WORLD WAR II
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.Slide2
SECOND WORLD WARSlide3
World WarÂ II
also known as theÂ
Second World War
, was aÂ
Â that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involvedÂ
the vast majority of the world's countries
âincluding all of theÂ
âeventually forming two opposingÂ
Â and theÂ
. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of "
", the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind theÂ
, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, includingÂ
Â (in which approximately 11 million people were killed)Â and theÂ
strategic bombing of industrial and population
Â (in which approximately one million were killed and which included theÂ
atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
,Â it resulted in an estimatedÂ
50 million to 85 million fatalities
. These made World WarÂ II theÂ
The war in Europe concluded with anÂ
invasion of Germany
by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in
by Soviet troops and the subsequentÂ
German unconditional surrender
8 May 1945
Â by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United
Â on the Japanese cities ofÂ
Â on 6 August and 9 August respectively. With
of the Japanese archipelago
Â imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, and theÂ
Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan
invasion of Manchuria
Â on 15 August 1945. Thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies.Slide5
World WarÂ II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. TheÂ
Â (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victoriousÂ
âthe United States, the Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom, and Franceâbecame theÂ
United Nations Security Council.
The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rivalÂ
, setting the stage for theÂ
, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while theÂ
Â began. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towardsÂ
. Political integration, especiallyÂ
, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and to create a common identity.Slide6
World War IÂ had radically altered theÂ political European map, with the defeat of theÂ Central PowersâincludingÂ Austria-Hungary,Â GermanyÂ and theÂ Ottoman Empireâand the 1917Â BolshevikÂ seizure of powerÂ inÂ Russia, which eventually led to the founding of theÂ Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the victoriousÂ Allies of World War I, such as France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Romania, gained territory, and newÂ nation-statesÂ were created out of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman andÂ Russian Empires.
To prevent a future world war, theÂ League of NationsÂ was created during theÂ 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The
primary goals were to prevent armed conflict throughÂ collective security military andÂ naval disarmament, and settling international disputes through peaceful negotiations and arbitration.Slide7
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS ASSEMBLY HELD IN GENEVA SWITERLAND 1930Slide8
ADOLF HITLER AT A GERMANY NATIONAL SOCIALIST POLITICAL RALLY IN WEIMAR OCTOBER 1930Slide9
TheÂ KuomintangÂ (KMT) party in China launched aÂ unification campaignÂ againstÂ regional warlordsÂ and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s, but was soon embroiled in aÂ civil warÂ against its formerÂ Chinese Communist PartyÂ allies.Â In 1931, anÂ increasingly militaristicÂ Japanese Empire, which had long sought influence in ChinaÂ as the first step of what its government saw as the country'sÂ right to rule Asia, used theÂ Mukden IncidentÂ as a pretext toÂ launch an invasion of ManchuriaÂ and establish theÂ puppet stateÂ of Manchukuo.
Too weak to resist Japan, China appealed to theÂ League of Nations Â for help. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after beingÂ condemnedÂ for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several battles, inÂ Shanghai,Â
, until theÂ
TruceÂ was signed in 1933. Thereafter, Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression inÂ Manchuria, andÂ
.Â After the 1936Â Xi'an Incident, the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire to present aÂ united frontÂ to oppose Japan.Slide10
SPANISH CIVIL WAR 1936-39
When civil war broke out in Spain, Hitler and Mussolini lent military support to theÂ Nationalist rebels, led by GeneralÂ Francisco Franco. The Soviet Union supported the existing government, theÂ Spanish Republic. Over 30,000 foreign volunteers, known as theÂ International Brigades, also fought against the Nationalists. Both Germany and the USSR used thisÂ proxy warÂ as an opportunity to test in combat their most advanced weapons and tactics. TheÂ bombing of GuernicaÂ by the GermanÂ Condor LegionÂ in April 1937 heightened widespread concerns that the next major war would include extensiveÂ terror bombing Â attacks on civilians.
Â The Nationalists won the civil war in April 1939; Franco, now dictator, bargained with both sides during the Second World War, but never concluded any major agreements. He did sendÂ volunteersÂ to fight on theÂ Eastern FrontÂ under German command but Spain remained neutral and did not allow either side to use its territory.Slide11
JAPANESE INVASION OF CHINA
In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Beijing after instigating
Polo Bridge Incident, which culminated in the Japanese campaign to invade all of China.
The Soviets quickly signed aÂ non-aggression pact with ChinaÂ to lendÂ materielÂ support, effectively ending China's priorÂ co-operation with Germany.Â GeneralissimoÂ Chiang Kai-shekÂ deployed hisÂ best armyÂ toÂ defend Shanghai, but, after three months of fighting, Shanghai fell. The Japanese continued to push the Chinese forces back,Â capturing the capital NankingÂ in December 1937. After the fall of Nanking, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants wereÂ murdered by the Japanese.
