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World War II

Sessions 1-4
by

Devin Kleffer

on 1 April 2014

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Transcript of World War II

Essential Question
What factors contributed to the
outbreak of World War II?
Factor #1:
Failure of the
Treaty of Versailles
Terms of the treaty that ended World War I included a war reparations clause and the infamous war-guilt clause, forcing Germany to accept full blame for the entire war.
These, along with a crippled economy, stirred strong emotions among German nationalists, and eventually overwhelmed the
Weimar Republic
.
Factor #2:
Transformation of the
Soviet Union
Democracy in Russia
failed
and the establishment of a
communist
state
took place.

The country was renamed the
Soviet Union
.
Leader
Joseph Stalin
took control
of the country and attempted to create a model communist state – where
equality
among the
people would reign.
Under Stalin, the Soviet Union would abolish all privately-owned
farms
and turn the country into a world-class
industrial
power.
Stalin
eliminated
anyone who
threatened his power or decisions.

Historians believe that Stalin was responsible for the murder of
8
million to
13
million people, not including the
millions
more who perished as a result of
famine
under the new Soviet regime.
By 1939, Stalin’s transformation of Russia
into a
totalitarian
state was complete.
The Red Terror (3:00 min)
Factor #3:
Fascism in
Italy
Unemployment
and a high
rate of
inflation
had many
in Italy clamoring for change.
Aspiring leader
Benito Mussolini

formed the
Fascist
Party, and appeals to people’s fear of
economic
collapse
and the spread of
communism
.
Fascism is the belief that the interests of the state are above those of individuals, and power must rest with a
single
strong leader and a small group of devoted party members.
Cult of Personality: Mussolini (3:00 min)
Factor #4:
The Rise of
Nazi Germany
While in prison,
Adolf Hitler
,
leader of the
Nazi
party authored a book entitled,

Mein Kampf
,”
or “
My Struggle
.”
In it, Hitler sets forth the basic ideals that would later become the
Nazi party’s plan of action.

Based on extreme
nationalism
,
Nazism had several primary goals.
Unite all
German-speaking
people
in a single, German empire
Enforce
racial purification
through the purging of lesser races
Geographic expansion
of the
German empire
(
lebensraum
, or “living space”)
Much of the swell of acceptance
of Nazism was based in
a depressed Germany
economy
.
More than
6
million Germans
were unemployed.

In order to
gain work
, many joined
Hitler’s private army as their last hope.
Once appointed Chancellor of Germany,
Hitler quickly dismantled the democratic
Weimar Republic
and in its place
established the
Third Reich
,
or Third German Empire.
Rise of the Nazis (4:00 min)
Factor #5:
Militarists in
Japan
Similar to the Nazi party,
many in Japan were also
looking to
expand

the Japanese empire.
Unhappy with the
imperialist
control in Japan, and in conflict with protests from moderate Japanese leaders,
Japanese militarists launched a surprise attack and seized control of the Chinese province of
Manchuria
In doing so, Japan gained control of several
natural resources
.
As a result, the
League of Nations

sent delegates to Manchuria
and condemn Japan’s actions.
Rather than obeying the requests of
the League of Nations and withdrawing
its forces from Manchuria,
Japan simply
withdrew its membership

from the League of Nations.
As World War II draws closer, Army General-turned-Prime Minister
Hideki Tojo
would lead Japan’s Army.
Tojo (2:00 min)
Factor #6:
Civil War in
Spain
Led by military leader,
Francisco Franco
and a group of rebel militants,
the Spanish Civil War resulted in the
demise
of the republic in Spain.
Rebels were supported by
Italy
and
Germany

with
tanks
,
troops
,
planes
, and
weapons
.

In doing so, an
alliance
was formed between the three nations.
Franco (2:00 min)
Prelude to War - US Government film
(5:00 min)
Part 2: Blueprint for War
Essential Questions:

What methods were used by the Nazis to overtake neighboring countries?

Why was this method so effective?
Hitler’s first target was his home country of
Austria
.

The country of Austria was a byproduct of World War I peace agreements, and had a population largely consisting of Germans who favored
unification
with Germany.
In 1938, German troops marched
into Austria
unopposed
.

Hitler then announced that its
Anschluss
, or “union,” with
Austria was complete.

