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WWII: The Road to War


WWII: The Road to War (1931-1941) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: WWII: The Road to War

WWII The Road to War
  • (1931-1941)

I. The Rise of Dictators
  • Covered by other slide show EXCEPT
  • Germany Rearms and Expands
  • The Nazis secretly began spending on rearming
    and expanding the armed forces in violation of
  • German troops enter the Rhineland (a violation),
    yet the Allies take no action against Hitler
  • Hitler signed an alliance with Mussolini (later
    joined by Japan)- this alliance became known as
    the Axis powers

Germany Expands (continued)
  • Hitler united his homeland of Austria with
    Germany (Anshluss)
  • Hitler ordered troops into Austria and many
    people welcomed the Nazis warmly
  • Hitler demanded the Sudetenland (an industrial
    region of Western Czechoslovakia crucial to its
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met
    twice with Hitler to resolve the issue and
    pursued a policy of Appeasement- giving in to a
    competitors demands in order to keep peace
  • Hitler got the Sudetenland and Chamberlain came
    home to cheers for what he called Peace in our

II. Europe Goes to War
  • Several British Parliamentary leaders, including
    Winston Churchill (future British Prime Minister)
    were upset with Chamberlains policy of
  • They felt Hitler would continue his military
    machine and not stop with the Sudetenland
  • Only 6 months after annexing the Sudetenland,
    Hitler controlled the western half of
    Czechoslovakia and divided the rest amongst his
  • No shots fired yet, but peace was breaking down

A. Invasion of Poland
  • Britain and France ended their policy of
    appeasement after Hitler took Czechoslovakia
  • They warned Hitler that any further invasions
    would risk war. (March 1939)
  • Hitler didnt believe the warning
  • Hitler did have one major concern before invading
    Poland. Anyone know what it was?
  • Think about why Germany had a difficult time in
    WWI even before the U.S. joined

1. Hitlers Pact with Stalin
  • Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were sworn
    enemies, yet both had much to gain from working
  • August, 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed a 10-year
    Non-aggression Pact eliminating the danger of
    Soviet invasion from the East
  • A secret document attached to the pact divided up
    the independent states of Eastern Europe between
    Germany and the Soviet Union
  • Sept. 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and war was

2. Lightning War
  • GB, Fr, and Poland formed an alliance with more
    soldiers and more infantry divisions than
    Germany, but not as much firepower
  • Germany launched its new type of warfare in its
    invasion of Poland- Blitzkrieg (lightning war)
  • Included fast, concentrated air and land attacks
    that took the enemys army by surprise
  • First stuka (bombing planes) shattered defenses
    and terrorized civilians, then mobile artillery
    of tanks, panzer divisions pushed through enemy
    lines before infantry moved to defeat the enemy
    and occupy the country

  • Using the Blitzkrieg tactic, Poland was overran
    in less than a month
  • They imposed German laws and imprisoned and
    murdered Jewish citizens
  • This treatment of Jews is known as the Holocaust
  • Great Britain and France were unable to aid
    Poland in time and the Soviet Union would take
    eastern Poland for itself just months later

B. War in the West
  • After Poland fell, the war entered a quiet
    period The Allies held their soldiers in fear of
    mass casualties while Germany waited for a way to
    get into France
  • Frances defense was known as the Maginot Line-
    walls, artillery, underground rails, and housing
    for troops along the German border
  • Problem 1 The line didnt extend into Belgium
  • Problem 2 All the heavy guns pointed east, so if
    Germany gets through the line, they are useless

1. Germany Attacks
  • April 1940- German troops launched Blitzkrieg on
    Denmark and Norway
  • May 1940- Germany was successful at taking the
    Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg
  • GB and France tried to help but were too late
  • Germany was now able to rush in to northern
    France just around the Maginot Line by going
    through Belgium
  • Germany split the main troops in France and made
    it to the English Channel

2. Dunkirk
  • British and French troops in the north retreated
    to the coastal city of Dunkirk
  • One of the greatest rescues in history occurred
    at Dunkirk
  • 900 vessels saved 340,000 soldiers by getting
    them across the English Channel to Great Britain
    while the German Luftwaffe (air force) was
    attacking constantly
  • While this was a retreat, precious forces were
    saved from almost certain capture

3. The Fall of France
  • After Dunkirk, Hitlers armies turned and swept
    through France and on June 10, 1940, French
    officials abandoned Paris
  • Italy declared war on France and Great Britain
    the same day
  • June 22, more than 1.5 million soldiers
    officially surrendered to Germany
  • Hitler took a brief victory tour of Paris and
    Great Britain and France were stunned by the
    speed of the conquest

