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World War II

Various Fronts, Conflicts, and Diplomatic Relations During the Second World War
by

Thorne Matthews

on 27 January 2016

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Transcript of World War II

Canada in World War II
Causes, Conflict, Victory
- Canada begins diverting its trade towards the United States after the collapse of the post-war British economy, drawing the two countries closer to each other

- During the Chanak Affair between Britain and Turkey in September 1922, Canada is asked to assist Britain should a war break-out; however, in an act to display Canada's autonomy from Britain, Prime Minister Mackenzie King decides to put the matter forward in the Canadian Parliament; by the time the issue is debated, the Chanak conflict has passed

- In 1931, the British Parliament passes the Statute of Westminster, granting Canada legislative independence from Britain; Canada becomes equal in status to the U.K.
Canada's Growing Independence
- After a period of rapid growth and economic prosperity, on October 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashes, subsequently forcing banks to close; businesses lay-off employees, the plains experience one of the worst droughts in their history, and the values of materials made in primary sector industries fall; within several years, thousands of people around the world are left unemployed and living in poverty

The Great Depression
- The U.S.S.R. becomes embroiled in a power struggle between high-ranking members of the Soviet government after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924; Joseph Stalin emerges victorious as leader of the Soviet Union; any members of the government, army, or public who oppose him afterwards later wind-up dead or in Siberian concentration camps

- Stalin seizes control from the Central Committee of the U.S.S.R., effectively becoming dictator of the country; replaces Lenin’s state capitalist New Economic Policy with a new planned economy, drastically pulling the U.S.S.R. from its agrarian roots into an industrialized power

- The U.S.S.R. largely avoids the Great Depression, but does experience a period of great famine during the early 1930s due to the sudden focus on industry over agriculture
Stalin's Soviet Union
The Post-Versailles World
- The Allies victorious in the First World War, defeating Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire in 1918

- Russia becomes the communist-controlled Soviet Union in 1922, after a six-year civil war between the Bolshevik-controlled Red Army and the counter-revolutionary White Army

- The signing of the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conferences in 1919 and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires leaves Germany with the sole blame of causing the First World War; as part of the treaty, it is forced to pay heavy reparations to the Allied forces, limit its militia to 100,000 persons, restrain its navy and air force, keep its army out of the Rhineland, and cede many of its territories over to the Allies

- On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations is formed as an organization to try and advert future global conflicts

- U.S. remains isolationist and refuses to join the group; leaves the organization in the hands of the colony-wielding European powers, jeopardizing the effectiveness of the organization

- The economies of Europe are battered after the war, but the economies of Canada and the United States are invigorated from the wealth earned from supplying the war effort; era known as “the Roaring Twenties”

The Chinese Civil War
Hirohito's Japan
Mussolini's Italy
Hitler's Germany
PRE-WAR
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
POST-WAR
Dividing Poland
Canada Declares War
The War on the Atlantic
The Baltic Conflict and the Winter War
Conflict in South China and Resistance in Changsha
The Phoney War
The Fall of the Low Countries
Hitler Moves on Norway and Denmark
The Fall of France, Dunkirk, and the Rise of Vichy
Battle of Britain
Italian Ambitions
The Fall of Italian East Africa
Trouble in the Middle East
Operation Barbarossa
The Continuation War
Leningrad
Pacific Tension and Pearl Harbor
The Fall of Hong Kong
Conflict on the Coral Sea
U-Boats in the St. Lawrence
The Failure of Appeasement
Defying Versailles
Rommel's Offensive in Libya
The Battle of Midway
Stalingrad
The Landings at Dieppe
El Alamein
Guadalcanal
Operation Torch
War in Tunisia
Operation Husky
The Allies Push Into Italy
Monte Cassino and Anzio
The Invasion of Normandy
The U.S.S.R. Pushes Into Eastern Europe
The Liberation of Paris
The Allies Push Into Southern France
Fighting the Gothic Line
Market Garden and the Scheldt
Finland Expels the Nazis
Leyte Gulf and the Philippines
The Battle of the Bulge
The Allied Invasion of Burma
The Vistula-Oder Offensive
Iwo Jima
The Fall of the Third Reich
The Fall of Okinawa
The Aleutian Islands
The Soviets Invade Manchuria
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Surrender of Japan
Paperclip, Nuremberg, and the Allied Occupation of Germany
The Spread of Communism in Eastern Europe
The Occupation of Japan
Creating the United Nations
The Cold War: A New Age of Conflict
The Tehran Conference
The Yalta Conference
The Potsdam Conference
The Quebec Conference
Combating the Depression
The Japanese Invade Singapore
Canada After the War: Victory, Baby Boomers, and A Return to Prosperity
The Toll of the War on Human Lives
- In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes 32nd President of the United States; Roosevelt sets in motion his "New Deal," creating government-funded public works projects for the unemployed, encouraging economic growth, regulating the banks of Wall Street, and creating social security and the minimum wage

