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The Road to War

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  1. The Road to War 1931-1941

  2. The Rise of Dictators • The world of the 1930s was a very unstable place, due to economic crisis and a slow recovery from WWI • Several leaders in European nations catapulted to power on this shaky foundation, including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini • These leaders used bitterness and discontent to achieve total power

  3. Totalitarianism and Fascism • These leaders, in the 1920s and 1930s, establish totalitarian governments in Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union – total control over a nation by using terror to suppress individual rights and by silencing all forms of opposition • Fascism, adopted in Italy and Germany, stressed nationalism and the supreme authority of the leader

  4. Stalin’s Soviet Union • To stem the economic failures of communism, the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin tried to modernize agriculture and industry by placing all farms under state control – collectivization • Stalin seized most of the food farmers produced and millions died from starvation, while millions more fled to the cities – farming production falls and Stalin begins rationing of food

  5. The Great Purges • Stalin also punished those that resisted and conducted a series of purges – killing or imprisoning enemies and opposition – to hold TOTAL power (paranoia) • By 1939, had arrested more than 7 million people and also sent about 5 million peasants to labor camps in Siberia (Gulags)

  6. Fascism in Italy • Fascism, as with Nazism and communism, arose from the failures of WW I to solve problems • Benito Mussolini, calling himself “Il Duce”, [the leader] began organizing those dissatisfied, while consolidating his own power • He promised an end to riots and rationing and began to forcibly gain power

  7. Adolf Hitler • In Germany, Adolf Hitler, a discontented WWI vet, rose to power through the Nazi party, whose philosophy, Nazism, included fanatical ideas of nationalism and German racial superiority (Aryan) • This charismatic leader began to promise an end to unemployment and problems from WWI

  8. Mein Kampf • In Hitler’s autobiography, he outlined his plan for the nation • Germany had been weakened by certain groups (Jews, Mentally/Physically Handicapped/Homosexuals) – which he blamed for Germany’s defeat in WWI • Hitler proposed strengthening the military, expanding Germany’s borders, and purifying the “Aryan race” – mass genocide

  9. Fascism – Italy and Germany • Both fascist leaders used force to silence opposition, and each blamed his country’s problems after WWI on “undesirables” in society – Mussolini blamed communists, while Hitler blamed whom??? • Both agreed that WAR might be necessary to right the wrongs they felt had been done by the Treaty of Versailles

  10. Adolf Hitler • As depression hit Germany, Hitler vowed to rebuild the economy and restore lands lost after WW I • In defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler and the Nazis began rearming Germany, while suspending freedom of speech and press (Brownshirts – “storm troopers”)

  11. Der Führer • In 1934, Hitler becomes both chancellor and president of Germany, he gives himself the title Der Führer (the leader) • Hitler keeps his promise of work, putting all to work on massive building projects (autobahn), but begins to look outward (expansion) as a way to bolster national pride

  12. Hitler’s Goals and Dreams • Hitler’s main goal for Germany becomes the conquest of eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but he needed to assert power within his own borders and those former German areas – does this by re-arming!! • Neither Britain nor France tried to stop Hitler from rearming, they had not forgotten the costs of WWI and were reluctant to challenge Hitler

  13. The Axis Power • Hitler also signs an alliance with Mussolini (Italy) in 1936 – their agreement established an “axis” between Rome and Berlin – the Axis Powers (later Japan joins) • Hitler turns to Austria and invades in March 1938, Britain and France protest, but do nothing

  14. Appeasement • The response of UK and France was APPEASEMENT – policy of giving aggressor nations what they want in order to avoid war – UK and FR wanted PEACE, not WAR • Appeasement reached peak at Munich Conference in 1938 when UK and FR leaders allowed Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia in return for his promise to make NO further demands for lands

  15. Upon his return in Sept 1938, Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, promised that appeasement meant “peace for our time”

  16. Winston Churchill • New Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, disagreed with the policy of appeasement • “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They WILL have war.”