  • France was controlled by Germany or held under
    collaboration (close supervision in Vichy France)
  • There were still underground resistance movements
    in France and those who escaped to Great Britain
    or to Frances African colonies helped there
  • However, Great Britain stood alone in its fight
    against the Nazis and their Axis powers after the
    fall of France

C. The Battle of Britain
  • Hitlers next invasion target Great Britain
  • Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister-
    We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall
    fight them on the landing grounds, we shall fight
    in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight
    in the hills we shall never surrender

1. Relentless Attack
  • There were massive air strikes by both sides
  • From Aug. to Sept. over 1,000 planes raided bombs
    on Britain each day
  • At first, both sides stuck to attacking military
    targets eventually civilian centers such as
    London and Berlin became daily targets
  • The Blitz (the bombing of London) continue
    through May 1941, but bombing of population
    centers continued throughout the war

2. Courageous Defense
  • Britains Royal Air Force (RAF) successfully
    defended Great Britain by preventing the German
    Luftwaffe from establishing air superiority
  • Hitler would not invade the English mainland
    without air superiority (which it never gained)
  • One other success, British scientists were able
    to break the Nazi communication code to decipher

III. Japan Builds an Empire
  • Japan was the strongest East Asian country
  • Expanded into Manchuria, Korea, French Indochina
    and parts of China including Beijing and Shanghai
  • Withdrew from the League of Nations because the
    League was against their aggression

IV. From Isolationism to War
  • During the 1930s the U.S. largely turned away
    from international affairs
  • The U.S. stuck to its policy of isolationism
    while Germany, Italy, and Japan were all gaining
    strength and threatening democracy
  • Afraid of another foreign conflict
  • I hate war. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

A. The U.S. Chooses Neutrality
  • Congress passed a series of Neutrality Acts that
    prevented international involvement
  • 1935- Banned U.S. from providing weapons to
    nations at war
  • 1936- Banned loans to nations at war
  • 1937- Permitted trade with fighting nations in
    nonmilitary goods as long as those nations paid
    cash and transported the goods themselves
  • This policy became known as Cash and Carry

B. American Involvement Grows
  • Americans isolationist views started to soften,
    especially after Germany invaded Poland
  • The U.S. shared interests with Great Britain and
    President Roosevelt began to look for more ways
    to aid the Allies

1. Debating the American Role
  • Congress revised the Neutrality Acts to allow
    weapons to be transported to GB and France
  • After France fell to Germany, many Americans
    supported all aid short of war for Britain
  • The U.S. sent 50 destroyers to Britain in
    exchange for navy bases in the Western Hemisphere
  • The America First Committee formed from
    isolationists who wanted to block any further aid
    to Britain They didnt want to join the conflict

2. Lend-Lease
  • After FDR won a 3rd term in 1940, he began to
    push for more involvement in the Allied cause
  • Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941
    authorizing the President to aid any nation whose
    defense he believed was vital to American
  • Great Britain was almost out of cash and still
    needed supplies to defend against the Germans
  • U.S. would give aid and expect nothing in return
    until after the conflict
  • U.S. had given 49 billion in aid to 40 countries
    including the Soviets during WWII

C. Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor
  • Roosevelt was aware of Japans ambitions to
    become a powerful empire
  • Began to limit the goods that could be sent to
    Japan such as scrap iron and steel
  • Threatened further trade restrictions
  • After Japan took over French Indochina, FDR
    stopped all U.S. oil from being shipped to Japan
  • Greatly upset the Japanese who depended on U.S.
    oil shipments

1. Final Weeks of Peace
  • General Tojo Hideki became Japans Prime Minister
    in March 1941
  • He was a military man who supported war against
    the U.S.
  • U.S. code-breakers discovered that Japan had a
    fleet on the move in the Pacific and expected a
    possible attack, but were not sure when or where
    it would come

2. The Attack
  • On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor (a U.S. Navy
    base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu) was attacked
  • 180 Japanese warplanes flew above Pearl Harbor
    bombing and shooting machine guns at the U.S.
    fleet of ships and airfields
  • Half the U.S. Pacific fleet was located at Pearl
  • In less than 2 hours, 2,400 Americans were dead.
    1,200 were wounded, 200 warplanes destroyed, 18
    warships sunk or severely destroyed, and 8 out of
    9 battleships were sunk (Japan lost just 29

D. United States Declares War
  • The attack on Pearl Harbor stunned Americans
  • A date which will live in infamy- FDR called
    December 7, 1941 this
  • The next day (Dec. 8) Roosevelt asked Congress to
    declare war on Japan
  • Within hours of Roosevelts speech, congress
    passed the war resolution
  • Only 1 Congresswoman disagreed
  • Even the American First Committee backed the war
  • Dec. 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the
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