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WW II (1939-1945)

This was a war of motion, dramatic
conquests, terrible destructive power and a
conflict among nations and opposing ideals.
The killing power was aimed at civilians
aerial bombing, the
extermination of gypsies,
and other deviants by the Nazi, the United
States use of the atomic bomb).
The scale of destruction provoked
questions about the values of Western


Peace Settlement 1919-1920 German humiliation
- Naval blockade by Allied Powers.
- Deprived of power in Europe ,and saddled economy .

Failure to create standards for peace and security

- 1920s, European treaties for peace fail.
- League of Nations fails

- Germans pay reparations, inflation makes their money
- 1930s Depression = economic & political Nationalism.

1930s , New Fascist and
Nationalist governments.

Divided opinions in Europe:

Some want to
react to the
Others hope to avoid
premature or unnecessary

Governments try to negotiate with the Fascists.

Policy of appeasement is created with 3
1 Doing anything to provoke another war is
2 Germany, mistreated by the Versailles Treaty,
is essential
against the advance of Soviet Communism
3 Nazi Germany presents the true threat to

3 crises: China, Ethiopia and Spain.
China invaded in Manchuria by the Japanese.
Ethiopia invaded by Mussolini.
Spanish Civil- (Most relevant)
The civil war in Spain:
Extreme right-wing officers rebelled against the Republic.
Hitler and Mussolini assist Franco.
April 1937, German bombers destroyed Guernica.


Both sides committed atrocities;
War ends with victory for Franco in 1939.
Hitler drew two lessons from Spain:
1 If Britain, France and Soviet Union ever tried to
contain fascism, they, Germany, would have a
hard time coordinating their efforts.
2 Britain and France averse to fighting another


Nazis could use

all their war
power because
nobody would
stop them.


- Reoccupation of Rhineland in 1936 and annexing
Austria in 1938.
-Tried to occupy part of Czechoslovakia with the help of
- Other nations made pacts with Hitler.
-1939 Germany invaded Czechoslovakia with France,
Britain and Italy.
- Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with the Nazis in
1939: they
wouldnt attack them if Germany didnt attack them.

Hitler wanted German population united with the Reich through the Polish Corridor.
Britain and France declared war.
Hitler finally invaded Poland with the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union attacked Finland.
In 1940, Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway
Hitlers next target: France
1940-1941 Battle of Britain. Nazis dropped bombs on London.

1 They focused on civilian targets so Royal Air Force was still

controlled the air.
2 Hitler focussed on Russia.

Churchill convinced president Roosevelt to send American troops to Europe


Germany launched
a submarine
campaign against

With their
(And United States
entry to the war in
1941 )
Britain sunk
submarines .




Britain protected
the Suez
Canal, (with Indian, South
African and West African
expelled the Italians that
from Ethiopia.

The Soviets and the British

invaded Iran and nearly
capture Italys colony of
Germany sent the Afrika
Korps, leaded by Rommel.
Britain defeated the Italian
navy and took control of
the Mediterranean.

Japan bombed the
American base at Pearl
Harbour on December
USA joined the Allies
Japanese troops sunk the
pacific squadrons of British
and Dutch navies.
British and Indian defeated
a Japanese invasion of India
In 1942.
By 1943 the Japanese lost
most of its ships.


In 1941 Germany took over Yugoslavia and Greece.
Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria joined the Nazis as allies.
By 1941(except Sweden & Switzerland) whole of Europe involved.
In 1941Operation Barbarossa
The Nazis attacked Red Army with two goals:
Destruction of communism and racial purification
When German forces were on their way to Moscow, they were diverted
south to attack Russias industrial area. The Russian began to organize in
In each occupied country a small group of Nazis governed in the name of
the Germans while well organized resistance movements gathered
information for the Allies.


Nazis saw the conflict as a racial war. ethnics Germans were moved from elsewhere into the
borders of the Reich, while Poles and Jews were deported. The Nazis transported Jews by the
thousand to the south or Warsaw
. They killed 100.000 Jews in 1940. Even though this campaign to eliminate European Jewry
started in the 1930s, the war made it harder.
Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Union, brought changes and this attack
transformed in a war of extermination.
Nazis would take Jewish ghettos in the occupied cities, forbidding the entry of food and other
1941, Nazi made plans for mass killings in concentration camps.
Between 1942 and 1944 over 1 million people were killed at Auschwitz.
The Jews and other victims were not simply killed but tortured as well.
They killed up to 12.000 Hungarian Jews per day at Auschwitz in 1944.
The largest Jewish resistance, however, happened in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943
. The Holocaust took between 4.1 and 5.7 million Jewish lives. It was unique and part of a
racial war and of a period of ethnical mass murder.

