The First Phrase: Dominance of the Axis
Invasion of Poland
On the morning of September 1, waves of German bombers hit the railways and hopelessly snarled the Polish mobilization. Hitler and Stalin shocked the world by becoming allies. By September 20, practically the whole country was in German or Soviet hands. The last to surrender was the fortress at Kock, on October 15.
Denmark and Norway
Hitler invaded Norway and Denmark on April 2. He was worried that the British will cut off the valuable shipments of iron ore from Sweden in Norway's port of Narvik by using explosives. Denmark was conquered on the way and Norway fell to the Germans in June 1940.
The Defeat of France
The drive into France began on June 5 and picked up on June 9. Italy declared war on France and Britain on June 10. On June 17, Marshal Henri Phillippe Pétain, the World War I hero asked for an armistice which signed on June 22. That gave Germany control of northern France and the Atlantic coast.
The Battle of Britain
|In the summer of 1940, Hitler dominated Europe from the North Cape to the Pyrenees. His one remaining active enemy - Britain, under a new prime minister, Winston Churchill - vowed to continue fighting. In June 1940, begana the Battle of the Atlantic. The Battle of Britain was fought in the air, not on the beaches. In August 1940, the Germans failed to reckon with a new strategy led the Germans to switch thier attacks from RAF airfields to London and other cities, beginning the Blitz. On September 17, 1940, Hitler postponed the invasion, conceding defeat in the Battle of Britain.||
Churchill in pressure
Second Phrase: Expansion of the War
In the year after the fall of France, the war moved towards a new stage - world war.
US Aid to Britain
The United States entered the war in January 1941.
The German invasion of the USSR
The war's most massive encounter began on the morning of June 22, 1941, when slightly more than 3 million Axis troops invaded the USSR. Although German preparations had been visible for months and had been talked about openly among the diplomats in Moscow, the Soviet forces were taken by surprise. Stalin, his confidence in the country's military capability shaken by the Finnish war, had refused to allow any cunteractivity for fear of provoking the Germans. Initially, Germany appeared to be heading for victory. Then, they made mistakes. Hitler;s generals wanted to press on to Moscow. But Hitler overruled them. Instead, he reinforced the German armies heading north towars Leningrad and south towards the Crimean Peninsula on the Black sea. While the Germans wasted time transferring troops, Stalin brought in new troops. The Germans advance slowed in September though they took the city of Kiev in the South. Heavy rain fell in October and German tanks and artiliery became bogged down in mud. By Nov.1941, Germans encircled Leningrad and Mosocw in early December where temperature plunged to -40. A severe soviet winter had begun and the Germans lacked clothing and suffered from frostbite. Tanks and weaponss were bitter cold. Winter saved the Soviet Union. In spring 1942, Germans attacked again. By Sept., German and Soviet forces were fighting hand in hand in Stalingradd. With winter approaching, Hitler refused to pull back his troops. As supplies were little, thousands of soldiers froze or starve to death. On Feb 2 1943, German surrendered.
The Beginning of the War in the Pacific
December 7, 1941 the Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. The bombing was a great success for Japan at first. It disabled much of the American fleet and destroyed many aircraft. However, the attack proved disasterous for Japan as it propelled the US in the war on December 8 - and brought it in determined to fight to the finish. Germany and Italy declared war on the United States on December 11.
Japanese conquests in Asia and the Pacific
In the vast area of land and ocean, they had marked for conquest. The Japanese seemed to be everywhere at once. Before the end of December, They took British Hong Kong and the Gilbert islands (now Kiribati) and Guam and Wake Island (US Possessions) and they had invaded British Burma, Malaya, Borneo and the American-held Philippines. Britain, her naval resources stretched by the war in Europe, managed to send a naval squadron to Singapore in early December: it was caught by Japanese planes and destroyed. British Singapore, long regarded as one of the world greatest fortresses, fell to them in February 1942 in one of the greatest humiliations in British military history, with the British garrision surrendering to a much smaller Japanese force. In March they occupied the Netherlands Indies and landed on New Guinea. The American and Philippine forces surrendered at Bataan on April 9 and resistance in the Philippines ended with the surrender of Corregidor on May 6.
The Third Phase: Turn of the Tide
In the late December 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill and their chief advisers met in Washington. They reaffirmed the strategy of defeating Germany first. The war against Japan became almost solely a US responsibility, On January 1, 1942, the United States, the USSR, and 23 other countries signed the United Nations Declaration in which they pledged not to make a separate peacee. The United Nations (UN) became the official name for the anti-Axis coalition, but the term used more often was the Allies, taken over from World War I.
The Invasion of Italy
The Allies landed on the south coast of Sicily on July 10 1943 and they fought for 39 days. Last Germans left Sicily on Aug 17. In the meantime, Mussolini had been stripped of power on July 25, the Germans rescued Mussolini from prison and set him up as ruler of the short-lived Republic of Salo in the south. Allied forces marched into Casino and some of the most brutal fighting of WWII occurred there. They finally broke through German defenses in Italy in May 1944, Rome fell on June 4. German forces surrendered on May 2, 1945. Mussolini had been captured and shot by Italy resistances fighters on April 28.
The Fourth Phase: Allied Victory
The Normandy Invasion (D-day)
On June 6, 1944, D-day as it was known. 2700 ships carrying landing craft and 176000 soldiers crossed the channel. Allied troops stormed ashore on a 100km front in the largest seaborne invasion in history. D-day took the Germans by surprise but they fought back fiercely. All 5 Allied landing beaches were secure by the end of the day.
Liberation of France
On July 24, 1944, Allied bombers blasted a gap in the German front near Saint Lo. The US first and Third armies under general George S.Patton drove through the hole and hounded the retreating Germans. On August 25, the Americans, in conjunction with Free French and Resistance forces liberated Paris. On August 15, American and French forces had landed on the southern coast of France and were pushing north along the valley of the River Rhine.
Victory in Europe
The Allies began their final assault on Germany in early 1945. British, Canadian, American and Soviet forces swept the surround German forces into Northern German and crushed them. The capture of Berlin was left to Soviet forces. By April 25 1945, Soviet troops had surrounded the city. Hitler commanded his army from a bunker deep underground. However, he committed suicide on April 30. He remained convinced that his cause had been right but that the German people had proven unworthy of his rule. His successor Carl Doenitz unconditionally surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945. WWII had ended in Europe. The Allies declared May 8 as V-E Day or Victory in Europe Day.
The Defeat of Japan
On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb devised by Albert Einstein on the city of Hiroshima. The explosion killed from 70,000 to 100,000 people. After the Japanese failed to respond to the bombing, the US dropped another one in Nagasaki on August 9. It killed 40,000 people. Later, thousands died from injuries and radiation from the 2 bombings. On Sept 2, 1945, Japan surrendered. The Allies declared Sept 2 as V-J day or victory over Japan day. WWII had ended.
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