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World War II Notes. What was WWII?. Largest war in human history. Involved countries, colonies, and territories around the entire world. By the end, over 70 million were dead. It lasted from 1939 until 1945. Causes. W WI and the Treaty of Versailles. A ppeasement.

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what was wwii
What was WWII?
  • Largest war in human history.
  • Involved countries, colonies, and territories around the entire world.
  • By the end, over 70 million were dead.
  • It lasted from 1939 until 1945.
  • WWI and the Treaty of Versailles
  • Appeasement
  • Rise of Totalitarianism
  • Or the M A I N causes work too
wwi and the treaty of versailles
WWI and the Treaty of Versailles
  • Germany lost land to surrounding nations
  • War reparations
    • Allies collect $ to pay back war debts to US
    • Germany pays $33 billion
    • Germans are bankrupt, embarrassed, guilt ridden, and angry.
  • Desperate people turn to desperate leaders: Totalitarian regimes
  • Appeasement: Giving someone something to make them happy and leave you alone. Hitler demanded land that wasn’t Germany’s and others just gave it to him.
  • Isolationism: Nations were trying to prevent war & focus on domestic issues
  • Appeasement just showed Hitler that he could do whatever he wanted. Isolationism allowed Hitler to punish German jews without fear of reprisal from the international community
rise of totalitarianism
Rise of Totalitarianism
  • A system in which the state and its leader have nearly TOTAL control.
  • Individual rights are not viewed as important as the needs of the nation.
    • No right to vote
    • No free speech
    • Government controlled economy
    • Often a police state

Adolf Hitler-Germany

Hideki Tojo -


Benito Mussolini-Italy

Josef Stalin-USSR

what is fascism
What is Fascism?
  • Political belief that says the individual is less important than the nation.
  • Glorifies violence, believes it is needed to “prove” strength of a people.
  • Uses nationalism and racism.
  • Dictatorships.
  • Italy and then Germany became fascist.
how did wwii start
How did WWII start?
  • Germany invaded Poland to get lebensraum
what did hitler want
What did Hitler Want?
  • Militarism- soon after becoming chancellor he begins rearming Germany breaking the Treaty of Versailles
  • Rhineland- moves troops into the Rhineland territory again breaking the Treaty of Versailles
  • Lebensraum- “living space”
    • Austria - annexed peacefully in 1938
    • Sudetenland – territory in Czechoslovakia
      • Given to Germany by Great Britain and France (appeasement)
    • Hitler then invades the rest of Czechoslovakia
how did wwii start1
How did WWII start?
  • Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 3rd, 1939.
  • Allies declare war on Germany (Britain & France).
  • Germany then invades France, Belgium, etc.
  • Then Hitler invades Russia.
  • Germans use “blitzkrieg” to overwhelm other armies.
    • Blitzkrieg means “lightening war” in German.
    • Surround with tanks and troops in trucks.
who was on each side
Axis Powers




Allied Powers

Great Britain

Soviet Union

United States (enters war in 1941)


Surrendered to Germany in 1940 after 6 weeks

Who was on each side?
battle for france
Battle for France
  • May 10th, 1940: France is invaded by Hitler’s army through a thick forest –the Ardennes.
  • France believed the forest would protect them, but it couldn’t protect them from Hitler’s Panzer Division.
  • On June 22nd, 1940: France Surrendered Germany.
battle for britain
Battle for Britain
  • Britain helped to evacuate 300,000 soldiers from France escaping the German Army.
  • Their plan was to weaken the will of the British. Germany bombed London for over 50 days, slaughtering civilians, destroying ancient buildings.
  • After the use of Radar technology, German forces are unable to make many successful attacks on Britain.
  • By 1941, Germany could not continue to lose planes/pilots on London Bombing Raids.
battle against the soviets
Battle Against the Soviets
  • After failing in Britain, Hitler turned toward his old enemy Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union.
  • In June, 1941 Germany invaded the Soviets with a force of 3 million troops.
  • At first the assault is highly effective, but as winter sets in German machines and people are unprepared for Soviet Winter.
  • After Winter, Stalin’s forces regroup and millions begin marching against the Germans
what about the pacific war
What about the Pacific War?
  • The US (mostly) fought the Japanese.
  • December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to sink US ships there.
    • Two hours = most US navy destroyed and over 2,000 sailors killed
  • Japan surrenders after US drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
pearl harbor why
Pearl Harbor: Why?
  • Japan needed a lot of oil for its War Machine to remain operational. America traded a lot of oil to Japan.
  • America cut-off their oil supplies to Japan in response to their Militarism/Imperialism in Asia (i.e., China, Korea, Manchuria).
  • Japan responded by planning a secret attack on the U.S. base in Hawaii: Pearl Harbor
pearl harbor the attack
Pearl Harbor: The Attack
  • The attack begins early on the morning of Dec. 7th, 1941 (Day of Infamy)
  • 2 waves of attack from planes/submarines
  • Attack takes less than 2 hours.
  • 2402 – Dead Japanese Losses

