World War II

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World War II : 

By: Brian Surkan The Walker School World War II

WWII Bigger than WWI : 

Considerable fighting on THREE (and a half) continents Deaths (civilian and military): WWI: 16.5 million (1.5 % of world population) WWII: 72.7 million (3.7 % of world population) More use of Total War rather than isolated war Civilians targeted (deaths): WWI: 6.8 million WWII: 41.7 million Deadlier weapons Planes / bombers / nuclear bomb / portable machine guns common Government-induced starvation / purges of unpopular groups WWII Bigger than WWI

Prelude to War – Warnings : 

1919 Versailles Treaty – Germany is humiliated 1919 Henry Morgenthau predicts war within 20 years 1925/6 Hitler detailed his intentions in “Mein Kampf” 1931 – Japan breaks naval treaty of 1922 / Manchuria 1930s – Churchill warned Britain about Hitler 1933/4 – Hitler becomes Führer (dictator) of Germany 1935 – Germany implements mandatory conscription 1935 – Britain agrees to let Germany expand its navy 1936 – Spanish Civil War: Training ground for WWII 1936 – Germany remilitarizes the Rhineland Prelude to War – Warnings

Prelude to War – Alarms : 

1937 – Japan begins full-scale war with China 1938 – “Anschluß” (union) with Austria 1938 – France / Britain agree to Sudetenland in Czech Chamberlain to Britain: "This is the second time that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time." 1938 – Hitler to press: Prepare Germans for War 1939 – Hitler conquers Czechoslovakia 1939 – Poland gives an Enigma machine to FRA / BRIT 1939 (Sept 1) – Germany invades Poland Prelude to War – Alarms

Causes : 

German Frustration with Treaty of Versailles Political borders separate Germanic peoples Reparation payments crippled German economy Deep resentment among Germans Worldwide Depression leads to Radical Solutions Economic stress leads to radical solutions / strong leaders Desperate times force people to choose a group for survival Minority tribes get sacrificed by majority Militarization / Gov’t projects provide jobs Military conquest has lure of loot and tribute Causes

Causes (2) : 

Policy of Appeasement / Isolationism Hitler and Japan’s aggression met passively by Allies Fear of another Great War keeps Allies from action No country wanted to address growing problems Nationalism / Colonialism We are unique and better than others Others are inferior AND need to be controlled by us Protective tariffs reduced int’l trade and incr. animosity Without int’l trade, colonies become important Great people need “Lebensraum” (living space) Causes (2)

Technical Changes: War of Mobility : 

Tactics / strategies updated since WWI technology Blitzkrieg (lightning war): Radio & Mechanization Quick movements / direct, encrypted communication Combined air / tanks / soldiers / artillery Radar invented (Feb 26, 1935) Technical Changes: War of Mobility

Mechanization : 

Tanks are much more refined than in WWI Radio / Rotating Turrets / Bigger guns / Thicker armor Soviet T-34: 76/85 mm gun / 52 mm armor / diesel Königstiger: 88 mm gun / 150 – 180 mm armor / gasoline Planes are mainstream fighting machines Dive bombing, heavy bombing, fighters, reconnaissance Aircraft carriers displaced battleships Un-manned, long range rockets came of age Submarines U.S. & Germany used subs (Germans used wolf packs) Focused heavily on merchant marines of island nations Mechanization

Axis War Strategy: Germany : 

German Plan (Schlieffen Plan meets Blitzkrieg) Subdue France (via Belgium), BeNeLux & Scandinavia Avoid the Maginot Line along French-German border Subdue Britain via air and land invasion Attack Africa as a diversion to occupy British troops Threaten British access to India via the Suez Canal Prepare for main event: Eastern Europe & USSR Axis War Strategy: Germany

Axis War Strategy: Japanese and Italy : 

Japanese Plan Secure a large resource base for Japan and her colonies Systematically eliminate all major opposition in SE Asia Believe Western interests in defending SE Asia limited Italy Plan Glory, loot and tribute -> lured Germans into Africa Axis War Strategy: Japanese and Italy

Allied War Strategies : 

Soviets (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Seize the Baltic states Maximize the participation of the allies Britain Subdue the Germans free Allies Maximize use of Russian military against Germany U.S.A. Create additional fronts to relieve Eastern front Subdue Germans & Japanese and free Allies Allied War Strategies

1940 – Jan - May : 

April 9: Germany invades Norway and Denmark May 10: Winston Churchill replaces Chamberlain May 10: Germany invades France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland May 15: Holland surrenders to Nazis May 26: British Army driven from Europe Evacuation from Dunkirk (every boat / left weapons) 1940 – Jan - May

1940: June - December : 

June 14: Germans enter Paris July 10: Battle of Britain begins Arial bombing raids / blackout rules / Zeppelins Nov 5: FDR Re-elected for 3rd term Nov 30: FDR gives $100m loan /50 planes - Flying Tigers Dec 29: FDR’s Arsenal of Democracy Speech 1940: June - December

1941 : 

Feb 14: First units of Rommel’s “Afrika Korps” arrive March 11: FDR Signs Lend-Lease Program April 6: Nazis invade Greece and Yugoslavia June 22: Germany attacks USSR (too late in year) July 26: Roosevelt freezes Japanese assets in U.S. Dec 7: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor Air & mini-submarine attack Sunday morning / detected by radar / U.S. not ready Carriers not in port / few U.S. plains get off ground Dec 8: U.S. declares war on Japan Dec 11: U.S. declares war on Germany and Italy Dec 19: Roosevelt starts censorship of all int’l commun. 1941

