More Notes:
Much like World War 1, there were many conditions which brought on World War 2. Many of those conditions were DIRECT results of the weaknesses associated with the Treaty of Versailles! Economic problems and humiliation led to the rise of dictators in Europe whose aggressions pushed the world into another deadly global conflict!

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
Here is a site with tons of links to review stuff about the Treaty of Versailles - including photos, maps and documents.

Vocabulary:
aggression: here this implies attacking another area without a "defensive cause"

dictator: a person who rises to power over the government and holds it, usually through fear and violence

Fascist: the political party of Mussolini, the world has come to imply strict rule by a central dictator who has lots of control

totalitarian: describes a government which regulates all aspects of the society

Video Clip:

Rise of Fascism (overview)

The Rise of Mussolini

The Rise of the Nazi Party and Hitler

The Rise of Josef Stalin


Extra Links:
This link gives in-depth information about the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party from 1933 to 1939- scary stuff!

Click here to learn more about the rise of Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party.

More Notes:
Mussolini:

  • Extreme nationalism; Mussolini popularized himself by appealing to the pride of Italian people!
  • Militaristic expansion to restore Roman Empire; across the Mediterranean World and Northern Africa.
  • Charismatic leader; Mussolini told the people what they wanted to hear in a tone that made them proud (and those who opposed him were beat up or killed).
  • Socialism; He held the belief in private property with strong government control- the economy was in bad shape and he felt the government could fix these problems.
  • Anti-communist; the Communists were the biggest threat to his power because they appealed to the poor workers of the country, so he worked to destroy this party!

Hitler: (learned from watching Mussolini in the 1920's)

  • Extreme nationalism and racism; Hitler also popularized himself by appealing to German pride and prejudices.
  • Militaristic expansion; Hitler wanted to dominate Europe and create an empire across Northern Europe- his Aryan race would have room to expand and strengthen, and the weaker people in the East (the Poles and Russians) would serve as slave labor.
  • Charismatic leader; he played on fears and pride. Hitler told the people that their situation was not their fault, and if they followed him they could "right" the "wrongs" done by the Treaty of Versailles! Hitler attacked the Jews as the primary conspirators against the German people (using them as a "scapegoat" for the problems).
  • Socialism; He held the belief in private property with strong government control- the economy was in bad shape and he felt the government could fix these problems.
  • Anti-communist; the Communists were the biggest threat to his power because they appealed to the poor workers of the country, so he worked to destroy this party! (sounds like Mussolini, huh?)

Tojo:

  • Tojo became the militaristic Prime Minister for Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
  • Militarism, Nationalism and Racism- the Japanese (under the Emperor) held the same ethnic prides and prejudices as the Nazi Party of Germany. All races not Japanese were considered inferior, no more valuable than a common dog.
  • Japan sought Asian empire for imperialist efforts in Asia. Japan, being an island nation, was very limited in resources. In order to compete economically and militaristically, they needed to expand through aggression.

Stalin:

  • Worldwide spread of Communism- that all people were equal members of the "collective" and were entitled to equality.
  • Revolution by workers of the world, the "proletariat" would overthrow the wealthy classes and redistribute all wealth equally.
  • Government owns property and runs all property in a communist system- there is no private property or individual wealth.
  • The government would be run by a central planner (or dictator) who would control society, economy and the military on behalf of the people- and there was a strong distrust of democracy and the west.

 More Notes:
These dictators were rising to power in the 1920's and 1930's... Why didn't the U.S. do anything about it? Did we even know?

Well, we knew- but we had issues of our own. During the 1920's, we were going through an economic BOOM! We truly felt that these guys had nothing directly to do with us, so we were isolationist. We had saved Europe once before... That should have been enough... And then, the 1930's brought on the Depression which increased our desires to be isolationist. We had problems of our own, we could not afford to go off helping the rest of the world...

Video Clip:

Clouds of War

Formation of the Axis Powers

 

 More Notes:
Actions in the 1930's forced us to take notice. But still, we had problems of our own. When their problems became OUR problems- we took ACTION!