In March 1938, Nationalist Chinese forces won theirÂ first major victory at
Â but then the city ofÂ XuzhouÂ was taken by JapaneseÂ in May.Â In June 1938, Chinese forces stalled the Japanese advance byÂ flooding the Yellow River; this
bought time for the Chinese to prepare their
atÂ Wuhan, but theÂ city was takenÂ by
military victories did not bring about the collapse of Chinese resistance that Japan had hoped to achieve; instead the Chinese government relocated inland toÂ ChongqingÂ and continued the war.Slide12
SOVIET JAPANESE BRODER CONFICTS
In the mid-to-late 1930s, Japanese forces inÂ ManchukuoÂ had sporadic border clashes with the Soviet Union and Mongolia. The Japanese doctrine ofÂ
Japan's expansion northward, was
by the Imperial Army during this time. With the Japanese defeat atÂ
Â in 1939, the ongoing Second Sino-Japanese WarÂ
Â and ally Nazi Germany pursuing neutrality with the Soviets, this policy would prove difficult to maintain. Japan and the Soviet Union eventually signed aÂ Neutrality Pact Â in April 1941, and Japan adopted the doctrine ofÂ
, promoted by the Navy, which took its focus southward, eventually leading to its war with the United States and the Western Allies.Slide13
RED ARMY ARTILLERY UNIT DURING THE BATTLE OF LAKE KHASAN 1938Slide14
EUROPEAN OCCUPATIONS AND AGREEMENTS
In Europe, Germany and Italy were becoming more aggressive. In March 1938, GermanyÂ annexed Austria, again provokingÂ little response from other European powers.
Â Encouraged, Hitler began pressing German claims on theÂ Sudetenland, an area of Â CzechoslovakiaÂ with a predominantlyÂ ethnic GermanÂ population; and soon Britain and France followed the counsel of British Prime MinisterÂ Neville Chamberlain and conceded this territory to Germany in theÂ Munich Agreement, which was made against the wishes of the Czechoslovak government, in exchange for a promise of no further territorial demands.Â Soon afterwards, Germany and Italy forced Czechoslovakia toÂ cede additional territory Â toÂ HungaryÂ and Poland annexed Czechoslovakia'sÂ
Although all of Germany's stated demands had been satisfied by the agreement, privately Hitler was furious that British interference had prevented him from seizing all of Czechoslovakia in one operation. In subsequent speeches Hitler attacked British and Jewish "war-mongers" and in January 1939Â secretly ordered a major build-up of the German navy Â to challenge British naval supremacy. In March 1939,Germany invaded the remainder of CzechoslovakiaÂ and subsequently split it into the GermanÂ Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a pro-GermanÂ client state, theÂ Slovak Republic. Â Hitler also deliveredÂ an ultimatumÂ to Lithuania, forcing the concession of theÂ
WAR BREAKS OUT IN EUROPE
On 1 September 1939, GermanyÂ invaded Poland Â under the false pretext that the Poles had carried out a series ofÂ sabotage operations against German targets near the border.
Two days later, on 3 September, after a British ultimatum to Germany to cease military operations was ignored, Britain and France, followed by the fully independentÂ Dominions
Â of theÂ British Commonwealth
Australia (3 September),Â Canada Â (10 September),Â New ZealandÂ (3 September), andÂ
(6 September)âdeclared war on Germany. However, initially the alliance providedÂ limited direct military support Â to Poland, consisting of aÂ cautious, half-hearted French probe into the Saarland .Â TheÂ Western AlliesÂ also began aÂ naval blockade of Germany, which aimed to damage the country's economy and war
responded by orderingÂ U-boat warfare Â against Allied merchant and warships, which was to later escalate into theÂ Battle of the Atlantic.Slide16
WESTERN EUROPE 1940-41
In April 1940,Â Germany invaded Denmark and Norway Â to protect shipments ofÂ iron ore from Sweden, which the Allies wereÂ attempting to cut off Â by unilaterally mining neutral Norwegian waters.
Â Denmark capitulated after a few hours, andÂ despite Allied support, during which the important
Â temporarily was recaptured from the Germans,Â Norway Â was conquered within two months.
