Content Overview

Unit 7: c. 1900-Present

World War 2

Causes of the War

Aggression by Axis Powers 

German Aggression

Germany invaded Rhineland in 1936 & Austria in 1938

Italian Aggression

Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935-56 & Albania in 1939

Japanese Aggression

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 & attacked China in 1937

The 2 Alliances 

Axis

Allies

Germany
Italy
Japan

Britain
France
Russia

Start of the War 

Germany invaded Sudetenland in 1938

Britain & France opposed this, but they signed Munich Accord (1938) with Germany, allowing it to conquer Sudetenland but nothing else, in an effort to prevent war

German broke the Munich Accord by conquering Poland in Sep 1939, causing Britain & France to declare war on Germany

The Middle of the War

German Blitzkrieg 

German forces quickly took over most of Europe (Poland, Scandinavia, France, etc.)

In July 1940, German forces occupy France → Allied forces retreat to Dunkirk (a port in France)

German forces bombed London (Sep 1940 - May 1941) → Lots of damage in London → British air force drove away the German bombers

Germany attacked USSR (Operation Barbarossa, Jun - Dec 1941) → Defeated Leningrad → Failed to attack Moscow due to lack of resources in Russian wintertime

Germany used U-boats (submarines) to sink Allied ships

Japan's Entry into WW2 

German victories in Europe inspired Japan

Japan conquered many places in East & Southeast Asia, including French Indochina & Singapore

US imposed an oil embargo on Japan in retaliation for Japan's occupation of French Indochina

US's Entry into WW2 

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor (Dec 1941) in retaliation for US's oil embargo on Japa

US declared war on Japan

Germany & Italy declared war on US

The Holocaust 

The Holocaust was the Nazi's killing of millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc. They sent these people to concentration camps, where they were worked to death. Over 6 million Jews died

The End of the War

Allied Victory in Europe 

US & USSR had a huge industrial capacity (much larger than Germany). US also developed sonar technology to track German U-boats (submarines)

At the 2nd Battle of El Alamein (late 1942), Allies defeated Germany, preventing Axis advance into North Africa

The Allies then invaded Sicily & mainland Italy, forcing Italy to surrender to the Allies in Sep 1943

Britain & US staged a huge attack on Normandy (in France) on D-Day (June 6, 1944)

The Allies then bombed major industrial centers of Germany & proceeded to march from Normandy to Berlin. Meanwhile, USSR was pushing eastward into Germany

In May 1945, Allies reach Berlin from the West, while USSR reaches Berlin from East → Forced Nazi Germany to surrender

Allied Victory in Japan 

US initiated a cryptography operation (called Magic) to decipher Japanese military movements

US defeated Japan in Battles of Midway & Guadalcanal (1942-1943) → Gave US the advantage in the war

US took over more Japanese islands such as Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Philippines, etc.

US dropped 2 atomic bombs in Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Japan was forced to surrender (Sep 1945)

Post-war Situation

Post-War Developments 

Yalta Compromise

Agreed to divide Germany into 4 zones of occupation (ruled by US, Britain, France, and USSR). Berlin would also be divided similarly

United Nations

An international body of nations meant to promote international cooperation & prevent another major war. It was created in Oct 1945, after WW2

The Cold War 

A competition between US & USSR where the US sought to promote democracy while the USSR sought to promote communism throughout the world. This was the result of a failed peace agreement after WW2

The Cold War is described in Unit 8