More Notes:
Our decision to join the Allied Powers in 1941 was a "long time coming". Initially we were neutral, but actions by both sides helped draw us into the conflict. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), the U.S. was resolved to meet the challenge with all our might!

Video Clip:

America Joins the War

Extra Links:
This is a very complete multi-media site on World War 2.

More Notes:
Like in World War 1, our involvement was slow to develop with much debate. But also, once we formally entered the war, our involvement tipped the balance- resulting in Allied victory!

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Vocabulary:
The Big Three: (pictured above) the leaders of the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
This general statement is one of the key concepts to any war. A goal is established, available resources are used, and geography affects the means (way) a war is fought. Obviously, we will not use the same tactics in the jungles of the South Pacific as we would use in the forests of France or the mountains in Italy!
Extra Links:
Click here and listen to a war report from the first time the "Big Three" met face-to-face.

More Notes:
Hitler posed the greatest threat. France had already surrendered and Hitler was pushing back the Red Army of the Soviet Union! The Nazis were rushing across North Africa getting closer and closer to the oil supplies in the Middle East-- there was an urgency to DEFEAT HITLER FIRST!!!

Video Clip:

The Allied Strategy to Win World War 2

More Notes:
Hitler believed the U.S. would be slow to respond in Europe- he felt he had enough time to eliminate the Soviet Union before we could get there and thus control the entire continent. He knew we were strong and could make him have a "very bad day". He remembered what happened in World War 1 when the "Yanks" came to Europe!

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Coming Soon!

More Notes:
For most of our wars, you need to know the first battles, the turning points, and the concluding battles...

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Coming Soon!

Extra Links:
Here are some GREAT maps of the war by year-

1941 1942 1943 1944 1945

More Notes:
This was the first and most dangerous place for America to first send support in the war effort. The Nazi forces, commanded by Nazi General Erwin Rommel (the "Desert Fox") were rapidly moving across Egypt. They were finally stopped by British forces at the Battle of El Alamein- which perhaps saved Europe from destruction. This is considered to be the turning point in North Africa.

Video Clip:

The North Africa Campaign

The Battle of El Alamein

Extra Links:
A look back at the Battle of El Alamein from the BBC

More Notes:
Hitler greatly misjudged the abilities of the Soviets. Stalin had borrowed some time with the Non-Aggression Pact. In those 2 years, he rapidly built his army and established defensive positions (anticipating an invasion). The Nazis attacked in the early summer of 1941- expecting a quick victory for their blitzkrieg. BUT, the Red Army was able to slow the blitz down, and the summer turned into the harshest winter in many years. The German supply lines were thin and easily attacked by Stalin's Women's Army. (yep- his women were encouraged to fight)

After a long siege outside Stalingrad, the Nazis- cold, hungry and low on supplies- were forced to retreat! Millions of people on both sides lost their lives- but Stalingrad marks the turning point along the Eastern Front!


Meanwhile, Stalin was super angry with his so-called allies. He demanded that Britain and the U.S. INVADE Europe which would open a second front for Hitler, force him to transfer troops and lesson the pressure on the Red Army!

Video Clip:

The Battle of Stalingrad

Extra Links:
This site is dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad- lots of history and pictures, just follow the links.

Vocabulary:
amphibious assault: a land attack that begins at sea

Video Clip:

D-DAY!

More Notes:
We could write pages and pages about this one event... It was the largest amphibious assault in history! Through careful planning, strategic deception and a ton of plain "guts", the U.S. and Great Britain stormed the beaches at Normandy, France. This D-Day marked the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

Once the Allies had a beach head (a secure place to land materials and men), the war effort surged across France and into Germany. General Eisenhower- the organizer of Operation Overlord (D-Day) became one of the most famous military leaders in our history (later he even became President).

Extra Links:
Go to the D-Day exhibit, by PBS.

 

Here is a link to Eisenhower's address to the troops as they left for the invasion at Normandy.

Here is an audio link to the broadcast which announced the liberation of Paris!

This link goes to the war correspondent covering the Allied invasion. Listen carefully as he described the action- this was originally heard on American Radios!

Vocabulary:
V-E Day: stands for Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945

Video Clip:

The Death of Mussolini

The Fall of Germany

 

More Notes:
After the Normandy Invasion, the Germans lost battle after battle. They were being beaten back by the Soviets in the East, and the combined British-American-French troops in the West (yes, after France was liberated by the U.S., they rejoined the Allies). The remaining Nazi forces did all they could to defend their homeland- but there reserves were fading and it was only a matter of time.

Rather than admit defeat and accept the consequences, he took his own life as the Battle for Berlin raged above his bunker. The high Nazi officials offered complete and unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945!


Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected to an unprecedented FOURTH term as President. His health had been fading during the later years of the war, and he passed on April 12, 1945. His Vice-President, Harry S. Truman took command of the war and saw it to the end!


Extra Links:
This war broadcast announced the surrender of the Nazi forces to the Allies- we had won victory in Europe!

This was a very costly war. Here is a graphic that shows the casualty rates in Europe!

