war machine • In the beginning some Soviet citizens welcomed the Germans. • After the Nazis began murdering civilians, prisoners, and removing people for slave labor (over 3 million people) resistance stiffened

  14. War in Europe 1939-1941 • Josef Stalin, the Soviet Premier changed his mantra from defending communism, to “Defend Holy Mother Russia” • His soldiers took this very seriously, often times fighting to the last man rather than surrender.

  15. End of WW2 in Europe • American Contributions to the Allied Cause • Greatest contribution: vast industrial capacity • One year after Pearl Harbor the US production of armaments equaled that of Germany, Italy, and Japan combined • How would the US help the Soviets? • USSR figured out how to stop the blitzkrieg: miles deep of zones of defense with successive belts of mine fields, trenches, bunkers, gun positions, and tank traps which would slow down the armored spearheads and eventually wear them away. The only issue with this is that the urban areas were devastated by this tactic of warfare. • On the average, countries east of Germany lost about 10% of their entire population. (The US lost about ½ of 1%) • 1943-44: Soviet army lost 80% of engaged forces

  16. End of WW2 in Europe • Churchill wanted to fight the Germans on the periphery • He wanted to take back North Africa and the Middle East; combined with bombing raids of Germany • Americans disagreed on this tactic • They said it would waste more lives than save because it was to slow • US Chief of Staff George Marshall also believed it was foolish to leave the Red Army (Soviets) to face Germany alone. He thought they could be defeated • Marshall had another fear the “Asia-firsters”, because of a strong political base, would be able to switch priorities to concentrate on the Japanese Why would Marshall want to get involved with Europe first?

  17. End of WW2 in Europe • Americans wanted to help the Soviets but were hampered by a couple items: • Mobilization for war in Europe was incomplete • Landing craft were in short supply; soldiers were green; German u-boats were sinking ships coming in from the Atlantic • British wanted to start a front in French North Africa (Operation Torch) • Which, of course, would not help the Soviets. • FDR told the Soviets he hoped to open a second European front that year (1942) • The Soviets took that to mean the Americans were coming • Operation Torch is chosen by the Allies The second front in Europe wasn’t opened until the summer of 1944. This caused resentment from the Soviets and sowed the seeds for the Cold War in the years following the war.

  18. End of WW2 in Europe Operation Torch Objective: land and seize nine important objectives along a nearly 1000 mile coastal front from Casablanca to Algiers Issues: complex situation; • some of the French military were loyal to Marshall Petain’s Vichy Regime while others supported the Allies • After France fell the French Navy sailed to North Africa and Petain refused to assure the British that the fleet would not fall into German hands • July 1940: the British Navy attacked and severely damaged the anchored fleet, killing over 1200 French sailors • The animosity from this situation was difficult for the French to forget. • There was a fear Americans and British had that the French would fight against them to preserve their honor • Lastly, the Allies had to deal with the French General Charles de Gaulle who had been exiled to London after the fall of France.

  19. End of WW2 in Europe • 8 November, 1942: Operation Torch began • 117,000 troops (75% US) attacked in North Africa • Among the captured in the attack at Algiers was admiral Jean Darlan, commander of the Vichy French Forces, and Petain’s deputy. • Darlan was the only Frenchman with the prestige to stop the French from resisting the American and British • So a deal was struck to prevent French resistance • In return for a cease fire, Darlan would be made the military governor of French North Africa • Germans were so angered by this, so they entered Vichy France and took back control • A stroke of good luck for the Allies: Darlan is killed by a French monarchist, this saved the Allies the embarassment of collaboration with a Nazi.

  20. End of WW2 in Europe • The whole Darlan fiasco left Stalin to wonder if the Americans and British would do other deals without the Soviets. • Charles de Gaulle and the French were disgusted that the Allies would bargain with the hated Vichy regime. De Gaulle used this to stake his claim that he should be leading the French armed forces • The invasion of North Africa was a success and lead to the downfall of Italy. Italy was the next logical step after North Africa. • July 1943: Sicily was invaded, Mussolini was replaced as head of state, and Italy surrendered to the Americans and British. • The country was immediately occupied by German troops. • At the end of the war the Allies reached the Alps, which was impressive. But this fighting against the Italians only delayed the invasion of Western Europe another year.