- In 1935, R. B. Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada, issues his own "New Deal," providing many of the same features as that of Roosevelt; however, the assistance arrives too late in the Depression to be effective; Bennett loses the next election to William Lyon Mackenzie King
- Japan, an empire from 1868 to 1945, expands to include Korea and Formosa (Taiwan) through conflicts with China and Russia in the decades before World War II

- In the 1930s, Emperor Hirohito becomes totalitarian leader of Japan; nation is weakened from the Great Depression; control of the country falls into the hands of the military, the Zaibatsu (large family-owned corporations), and the imperial family; the Diet, Japan's parliament, is left largely powerless; nationalist sentiment is strong amongst much of the Japanese population


- In 1931, Japan invades Chinese-occupied Manchuria while China is enveloped in the Chinese Civil War, initiating the Second Sino-Japanese War between the two countries; in 1936, the Kuomintang and Communist forces of China negotiate a temporary truce between them in order to focus on the Japanese threat; Japan also seizes the Chinese capital at Nanking; the atrocities committed during the occupation become known as "the Rape of Nanking"

- In 1941, after continued border conflicts with the Soviet Union, Japan signs a Neutrality Pact with the U.S.S.R. so that it may focus on its operations in the South Pacific
- The Qing Dynasty of China collapses in 1911, leaving the country in control of regional warlords

- The Kuomintang Party of China (KMT), led by Sun Yat-sen, defeats the warlords with the assistance of the Soviet Union; the U.S.S.R. provides support to the KMT, as well as the Communist Party of China

- In 1927, the Communist Party rebels against the Nationalist government supported by the KMT after a period of growing rivalry; armed conflict between the KMT-supported National Revolutionary Army led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist-supported People's Liberation Army led by Mao Zedong persist for the next nine years
- In March 1936, against the demands of the Treaty of Versailles, the Nazis move armed militia into the demilitarized Rhineland, advancing the German armies closer to the French and Dutch borders

- In March 1938, Hitler enacts Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to Germany

- A series of additions are made to the German navy in the hopes of challenging Britain's naval supremacy
- Hitler makes further demands for the annexation of the Sudetenland, a predominately German region of Czechoslovakia due to the inaction of Britain and France; the Nazis later demand further territory for Hungary and Poland from Czechoslovakia

- In March 1939, Germany invades the remaining territories of Czechoslovakia, and establishes a client state in the form of the Slovak Republic; Germany also makes demands for territory from Lithuania

- Italy seizes Albania in April 1939; Britain and France profess their support for Romania and Greece should Italy decide to take further action
- Germany begins to demand control of the Free City of Danzig and Poland; Britain and France proclaim their support for Poland; Germany responds by signing the Pact of Steel with Italy

- To prevent a two front war when invading Poland, Germany signs the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty, with the Soviet Union in 1939, allowing Germany to seize western Poland and Lithuania, and the Soviet Union to seize eastern Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and Bessarabia

- In preparation for the invasion of Poland, Germany mobilizes armies to Polish border; on September 1, 1939, Germany launches its invasion of Poland
- As Germany and Italy work to extend their control over Europe, Britain and France maintain a policy of appeasement, or rather, a sense of contentment to allow Germany and Italy to make territorial acquisitions to a certain extent

- Britain and France fear another war, as they are still recovering from World War I

- Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, hopes to appease Hitler and Mussolini by allowing them to forward their agendas

- Chamberlain's policy backfires, as it only allows Germany and Italy to continue expanding to a point where war is unavoidable
- Fascism, a political concept involving a radical, strong authoritarian, nationalist government, becomes increasingly more accepted by the people of Europe

- Benito Mussolini becomes the fascist dictator of Italy in 1922; Italy becomes a police state; angered by the territorial denials Italy faced after WWI, Mussolini proposes a revived Roman Empire, with Italian territory enveloping the lands of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean

- Fearing that Germany would overtake Italian interests in Austria through Anschluss, Mussolini signs an agreement with Britain and France to protect Austria from German invasion, forming the Stresa Front in 1935

- In 1935, Italy invades Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) and subsequently annexes it to Italian East Africa after using chemical warfare on the populace; the League of Nations is powerless to prevent it; Mussolini is convinced that Britain and France will respect his colonial advancements due to Italy's participation in the Stresa Front; however, Britain and France denounce Italy's invasion and impose economic sanctions on the country
The Improving Relationship Between Berlin and Rome
- Mussolini's Italy seeks to retaliate against Britain and France for the sanctions placed upon it; when civil war breaks out in Spain between Republican and Nationalist forces in 1936, Mussolini sides with the Nationalists led by Francisco Franco, whom are also supported by Nazi Germany; the joint cause between Germany and Italy brings the two countries closer; Franco's Nationalists win the war, and he implements a new Fascist regime in Spain
- In October 1936, Germany and Italy sign a Rome-Berlin Axis, forming the first formal agreement between the two countries

- In 1938 and 1939, Italy supports Germany's expansion into Austria and Czechoslovakia