1282 – Injured 65 people

4 Battleships Sunk 5 Subs

128 Aircraft destroyed 29 aircraft

the aftermath
The Aftermath
  • America was shocked and entered the war the very next day (Dec. 8th).
  • America, upon entering the war, rounded up Japanese into Internment Camps.
  • Germans and Italians also experienced severe mistreatment.
  • Jingoism: patriotism in the form of warlike, aggressive, ethnocentric behavior
how did wwii end in europe
How did WWII end in Europe?
  • Operation Overlord- Allied invasion of France. Also called D-Day.
    • Within a month 1 million Allied troops were stationed in Europe.
    • Germany is surrounded with the USSR to the east
  • Germany surrenders in 1945 after Hitler commits suicide.
how did wwii end in europe1
How did WWII end in Europe?
  • Alliesdivide Germany up between them.
    • This helps start the Cold War.
  • Trials are held in Germany (and Japan) to try the people responsible for the war.
    • Many are executed and jailed for war crimes.
how did wwii end in the pacific
How did WWII end in the Pacific?
  • “Island-Hopping” – Invading throughout the pacific Island by Island
    • Costly in lives, resources; bloody battles
    • Battle of Midway – US destroys Japanese fleet [turning point in the pacific]
    • Japan continues to fight despite losses
    • Truman doesn’t want to invade mainland Japan (projected too costly in lives)
    • Aug. 6 Hiroshima; Aug 9. Nagasaki
what was the holocaust
What was the Holocaust?
  • Nazi plan to kill all Jews.
  • Why? Hitler provided a scapegoat to Germany’s problems
  • 6 million Jews murdered in camps in Europe.
  • 5-6 million others (gypsies, mentally ill, homosexuals)
  • Total of 11-12 million exterminated
  • What is genocide?
  • Purposely trying to exterminate an entire group of people (ethnic, religious, racial).
quick facts
Quick Facts
  • War Costs
    • US Debt 1940 - $9 Billion
    • US Debt 1945 - $98 Billion
      • WWII cost $330 billion – 10 times the cost of WWI & equivalent to all previous federal spending since 1776
losses of the major wartime powers in wwii 1939 1945

4.5 million military

2 million civilian


2 million military

350,000 civilians


400,000 military

100,000 civilian


2.5 million military

7.4 million civilians


10 million military

10 million civilians

Great Britain

300,000 military

50,000 civilians


250,000 military

350,000 civilian

United States

274,000 military

Losses of the Major Wartime Powers in WWII, 1939-1945
postwar efforts at revenge
Postwar Effortsat Revenge
  • The Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46
    • After, WWII the Allied powers decided to place on trial the highest-ranking Nazi officers for “crimes against humanity”
    • Allied forces had attempted to do this after WWI, but had released them on the grounds that they “were just following orders”
    • Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler were dead; but, 22 Nazi leaders (including Goring) were tried at an international military tribunal at Nuremburg, Germany. 12 were sentenced to death. Similar trials occurred in the east and throughout the world.
      • The Tokyo Trial (1946-48)
postwar efforts at peace
Postwar Efforts at Peace
  • The United Nations – There was some hope when, in 1945, the United Nations was created; an organization to promote international stability
    • A General Assembly where representatives from all countries could debate international issues.
    • The Security Council had 5 permanent members – U.S., Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China could veto any question of substance. There were also 6 elected members.
    • Key: the U.S. joined [in contrast to League of Nations]
wartime agreements
Wartime Agreements
  • Unlike WWI, there was no Peace of Paris to reshape Europe.
    • Instead, the Yalta agreement of February 1945, signed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, turned the prevailing military balance of power into a political settlement.
    • Potsdam Conference, in suburban Berlin (July 1945)—Truman, Stalin, Churchill – Finalized plans on Germany. Germany would be demilitarized and would remain divided.
postwar reality soviet control of eastern europe
Postwar Reality:Soviet Control of Eastern Europe
  • Europe was politically cut in half; Soviet troops had overrun eastern Europe and penetrated into the heart of Germany.
  • During 1944-1945, Stalin starts shaping the post-war world by occupying SE Europe with Soviet troops that should have been on the Polish front pushing toward Berlin.
  • Roosevelt did not have postwar aims because he still had to fight Japan; Stalin did have postwar aims.
postwar reality
Postwar Reality
  • Consequences of World War II
    • Soviet Union with agenda
    • Unlike the isolation after WWI, the U.S. was engaged in world affairs
    • The triumph of Communists in China
    • Decolonization
      • The independence of nations from European (U.S. & Japan) colonial powers.