Chapter 36 New Conflagrations: World War II and the Cold War Nagasaki, August 9, 1945
The Second World War Allies vs. Axis powers: Italy, Germany, and Japan are the main ones, but also Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania “Revisionists”: The Axis powers wished to revise post-World War I peace treaties Allies initially follow policy of appeasement. Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939: Weak support of democratically elected government by the West; strong support of fascists by Italy and Germany Full-scale war erupts with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, in Europe with the German invasion of Poland in 1939, and goes global by 1941 with the entry of the U.S. Ends in August 1945
Japan’s War in China • Conquest of Chinese Manchuria 1931-1932 • Japan withdraws from the League of Nations in 1933 • Full-scale invasion of Chinese mainland in 1937 • The Rape of Nanjing (Dec. 1937 through Jan. 1938) • City falls on Dec. 13, 1937, followed by six weeks of terror • As many 200,000 to 300,000 Chinese civilians slaughtered: two Japanese soldiers held a “contest” to see if they could behead 100 Chinese with swords; soldiers used civilians for bayonet practice; many people were buried alive and mutilated in horrible ways. Women, men, and even children killed in horrific sexual attacks. • A third of all homes in Nanjing were destroyed by arson. • Japan signs Tripartite Pact with Germany, Italy (1940); neutrality pact with Soviet Union (1941)
Chinese Resistance • Chinese Communists and Nationalists agree to a “united front” against the Japanese in Dec. 1936 • Chiang Kai-Shek did not want an alliance, but was forced to agree to one after being kidnapped by a rival general. • Guerilla warfare ties down half of the Japanese army • Yet continued clashes between Communists and Nationalists make the resistance less effective than it could have been. • Communists gain popular support and have the upper hand by end of the war, in part due to their better treatment of civilian populations and effective guerilla fighting against the Japanese
Italian Aggression • Benito Mussolini invades Ethiopia with an overpowering force in October 1935. • 2,000 Italian troops killed compared to 275,000 Ethiopians killed • Emperor Haile Selassie’s troops put up a brave resistance despite terrible odds. • Selassie is forced into exile by March 1936 and appeals to the League of Nations for sanctions. • Italy had been colonizing Libya since 1911 but encountered resistance; Mussolini’s forces crushed all resistance by 1934. • Italy invaded Albania in 1939
Germany Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) withdraws from League of Nations in 1933. Remilitarizes Germany, reviving armaments industries in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Anschluss (“Union”) with Austria in March 1938 Pressure on Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia) beginning in April 1938 and intensifying in August and September. Ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia begin agitating for autonomy and then express desire to join the German Reich.
Munich Conference - Sept. 1938 Leaders from Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany meet over the Sudetenland crisis. Allies follow policy of appeasement and give the Sudetenland to Germany, leaving Czechoslovakia virtually defenseless. Hitler promises to halt expansionist efforts in return. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940) promises “peace for our time” and is celebrated as a hero upon his return to England. Russians and Germans shock the world by signing a Treaty of Nonaggression on August 23, 1939.
Munich Conference - Sept. 1938 Left to right: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Britain, Prime Minister Édouard Daladier of France, Hitler, Mussolini, and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano
Germany Conquers Europe German dive-bombers over Poland in 1939 • Invades Poland, Sept. 1, 1939, a week after Non-Aggression Pact is signed • Blitzkrieg: “lightning war” strategy • Air forces soften up target, armored divisions rush in • German U-boats (submarines) patrol Atlantic, threaten British shipping
The Fall of France April 1940: Germany invades Denmark and Norway. May 1940: Germans invade the Low Countries and France. France falls by mid-June without offering much resistance. British and French troops evacuate across the Channel at Dunkirk from May 26 – June 4, 1940. June 22: Hitler forces the French to sign armistice agreement in same railroad car used for the armistice imposed on Germany in 1918. Northern France is occupied and southern France is ruled by the Vichy government, sympathetic to the Nazis.
