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World War II. 1939-1945. Nazism. SPACE and RACE Hitler’s main goal was the territorial expansion of the superior German race. This was outlined in Mein Kampf : Germans are a superior race and should unite to form a German Empire “Third Reich”

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world war ii

World War II


  • SPACE and RACE
    • Hitler’s main goal was the territorial expansion of the superior German race.
    • This was outlined in Mein Kampf:
      • Germans are a superior race and should unite to form a German Empire “Third Reich”
      • Jews, Poles, Slavs, etc… were inferior and should be enslaved and forced to die out.
      • Germans would resettle their land to gain lebensraum “living space”.
hitler defies the treaty of versailles
Hitler Defies the Treaty of Versailles
  • Treaty limited German army to only 100,000 men. Hitler disobeys this and builds up the military.
  • 1936- Hitler marches army into the Rhineland (30 mile demilitarized buffer zone with France).
  • The League of Nations was supposed to enforce the treaty but nothing happened
  • GB and France gave in to Hitler to keep peace.
  • WHY???
    • Felt guilty about Treaty of Versailles
    • Saw Hitler as better than Soviet Communism
    • Great Depression
    • Pacifism – no one wanted another war
hitler expands
Hitler Expands
  • 1938- Hitler annexes Austria (Anschluss)

-Next, Hitler demanded the Sudetenland be given to Germany (western region of Czechoslovakia with 3 million Germans)

  • Czechs ask France for help (allies). Near war.
  • Sept 1938-Munich Conference
    • GB and France agree to let Hitler have Sudetenland. He promises no further expansion.
two views on the conference
Two Views on the Conference
  • GB Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain – I have secured… “peace with honor…peace for our time.”
  • Winston Churchill – “They had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor; they will have war.”
hitler breaks his promise
Hitler Breaks His Promise
  • March 1939 – Hitler took over Czechoslovakia
  • August 1939 – Signed the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact with Joseph Stalin.
    • Stunned the world because they were enemies
    • Secretly divided Poland and eastern Europe between them
  • Sept 1 – Hitler invades Poland
  • Sept 3 – GB and France declare war. WWII begins!
  • Blitzkrieg “lightning war”
    • Poland crushed in 4 weeks
  • Winter: Sitzkrieg “phony war”
  • 1940: Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France are taken over by Germany.
  • Miracle of Dunkirk
    • Heroic rescue of 300,000 Allied soldiers across the English Channel to GB.
operation sea lion
Operation Sea Lion
  • By 1940, all of western Europe was under German control or neutral except GB.
  • Battle of Britain: RAF v. Luftwaffe
    • 57 straight nights of bombing on London and other cities, then sporadic until May 1941
    • Killed over 40,000 civilians, massive damage
    • British never surrendered; Hitler gave up
operation barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
  • June 1941-Hitler invades the Soviet Union
    • Wanted rich resources (land, oil, grain)
    • Wanted to defeat Communism
    • Wanted to put more pressure on GB
  • Scorched earth policy
  • Temps reached -40 degrees in Dec 1941; thousands die
  • Siege of Leningrad (900 Day Siege) – 1 million Soviets died over 2 ½ year siege

-Supplies blockaded. Ration: 2 pieces bread/day

back in the us
Back in the US…
  • President FDR is building support for US involvement
    • Persuaded Congress to pass the Lend-Lease Act
    • Allowed US to sell/lend war materials to “any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States”
    • Wanted to try to stand up for democracy without joining the war
  • July 1941 – US cut off sell of oil to Japan because of their takeovers in Asia
    • Reduced their oil supplies by 90%
  • Dec 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor
    • Sank or crippled every American battleship but all aircraft carriers were out at sea and unharmed
    • Killed 2,400 people
    • “A date which will live in infamy”
the big three
The Big Three
  • FDR, Winston Churchill, and Stalin
    • FDR and Churchill were true allies, not Stalin
    • Only cooperated to defeat Hitler
    • Stalin wanted FDR and WC to open a 2nd front against Germany to take pressure off USSR
    • Didn’t until 1944.
turning points
Turning Points
  • May 1942 – Battle of the Coral Sea
  • June 1942 – Battle of Midway
    • Americans destroyed several Japanese ships and planes
  • Jan 1943 – Russians defeat Germans at the Battle of Stalingrad
  • May 1943 – Allies led by Dwight. D. Eisenhower force an Axis surrender in North Africa
d day
  • June 6, 1944 – Allies land at Normandy (France)
  • Free France, Belgium, enter Germany by March 1945
  • Soviets also advancing from East
  • Mussolini – executed
  • Hitler – suicide Apr 30, surrender May 7
  • May 8, 1945 – V-E Day (Victory in Europe)
  • Will not surrender
    • Kamikaze
    • Manhattan Project – code name for the research on atomic bomb
    • Harry S Truman is now President of US
      • FDR died April 12, 1945
    • August 6 – Hiroshima – 70,000 killed instantly
    • August 9 – Nagasaki – 40,000; surrender
    • Many more died later from radiation