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World War II: The Road to War (1931-1941). Section 1: The Rise of Dictators. Due to economic hardship, and bitterness from the terms of WWI resolution, several dictatorships arose in Europe in the 1920s and 30s. Totalitarian Rule. When government has total control over a nation.

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World War II: The Road to War (1931-1941)


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    1. World War II: The Road to War(1931-1941)

    2. Section 1: The Rise of Dictators • Due to economic hardship, and bitterness from the terms of WWI resolution, several dictatorships arose in Europe in the 1920s and 30s.

    3. Totalitarian Rule • When government has total control over a nation. • Dominates all aspects of life. • Uses terror and violence to suppress individual rights and silence opposition.

    4. Fascism • Fascism is a form of totalitarianism • Fascism emphasized national interests over individual interests and the supreme authority of the leader. • Opposed the economic principles of communism, despite the similarity of dictatorship.

    5. Soviet Union: Joseph Stalin • Joseph Stalin took control of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenin died in 1924. • Even more extreme than Lenin, plans to take “one great leap forward” to communism. • Launched five-year plans to communize all agriculture and build new industry. Lenin Stalin

    6. Stalin’s Economic Plans • Forced small family farms to form huge collective farms; forced resistors off their land. • Punished resistors by confiscating the food they produced. • Millions of people starved during the state takeover of farming. • Stalin sent 5 million peasants to labor camps in Siberia.

    7. Stalin’s Industrial Takeover • Assigned millions of laborers from rural areas to build and run new industrial centers producing iron, steel, oil, and coal. • Neglected to produce essential consumer goods, clothing, and housing. • Soviet quality of life fell even amidst new, industrial strength.

    8. Stalin’s Reign of Terror • Enforced his political power through numerous “purges”, removing enemies or dissidents perceived to be a threat. • The Great Purge began in 1934 • By 1939, his agents had • Arrested over 7 million people • Executed over 1 million • Sent millions more into forced labor camps • Nearly all were innocent victims of Stalin’s paranoia

    9. Italy: Benito Mussolini • Wounded in WWI. • Bitter that the Versailles Treaty didn’t grant Italy more territory. • Formed the Fascist Party in 1919 • Called himself Il Duce, “the leader” • Organized fascist groups throughout Italy • Relied on gangs of thugs to terrorize opponents

    10. Mussolini • Mussolini’s following grew increasingly powerful amidst economic hardship. • In 1922, he threatened to march on Rome, the king panicked and appointed him prime minister. • Took firm dictatorial control; suspended elections and outlawed all other political parties. • Dreamed of recreating the great Roman Empire. • Slogan: “The Country is Nothing Without Conquest.”

    11. Hitler’s Rise to Power • Like Mussolini, Hitler was wounded physically and emotionally by WWI. • Enraged by the settlement terms. • Germany had been forced to give up territory, pay steep reparations, and accept blame for the war.

    12. The Nazi Party • In 1919, Hitler joined a small political group that became the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party. • Nazism was a form of fascism that promoted intense German nationalism and racial superiority. • Hitler’s powerful speaking skills quickly made him a leader.

    13. Failed Uprising • In 1923, with 3,000 followers, Hitler tried to overthrow the German government. • The uprising was easily crushed and Hitler was sentenced to 5 years in prison. • Spent only 9 months in jail, during which he wrote Mein Kampf, “my struggle”. • Articulated his views of Germany’s problems and outline his plans for revitalization. • Heavily blamed the Jewish race as a sort of cancer to German progress.

    14. The Great Race: Aryan Race • Hitler, along with many others, believed in the supremacy of the “Aryan race”: blond-haired, blue-eyed Germans. • Believed all other races to be inferior, particularly the Jewish race. • Significant research was done to reinforce this belief scientifically. • Today, biologists agree that race isn’t even a helpful biological or genetic classification.