  17. Winston Churchill – British Prime Minister

  18. Spanish Civil War • In Spain, the military was waging a brutal war against a new republican govt • General Francisco Francooverthrew the govt and established a fascist state in Spain that lasted until 1975 • Germany and Italy provide weapons and men – a “practice run” for soldiers

  19. Polish Promise • Munich agreement failed to appease Hitler – in Mar 1939 took rest of Czech and demanded Poland – UK and FR pledged to defend Poland – asked Soviets to join alliance • Hitler was willing to go to war with UK and FR, but not Soviets • He did not think UK and FR would defend

  20. Non-Aggression Pact • To prevent such an attack, Hitler signed the NON-Aggression Pact with Stalin in Aug 1939 – this pact promised that Stalin would not invade from the east in exchange for lands in newly conquered areas • This pact opened the way for Hitler to invade Poland (Sept 1, 1939)

  21. Blitzkrieg and Poland • On Sept 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland in a blitzkrieg attack – “lightning-quick” – land and air assault that conquered Poland in less than a month • UK and FR declare war on Germany, and France prepared defenses along the Maginot Line, a massive string of fortifications along France’s border with Germany

  22. Maginot Line • However, France was open to attack through Belgium, and in April 1940, Hitler launched another blitzkrieg, conquering Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium • He then attacked France from behind the Maginot Line, and pushed UK and FR troops all the way to the English Channel

  23. Battle of Dunkirk • UK and FR troops were thoroughly defeated by superior German troops and were trapped in the city of Dunkirk, where 340,000 troops were rescued by a makeshift armada of boats that carried them to Britain • Europe was now in the hands of Hitler and Mussolini

  24. Vichy France • Germany conquered nearly all of France by June 1940, leaving only an area in the south under French supervision • Called Vichy France, this French govt entered into collaboration – close cooperation – with Germany • Many French continue to fight back against the Germans through underground Resistance movements

  25. Battle of Britain • Until the summer of 1940, Hitler had experienced nothing but success, but that changed when he turned his attention to the island of Britain and launched a series of bombings and air attacks to prepare for an invasion • Called the Battle for Britain, the people remained steadfast, often sleeping in the subways and going without electricity, food, and water – thousands killed

  26. “To the Rescue” • “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches…the landing grounds…on the fields and in the streets…We shall never surrender….until, in God’s good time, the New World (?), with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the Old.” - WC

  27. Courageous Defense • Hitler’s Luftwaffe (air-force) was unable to defeat Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) even though the RAF was outnumbered and outgunned • Britain’s new PM Winston Churchill praised the courage shown by the RAF pilots: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

  28. Japanese Expansionism • The US and Europe weren’t the only nations affected by WW I and the Great Depression • In Asia, Japan emerged from isolationism in the 1920s only to be hit hard by the GD – massive layoffs, strikes, and political discontent • Radical nationalistic groups formed and assassinated several key people in hopes of gaining power

  29. Japanese Expansionism • Japanese expansion was seen as a way of securing new markets for trade and new sources of raw materials • During WWI, Japan had helped the Allies, but only to GET something – only to lose those possessions in the Treaty of Versailles • From this anger, the military began to look for solutions to their problems

  30. Manchurian Incident • The problem was that most of the young military officers supported these terrorists and used these events to gain more power for the military • In 1931, in the Manchurian Incident, the Japanese army seized Manchuria from Chinese troops and set up a puppet state – controlled by Tokyo

  31. Japanese Aggression • Although Europe and the US protested the Manchurian Incident, nothing was done, and Japan’s military continued to gain power • Manchuria became a base for Japanese expansion, and in 1937 Japan resumed its war against China • The Japanese army occupied major cities thru superior weapons

  32. Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere • With European countries caught up in the war, Japan announced it would free Asia from European colonizers • In 1940, Japan named itself leader of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere – an area that Japan would control in order to secure new areas for markets and new raw materials

  33. Looking Beyond China • The GEAC-PS immediately set its sights on colonies such as the Dutch East Indies and French Indochina (Vietnam) • Later in 1940, Japan allied itself with Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact, moving troops into French Indochina • In 1941, Japan signed a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union

  34. Setting the Stage • All of these Japanese events would set the stage for Japan to challenge the Europeans and Americans for supremacy in Asia and for all of the Pacific