World War II Summary - socialstudiesguy.com
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World War WII A BASIC SUMMARY
Michael Quinones www.socialstudiesguy.com
Benito Mussolini Italy was led by Benito
Mussolini [president] for about 22 years. Leader of Italy’s Fascist party. Main ideas of his
government: Extreme nationalism Strong military Use violence when necessary to suppress dissent Against personal freedom Against big business
Adolf Hitler Germany was lead by Adolf
Hitler [Fuehrer] for about 12 years.
Leader of Germany’s Nazi party.
Main ideas of his
white supremacy Strong military
Control of Central Europe Elimination of Jews
The Third Reich
The 12 year period from 1933-
1945 was called the 3rd Reich during Hitler’s leadership. The Nazi Party attempted to
pattern itself after the great episodes in German history. The government was
responsible the invasion and destruction of Europe and the mass murder of millions of Jews in Eastern Europe.
Countries and their leaders Japan was led by Emperor
Hirohito for about 20 years. Absolute Monarch of Japan. Main ideas of his
government: Modern version of ancient Japan. Held absolute control over people’s lives. Viciously loyal military. Wanted control over fellow oriental Asians [China and Korea].
Munich Pact [Munich Agreement] European countries became nervous over Germany’s invasions. England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain [before Churchill]
met with Hitler to gauge his intentions. What did Hitler tell him? Czechoslovakia was all he wanted and no one else had to be worried. Chamberlain assured Hitler that if he was telling the truth the allies understood his position.
Josef Stalin The Soviet Union was led by
Josef Stalin [Communist party leader] for about 30 years.
Leader of the Communist
Main ideas of his
government: Control every portion of people’s lives. Strong military. Have equality among regular people. No private businesses for profit.
Winston Churchill Great Britain was led by
Winston Churchill [Prime Minister] for about 10 years.
Prime Minister of England. Main ideas of his
government: England must be a strong leader in the world. Government must help people succeed. England must cooperate with its fellow countries.
In 1928 the United States and France [England, Japan, Italy and Germany also joined the pact] initiated a peace agreement to renounce [reject or avoid] aggression. Frank B. Kellogg was the U.S. Secretary of State and Aristide Briand was the French foreign minister.
Despite the agreement to not engage in unprovoked warfare Germany, Italy and Japan all violated the agreement and invaded other countries.
Violations of this “pact” was the source of future prosecutions for war crimes after World War II ended.
The United States, led by F.D.R., decided it was best to remain isolationist as much as possible.
However, the U.S. did provide opportunities for foreign nations to trade with it. The U.S. passed so-called Neutrality Acts in 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1939.
Weapons and supplies were sold to European nations friendly to the United States.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s Quarantine’s Speech
F.D.R. believed it was in the United States’ best interest to avoid nations that were involved in aggression towards other nations.
F.D.R. did not mention specific nations but it was obvious he was talking about Italy, Japan and Germany who had attacked other nations in Asia and Europe.
The speech raised tension between the U.S. and the aggressor nations.
Non-Aggression Pact [Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
This was a pledge [promise] by Germany and the Soviet Union to remain neutral if either country was attacked by another country.
The pact was signed on August 23, 1939 but was violated by Germany on June 22, 1941 after it invaded the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately due to very harsh weather the German invasion ended in disaster with heavy casualties and surrenders.
F.D.R. delivered a State of the Union Address [Youtube speech] on January 6, 1941 about what he called the Four Freedoms.
Roosevelt told Congress that he looked forward to a word founded on:
 Freedom of speech and expression  Freedom of worship [religion]  Freedom from want [basic standard of living is met]  Freedom from fear based on reduced military armaments
Lend-Lease Act of 1941
In order to avoid conflict and remain a non-combatant F.D.R. tried to comply with the Neutrality Acts he decided to limit involvement to lending military equipment and lending money to foreign nations. The legislation raised German suspicions toward the U.S. and it stepped up U-boat attacks on Allied ships. After the war the U.S. received returned equipment and discounted by 90% money it lent to foreign nations.
Rosie the Riveter During World War II with most men overseas fighting the Axis Powers many women worked industrial factory jobs to produce war supplies. The manual labor that women performed was much different than the stereotypical domestic and clerical work many women were accustomed to. There contributions to the war effort was essential to the U.S. victory. “Rosie the Riveter” became an iconic image used as propaganda to motivate women to perform non-traditional factory jobs.
W.A.C.s [Women’s Army Corps]
Beginning in 1942 an all female U.S. army unit called the Women’s Army Corps was formed and given full active status in 1943.
The unit performed support role such as air traffic control for the U.S. Army Air Corps [forerunner of the Air Force].
There was significant opposition to the female service personnel by traditionalists therefore a female draft was never begun.
General McArthur called the WACs his best soldiers because they were worked harder, complained less, and had more discipline than men.
Japan’s Aggression at Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The attack was done using war planes.
Attack was a near total surprise but killed over 2,000 U.S. servicemen.
F.D.R. called the day one “that would live in infamy.”
The United States declared war against the Axis powers days after.
Korematsu vs. United States:1944 [Opposition to Japanese Internment] Facts of the Case: Supreme Court’s Ruling: President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order excluding/removing all Japanese-Americans from the West Coast of the United States. After the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. Japanese-Americans were forced to sell their homes and businesses. They were then relocated to “internment camps” in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Many Japanese-Americans had been in the U.S. for several generations and almost all were natural born citizens. Many sued to be released but all failed in their appeals. Fred Korematsu sued for his release and was granted appeal in 1944.
Constitutional Issue: Was the executive order issued by the President allowable and within his power? Were Japanese-Americans treated unfairly during a time of war?
The opinion determined that as Commander in Chief the president had the duty, power and responsibility to use his judgment to determine how to handle war time emergencies so the “temporary” relocation was not considered a violation of Korematsu’s rights.
In 1941 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started a top secret program to create a weapon of mass destruction.
The program was code named Manhattan.
Scientists from countries such as Italy, Germany, Austria and the U.S. were able to enrich uranium and plutonium. The process was based on atomic chain reactions which massive amounts of energy to release.
The weapon became known as the atomic bomb.
The United States Strikes Back!
Within three days of each other the United States dropped two atomic bombs. Code names were Fat man and Little Boy First one on Hiroshima, Japan. Second one on Nagasaki, Japan. At least 80,000 killed instantly. Many more died due to radiation poison later on.
The Destruction of Fat man and Little Boy
The End of World War II
Germany was defeated by the Allies by May of 1945 called VE Day [Victory over Europe day]. Japan surrendered to the United States on in September 1945 called VJ Day [Victory over Japan day].
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