As this happened,
no
other world countries did anything to oppose
the action.
The so-called
Sudetenland
is the region making up the western portion of the
Czechoslovakia
, where more than 3 million Germans lived.
The mountainous area acted as a
natural defense
against a
German attack.
Hitler’s master plan called for an
annexation
of Czechoslovakia, as to give Germans more lebensraum, and to control its
natural resources
.
The Nazi-controlled German
press
began printing stories about how the Czech government was
abusing
German nationals.
The stories were completely
false
,
and meant to bring
sentiment
to
the side of Germany.
As a result, Germany
amassed
troops along the Czech border.

Both
Britain
and
France
declared their allegiance to Czechoslovakia, promising to
protect
her from German invasion.
Hitler rationalized his belief that the Sudetenland should be

German controlled,
and
promised
it would be his “
last territorial gain
.”
Soon thereafter, the
Munich Agreement
was signed, giving Germany control of the Sudetenland.

Many were left in shock, noting how both Britain and France had adopted the policy of
appeasement
– or giving up principles to pacify an aggressor.
Sudetenland Speech (2:00 min)
As a result, Germany now had
two territorial gains, without
a single shot
being fired.
The German War Machine
British politician,
Winston Churchill
warned of Hitler’s aggressive actions and Hitler’s desire to expand the
Third Reich
.
Few heeded his warning.

Six
months after the signing of the
Munich Agreement, the German army used their tactical advantage in the Sudetenland and invaded
Czechoslovakia
.
Hitler then turned his attention to
Poland
– the last geographic buffer between the expanding German empire and the
Soviet Union
Many believed Hitler would
not
attack Poland because of its proximity to the Soviet Union, thinking that Germany would not want to engage the Soviets in a
military conflict
.
Surprisingly, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a
nonaggression
pact, agreeing that the two longtime enemies would not attack one another.
A second,
secret pact
, was also signed between the two countries.

The second pact agreed to attack
Poland
from
opposing
directions, and then
divide
the country evenly between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Blitzkrieg!
Without warning, the German
Luftwaffe
began its bombing campaign on Poland.

The invasion then utilized Germany’s newest military strategy, the
blitzkrieg
, or
lightning war
.
This strategy used modern military technologies – such as fast moving tanks and airplanes – to take the enemy by
surprise
and quickly overtake the opposition with an
overwhelming
force.
Blitzkrieg (2:00 min)
In less than
three weeks
,
Poland fell to Germany.

By the time the invasion of Poland
was over, Britain and France
declared war
on Germany,
beginning World War II.
Within
a year
, Germany had invaded
Denmark
,
Norway
, the
Netherlands
,
Belgium
and
Luxembourg
.
Following this series of invasions, Germany set its sights on
France
, marching through the
Ardennes Forest,
heading for Paris.
It was during this time that
Italy
and Germany joined forces.

As Italy attacked France from the
south
, German forces attacked from the
north
.
Roughly
two
years after France’s appeasement of Austria, the German army
invaded
France and
captured
its capital.
Nazis Invade France (3:00 min)
Germany Invades Poland (2:00 min)
The Battle of Britain
After most of Europe fell under German control, the German military set its sights on
England
and began assembling an invasion force along the
French coastline
.
However, the British
navy
was superior to Germany’s and controlled the
English Channel
.
To counter this, Germany began a series of
bombing campaigns
over England.

The goal was to gain total control of the
skies
over Britain and destroy Britain’s
Royal Air Force
(RAF).
Every day for more than
two months
, German planes dropped bombs over Britain, most centering their attack on
London
.
The targets of German bombers included
airfields
,
factories
, and eventually
cities
filled with civilians.
Using a new technology called
radar
, the RAF repelled the German attacks, downing nearly
200
German aircraft, while only losing
26
of their own.
This became known as the
Battle of Britain
, of which Winston Churchill commented,
“Never in the field of human conflict was so
much
owed
by so
many
to so
few
.”
Battle of Britain (3:00 min)
Battle of Britain - Germany POV (3:00 min)
Part III: The Holocaust
Essential Questions:

What was the Holocaust, and why
did it take place?

In what ways is a holocaust taking place
in the world today?
Soon after Hitler became leader of Germany, he ordered all “
non-Aryans
” to be removed from
government
positions.
This was done in accordance to his philosophy of
racial purification
– cleansing the rising German empire of all persons who were not part of the so-called “
Master Race
.”
At the center of Hitler’s targeted ethnicities were
Jews
.