Video Clip:

The Berlin Olympics of 1936

 

Vocabulary:
Neutrality Acts: these laws proclaimed that the U.S. would not take part in aggressions of Europe- that we would not show favoritism or become an ally

Video Clips:

Italy Takes Ethiopia Newsreel

Germany Decides to Re-Arm Newsreel

Rhineland Occupation

Anschluss Newsreel

Axis Powers are Created

The Munich Appeasement Newsreel

American Isolationism


 

Extra Links:
Check out these maps of alliances during WW2- Notice how quickly the Axis powers were outnumbered!

More Notes:
There was strong sentiment in the U.S. to remain isolationist. The movement was called "America First", and they demanded that we retain neutrality. Part of this movement even included Nazi sympathizers!
Not all Americans felt this way...

Check out that cartoon (Seuss was far more than Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat). According to Seuss, the Nazis are truly a danger in the American Hemisphere, and America First is closing its eyes to the danger.


There were a series of events that occurred PRIOR to the actual outbreak of formal war:
1931: Japan takes Manchuria to gain natural resources
1935: Mussolini invades Ethiopia
1935: Hitler begins to rebuild army- direct violation of Versailles Treaty
1936: Hitler and Mussolini throw military support in Spanish Civil War
1936: Germany occupies Rhineland- violation of Versailles Treaty
1937: Japan invades China- (U.S. embargoes Japan)
1938: Germany annexes Austria- violation of Versailles Treaty
1938: Munich Pact: Hitler is given part of western Czechoslovakia to avoid war (that's called appeasement) - and he immediately siezed the rest!

What did the League of Nations do about this? They denounced the aggressive acts but did nothing to punish the offenders. The United States was still under the influence of "America First".

Vocabulary:
appeasement: giving in to a person's demands to avoid a conflict- this usually invites further demands and aggression

Video Clip:

World War 2 Begins!

Newsreel Announcing World War 2

FDR Pledges Neutrality Newsreel


Extra Links:
Here was the speech given by Neville Chamberlain who appeased Hitler by signing the Munich Pact- he thought he had secured "peace in our time" - ooops!

More Notes:
Hitler had repeatedly violated the Treaty of Versailles and World Peace with no retaliation. He realized the world was not ready for war, and he was. On September 1, 1939 he invaded Poland- and this action started World War 2 (France declared war on Germany). The Soviet Union immediately went through Poland from the east- most believing that Stalin was going to engage Hitler, BUT HE DIDN'T!!!

Why didn't these "natural enemies" immediately engage? The Non-Aggression Pact was signed earlier in 1939. Hitler knew he would need to fight France and Britain, and he remembered that fighting a 2-front war (east and west) was really bad in WW1. So, he planned to defeat France and Britain first, then he could turn his forces on the Soviet Union. So was Stalin STUPID OR SOMETHING? Even Stalin knew that Hitler would turn on him, but Stalin was not ready to engage, so he wanted to borrow some time. Also, Stalin hoped that Hitler's Nazi Army would be weakened by France and Britain! (This agreement was a secret)
World War 2 was ON!!! The U.S. immediately stated its neutrality (even though most Americans "morally" sided with Britain and France).

Vocabulary:
blitzkrieg: "lightning war"- this is a swift, large-scale attack meant to overwhelm the enemy

Video Clip:

France Falls!

Battle of Britain

Hitler Attacks the Soviet Union


Extra Links:
The new Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, gave this address as a "pep talk" during the bombing raids. It is his famous "finest hour" speech!

This link goes to an extensive site that covers many aspects of the Battle of Britain.

More Notes:
Poland fell to the Nazis within 6 weeks. France surrendered to the Nazis in about a month! The French Maginot Line of defense did almost nothing to stop the Nazi forces. Using air fields in Northern France, the Nazi Luftwaffe (air force) began its attack on Britain. Hitler's plan was to use his navy to blockade Britain, so that no supplies could get in or out. Then, the Nazis would bomb British cities until they surrendered! Hitler wanted to avoid a land invasion, as it would cost too many lives (remember he still wanted to take out Stalin).