The Fall of France Hitler in Paris on June 22, 1940, with architect Albert Speer and sculptor Arno Breker.
The Battle of Britain & “The Blitz” • Battle of Britain: The German Luftwaffe tries to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF) in an air war beginning in July 1940 in preparation for an invasion. RAF inflicts heavy damage on the Luftwaffe and prevents Germans from invading. • “The Blitz”: Strategic bombing campaign by the Luftwaffe from September 1940 until May 1941. • After October 1940, the raids only happen at night. • London is bombed for 57 nights in a row during one stretch; people take shelter in the “tube.” • Industrial centers like Birmingham, Belfast, Coventry, Sheffield, Glasgow and Manchester were targeted. • Ports cities of Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Plymouth and Southampton were also targeted. • 40,000 British civilians were killed in urban bombing raids.
The Battle of Britain & “The Blitz” Two German bombers over London in 1940
The Battle of Britain Bombed out London street in 1940
The Battle of Britain Iconic image of St. Paul’s Cathedral undamaged but surrounded by smoke during the Blitz in December 1940
Operation Barbarossa Lebensraum: “living space” for Germanic peoples across the European continent. June 22, 1941, Hitler double-crosses Stalin and invades Soviet Union. Stalin didn’t expect this timing, but was not completely unprepared: the Soviet Union had been rapidly industrializing; it actually had more tanks and planes than the Germans did (although most were outmoded). Severe winter and long supply lines weakened German efforts. Soviets regroup and attack in spring 1942. Turning Point: Battle of Stalingrad (August 1942 to February 1943); Soviets win one of the bloodiest battles in history, with a total of two million casualties.
U.S. Involvement in WWII before Pearl Harbor U.S. initiates “cash and carry” policy to supply Allies with arms “Lend-lease” Program: U.S. lends war goods to Allies, Britain leases Caribbean naval bases in return July 1941: FDR freezes all Japanese assets in U.S. and places embargo on oil shipments to Japan in protest of Japanese moving into French Indo-China Japanese Defense Minister Tojo Hideki (1884-1948) plans for war with U.S.
Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 FDR: “A date which will live in infamy” Japanese military command sought to cripple the U.S. Navy to prevent it from interfering with the planned expansion into Southeast Asia. Attack consisted of 353 planes launched from six different aircraft carriers in two waves, as well as several five midget subs. U.S. radar detected the initial approach of the aircraft, but they were mistaken for U.S. bombers; the attack had been too quick for even a correct reading to have made much of a difference. Over 2,400 Americans were killed and almost 1,250 wounded. Most losses were on the battleship U.S.S. Arizona: 1,177 killed. All eight battleships in “Battleship Row” were damaged, and four were sunk; 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed at nearby airfields.
Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 This map reads “December 8” since it is in Tokyo time, which is on the other side of the International Date Line from Hawai’I and the U.S.
Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 Sinking of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona (commissioned 1916)
U.S. Entry and Japanese Victories Hitler and Mussolini declare war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941. U.S. joins Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Japanese Empire dominates southeast Asia and most South Pacific islands. Japanese Empire establishes “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” with the slogan of “Asia for Asians.”
Defeat of the Axis Powers • Key factors: personnel reserves and industrial capacity of Allies were greater than those of the Axis powers. • Soviets absorb massive amount of punishment and inflict huge casualties on German forces • U.S. joining the war adds tremendous industrial capacity: • U.S. shipbuilding, automotive, and aircraft production were especially important. • U.S. at the peak of its industrial powers: Industrial regions (what is now the “Rust Belt”) produced massive amount of materiel for the war effort.