  21. End of WW2 in Europe • Key battle of WW2: Stalingrad • Churchill said it best: it was the Red Army who “tore the guts out of the German army.” • City named after the Soviet leader: Josef Stalin • It was a siege of the city and the Soviets were not backing down. Every time the Germans sent more troops the Soviets responded in kind. • Fighting was brutal • The Soviets lost more in this battle than the US had during the war • 19-20 November, 1942 the Soviets counter-attack broke through the Hungarian, Rumanian, and Italian units guarding the flank of the German Sixth Army. • The German generals pleaded with Hitler for permission to breakout while there was still time, Hitler refused.

  22. End of WW2 in Europe • German soldiers were outnumbered and freezing. Also without food, some resorted to cannibalism. The Germans held out for 2 months. • End of January 1943, the German Sixth Army surrendered. • Soviets captured 91,000 prisoners, 1500 tanks, and 60,000 vehicles. • The Germans had to give up everything they conquered in the spring of 1942. • July 1943 the Germans tried one major offensive with 17 armored divisions. In the greatest armored battle in history the Soviets repelled the attack and pushed ze Germans back 200 miles. • The best the Germans could hope for was to hold on to Eastern Europe. The Red Army had twice as many men and 2 to 3 times the weapons and equipment.

  23. End of WW2 in Europe D-Day: 6 June, 1944 • Allied invasion of France through Normandy under US General Dwight D. Eisenhower • Prior to the invasion a massive bombing campaign of the French railroad system was conducted • Killed many Frenchman • Between 1 April and 5 June, 1944 the Allies lost 2000 aircraft and 12,000 air crew in pre D-Day operations • Intense fighting upon landing 5000 ships and 12,000 planes, 156,000 (8 divisions) men on day one and 5 divisions on day two.

  24. End of WW2 in Europe • Germans had 60 divisions (11 armored) • However, there preparations were hampered by disagreements and miscalculations • Hitler insisted the entire coast be defended which thinly dispersed the units • Because of allies deception the Germans thought the bulk of the forces attacking would be at Calais which left Normandy ill protected • After one week the Allies had more troops in France than the Germans and controlled the air • 15 August, 1944: 151,000 American, British, Canadian, and French troops landed on the Mediterranean coast and took Marseilles • The city became a logistical hub. In the Rhone Valley the railroads were virtually untouched they became a primary means of transport of men and materials • Late August 1944 the Allies took back Paris.

  25. End of WW2 in Europe Beginning in 1942 the Allies began attacking Germany • Used a technique called “carpet bombing” • Would bomb almost every major city which resulted in: • 593,000 German civilian deaths and 3.3 million homes destroyed • Two deadly bombings took place in Hamburg and Dresden • Hamburg: July 1943; Allied bombers started a firestorm that killed 40,000 people in about 2 hours • Dresden: 1945; firestorm killed 135,000 Statistics Break-average result of a single British sortie with a 7 man crew was less than 3 Germans dead; after an average of 14 missions the plane was shot down. • Hitler was determined to hold out because of some new weaponry his people designed. • Jet Airplanes; V-1 Cruise missile (22,400 launched, many shot down); V-2 ballistic missile (1500 launched on London causing great damage) 15,000 people were killed by the missiles and 45,000 wounded

  26. End of WW2 in Europe • July 1944: a group of anti-Hitler conspirators attempted to assassinate him and end the war. A planted bomb went off at his headquarters but failed to kill him. • The Gestapo rounded up the conspirators and they were executed. • The Allied march to Berlin was halted only once at the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944) • Allies retook the initiative, crossing the Rhine River on 7 March, 1945 at the Remagen Bridge which the Nazis failed to destroy. • Meanwhile, the Red Army was also advancing to Berlin. • Both armies stopped at the Elbe River. • There was a concern there would be a collision with the Red Army. • This lead to the Yalta Conference. Where it was decided Germany would be divided into zones of occupation.