The Battle of Britain refers to the months of bombing raids carried out by the Nazis against Britain. How did the British win this battle? 1) The major cities of Britain had subway systems, which served as excellent bomb shelters- factories, streets and houses were destroyed, but the people survived! 2) The British Air Force would find out through RADAR (a new invention of the British) when the raids were coming and would send up fighter pilots to try to shoot down the enemy bombers before they could reach their targets! 3) The British rallied behind their new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who encouraged his people to never give up!
After months of failure, Hitler finally gave up on bombing Britain. He was losing too many valuable pilots and weapons. He decided to move ahead with his plan, and engage Stalin!

 More Notes:
Very similar to World War 1, the United States was very slow to enter World War 2. There was much debate over whether or not we should get involved. Eventually, public opinion supported our involvement!

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

 

More Notes:
At the beginning of the war, the U.S. was publicly neutral- we did not want to get involved. As things took turns for the worse, the U.S. went to the "Cash and Carry" plan: here the U.S. would sell supplies to the Allies, provided they paid for the materials up front AND transported it themselves. This way, Americans and American ships would not be in danger. But, things got worse in Europe!

Hitler's blockade and air raids were taking a toll on Britain. France had already surrendered! Britain was running out of supplies, and had trouble breaking through the Nazi blockade. Congress authorized the Lend-Lease Act, which allowed us to get military equipment to Britain (and later the Soviets) in exchange for use of naval bases, air bases, and other payments to be discussed later. The "America First" people were angered by this departure from complete neutrality-

Video Clip:

The Lend-Lease Act

The Allied Powers are Formed

Lend-Lease Newsreel

Extra Links:
Check out the extent of the Axis powers reach in 1942!

Click here to learn more about the Lend Lease Act.

 More Notes:
These cartoons show how frustrated people like Dr. Seuss were at the isolationists! The Nazis were a threat to us, not just Europe...

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
Here is an animated map that shows the changing fronts in Europe.

 More Notes:
World War 2 formally began when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. But for most Americans, OUR war began in the Pacific, against the aggressive Empire of Japan!

Video Clip:

Japan's Military Rise

 

Vocabulary:
militaristic: describes a nation that places much emphasis on warfare and conquest

Video Clip:

Japanese Aggression Newsreel

Japanese Take Shanghai Newsreel

Japanese and American Relations

More Notes:
Japan actually posed a more direct threat to the United States than did Nazi Germany. We had a trade alliance with China, we had a protectorate in the Philippines, we held territory and naval bases on islands through out the Pacific! The U.S. was the only country strong enough to challenge Japan, and we believed if they got strong enough, they would challenge us!
Extra Links:
Learn about the Stimson Doctrine; America's response to Japanese Aggression.

 More Notes:
The story of Pearl Harbor is long and complicated. The bottom line is that the Japanese knew they had to use a surprise attack in order to gain the advantage. The U.S. expected an attack- but we thought it would be somewhere else. Several American organization mistakes helped the effectiveness of this attack. America was shocked. This was a direct attack- and American blood had been spilled!

Video Clip:

Pearl Harbor!

Extra Links:
Here is an excellent multi-media site about Pearl Harbor from National Geographic.

 More Notes:
According to the Constitution, only Congress can declare war. On Monday, December 8, 1941 FDR called a special session of Congress. He issued a war request... It was granted... Now we were IN IT TO WIN IT!!!

Video Clip:

FDR Requests a Declaration of War

America Declares War

Extra Links:
Click here to read and listen to FDR's request that Congress declare war on Japan. Hear his famous quote, "a date that will live in infamy".

 More Notes:
Looking at this cartoon by Seuss, you probably get the feeling that he is saying a big, "I told you so". Notice that he implies that we were asleep. Notice who has woken us from the "nap". Also, check out how Seuss drew those Japanese soldiers. What stereotypes and prejudices was Seuss perpetuating?

Video Clip:

America Joins the War

Extra Links:
Here's another really good Pearl Harbor web site.

 More Notes:
Hitler had wisely joined with Japan to complete the Axis Powers (Italy, Germany and Japan). Hitler figured the U.S. would eventually enter the war, and if Japan could fight the U.S., we would need to divide our forces. Hitler hoped that we would turn our efforts first on Japan in retaliation- giving him time to knock out Britain and the Soviet Union.

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
So, you like Dr. Seuss cartoons? Check out this web site that has a collection of his cartoons that dealt with World War 2!

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