Allied Victory in Europe • Red Army (Soviet Union) gains offensive after Stalingrad (February 1943). Soviets absorb massive punishment and break the back of the seemingly invincible Wehrmacht. • British and U.S. forces attack in North Africa in November 1942, and then invade Italy in Sept. 1943. • D-Day: June 6, 1944, British and U.S. forces land in a northwestern part of France known as Normandy. • Paris liberated on August 25, 1944 • U.S. and Britain bomb German cities • Dresden, February 1945: 135,000 Germans killed , many in shelters • Russians rush toward Berlin from East; U.S. and British forces rush toward Germany from the West • April 30, 1945: Hitler commits suicide • May 8: Germany surrenders
Allied Victory in Europe Inmates at the Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany celebrate their liberation by U.S. forces on April 29, 1945. A Russian soldier raises the Soviet flag over the Reichstag in Berlin on May 2, 1945, just five days before the German surrender on May 7.
Turning the Tide in the Pacific U.S. code-breaking operation Magic deciphered the Japanese encryption machine code used for diplomatic and naval communications and thus gave the U.S. an important advantage. Battle of Coral Sea: May 4-8, 1942 – First time aircraft carriers engage each other; two forces never came within sight of each other. This battle was a nominal Japanese victory, but it stopped the momentum of Japanese expansion. Battle of Midway: June 4-7, 1942 – Turns the course of the war through air power. U.S. Navy inflicts irreparable damage on the Imperial Navy: four aircraft carriers and one cruiser sunk, along with 248 aircraft destroyed. U.S.N. loses one carrier and one destroyer.
Turning the Tide in the Pacific Aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise on June 4, 1942, at the start of the Battle of Midway
Turning the Tide in the Pacific • Island-Hopping through 1943-1944: U.S. takes the offensive, engages in island-hopping strategy toward the Japanese islands: just attacking the most strategic islands and leaving the other alone, cut off. • U.S. Army: Led a push through the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, into the Philippines. • U.S. Navy and Marines: These forces pushed up through the Gilbert, Marshall, Caroline and Mariana Island chains. • Iwo Jima and Okinawa: The Japanese increasingly fought to death as U.S. forces approached the Japanese mainland. Iwo Jima (Feb.-Mar. 1945) and Okinawa (Apr.-June 1945) convinced the Americans that an invasion of Japan would be a bloody affair. Okinawa was especially savage, with 100,000 Japanese casualties and 65,000 Allied casualties. • Japanese use kamikaze suicide attacks beginning in October 1944: planes loaded with explosives and a full tank of gas that attempt to ram into Allied ships.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki • U.S. firebombs Tokyo in March 1945 • 100,000 killed in a ferocious firestorm • A quarter of the city’s buildings are destroyed • Atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 • Why Hiroshima? Not previously bombed, had many military and industrial targets, and its flat topography would enhance the bomb’s effects. The bomb used, “Big Boy, used uranium as fuel. • Why Nagasaki? The port city of Kokura was the first choice for the second bomb, but it was covered by clouds as the B-29 flew over it. The port and ship-building city of Nagasaki was a not a preferred target since its hilly topography would lessen the effect of the bomb, and previous recent conventional bombings would make the damage hard to assess. The “Fat Man” bomb used plutonium rather than uranium fuel; it was more powerful than “Little Man,” but Nagasaki was damaged less.
Hiroshima after the Bomb Color U.S. Army photo from 1946
Japanese Surrender Japanese delegation on the deck of the Missouri Unofficial “V-J Day” was August 15 (August 14 in the U.S) when Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) broadcasts over the radio that Japan would cease to fight. The Japanese foreign minister signs an official “instrument of surrender” on September 2, 1945, on the deck of the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo harbor.
Varieties of Wartime Occupation • Independent states with enforced alliances: invaded but allowed to keep its own political system and institutions • Thailand, Denmark (until 1943) • Puppet states: nominally independent states really controlled by a foreign power • Manchukuo, Vichy France, Slovakia, Croatia • Military administration • Indochina, Poland, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Collaboration Woman having her head shaved after the liberation of Marseilles in August 1944. • Some collaborators found an opportunity for social mobility under the conquerors. Collaboration with occupiers allowed for a degree of independence which appeared to some as a lesser evil than direct military administration with no control. Collaborators were punished and humiliated after the war; women who had relationships with occupiers especially.
