PEOPLE

 

Winston Churchill

.       Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-45, again from 1951-55

.       Led Britain through period of lonely resistance to Hitler's expansion before U.S. and U.S.S.R. entered war in 1941

.       Frequently met with U.S. President Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Stalin to plan Allied war strategy

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

.       Republican elected President of the U.S. in 1952 and again in 1956

.       Served as Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe during WWII

.       Oversaw successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, 1944

 

Adolf Hitler

.       Nazi Party leader who became German dictator in 1933

.       Unchecked militarism pushed Europe into war

.       Authorized the Holocaust, mass murder of 6 million Jews

.       Committed suicide in 1945, one day before Germany surrendered to Allies

 

Benito Mussolini

.       Fascist Prime Minister of Italy from 1922 until 1943

.       Adopted the title "Il Duce," which meant "the noble leader"

.       Promised to fight alongside Hitler in war against Allies, but his armies were poorly led and ill-prepared and were easily defeated

.       Overthrown in 1943 by Italian insurgents and assassinated two years later

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

.       Democratic President of the U.S., first elected in 1932 during Great Depression; reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944

.       Served as President for all but 4 months of World War II

.       Died of a stroke in office, April 1945; succeeded by his vice president, Harry S. Truman

Josef Stalin

.       Powerful Soviet Communist dictator who rose to power in the 1920s

.       During WWII, was an uneasy ally of U.S. and Britain in fight against Nazis

.       Felt (not without cause) that his nation bore the brunt of the war against Nazi Germany

.       Quickly became Cold War enemy of U.S. after WWII's end

 

Harry S. Truman

.       Democratic Vice President under President Franklin D. Roosevelt

.       Became President upon Roosevelt's death in April 1945, during last months of war

.       Under his command, U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan

 

 

EVENTS

 

1938 Kristallnacht Pogrom

.       "Night of Broken Glass"

.       Two-day outbreak of anti-Semitic violence and persecution throughout Germany

.       Encouraged by the Nazi government

.       Many historians now view Kristallnacht as the beginning of the Holocaust

 

1939 German Invasion of Poland

.       Act that led France and Great Britain to declare war against Germany

.       In 1938, Hitler had made a deal with France and Great Britain, promising no further territorial expansion if they allowed him to annex part of Czechoslovakia

.       Hitler broke his promise by invading Poland

 

1940 Selective Training and Service Act

.       Made all American men between ages of 18 and 45 eligible for military draft

.       Signed by President Franklin Roosevelt 1.5 years before the U.S. joined in World War II

 


1941 German Invasion of USSR

.       In June, Hitler's armies invaded Soviet Union, opening Eastern Front in war

.       Most WWII deaths occurred on Eastern Front; 30 million Soviets would die in war

.       Marked beginning of uneasy anti-Nazi alliance between Communist Russia, U.S. and Britain

 

1941 Pearl Harbor

.       Japanese bombers attacked U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 December

.       Attack killed thousands and destroyed much of U.S. Pacific fleet

.       One day after attack, U.S. declared war on Japan, then Germany and Italy (allied with Japan) declared war on U.S.

 

1944 D-Day

.       On 6 June, some 3 million Allied troops with thousands of planes and ships attacked Nazi positions on Normandy beaches in northern France

.       Largest amphibious invasion in history

.       After fierce fighting, Allied forces succeeded in establishing beachhead, began pushing toward Germany

.       Major turning point in the war, marked beginning of end for Nazi Germany

 

1945 German Surrender

.       Hitler committed suicide as Allied troops approached Berlin, 1 May

.       Germany officially surrendered one day later

.       Officially ended European war, but did not end World War II, as Japan kept fighting

 

1945 Hiroshima

.       U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped atomic bomb on city of Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August

.       Atomic bombing authorized by President Harry S. Truman

.       Resulted in destruction of the city and the instant death of estimated 100,000 people

.       First of two nuclear attacks that effectively ended World War II

 


1945 Nagasaki

.       U.S. bomber Bockscar dropped atomic bomb on Nagasaki in southern Japan, 9 August

.       Unlike Hiroshima, Nagasaki was old city with wooden buildings packed closely together

.       Total destruction more far-reaching than in Hiroshima; instantly killed one-third of total population in Nagasaki

.       Post-attack landscape described by Japanese report as "a graveyard with not a tombstone standing"

.       Second of two nuclear attacks that effectively ended World War II

 

 

GROUPS

 

National Socialist German Workers Party

.       Better known as Nazi Party; led by Adolf Hitler from 1920s until his suicide in 1945

.       Controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945

.       Its government is referred to as the Third Reich

 

 

CONCEPTS

 

Allied Powers

.       During World War II, the alliance of nations that fought against the Axis powers

.       Included Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the U.S., China

.       Also included France before it was defeated and occupied by Germany

 

Axis Powers

.       During World War II, the alliance of fascist nations that fought against the Allied powers

.       Included Germany, Italy, and Japan

 

Blitzkrieg

.       German word that means "Lightning Warfare"

.       Military strategy used by Hitler's armies to overwhelm enemies; bombardment by air, followed immediately by rapid ground attacks

 


"The Good War"

.       Romanticized phrase used to refer to World War II

.       Calls to mind the meaning of Allied victory: defeat of fascism, new inclusion of blacks and women in American economy, new powerful role for U.S. in world

.       Tainted by extreme destruction, particularly in Nagasaki and Hiroshima

 

The Holocaust

.       Nazi genocide of European Jews

.       Built machine-like bureaucratic system to murder 6 million innocent people

.       Only ended with German defeat in war

.       Allies took little special action to stop it during war

 

"Jap"

.       Derogatory term for Japanese

.       Commonly used by Americans during World War II

.       Came to be associated with animalistic, savage features and behavior

.       Helped justify racist government policies such as Japanese internment and extreme violence on the Pacific front

 

Kamikaze Fliers

.       Japanese military pilots who were given suicide missions during WWII

.       These pilots few bomb-filled planes into American ships, terrorizing American crews

.       Responsible for many of the American military deaths in Okinawa and Iwo Jima

 

Lend-Lease

.       Government program that supplied weapons, military vessels, and other supplies to other Allied powers in the early years of World War II

.       Authorized by President Roosevelt in the years before the U.S. entered the war

.       Seemed to contradict FDR's promise of American neutrality and hinted at future U.S. military involvement

 

"Little Boy"

.       Nickname for atomic bomb dropped by Americans on Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945

.       First nuclear weapon ever used in war

 

 

PLACES

 

Auschwitz, Poland

.       Site of largest Nazi concentration camp in Holocaust

.       More than 1 million Jewish prisoners killed at Auschwitz, many in gas chambers

 

Hiroshima, Japan

.       Large city in western Honshu, Japan

.       Headquarters of Japanese Second Army during WWII

.       First city in world to suffer atomic bomb attack, August 1945

 

Normandy, France

.       Northwestern region of France, borders English Channel

.       Site of largest amphibious invasion in history, 6 June 1944

.       3 million Allied troops landed on Normandy beaches, overwhelming German defenders

 

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

.       Location of primary naval base of U.S. Pacific fleet

.       Suffered surprise attack by Japanese aircraft, 7 December 1941