Many believed Jews were responsible for Germany’s
economic
problems and
defeat
in World War I.
Such things as the
Nuremberg Laws
stripped Jews of their German
citizenship
,
jobs
and
property
.
Jews were also forced to identify themselves by wearing a bright yellow
Star of David
emblem attached to their clothing.
As persecution continued, it escalated to violence during
Kristallnacht
, or “Night of Broken Glass.”

On this occasion, Nazis launched a coordinated attack on Jewish
homes
,
businesses
, and
synagogues
throughout Germany and Austria.
More than
100
Jews were killed, while hundreds more were injured.

More than
30,000
Jews were arrested. At the end of the event, the Nazis
blamed the Jews
for the destruction.
As thousands of Jews fled Germany, many thousands more
could not
.

Many neighboring countries simply
refused
to take-in the mass amount of Jewish refugees.
The United States allowed for the immigration of
100,000
Jews, including physicist
Albert Einstein
.
Hitler's Final Solution
Determined and obsessed to rid Europe of
all
Jews, Hitler enacted what he referred to as the “
Final Solution
.
"
This was a policy of
genocide
– a deliberate and systematic murder of an
entire population
.

Hitler’s Final Solution rested on the belief that
Aryans
were a superior race, and the strength and purity of this “master race” must be
preserved
.
As such, the Nazis condemned to death not only Jews, but anyone viewed as
unworthy
, or
inferior
.
This included gypsies, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, the
mentally ill
, the
incurably ill
, and anyone who was either
physically
or
mentally
impaired.

Initially, many of the members of these groups were forced to
live in
ghettos
.

Ghettos were overcrowded, full of
filth
and
disease
, and offered
nothing
in the way of basic needs, such as ample shelter, food, or water.
Many of the ghettos were located
near
factories
, where its citizens were
forced to work
– often performing jobs
for the
German military
.
Thousands of other Jews were taken captive and herded into
trains
for shipment to
concentration camps
.

Families were often
separated
.
Life in the camp was filled with
hunger
,
dysentery
,
disease
,
humiliation
,
hard labor
, and
death
.
Prisoners were held in
barracks
, where they were forced to share meals and bedding with
rats
,
fleas
, and
lice
.
The day was filled with intense labor from dawn til dusk, seven days a week.

Many
dropped dead
while working. Others, too weak to continue working, were simply
shot dead
on the spot.
The Final Stage
Although overwork, starvation, beatings and shootings were effective means of killing Jews, they were ultimately not
efficient
enough to satisfy the Nazis.
The Germans then built six
death camps
, each with
gas chambers
or crematoriums, where the Nazis could exterminate
upwards of
12,000
people
per day
.
Prisoners who faced the gas chambers were
stripped down
, led into massive buildings, and then exposed to
cyanide gas
that flowed from vents in the walls.
In many instances, the Nazis piped-in
cheerful
music as the extermination took place.
The bodies were then hauled to
mass graves
, where the corpses were often left to rot.

In some camps, the huge pile of bodies were dowsed with
gasoline
and
set on fire
.
Still, others died as a result of
medical experimentations
, such as various methods of
sterilization
, carried out by camp doctors.

Perhaps the most notorious camp doctor was
Dr. Josef Mengele
, also known as the
Angel of Death
.
The total number of Jews who died at Nazi death camps is well-over
6 million
, while there were an estimated additional
5 million
others who were slaughtered, as well.
Sophie's Choice (1982)(3:00 min)
Genocide Today
Rwandan Genocide, Part 1 (15:00 min)
Session IV:
America Prepares
for War

Essential Questions
•Why did the United States remain neutral during the outbreak of World War II in Europe?

•In what ways did the United States assist in the war effort, while not engaging in fighting?

•Why did America become involved in World War II?
To this point, the United States had continued to remain militarily
neutral
.

However, the U.S. Congress enacted a “
Cash-and-Carry
” policy, allowing allies in Europe to purchase American arms, so long as the countries paid in
cash
, and supplied their own method of
transporting
the arms.
President Roosevelt believed this was the best way to simultaneously defeat
Hitler
, and keep American forces
out of war
.
By mid-1940, the cash-and-carry policy appeared to look like
too little
,
too late
, as the German military rolled through mainland Europe, and Britain was under siege.
Then,
Germany
,
Italy
and
Japan
signed a mutual defense treaty, known as the
Tripartite Pact
.
This meant that three of the most powerful dictatorships were now
aligned
with one another.

These three nations became known as the
Axis
powers.
More importantly, it meant that if the United States declared war on any one of the members of the Axis powers, it would force the U.S. to simultaneously fight a large scale war on
two
fronts: in
Europe
, and in the
Pacific
.
Knowing that war was imminent, Congress enacted the nation’s first
peacetime
military draft.