World War II involved the efforts of whole populations. They were in constant battle with equally well-armed
opponents, and they needed massive resources. The standards of living changed. For example, Latin America
obtained a lot of profits due to the big amount of raw materials they supplied to the Allies. Women and the elderly
had to work more hours. The diet changed due to the rationalization of the food.
Production was essential to winning the war. Britain, the Soviet Union and America started propaganda
campaigns to encourage the production of war equipment. Actually, the Allies destined more of their economies
to war production that any nations in history. They built thousands of tanks, ships and planes. Germany, on the
other hand, wasnt so efficient in its use of workers and material.
Because industry was essential to winning, centres of industry became vital military targets and so the Allies
began bombing German ports and factories. After bombing the military and industry in German, the Allies would
bomb Germans civilian population. The Allies killed tens of thousands of German civilians, ports such as
Hamburg and the industrial city of the Ruhr. At the same time German planes shot down hundreds of Allied
bombers causing heavy losses. Even though German industry was slowly degraded, the German wouldnt
While all this bombing was going on, Allied scientist in America were working on the most powerful bomb of all:
the atomic bomb. British scientists had started working in the idea before, but they didnt have enough resources
or radioactive material, so the British passed on their theories and technical information to the United States, who
did have those resources. But the government of the United States wasnt the only one trying to build the atomic
bomb. The Germans were trying that too and it turned out to be like a race towards the same end. The Germans,
however, didnt have enough resources or crucial technical information and after Norwegian commandos
destroyed the Germans heavy water facility (used to separate the uranium needed for the bomb) the German
project had to end. Anyway, American officials didnt trust that the German project had not been destroyed so
they kept going with theirs. After nearly two years they came up with a working design. The tryout was a success
which meant that America possessed the most destructive weapon ever created.

The early successes of the Germans were
fading, and this was motivated but four
changes. The first one was that what had
begun as a war between Nazi invaders and
Russian became a war to save the Russian
motherland, and that is how the Russians got
the strength and motivation to drive the
Germans out of their homeland. The second
change was the Russian victory called
General Winter. Successive winters had
affected the Nazis lives and supplies and their
morale was low. The third change was the
astonishing recovery of Soviet industry. The
Soviets received some American and British
help but they also rebuilt their whole industry
behind the Ural Mountains, a safe place. The
forth change was that Germans became
victims of their own military tactics. At the
beginning of the war theses tactics were very
innovative but they became predictable and
the Russian learn them and were able to
exploit them catching the Nazis by surprise.
The crucial year in this front, which can be
considered as a fifth change, was 1943, when
the battle of Stalingrad took place. It was the
most destructive battle the world has ever
seen. This battle started when the Germans
tried to break the back of Soviet industry. After
Stalingrad the Germans were out of the centre
of Russia and by 1944 Ukraine was in Soviet
hands. The Soviet forces also retook large
parts of Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet Union pressured its Allies to open a
second front in the West. The Allies first invaded
Sicily and then the rest of Italy. Mussolini then
surrendered in 1943. This attack became a civil
war because most Italians sided with the Allies
but some of them continued fighting for the
exiled Mussolini with the help of the Germans.
The fighting in Italy cost Germany much more
than it did the Allies, which entered Austria by
the spring of 1945. The most important second
front, however, was opened on June 1944 when
the Allies disembarked in Normandy. The
Germans established there fought fiercely but
the Allies were superior in men, material and air
force. During July and August the Allies swept
through France, liberating Paris and pushing into
Belgium. Over the winter they destroyed
German forces in the Rhineland and Holland. In
April 1945, the Allies crossed the Rhine. The
German collapsed and American tanks went
south as British and Canadian forces went north.
Most Germans preferred to surrender to
Americans or British than face the Russian to the
east. At the same time the Russian troops were
approaching fast. By late April they had taken
Prague and Vienna. As a consequence, Adolf
Hitler killed himself on April 30 and on May 2,
the heart of the city was captured and the
Soviets red flag flew from the Brandenburg Gate
in Berlin. On May 7 the Germans signed a
document of unconditional surrender. By the
next day the war in Europe was over.


The war in the Pacific came to an end four moths later. The U.S. Navy had won
one of its greatest victories when they destroyed most of Japans ships in the
gulfs of the Philippine islands. Japanese pilots outnumbered in the air, mounted
suicide attacks on American ships. In June 1945, the Japanese island of
Okinawa fell. The Soviets marched through Manchuria and into Korea. On July
the heads of the U.S., British and Chinese governments demanded Japan to
surrender or be destroyed. Japan refused to surrender so the United States
decided to use the atomic bomb. Contrary to public opinion, President Truman,
Roosevelts successor decided to use it. On August 6 a single atomic bomb
was dropped on Hiroshima and three days later a second one was dropped on
Nagasaki. Truman warned the Japanese that the United States would use as
many atomic bombs as necessary to make Japan surrender. On August 14
Japan surrendered. The atomic bomb, apart from destruction, had as
consequence that the world had now a weapon that could destroy not just cities
and peoples bit humanity itself.

In 1945, after the World War II was
over, many Europeans faced a world
that hardly existed anymore. The
product of war industry had
destroyed factories, ports and
railroads. Much of Europe lay
destroyed and vulnerable to the
rivalry of the post-war superpowers:
the Unites States and the Soviet
The human losses were
unbelievable: nearly 50 million
people died. This happened as a
consequence of the advanced
technology used in the attacks and
the ambitions of the Nazis for pure
race. Also, World War II devolved
into smaller conflicts: civil war in
Greece, religious conflicts in
Yugoslavia and political battles in
France. Hitlers empire and the
people involved in it were
recriminated for years.