  27. End of WW2 in Europe • 30 April, 1945: Adolf Hitler committed suicide. Earlier that month, Mussolini was caught trying to escape and was shot. • 7 May, 1945 Germany surrendered.

  28. Japan in the Pacific • Reasons for Japanese Imperialism • The desire for equality with Western powers • Access to raw materials and markets • The instability of East Asia caused by a weak China (fear of western takeover) and WWII in Europe • The Great Depression caused Japan to attempt to gain hegemony over China. China was undergoing increased nationalism under Chiang Kai-shek, and it resisted Japan’s advances. Nationalism became a run away force in Japan. The Manchurian Incident of September 1931 gave Japan the excuse to take all of Manchuria and set up the puppet state of Manchuko. • The Manchurian Incident was turning point for Japan. Japan abandoned its policy of cooperation with the Western powers. • The military leadership now spoke of an “Asian Monroe Doctrine”, declaring Japan’s responsibility for maintaining the peace and controlling the economy of Asia.

  29. Japan in the Pacific • To achieve it’s policy Japan needed a military that could achieve three goals: • to defeat the Soviet army, whose strength on the borders of Manchukuo had been strongly increased • to protect the home islands against the forces of the US Navy and Air Force • to induce the Chinese gov’t to accept Japan’s hegemony in Manchuria and northern China. Japan never met these objectives.

  30. War in the Pacific Theatre • Japanese strong after Pearl Harbor • Controlled a region with a diameter of 5,000 miles and a population of 450 million • Had a self-supporting economy • Japanese plan • Control the eastern Atlantic to deprive the US of military bases and cut off the important islands of Australia and New Zealand • Australia and New Zealand played a similar role as England in Europe, crucial staging grounds for future operations.

  31. War in the Pacific Theatre • June 1942: Battle of Midway Island • Most decisive battle in the Pacific • Japanese mission: lure the US fleet into combat at the Aleutian Islands, destroy it and occupy Midway • Japanese occupation of Midway would lead to attacks on Hawaii and effectively block the US from anything west of the islands of Hawaii • US Navy cryptographers cracked the Japanese code and knew the plan of attack • US won the Battle for Midway Island • Japan lost naval and air superiority in the Pacific and the US took back the Aleutian Islands in May and August of 1943

  32. War in the Pacific Theatre • US plan of attack • “Island Hopping” • Attack islands and take them over, move on to the next island until they reach Japan • The US started this policy even though most of the troops had been allocated to Europe (only 15% of Allied resources were in Pacific) • Plan of attack disputes • General Douglas MacArthur: army • Admiral Chester Nimitz: navy • These two created a two pronged attack for “island hopping”- army went south and navy, north

  33. War in the Pacific Theatre • Southern islands could have been left but for a promise to return to the Philippines by MacArthur when he was ordered out by FDR in 1942 • November 1944 • B-29 bombers began long range bombing of Japan • These attacks caused a lot of damage because the Japanese houses were built of rice paper, so they burned fast and furious • March 1945: bombing of Tokyo killed 100,000 people

  34. War in the Pacific Theatre • After the European Theatre closed the Allied leaders met at conferences of Yalta and Tehran • Stalin, FDR, Churchill all met to discuss the Pacific and Europe • It was decided that the Soviets would enter the Pacific Theatre 3 months after the fall of Europe • Yalta made sure that the USSR would come in at the convenience of the US • This would also limit the subsequent expansion • FDR died in 12 April, 1945 from a stroke • After he was elected four his fourth term • Vice Pres. Harry S. Truman became Pres.

  35. War in the Pacific Theatre • Manhattan Project • Development of Atomic bomb • July 16, 1945: first a-bomb detonated in Alamogordo, New Mexico • August 6, 1945: first a-bomb dropped on Hiroshima • August 9, 1945: second a-bomb dropped on Nagasaki • Rationale: cost-less than carpet bombing; effective-more effective: 1 bomb rather than many • After years of slaughter life was cheap in 1945 • There was little moral question about the ethics of using weapons of mass destruction against defenseless cities • After the a-bombs were dropped the Japanese emperor ended the war by surrendering