Vocabulary:
V-E Day: stands for Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945

Video Clip:

The Death of Mussolini

The Fall of Germany

 

More Notes:
After the Normandy Invasion, the Germans lost battle after battle. They were being beaten back by the Soviets in the East, and the combined British-American-French troops in the West (yes, after France was liberated by the U.S., they rejoined the Allies). The remaining Nazi forces did all they could to defend their homeland- but there reserves were fading and it was only a matter of time.

Rather than admit defeat and accept the consequences, he took his own life as the Battle for Berlin raged above his bunker. The high Nazi officials offered complete and unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945!


Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected to an unprecedented FOURTH term as President. His health had been fading during the later years of the war, and he passed on April 12, 1945. His Vice-President, Harry S. Truman took command of the war and saw it to the end!


Extra Links:
This war broadcast announced the surrender of the Nazi forces to the Allies- we had won victory in Europe!

This was a very costly war. Here is a graphic that shows the casualty rates in Europe!

More Notes:
The attack on Pearl Harbor was very successful for Japan. They believed America to be soft and weak-hearted. With such destruction, they felt we would not be able to recover quickly, and would just let Japan take what they wanted.

However, they failed in a couple of ways- first, they did not get our aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor, and second- they greatly misjudged the power of the American spirit!

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

Video Clip:

The Early War in the Pacific!

Extra Links:
Here are some selected photos of our troops in action in the Pacific!

More Notes:
The Battle of Midway utilized the U.S. aircraft carriers (which escaped destruction at Pearl Harbor). The Japanese were quite surprised when our fleet came from nowhere and attacked their much larger fleet. This battle marked the end of Japanese expansion- and it started our campaign of island hopping!

Video Clip:

The Battle of Midway

Extra Links:
This page features a historical overview and special image selection on the Battle of Midway, 4-7 June 1942.

Vocabulary:
island hopping: capturing islands trying to get close enough to Japan to directly attack

Video Clip:

Coming Soon!

More Notes:
This battle is considered the "turning point" of the Pacific- this was the first defeat for the "Empire of the Sun" (Japan).

Extra Links:
Here's another look at the Battle of Midway - the turning point in the Pacific.

Vocabulary:
kamikaze: "divine wind"- describes the suicide bombers of the Japanese

Video Clip:

Battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa

More Notes:
These two battles cost the United States thousands of lives- in each case the Japanese had built tremendous systems of defense. American forces simply overwhelmed their numbers, but paid for it in blood.

In Japanese culture, surrender is dishonorable! To win a battle is glorious- to die in battle is an honor and a straight ticket to the heavens. If a man surrenders, he is valuing his own life more than the nation and the emperor, and he and his family are shamed. Therefor, Japanese soldiers would fight to the death- which made them a very tough enemy. Others in the air force would use their planes as guided bombs to inflict the most damage on Americans- the kamikazes.

The victories on Iwo Jima and Okinawa brought us close enough to Japan to send our long-range bombers to attack them directly. These air fields would play a key role- as American scientists had developed a really cool super secret weapon... THE BOMB!!!

Extra Links:
This site takes a close look at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Use the links to learn about the different topics.

Here is a closer look at the Battle of Okinawa.

Click here to listen to the war report announcing the Marine attack on Iwo Jima!

Vocabulary:
Manhattan Project: the secret plan to build an atom bomb!

Video Clip:

The Manhattan Project

More Notes:
Harry S. Truman became President when Franklin Roosevelt died suddenly in April, 1945. Truman was not aware of the bomb- or of much of the war. In fact, Truman had only ever met Roosevelt a few times and he had never even been in the "war room" of the White House!

Truman was delighted to hear that we had such a weapon- but to use it could be a problem. If he dropped it on the cities, he would kill thousands- including women and children. But if he did not use it, the battles would rage on and on- costing thousands more lives ON BOTH SIDES. Plus, even though the Japanese were retreating, they would refuse to ever surrender!

After issuing a brief warning, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Japan refused to surrender, so a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (both considered "military targets"). After the second one- Japan agreed to talk surrender!

Extra Links:
Take a look at the Manhattan Project, an exhibit by the National Atomic Museum.

Listen to Harry Truman warn Japan of future atomic bomb attacks!

Here are some primary sources debating the use of the atomic bomb.

Vocabulary:
V-J Day: August 15, 1945 marked the victory over Japan

Video Clip:

Victory Over Japan!

More Notes:
Notice the top picture of Nagasaki- that used to be a CITY!!! This was the most horrific weapon ever used in war. Since our use of these bombs in 1945, no other nuclear weapons have been used. The level of death and destruction made a powerful statement by the United States. We had the biggest bomb in the world. We had won World War 2. Our economy remained strong. We had become a global SUPERPOWER!
Extra Links:
Want to learn more about dropping the bomb? Click here.

More Notes:
Some world leaders, like Winston Churchill, advocated that we continue the war. He thought we should just go ahead and wipe out the Communists in the Soviet Union. Harry Truman was not "up for that game". We had enough war for awhile-- and besides, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
had technically been allies. Unfortunately in the years after World War 2, the U.S. and the Soviets will fight another type of war- a war of words and ideology, espionage and sabotage, policy and counter policy- the COLD WAR!

Video Clip:

The Yalta Conference

Creation of the United Nations

Extra Links:
Click here to learn more about V-J Day!

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