More than
16
million men, ages 21-35, were drafted into military service.
During a fireside chat, President Roosevelt told the American people what many already knew: there was
no hope
in negotiating peace with Hitler, and if Britain fell to the Axis powers, the Axis powers could easily
conquer the world
.
President Roosevelt stated that America must become,

the great arsenal of democracy
.”
Although by this time, Britain was no longer able to
pay cash
for munitions and supplies, America devised the
Lend-Lease
policy to keep Britain’s war efforts alive.
The Lend-Lease Act allowed
any
countries willing to join the fight against the Axis powers to
borrow
weapons and other supplies.
To prevent the supplies from reaching their intended destinations, Hitler deployed hundreds of German
U-boats
into the Atlantic Ocean.

In a month’s time, these groups of 15-20 submarines – known as
Wolfpacks
– sank more than
1.2 million
tons of ships and supplies.
While Britain struggled for its survival in western Europe, Hitler
ignored
his peace treaty with Stalin and invaded the
Soviet Union
in eastern Europe.
While German troops began advancing into Soviet territory, the Soviets proved to be a rugged opponent and employed a
scorched-earth
policy to repel the German advance.

Such a policy destroys
everything
that might be of some use to the invaders.
After six months of combat, the Russian
winter
set-in, and slowed the German invasion.

Germany’s
lack of preparedness
for the harsh winter conditions would prove to be a costly error.
While America prepared itself for war, and Britain struggled to survive,
Churchill
and
Roosevelt
secretly met to discuss the situation.

While Churchill had hoped for a
military commitment
from the U.S., the leaders settled on what became known as the
Atlantic Charter
.
1.Neither country would seek
territorial expansion

2.No territorial changes without consent of the
territory’s inhabitants

3.Respect the right of the people to form their own
government
following the war

4.Promote
free trade
among all nations
5.Encourage
international cooperation
to improve people’s lives

6.Build secure peace based on freedom from
want
and
fear

7.Work for
disarmament
of aggressors

8.Establish a permanent system of
general security
Despite German submarines firing upon two American ships – including one
civilian
supply ship – the U.S. still did not formally enter into combat.
Roosevelt continued encourage Congress and the American people to “have
patience
and trust to the tide which is flowing our way, and to events.”

These
events
would come faster than anyone anticipated.
As war raged on in Europe,
Japan
, too, geared for war.

Japan’s vision of increasing its vast
colonial empire
from
Manchuria
and
China
, south to
Thailand
and
Indonesia
, was turning into fruition.
As many European nations were engaged in war in Europe, they
could not defend
their colonies throughout the Pacific.
The Japanese seized this opportunity and began
taking over
territories such as Indochina (now,
Vietnam
,
Cambodia
and
Laos
).
This advancement was met with American
disapproval
, and the U.S. immediately cutoff
trade
with Japan, which included the one thing Japan’s military could not live without –
oil
.
As Japanese Prime Minister
Hideki Tojo
prepared to enter peace talks with the U.S., he sent a
coded
transmission and simultaneously gave the order for his military to
prepare for war
.
Code-breakers in the United States intercepted and decoded Tojo’s transmission, and the U.S.
knew
that Japan was preparing for a
military strike
.
President Roosevelt sent out warnings to U.S. military commanders throughout the Pacific, also stating that he desired Japan to “
commit the first overt act
.”
A Japanese message that instructed Japan’s peace envoy to
reject
all American peace proposals.

Roosevelt knew an attack was
imminent
.
The following morning, on Sunday,
December 7, 1941
, more than
180
Japanese warplanes launched from six aircraft carriers in the Pacific Ocean.
As bombs dropped on the U.S. naval base at
Pearl Harbor
, the Japanese navy destroyed
18
ships,
350
planes, and killed more than
2,400
people.
The damage suffered at Pearl Harbor was
greater
than the U.S. Navy suffered during all of
World War I
.
The next day, President Roosevelt met before Congress, and spoke the words, “…December 7, 1941, a date which will
live in infamy
…the Japanese launched an unprovoked attack on American soil.”
Roosevelt then asked for a
declaration of war
against Japan,
which congress overwhelmingly approved.

