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unit 4 part 2 world war ii and the holocaust

Unit 4 Part 2: World War II and The Holocaust

7-4.5 Summarize the causes and course of World War II, including drives for empire, appeasement and isolationism, the invasion of Poland, the Battle of Britain, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the “Final Solution,” the Lend-Lease program, Pearl Harbor, Stalingrad, the campaigns in North Africa and the Mediterranean, the D-Day invasion, the island-hopping campaigns, and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

7-4.6 Analyze the Holocaust and its impact on European society and Jewish culture, including Nazi policies to eliminate the Jews and other minorities, the Nuremberg trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rise of nationalism in Southwest Asia (Middle East), the creation of the state of Israel, and the resultant conflicts in the region.

who was involved
Axis (Major Powers)

Allies (Major Powers)

Great Britain

Soviet Union

United States


  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
Who was Involved?

Great Britain – Winston Churchill

Soviet Union – Joseph Stalin

United States – Franklin D. Roosevelt/ Harry S. Truman

(France was occupied in 1940)


Germany – Adolf Hitler

Italy – Benito Mussolini

Japan – Hirohito / Tojo

where was the war fought
Where was the war fought?

Pacfic Theater

Eastern Theater

causes of world war ii
Causes of World War II
  • There were 3 main causes to World War II:
    • Military aggression displayed by Germany, Italy, and Japan
    • Anger over the Treaty of Versailles
    • The Great Depression
the treaty of versailles and the great depression
The Treaty of Versailles and The Great Depression
  • Germany, Italy, and Japan all wanted to establish empires and no one did anything to stop them.
  • Italy was angry with the Treaty of Versailles because they were not awarded with a large amount of land.
  • Germany was devastated by WWI and very angry over the War Guilt Clause in the Treaty of Versailles.

The high cost of reparations, the loss of territory, and the aftermath of war led to the Great Depression, which led to people’s anger over the government—This led to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

military aggression
Military Aggression
  • In 1935, Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in Africa.
  • The League of Nations protested the attack but did nothing to stop them.
  • The League of Nations also failed to stop Hitler or Mussolini from building up their militaries and occupying other lands.

Germany and Italy helped Francisco Franco win the Spanish Civil War in 1936. This set up a Fascist government in Spain.

  • At the same time, the US declared a policy of isolationism by passing Neutrality Acts that would not allow the US to loan money or sell weapons to countries at war.
appeasement fails
Appeasement Fails
  • Great Britain and France believed a policy of appeasement would prevent a war.
  • Appeasement-meeting another country’s demands in order to avoid war
  • Hitler began taking over land to unite all German-speaking people.
  • He started with Austria (his home country).

Hitler demanded the Sudetenland (a part of Czechoslovakia that had mostly German-speaking people).

  • In 1938, Adolf Hitler met with the leaders of Britain and France at the Munich Conference.
  • He told them if they would let him have the Sudetenland, he would not take over any more land—They agreed.

Hitler went ahead and invaded Czechoslovakia and then Italy invaded Albania in Africa.

  • On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland.
  • Britain and France declared war on Germany.
japanese aggression
Japanese Aggression
  • Japan was engaging in military aggression in Asia as it was trying to build a large empire.
  • Japanese leaders felt they needed a large empire to get raw materials at a cheap price.
  • Japan had attacked Manchuria and later attacked China.
important battles in europe
Important Battles in Europe
  • World War II had 2 theaters (fronts) of fighting: European and Pacific (Asia).
  • The Germans carried out a blitzkrieg, or lightning war, against Poland.
  • A blitzkrieg means that Germany was carrying out attacks in every direction, using planes and attacks on land.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin shocked the world when they both signed the Non-Aggression Pact (They agreed to not attack each other and to split Poland onGermany later attacked).


Germany later attacked Denmark and Norway.

  • France surrendered to the Germans in 1940.
hitler s major blunder
Hitler’s Major Blunder

The Germans invaded France in May 1940.

Retreating Allied forces made it to Dunkirk and found themselves trapped between the advancing Nazis and the English Channel.

The British sent every boat they could get across the English Channel to pick up troops off the beaches of Dunkirk.

miracle at dunkirk
Miracle at Dunkirk

The event at Dunkirk is called a miracle because the retreating allies had lost hope and then the British pulled through for them and rescued 338,000 men.


Hitler then focused on attacking Great Britain.

  • During the Battle of Britain (1940-1941), the German Air Force repeatedly bombed Britain.
  • The British used radar to prepare for attacks and had technology that allowed them to decode German messages.
  • Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister, vowed to “never surrender” to the Germans.
  • Hitler was forced to focus attacks on other nations.
nazi dominance in europe
Nazi Dominance in Europe
  • By 1940 Germany had taken over most of Europe including France and Hitler set his sights on Britain
  • Britain stood as the only opposition to Hitler in Western Europe
  • Battle Of Britain – Every night through the summer and fall the Germans bombed London
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/battleofbritain/11428.shtml

(Luftwaffe) trying to break the British will to resist and destroy the RAF (Royal Air Force)

** 40,000 Londoners were killed and 1 in 6 left homeless*

winston churchill
Winston Churchill
  • “We shall defend our island,

whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills: WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ0fGS01Pdg- Narnia


Fighting took place in North Africa and in the Balkan region of Europe.