    15. Germany’s Economy • Even during America’s booming 1920s economy, Germany suffered hyperinflation (rapid devaluing of currency). • When the global economy crashed in 1929, things became desperate. • Hitler’s bold promises and confidence attracted this desperation.

    16. Hitler Becomes Chancellor • With rapidly increasing popularity, Hitler placed second in the presidential election of 1932. • In 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor, head of German government. • Hitler quickly began suspending freedom of speech and press. • Nazi thugs began violent terrorization of those who opposed Hitler.

    17. Growing Power • In 1933 elections, the Nazis won enough seats to take control of parliament. • In 1934, German President Hindenburg died. • Hitler became both chancellor and president. • Called this new role Der Fuhrer: “the leader”

    18. Germany Rearms • In violation of the Versailles Treaty, the Nazis secretly began rebuilding Germany’s armed forces. • Hired unemployed workers to build public buildings and a highway system known as the autobahn. • Unemployment fell to near zero and by 1936, the Depression had ended in Germany.

    19. 1936 Olympics • Hitler hoped to display new German power and industry. • Hoped to prove racial dominance of the Aryan Race • African American Jesse Owens wins 5 medals

    20. 1936 • In 1936, German troops entered Rhineland, in Western Germany, an area that the Versailles Treaty had prohibited Germany from rearming. • Hitler took a risk in sending military forces to Rhineland, but Britain and France did nothing. • Hitler and Mussolini signed an alliance.

    21. Map of Europe

    22. Germany Expands; Sudetenland • Two years later, a much stronger German Army was sent to invade Austria, Hitler’s homeland. • Britain and France protested but did nothing. • Months later, Hitler demanded the Sudetenland, a western portion of Czechoslovakia.

    23. Neville Chamberlain: Appeasement • Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s Prime Minister, pursued a policy of appeasement. • Appeasement- giving in to a competitor’s demands in order to keep peace. • Chamberlain met with Hitler and Mussolini in Munich, Germany in 1938 and agreed to give Hitler the Sudetenland in hopes to satisfy his appetite for territory.

    24. Spanish Civil War • In 1937 a Civil War broke out in Spain between the government and rebels. • Germany and Italy provided aid to the rebels and bombed the Spanish town of Guernica into ruins, gaining international attention. • One witness said the attack was “a preview of the end of the world.” Pablo Picasso's famous Guernica

    25. Section 2: Europe Goes to War • Germany’s continued aggression finally pushed France and Britain to enter a war they tried to avoid.

    26. Chamberlain’s Appeasement • Some praised Neville Chamberlain as a peacemaker, others saw appeasement as giving power to an enemy. • Winston Churchill, at the time a member of Parliament said, “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war.”

    27. Continued Expansion • 6 months after granting Hitler the Sudetenland, Germany had taken all of Czechoslovakia. • In March of 1939, Britain and France threatened Hitler with war if he continued expanding. • B&F pledged support to Poland in the event of their invasion.

    28. Hitler’s Pact With Stalin • To avoid two-fronted war, Hitler and Stalin signed a ten-year Nonaggression Pact. • Although they were sworn enemies, Stalin didn’t think Hitler planned on attacking the Soviet Union. • Hitler wanted to buy a period of peace on the Eastern frontier.

    29. Invasion of Poland; War Begins • On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland causing Britain and France to declare war on Germany. • Britain and France had more soldiers than Germany, but lacked the organization and armament of Germany.

    30. Blitzkrieg; “Lightening War” • In Poland, Germany revealed a new form of mass-attack warfare, blitzkrieg. • Dive-bombing warplanes attacked first, then tanks moved in, surrounded, and destroyed the enemy. • Germany overran Poland in less than a month.

    31. Invasion of Poland

    32. Inaction • After the fall of Poland the war entered a period of inaction for several months. • The British and French held back, fearing great losses, while Hitler regrouped and waited. • A strong fortification called the Maginot Line, protected France from an attack, but not on their Belgium border.

