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World War II: The European Theater. Germany Attacks Poland. The Polish army carried lances and rode horses The German army had tanks, called Panzers The Germans used a new type of warfare called blitzkrieg, or “lightning war” Warsaw fell to the Germans on September 27, 1939

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germany attacks poland
Germany Attacks Poland

The Polish army carried lances and rode horses

The German army had tanks, called Panzers

The Germans used a new type of warfare called blitzkrieg, or “lightning war”

Warsaw fell to the Germans on September 27, 1939

The Polish military was defeated by the Germans by October 5, 1939

the fall of france
The Fall of France

Often referred to as the “Bore War,” the “sitting war,” or the “Phony War”

The French waited for the Germans behind concrete bunkers and fortifications they had build after WWI, called the Maginot Line

Germany went around the Maginot Line and attacked from the north

On May 10, 1939, Germany launched a new blitzkrieg

French and British forces get trapped in Belgium, France surrenders

battle of britain
Battle of Britain

Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of England and vows England will never surrender

June 1940, the German air force, known as the Luftwaffe, begins to attack shipping in the English Channel

The Luftwaffe begins an all-out air battle with the British Royal Air Force

Germany bombs London

The Royal Air Force is outnumbered

The British develop a new technology called radar

the isolationist debate
The Isolationist Debate

FDR asks Congress to eliminate the ban on the sale of arms to nations at war.

In spring of 1940, Churchill asks FDR for destroyers

-FDR finds a loophole in the Neutrality Acts

-The U.S. provides destroyers to the British in exchange for the right to build U.S. bases on British controlled Newfoundland, Bermuda, and islands in the Caribbean

The America First Committee, and group of isolationists, was strongly opposed to American intervention or aid to the Allies.

The Fight For Freedom Committee urged for stronger action against Germany and the repeal of the neutrality laws.

lend lease act
Lend-Lease Act

FDR is elected for a third term in 1941.

He proposed a Lend-Lease Act, which allowed the United States to lend or lease arms to any country considered “vital to the defense of the United States.”

This act allowed the United States to provide weapons to Britain and the Soviet Union as long as they promised to return or pay rent on them after the war.

The U.S. lent more than $40 billion in weapons, vehicles, and supplies to the Allied war effort.

the atlantic charter
The Atlantic Charter

In August 1941, FDR and Churchill meet on board British and American warships near Newfoundland.

They agreed to commit to a postwar world of nonaggression, democracy, free trade, economic advancement, and freedom of the seas.

By September, 15 anti-Axis nations also sign the charter.

germany first strategy
Germany First Strategy

FDR pledged to “force an ‘incident’… which would justify him in opening hostilities” with Germany.

A German U-boat fired on an American destroyer that has been sending the U-boat’s position to the British.

-Roosevelt responded by ordering a “shoot-on-sight” policy toward Germany submarines.

The following month, the Germans attacked two American destroyers.

-The Rueben James, which sank after being hit with torpedoes.

-115 sailors died

Germany and the United States continued a tense stand-off.

The United States and Britain agreed Nazi Germany needed to be taken down first.

The Germany First strategy was formally called, “Plan D”.

Germany First was part of the Rainbow -5 war strategy.

the battle of el alamein
The Battle of El Alamein

November 1942

This was the last stand for the Allies in North Africa.

Erwin Rommel, “the Desert Fox,” lead Germany’s Afrika Corps.

The British were lead by Claude Auckinleck and Bernard Montgomery.

The British forces defeat the Germans after getting hold of Rommel’s battle plans.

Rommel and his Afrika Corps are pushed out of Egypt into Tunisia.

the battle of stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad

German commanders were ordered to secure the oil-fields in Caucasus.

-Hitler orders troops to take Stalingrad

Stalin orders Soviet troops to take “not a step backwards”.

This was one of the most brutal battles of WWII.

-Hand-to-hand combat

-Germans are trapped in Stalingrad over the winter in below zero temperatures and limited supplies.

The battle of Stalingrad holds the highest number of casualties in a single battle in human history.

-The Germans suffered close to 850,000 casualties

-The Russians suffered close to 1,128,000 casualties

All German troops surrendered on February 2, 1943

This is a major turning point in the war.

casablanca conference
Casablanca Conference

In January 1943 FDR and Winston Churchill met in Casablanca, Morocco.

They agreed on the next phase of Plan D.

-Agreed to attack Sicily because Italy was the “soft underbelly” of Europe

-Increased bombing of Germany

-The goal was “progressive destruction of the German military, industrial, and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people.”

kasserine pass
Kasserine Pass

February – May 1943

General Rommel and his Afrika Corps defeat American troops for the first time.

Over 1,000 Americans die, hundreds more are taken prisoner.

the tehran conference
The Tehran Conference

Before the Allies invaded France, FDR wanted to meet with Stalin.

FDR, Stalin, and Churchill met in Tehran, Iran in 1943.

Stalin promised to launch a full-scale offensive against Germany when the Allies invaded France.

Roosevelt and Stalin agreed divide Germany after the war so it would no longer threaten world peace.

Stalin agreed to help the United States defeat Japan.

Stalin accepted FDR’s proposal for an international peace keeping organization after the war.

operation overlord
Operation Overlord

D-Day, June 6, 1944

160,000 Allied troops landed on the coast of Normandy, France.

Over 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded.

This was the largest amphibious landing in history.

More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, and 50,000 vehicles supported the D-Day invasion.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Omar Bradley commanded the American troops.

Paris was liberated on August 25th.

operation market garden
Operation Market Garden

September 1944

This is the largest airborne battle in history.

Thousands of Allied paratroopers landed behind enemy lines in order to secure bridges across the rivers in Holland.

The plan failed, the bridges were too far.

17,200 Allied casualties

battle of the bulge
Battle of the Bulge

FDR elected for fourth term

December 1944

German troops caught Americans by surprise.

Eisenhower ordered General Patton to rescue them.

3 days later, Patton’s troops attacked the Germans, and began attacking German fuel storage.

German troops were forced to a halt and Patton’s troops broke through to the German line.

The Germans begin to withdraw.

yalta conference
Yalta Conference

February 4 – 11, 1945

The “Big Three” (Stalin, FDR, and Churchill) discussed the post-war world.

They discussed dividing Germany once the war was over.

They agreed Germany was to pay reparations after the war.

They also discussed the future of the United Nations.

The Soviet Union agreed to help fight in the Pacific.

The Soviet Union was to be given a sphere of influence in Manchuria once Japan surrendered.

v e day
V-E Day
  • German forces begin to crumble, while Allied forces push German forces out of the Soviet Union and France.
  • Benito Mussolini is assassinated on April 28, 1945.
  • On April 30th, 1945 Adolf Hitler commits suicide.
  • Hitler’s successor, Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, accepts an unconditional surrender.
  • The next day, May 8, 1945, is proclaimed V-E Day, for “Victory in Europe.”
potsdam conference
Potsdam Conference

Truman, Stalin, and Churchill met in Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 – August 2, 1945.

They agreed on a demilitarized and disarmed Germany.

Germany was divided into four separate zones.

Poland received a large portion of German territory.

The United States, Great Britain, and China released the "Potsdam Declaration," which threatened Japan with "prompt and utter destruction" if it did not immediately surrender.