  • Germany wanted to control the Suez Canal in Egypt to have quick access to the oil-rich Middle East.
  • The Axis Powers defeated Yugoslavia and Greece in 1941.
  • Adolf Hitler broke his pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

Germany was unsuccessful in the Soviet Union.

  • In the invasion alone, Germany lost 500,000 men when they tried to take over the cities of Leningrad and Moscow.
usa tries to remain neutral
USA Tries to Remain Neutral
  • The US Congress passed Neutrality Acts in both 1935 and 1937.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt realized the US needed to be involved in the war in order to prevent a Nazi takeover of Europe.
  • In 1939, Congress changed the neutrality policy by allowing the US to sell weapons to the Allies that were paid for with cash and transported by Allied ships (Cash and Carry Policy).

The Cash and Carry Policy didn’t help the Allies enough, so Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act.

  • The Lend-Lease Act allowed Roosevelt to lend or lease (allow others to borrow money from the US to pay for supplies) weapons and other supplies to countries that were important to the US.
lend lease act 1941
“Lend-Lease” Act (1941)

Great Britain.........................$31 billionSoviet Union...........................$11 billionFrance......................................$ 3 billionChina.......................................$1.5 billionOther European.................$500 millionSouth America...................$400 millionThe amount totaled: $48,601,365,000

the pacific theater in asia
The Pacific Theater in Asia
  • Japan invaded French Indochina in 1941 and as a result the US placed an oil embargo on Japan. (The US would not let Japan buy oil.)
  • Japan was angry over the embargo, so on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a US Naval Base in Hawaii.
  • Congress declared war on Japan the next day.
  • The Allied Powers included: Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the US, and China.

The Japanese moved quickly throughout the islands in the Pacific by taking over Guam, Wake Island, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and Burma.

  • The tide begin to turn in favor of the United States in 1942.
  • The US defeated Japan in the Battle of the Coral Sea, which saved Australia from a Japanese invasion.

Next, the US defeated Japan in the Battle of Midway by damaging hundreds of Japanese planes and all aircraft carriers (big ships that carry planes).

  • After this battle, the US began island-hopping (taking over islands and making their way closer to the main islands of Japan).
  • Island-hopping saved many American lives.

At the Battle of Guadalcanal, the US launched their first offensive against Japan (US attacked Japan).

  • This battle was a land, air, and sea attack.
the european theater
The European Theater
  • By the end of 1942, the tide was turning in favor of the Allies in the Mediterranean and along the Eastern Front (Soviet Union).
  • The Allied forces were led by American General Dwight Eisenhower, who defeated German General Erwin Rommel’s forces in North Africa.

The Germans were also defeated by the Soviet Union in the Battle of Stalingrad in February 1943.

  • The Soviet army was pushing the Germans from the east while the British and American forces were conquering Sicily, Italy in 1943.
  • The Allies entered Rome, Italy in 1944.
  • Mussolini was killed by his own men in 1945.

The Allies decided to free France and make their way toward Berlin, Germany.

  • On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces invaded Normandy, France (This was called D-Day).
  • The purpose of D-Day was to liberate (free) German-controlled France and northern Europe.
  • France was liberated by September.

Hitler’s final attempt to achieve victory against the Allies was known as the Battle of the Bulge.

  • Germans broke through American defenses, but the Germans were later pushed back and forced to retreat (move backwards).
  • Allied forces from the east and west moved into Germany.
  • Hitler committed suicide in 1945 and Germany surrendered a week later on May 7, 1945.
  • This was called V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day.
war in the pacific theater wins
War in the Pacific Theater Wins
  • The US defeated Japan at the Battle of Iwo Jima and Battle of Okinawa.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in April 1945.
  • Harry Truman becomes President and is forced to decide how to end the war quickly in the Pacific Theater.
  • It was believed that an invasion of Japan would result in many American lives lost.

Harry Truman ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan (August 6, 1945 ).

  • Another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan 3 days later.
  • Japan surrendered officially on September 2, 1945 (V-J Day, or Victory against Japan Day)
the holocaust
The Holocaust
  • During World War II, Adolf Hitler was carrying out The Holocaust, a plan to eliminate the Jews and others he thought were “undesirable”.
  • Anti-Semitism-hatred of the Jewish people
why did hitler hate the jews
Why did Hitler hate the Jews?
  • Religious differences
  • Cultural differences
  • Suspicion and envy
  • Jews were getting more involved in everyday life in Europe (They had previously kept to themselves).
  • Jews were seen as more intellectual and successful.
  • Jews were seen as less nationalistic.
anti semitism
  • Hitler used Anti-Semitism as a way to get people to believe the way he did about the Jews.
  • He blamed the Jews for the Great Depression and promised if they were eliminated Germany would become great again.
  • Nazis believed the German people were a master race and used the word “Aryan” to describe them.