Resistance Military forms of resistance: guerilla fighting, blowing up bridges, assassinations, etc. French maquis were rural guerilla fighters. Intelligence gathering: Belgian resistance cells used secret transmitters to convey information to the British Protecting refugees: Resistance hid airmen who had been shot down. Propaganda: Underground non-violent Munich university student group known as the White Rose disseminated anti-Nazi pamphlets; six were executed.
Nazi Genocide and the Jews • Jews primary target of Nazi genocidal efforts • Other groups also slated for killing: Roma (gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses • Nazis initially encouraged Jewish emigration • Few countries willing to accept Jewish refugees • Aborted plans to deport Jews to Madagascar or create a reservation in Poland
The Final Solution Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) follow German army into Soviet Union with Operation Barbarossa Round up of Jews and others and execute 1.4 million by machine-gun between 1941 and 1945 Later in 1941 decided on “final solution”: deportation of all European Jews to death camps: machine gunning is too inefficient Plans for death camps are solidified at Wannsee Conference in January 1942 in Berlin
The Holocaust Jews deported from ghettos all over Europe in cattle cars beginning in spring 1942. Destinations: Six specially-designed death camps in eastern Europe: Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau), Chełmno, Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka. Technologically advanced, assembly-line style of murder through poison gas (Zyklon B). Corpses burned to ash in crematoria. Estimated number of Jews killed in these camps: 5.7 million.
The Holocaust in Europe, 1933-1945 The gas chamber at Auschwitz shortly after liberation in 1945
Jewish Resistance • German policy of collective punishment hamper Jewish resistance efforts: one German soldier killed would result in tens or even hundreds of deaths in retaliation. • Yet ghetto uprisings and armed conflict nevertheless arise. • Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Spring 1943: armed resistance to the last round up of Jews being sent to Treblinka; about 16 Germans killed and 85 wounded and about 13,000 Jews massacred in retaliation • About 20,000 to 30,000 Jews fought in partisan guerilla units, mostly in Eastern Europe.
Women and the War WAVES (Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service) and WACS (Women Army Corps) created in 1942 for women to serve in the U.S. Navy and Army. U.S. and Great Britain bar women from serving in combat units; most serve in support roles. Soviet and Chinese forces include women fighters. Women very active in resistance movements.
Women’s Roles • Women occupy jobs of men away at war • Also take on “head of household” duties • Temporary: men returning from war displace women in the postwar era: propaganda moves from “Rosie the Riveter” to domestic women. • Yet WWII had a lasting impact on women’s movement: housewives of the 1950s recall this period of independence.
Women’s Roles Lyrics from the 1942 song “Rosie the Riveter” by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb All the day long,Whether rain or shineShe’s part of the assembly line.She’s making history,Working for victoryRosie the Riveter Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller’s famed 1942 poster Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover
“Comfort Women” • Asian women forced into prostitution by Japanese forces • Forced to have 20-30 men per day in war zones • “Comfort houses” or “consolation centers” • Killed when infected with venereal disease • Large-scale massacres at end of war to hide crimes • Social ostracism for survivors
Origins of the Cold War • Creation of United Nations in October 1945 in San Francisco (NY headquarters finished in 1952) • Five permanent Security Council members: U.S., Great Britain, France, Soviet Union, and China • Differences over the future of Poland and Eastern Europe • Soviets help bring communist governments to power, 1946-1947 • Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland • Albania and Yugoslavia already communist-controlled
The Truman Doctrine (1947) Doctrine claimed that the world was divided into free and enslaved states. U.S. to support all movements for democracy; commits to interventionist foreign policy. U.S. pursues a “containment” strategy toward communism.