Within days,
Germany
and
Italy
then declared
war on America
.
FDR (2:30 min)
The Atlantic Charter (2:00 min)
Session 5
A Call to Arms: America Mobilizes
Essential Question
What issues and challenges faced the United States as it prepared to enter a global conflict on two fronts?
Approximately
5 million
Americans
volunteered
for military service, while more than an additional
10 million
more were
drafted
as a result of the
Selective Service System
.
Most service men arrived at military bases throughout the nation and underwent combat training for
eight weeks
.

At the end of the basic combat training, most men were
shipped to combat
units where they would be immediately thrust into battle.
These troops became commonly known as “G.I.s,” short for “Government Issue.”
WWII Basic Training (1:30)
Women Respond
Women also played a major role in the armed forces.

By passing the
Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps
(WAAC), Congress enabled over
250,000
women to serve in a variety of
military support
roles.
Such roles included the
assembly
of firearms or ammunition, the
welding
of aircraft, and the
manufacturing
of uniforms, parachutes, and other supplies.
The roles were meant to be temporary, and women did
not
have the same rank, pay, or benefits as the men who had previously performed the role.
Minorities Conflicted
Despite the quick call-to-arms for many Americans, many racial minorities were often confronted with other obstacles to patriotism.

Among these groups were
African-Americans
,
Native Americans
, and
Asian-Americans
.
Many members of these groups often lived or worked in legally
segregated
communities, and were denied
citizenship
rights.
Mexican Americans
More than
500,000
Mexican-Americans joined the armed forces during WW II. All-Latino units saw
heavy combat
in both the European and Pacific theaters.

In Los Angeles alone, Mexican American casualties made up
20%
of the city’s wartime casualties.
African Americans
Like other minorities, African Americans lived, worked and served in segregated military units.

In many instances, these units were relegated to
non-combat
roles.
Others, such as the
Tuskegee Airmen
, not only broke color barriers, but fought valiantly and even became some of the most highly trained and dependable personnel.
Asian Americans
Nearly
50,000
Asian Americans served in
the U.S. military during World War II.
Many others served as
spies
and
interpreters
.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many Americans
questioned the loyalty
of Japanese Americans – including those born in the United States.
More than
110,000
Japanese Americans were taken captive by the U.S. Government and placed in
internment camps
.
Internment Camps, U.S. Government newsreel (3:00 min)
Manzanar (3:00 min)
Native Americans
More than
25,000
Native Americans enlisted in the U.S. military.

Among these were
Navajo
Indians
from the southwest region of
the United States.
The Navajos rose to prominence due to their ability to send and receive
coded messages
that were unbreakable by opposing militaries.
Civilians Respond
Automobile manufacturers
retooled
their plants and went from producing cars to producing tanks, planes, boats and armored command vehicles.

Other manufactures also
changed their products
.
Mechanical pencils >
bomb parts
Bedspread >
Mosquito netting
Soft drinks >
Explosives
From
manufacturing
to
conservation
and
rationing
,
it was a concentrated and dedicated effort on behalf of all Americans and American businesses.
Scientists
also created many items to aid in the war effort.

These items include: improvements in
radar
and
sonar
,
the use of
insect repellants
, and the use of
penicillin
to combat bacteria and infection.
Some scientists also worked secretly on a new weapon: the
atomic bomb
.
Those working on the atomic bomb project were part of the top secret development known as
the
Manhattan Project
.

A principle leader in the bomb’s development was
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer
.
Atomic Bomb Test Footage (1:00 min)
Media
The media also did its part.

From
printed
propaganda, to
movie
and
radio
shows, the media produced hundreds of war-related pieces to help rally Americans to the cause.
Der Fuhrer's Face (8:00 min)
Session 6
The War in Europe

Essential Questions:

What were the major and decisive battles of the European Theater (ET) during World War II?

How did the Allies achieve victory over the Axis powers?
The Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of
Stalingrad
was fought from mid-1942, to winter of 1943.

Stalingrad is located in the
southwestern
portion of the
Soviet Union
, along the
Volga
River, which served as a natural defense against invading armies.
Stalingrad itself served two primary purposes for the Russian people:

(1) Stalingrad was a core
manufacturing
city for the Soviet military; and

(2) Stalingrad served as the
capital
of the country. Many believed, if Stalingrad fell, so would the Soviet Union.
The battle itself pitted the
Germans
against the
Soviets
.