Hitler wanted to eliminate all people who were not Aryans and who he believed caused Germany’s problems.

  • This included: Jews, the Polish, Russians, Communists, Gypsies (people of Eastern Europe), and anyone mentally or physically handicapped.
nuremberg laws
Nuremberg Laws
  • The Nuremberg Laws were passed against Jews in 1935. They stated:
    • Jews were denied German citizenship.
    • Jews could not marry non-Jews.
    • Jews had to wear a yellow Star of David to be recognized in public.
    • Jews could not produce artwork.
    • Jews could not teach in a non-Jewish school.
the final solution1
The Final Solution
  • On November 9, 1938, Nazi troops attacked Jewish businesses, synagogues, and homes, killing around 100 Jews.
  • This was known as Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass.”
  • Next, Jews were forced to move into ghettos, or crowded areas of cities where they lived in overcrowded and poor conditions.

The Final Solution was Hitler’s plan to eliminate the Jews.

  • He forced Jews across Europe into concentration camps, where many died along the way in “cattle cars”.
  • Jews were killed in showers (gas chambers), crematoriums (burned alive), or through brutal scientific experiments.
  • Most barely survived the work/labor camps, where they were forced to do work for the German army.

Most concentration camps were located in Germany and Poland.

  • When prisoners arrived at the concentration camps, they were examined by SS doctors who would decide if they were strong enough to work or if they should be killed right away.
  • Only the strong (mostly men) were allowed to live and most women, young children, the elderly, and the disabled were killed soon after arriving.

Genocide-the targeted killing of a particular group of people

  • The genocide known as the Holocaust killed over 6 million Jews, which was 2/3 of the European Jewish population.
  • It is estimated that around 11-17 million people total were killed.
the nuremberg trials1
The Nuremberg Trials
  • After the Allies freed the people in the concentration camps at the end of WWII, 22 Nazi leaders were tried at what was called the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1946).
  • They were charged with “crimes against humanity” which showed the world that this behavior was unacceptable no matter the circumstances.
  • The International Military Tribunal, representing 23 countries, conducted the trials.
  • 10 Nazi leaders were hanged and their bodies were burned in a concentration camp.
the zionist movement
The Zionist Movement
  • The Zionist Movement (support for a Jewish homeland) began in the late 1880s/early 1900s.
  • Many Jews returned to an area called Palestine and called for a Jewish state to be created.
  • In 1917, the British issued the Balfour Declaration which guaranteed Jews a homeland if the rights of Palestinians were protected.

When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI, Palestine became under the control of the British.

  • After the Holocaust became known to the world, more and more people began calling for a Jewish homeland.
  • Palestine was divided into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state.
  • Jerusalem, a major city, was called an international city.
the creation of israel
The Creation of Israel
  • Palestinians, who were Muslim, made up the majority of the population.
  • In 1948, Israel was founded as a homeland for the Jews.
  • Jews considered Israel to be their homeland, even though the area had become populated by Muslims over hundreds of years.

The creation of Israel led to nationalism (desire for self-rule) from the Palestinians and caused many conflicts that have still not been resolved.

  • Israel was immediately attacked by Palestinians and brief wars were fought over this territory in 1956, 1967, and 1973.
  • Israel won the first war and gained half of the land inhabited by Palestinians.
  • Egypt gained control of the Gaza Strip and Jordan gained control of the West Bank. (Both supported the Palestinians.)
conflicts over israel
Conflicts over Israel
  • In 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed to promote the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • Their leader was Yasir Arafat.
  • The PLO wanted to use military force to create a Palestinian State.

Gamal Nasser, leader of Egypt, and other Arab leaders prepared for war against Israel.

  • Israel made the first move and attacked Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iran.
  • Israel won this war (Six Day War) and gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Jerusalem.

In 1973, Arabs attacked Israel on the holy Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. (Yom Kippur War)

  • A cease-fire was signed weeks later.
  • The Camp David Accords, a peace agreement, was signed by Egypt and Israel in 1979.
  • This agreement stated that Egypt would recognize Israel as a county and Israel would give the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

Many Arabs were upset with this agreement and a group of Muslims assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

  • In 1987, Palestinians launched an intifada, or demonstrations and attacks, against Israeli troops.
  • In 1993, the Oslo Peace Accords were signed.
  • Israel agreed to give Palestinians self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Jews were angry with this agreement and a Jewish man assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

  • Fighting over the creation of Israel still exists today.
universal declaration of human rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by several nations as a result of the Holocaust.
  • It set human rights standards for all nations and listed specific rights all humans should have.
  • World organizations have worked to make the world aware of human rights violations.

However, human rights issues are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to interfere in other nations affairs because it could possibly result in a war.

  • Many countries are unsure of what role they can take to stop human rights violations.
  • Genocide has continued to take place in areas around the world, even after the Holocaust.