British discontent over the Norwegian campaignÂ led to the replacement of the British Prime Minister,Â Neville Chamberlain, withÂ Winston ChurchillÂ on 10 May 1940.Slide17
Italy began operations in the Mediterranean, initiating aÂ siege of Malta in June,Â conquering British Somaliland Â in August, andÂ making an incursion into British-held Egypt Â in September 1940. In October 1940, Italy started theÂ Greco-Italian War Â because of Mussolini's jealousy of Hitler's success but within days was repulsed and pushed back into Albania, where a stalemate soon occurred.
The United Kingdom responded to Greek requests for assistance by sending troops to Crete and providing air support to Greece. Hitler decided that when the weather improved he would take action against Greece to assist the Italians and prevent the British from gaining a foothold in the Balkans, to strike against the British naval dominance of the Mediterranean, and to secure his hold on Romanian oil.Slide18
AXIS ADVANCE STALLS(1942-43)
n January 1942,Â the Allied Big Four
(the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China) and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued theÂ Declaration by United Nations , thereby affirming theÂ Atlantic Charter,
and agreeing to not to sign aÂ separate peace Â with the Axis powers.
During 1942, Allied officials debated on the appropriateÂ grand strategy Â to pursue. All agreed thatÂ defeating Germany Â was the primary objective. The Americans
a straightforward,Â large-scale attack Â on Germany through France. The Soviets were also demanding a second front. The British, on the other hand, argued that military operations should target peripheral areas to wear out German strength, leading to increasing
, and bolster resistance forces. Germany itself would be subject to a heavy bombing campaign. An offensive against Germany would then be launched primarily by Allied
without using large-scale armies.Â Eventually, the British persuaded the Americans that a landing in France was infeasible in 1942 and they should instead focus on driving the Axis out of North Africa.Slide19
ALLIES GAIN MOMENTUM 1943-44
After the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May 1943, Canadian and U.S. forces were sent toÂ eliminate Japanese forces from the Aleutians.
Soon after, the U.S., with support from Australian and New Zealand forces, began major operations toÂ isolate
by capturing surrounding islands , andÂ breach the Japanese Central Pacific perimeter at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
By the end of March 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and had also Â
the major Japanese base at
Â in theÂ
. In April, the Allies launched an operation toÂ retake Western New Guinea. Â In the Soviet Union, both the Germans and the Soviets spent the spring and early summer of 1943 preparing for large offensives in central Russia. On 4 July 1943, GermanyÂ attacked Soviet forces around the Kursk Bulge. Within a week, German forces had exhausted themselves against the Soviets' deeply echeloned and well-constructed
Â and, for the first time in the war, Hitler cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success.
Â This decision was partially affected by the Western Allies'Â invasion of Sicily Â launched on 9 July which, combined with previous Italian failures, resulted in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini later that month.
Also, in July 1943 the BritishÂ firebombed Hamburg Â killing over 40,000 people.Slide20
ALLIES CLOSE IN 1944
On 6 June 1944 (known asÂ D-Day), after three years of Soviet pressure,
Â the Western AlliesÂ invaded northern France. After reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, they alsoÂ
attacked southern France.
These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units Â in France. Paris wasÂ liberatedÂ by theÂ local resistance Â assisted by theÂ Free French Forces , both led by GeneralÂ Charles de Gaulle, on 25 August Â and the Western Allies continued toÂ push back German forces Â in western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spearheaded byÂ a major airborne operationÂ in the Netherlands failed. After that, the Western Allies slowly pushed into Germany, butÂ failed to cross the Ruhr river Â in a large offensive. In Italy, Allied advance also slowed due to theÂ last major German defensive line.Slide21
AXIS COLLAPSE ALLIED VICTORY1944-45
On 16 December 1944, Germany made a last attempt on the Western Front by using most of its remaining reserves to launchÂ a massive counter-offensive in the ArdennesÂ to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port atÂ AntwerpÂ to prompt a political settlement.
Â By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled.
Â In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets and Poles attacked in Poland,Â pushing from the Vistula to the OderÂ river in Germany, andÂ overran East Prussia.
Â On 4 February, US, British, and Soviet leaders met for theÂ Yalta Conference. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany, and on when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.
In February, the SovietsÂ entered Silesia andÂ Pomerania, whileÂ Western Allies entered western GermanyÂ and closed to theÂ RhineÂ river. By March, the Western Allies crossed the RhineÂ northÂ andÂ southÂ of theÂ Ruhr,Â encircling the German Army Group B,
Â while the Soviets advanced toÂ Vienna. In early April, the Western Allies finallyÂ pushed forward in ItalyÂ and swept across western Germany, while Soviet and Polish forcesÂ stormed BerlinÂ in late April.Â American and Soviet forces met at the Elbe riverÂ on 25 April. On 30 April 1945, theÂ ReichstagÂ was captured,
the military defeat of Nazi Germany