As the German military advanced, the
Luftwaffe
pounded the city,
and left it in
ruins
.
While this
destroyed
many factories and
killed
many Soviets – this tactic would actually
stall
the invading German army, as they would be forced to go
building-to-building
through the city.
In one instance, a small Soviet platoon fortified an apartment building that
oversaw a square in the city center,
later called
Pavlov's House
.
Although the German army controlled
90%
of the city, they could not
overtake it
.
As winter weather set-in, the German army began to suffer from a lack of
winter clothing
,
supplies
, such as food, medicine and ammo,

and clear
command decisions
.
The Soviets took advantage of this and mounted a
counterattack
against
the Germans.

By conquering the soft
German flanks
, the Soviets were able to
envelop
the spearhead of the German army.
After this, the weakened Germany army was forced to
retreat
, or
surrender
, as the Soviets began pushing
westward
.
The Battle of Stalingrad lasted for over
five
months, and is largely regarded as
one of the
bloodiest
battles in the
history of warfare.

The total casualties for the battle are believed to be over
two million
.
Invasion of North Africa
Codenamed “
Operation Torch
,”
the invasion of North Africa was a joint-military mission by
British
and
American
forces.
U.S. military commander
Dwight Eisenhower
was in favor of an invasion of Northern France, his British counterpart,
General Montgomery
, argued that by taking over the North African coast – which the Germans and Italians had control of – would give the Allies the ability to
squeeze
mainland Europe from both the
south
and the
north
, while the Soviets pushed from the
east
.
The Allies organized three
amphibious
task forces to seize the key
ports
and
airports
of Morocco and Algeria simultaneously, targeting Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. Successful completion of these operations was to be followed by an advance
eastwards
into Tunisia.
The assault taskforce was ultimately
successful
, giving the Allies a
foothold
in North Africa, and the doorway to
mainland Europe
.
Invasion of Sicily
Once the Allies controlled the North African coast, they were able to use the newly captured territory to launch an invasion on the
southern
part Europe.

Their first stop: the island of
Sicily
, held by the Italian military.
Codenamed “
Operation Husky
,” the invasion of Sicily would be a coordinated
airborne
and
amphibious
assault, aimed at inching closer toward mainland Europe.
The invasion had four primary goals:
(1)
drive
enemy forces from the island;
(2)
open-up
shipping lanes in the Mediterranean Sea;
(3)
gain
territory closer to mainland Europe;
(4)
topple
the Mussolini-led Italian dictatorship.
Fighting took place for more than
six
weeks, and by the end of August 1943, more than
25,000
Allied troops were killed.

Overall, there is estimated to be more than
50,000
soldiers killed, and well over
100,000
prisoners taken.

Ultimately the invasion of
met
each of its primary goals.
Invasion of France
As Allied forces began pushing back the German military in mainland Europe, the Allies prepared for an invasion along the
north coast
of France.
The Germans, aware an invasion would be coming, believed the upcoming invasion would most likely take place in one of two places:
Along the
southern
border of France, or at the
northernmost
part of France at
Pas de Calais
, where the channel is the
narrowest
, and there
is a
direct route
to Germany.
Codenamed “
Operation Overlord
,”
the invasion would eventually take place on
June 6, 1944
, along the
northern
beaches
of France, at
Normandy
.

This was
south
of the location the Germans
were expecting the invasion to take place.
The
101st Airborne Division
would parachute behind enemy lines the night before the main invasion force to:

(1) disrupt German
communications
,
(2) weaken German defenses along the
seawall
, and
(3) prepare
drop zones
for the coming waves of paratroopers.
Prior to the launch of the invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower told his troops, “You are about to embark upon the
Great Crusade
, toward which we have striven these many months.
The eyes of the world are upon you
. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

Known as the
D-Day
landings, the Allied invasion force was comprised of nearly
160,000
troops, and is considered to be the
largest
coordinated invasion force in the history of the world.
The force was comprised of both airborne and amphibious assault teams on
five
distinct landing zones.
The American forces landed at
Utah
Beach and
Omaha
Beach, where they were met with
sea
mines,
tank
traps,
barbed wire
,
land
mines, and heavy
machine gun
fire from an enemy entrenched in
concrete-fortified
bunkers on
100-foot
high cliffs.
Over
2,500
American soldiers died within the
first hour
of fighting at Omaha Beach alone.
Within
a day
of fierce battling, the five beachheads are secured by Allied forces, and the Allies begin to march inland, toward
Berlin
.

The D-Day invasion had ultimately been a
success
, and is largely considered to be one of the
major turning points
of the entire war.
Invasion of North Africa
Invasion of Sicily
Invasion of France (D-Day)
Battle of the Ardennes
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