1942 : 

Jan 13: Germans begin U-Boat offensive on East U.S. July 9: Germans drive towards Stalingrad Sept 13: Battle of Stalingrad begins Emotional battle for both Hitler and Stalin 1942

1943 : 

May 13: Germans and Italians lose North African Front July 9/10: Allies land in Sicily Aided by Italian Mafia in exchange for tolerance July 25/6: Mussolini Captured, Italian Fascist gov’t falls Sept 8: Italian Surrender announced Sept 11: Germans occupy Rome Sept 12: Germans rescue Mussolini Oct 13: Italy declares war on Germany Nov 28: FDR, Stalin, Churchill meet at Tehran Dec 24-26: Soviets launch offensives on Ukraine Front 1943

1944 : 

Jan 6: Soviet troops advance into Poland June 5: Allies enter Rome Jun 6: D-Day Landings in Normandy, France Jun 13: First German V-1 Rocket Attack on Britain July 20: Assassination Attempt on Hitler Failed July 24: Soviets liberate first concentration camp Aug 25: Liberation of Paris Sep 13: U.S. Troops reach Siegfried Line (Germany) Dec 16-27: Battle of the Bulge (last big counterattack) 1944

1945 : 

Feb 4-11: Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill meet at Yalta Agree to post-war occupation regions Beginning of the expanded Soviet Union in East Europe Feb 13/14 - Dresden destroyed by firestorm Mar 7: Allies establish bridge over Rhine at Cologne April: Allies discover stolen Nazi art in salt mines April 12: FDR Dies and Truman becomes President April 21: Soviets reach Berlin April 30: Hitler commits suicide May 7: Unconditional Surrender of German Forces May 8: V-E (Victory in Europe) Day 1945

1945 (Pacific) : 

Feb 19: U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima April 1: U.S. Forces invade Okinawa Aug 6: First atomic bomb dropped (Hiroshima) Aug 8: USSR Aug 9: Second atomic bomb dropped (Nagasaki) Aug 14: Japanese agree to unconditional surrender Sept 2: V-J (Victory over Japan) Day Oct 24: United Nations Born Nov 20: Nuremberg war crimes trials begin 1945 (Pacific)

Lessons from WWII : 

Victory is not complete when your enemy surrenders Stable new government / economy needs to be establish. Unconditional surrender is an expensive requirement The enemy of your enemy is not your friend Think beyond short term alliances at all times History is written by the victors All sides committed atrocities in the war Incendiary (Dresden, Tokyo), Hiroshima, Nagasaki Unrestricted U.S. submarine warfare in the Pacific Abuses of POWs on all sides / internment of Japanese in USA Pacific and Eastern Fronts more important than West Lessons from WWII

Lessons from WWII (2) : 

The World Wars may be better viewed as a single war When survival is on the line, humans become tribal Economic power triumphs over tactics and technology U.S. built ships faster than Germany could sink them During war, it is hard to remain neutral Are soldiers guilty of the evil policies they must enact? Ethnic cleansing works Germanic people deported from neighboring countries after war – Germans are considered second class citizens Over-confidence will always ultimately destroy dictators Hitler would have continued as long as he was winning Lessons from WWII (2)

Lessons from WWII (3) : 

Mistreatment of conquered countries leads to anger Cost of cruel occupation is too high to bear long Resentment of mistreatment lasts for generations Losers will be judged for the morality of their actions Following orders is no excuse Rules of the victors will be applied in such trials Victors not generally prosecuted for their atrocities Lawlessness of war leaves opportunities for criminals Mistreatment of conquered peoples was not uncommon Power and propaganda are profoundly influential People can be manipulated into believing many things Lessons from WWII (3)

Permanent Effects of WWII : 

United Nations Created Post-War Soviet Union Stronger Keeps all occupied eastern European territories Received extensive economic & technological support through Lend-Lease program during the war Pillaged every possible thing from those few occupied regions it was not allowed to keep (e.g. Austria) Received nuclear and other secrets from Americans, allowing it to be a formidable foe during Cold War Payroll Tax Collection in United States Taxes deducted directly from pay by employers Reduces protests to high taxes Permanent Effects of WWII

Deaths : 


Deaths : 

Military Casualties: 25 million / Civilian: ~42 million 3.71% of 1939 World Population Allies Soviet Union: ~11 million military / ~11 million civilian United States: ~417 k military / 1,700 civilian China: 3.8 million military / 16.2 million civilian France: 217 k military / 267 k civilian Axis Germany: 5.5 million military / 1.6 million civilian Japan: 2.1 million military / 580 k civilian Italy: 301 k military / 145 k civilian Deaths

Footnote: Tuskeegee Airmen : 

332 & 99 Squadrons Best bomber escort pilots of the U.S. Air Force Blacks considered mentally incapable to pilot in battle at WWII outset Blacks determined to prove whites wrong Black press lobbied heavily for black fighter pilots Military segregated at outset of WWII Even ground crew and support staff were black Little assistance from experienced white air force personnel Blacks allowed into air force, but only separate Eleanor Roosevelt flew with black pilot: won support of her husband Jan 16, 1941 – All black air unit formed Mid-1942 before they were called to action Executive order 9981: Truman outlawed segregation in US Military Footnote: Tuskeegee Airmen

Sources : Sources

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