    33. German Attack • On April 9, 1940, war resumed as Hitler attacked Denmark and Norway. • In May Germany launched blitzkrieg on the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. • They were all overrun within days or weeks. • Meanwhile, they invaded Northern France by going above the Maginot Line.

    34. Dunkirk • Invasion of France divided British and French Troops into two groups, the north and south. • At the coastal city of Dunkirk, facing sure defeat in the north, troops retreated on a makeshift fleet of boats across the English Channel into Great Britain. • 340,000 troops were saved, leaving on 900 vessels.

    35. Fall of France • After the retreat of Dunkirk, German troops turned and swept through southern France. • In stunning speed, Germany captured Paris by June 14, and on the 22nd France officially surrendered. • By the summer of 1940, Hitler had conquered almost all of Western Europe.

    36. 1940 map of Europe

    37. Battle of Britain • Britain presented a different challenge for Germany, being an island with a strong Navy. • Germany focused on controlling the air. • In August 1940, he launched an unprecedented air assault known as the Battle of Britain.

    38. Battle of Britain • For over a month, as many as 1,000 planes dropped bombs on Britain each day. • At first, Germany only attacked British ports and airfields. • Soon they also began attacking aircraft factories and oil tanks. • Finally, they began bombing the city of London itself.

    39. Bombing Civilians • The bombing of cities/civilians was a historic shift in warfare, breaking the “rules” of war. • Both sides of the war continued bombing population centers throughout the remainder of the war.

    40. Defense/Protection • Britain’s Royal Air Force, though greatly outnumbered, went into the sky to counterattack the German bombers. • Britain also managed to crack the code of German communication, to learn their plans. • Londoners routinely hid in bunkers and ran for cover during air raids.

    41. Section 3: Japan Builds an Empire • While dictators gained power in Europe, a separate imperial power was growing in East Asia, Japan.

    42. Japan and WWI • Japan had joined the Allies in WWI. • Thrived economically after the war. • Enacted a two-party political system and joined international peace agreements. • Showed signs of stability and democracy, initially.

    43. Democracy in Crisis • Japan experienced sharp economic recessions in the 1920s that intensified in Global Depression of the 1930s. • Massive layoffs and strikes led to political discontent. • Japanese blamed the new democratic, multiparty system of government for taking too long to deal with problems.

    44. Rise of Nationalism • Radical nationalist groups formed in response to the government’s perceived weakness. • Demanded an end to multiparty political system. • Radicals assassinated business and political leaders.

    45. Manchuria • Japan’s population was exploding and struggled to provide food and resources for everyone. • Thought the acquisition of Manchuria, at the time a part of China, could provide them with new resources and undeveloped land.

    46. The Manchurian Incident • In 1931, a Japanese army stationed in Manchuria claimed that Chinese soldiers became violent and seized several Manchurian cities. • The operation was not supported by Japanese government, who attempted to stop the seizure. • The Japanese army operated independently and by 1932 had taken over all of Manchuria.

    47. The Manchurian Incident • Japan announced that Manchuria was an independent state, called Manchukuo, under Japanese protection. • Manchukuo was a puppet state, a supposed “independent” country under the control of a powerful neighbor. • Japan sent millions of farmers, entrepreneurs, and soldiers to secure it as a Japanese colony.

    48. Opposition • This takeover, known as the Manchurian Incident, was opposed by the U.S. and Britain, but they did nothing to stop it. • The League of Nations ordered Japan to end occupation, Japan refused and withdrew from the League.

    49. Military Power • The Manchurian Incident gave the military power over the government. • In 1932, naval officers helped assassinate the prime minister and other politicians. • Japan’s government was never actually overthrown, but its power was lost to the army. • Politicians were afraid to speak out against the military for fear of their own lives.

    50. War Against China • In 1937, Japan extended their invasion of China. • A minor clash outside of Beijing turned into full-scale war. • Japan occupied Beijing and threatened all of northern China. • Japan’s superior weapons overpowered China’s greater manpower.