- In 1939, Italy and Germany sign the Pact of Steel, establishing a formal military alliance between their two countries
Canada and the Occupation of Iceland
- On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, seizing Warsaw, Krakow, and Lodz, as well as the Free City of Danzig within the first week of the war; on September 17, the U.S.S.R. makes its invasion, seizing eastern Poland; by the end of October, Poland is under the control of the Soviets and the Nazis

- Britain and France respond by sending Germany an ultimatum demanding that the Nazis leave Poland; Germany's refusal results both Britain and France declaring war

- Casualties and losses during the invasion are high, with Poland alone experiencing 904,000 in losses out of an original fighting force of 950,000
- Shortly after Britain and France's declaration of war, the SS Athenia, a British cruise ship bound for Montreal, is torpedoed by U-30, a German U-Boat; this event helps to initiate an almost 6 year battle on the Atlantic, ranging from the coastal fjords of Norway, to the River Plate of Argentina

- In response to the U-Boats, the Allies develop a convoy system to protect merchant ships from attack

- Canada plays a major role in the battle; in 1939, the Royal Canadian Navy has a force of 10,000 men; the harbours at Halifax and St. John's act as key bases for Allied naval operations in the North Atlantic; the RCN is charged with patrolling the Mid-Atlantic
- Though initially supportive of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement towards Hitler, Prime Minister Mackenzie King had no doubts regarding Canada's involvement in a war should Britain take part

- After Britain and France declares war on September 3, Mackenzie King orders an emergency meeting of Parliament to determine if Canada should participate in the conflict; over the week, the war proposal is passed through both Houses of Parliament and is given Royal Assent by Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir on September 9; Canada formally declares war on September 10
Canada in the Pacific and the Estevan Point Lighthouse Incident
Canada At War
- Despite a full declaration of war by France and Britain, there is a lack of military engagements against Germany on the Western Front for the first months of the war, as neither Allied power is completely ready for combat

- Despite much of the German army being involved in Poland, the Maginot Line at the French border with Germany builds-up a gathering of French and British forces and no immediate armed invasion is made

- In December, the first Canadian troops arrive in Britain to prepare for deployment to the front

- With the Allied opportunity to attack wasted and Germany victorious in Poland, the Germans have time to refocus their forces in the west, preparing for the invasion of Belgium
- After Canada's declaration of war on September 10, 58,000 people voluntarily join the armed forces, building up Canada's army, navy, and air force

- In the hopes of limiting Canada's involvement in the war to supplies and training, and avoiding the conscription issue, Mackenzie King agrees to allow Canada to host and run the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan; pilots and flight personnel from across the Commonwealth converge on Canada to learn from British teachers; by the end of the war in 1945, 130,000 pilots, flight engineers, and ground crew have been trained through the program
- As part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the U.S.S.R. is to receive control of Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Bessarabia, and eastern Poland

- From the point of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland on September 17, Stalin begins to demand bases in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland; under the intense pressure of the Soviets, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania sign mutual assistance treaties allowing the U.S.S.R. to build military bases in their territories; the Baltic states later become fully annexed to the Soviet Union in 1940
- Finland, maintaining a policy of neutrality in the war, vows to resist any incursion by Soviet or German forces; they are supported by Britain and France

- After failed negotiations on the movement of the Finnish border away from Leningrad, the Soviet Union makes an armed invasion of Finland on November 30, initiating the Winter War

- Much of the conflict is fought in sub-zero conditions on snowy, forested or mountainous terrain, providing Finland an advantage early in the war; Finnish troops wear white, layered uniforms, making them nearly invisible to the Soviets in the winter landscape

- During the conflict, the Finns develop an effective fire-bombing technique to attack Soviet troops and tanks; the weapon is named the Molotov cocktail to mock Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov

- In March 1940, with the Soviet Union having the advantage, Finland and the Soviet Union sign the Moscow Peace Treaty, signing the whole of the Karelian Isthmus and the Gulf of Finland islands over to the Soviet Union
- Hitler decides to move on Norway to prevent the planned Allied occupation of that country through Operation Weserubung; Norway's plentiful mineral deposits, trade route for Swedish iron ore, and location are attractive to both the Allied and German war effort; Denmark is also attractive for its location between the Baltic and North Seas

- On April 9, Germany invades both Norway and Denmark

- Fearing harm to the Danish population, King Christian X of Denmark capitulates after only six hours of attack; however, the king is able to delay the Nazi advances long enough to deport much of the country's Jewish population to neutral Sweden, saving 99% of Denmark's Jewish population from Hitler's Final Solution
- In Norway, British, French, and Free-Polish forces assist the Norwegians in fighting the Nazis; however, the German advances are effective, and Norway falls to Nazi occupation on June 9 after 2 months of war; King Haakon of Norway goes into exile in Britain

- The Norwegian Campaign serves as a distraction from initial Nazi advances into Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France


- With the British and French distracted by the Norwegian Campaign and Allied forces focused on the Maginot Line to the south, Germany invades the Netherlands on May 10; paratroopers effectively seize Dutch towns and airbases

- The Nazi bombing of Rotterdam kills 1,000 Dutch civilians and leaves 85,000 others homeless; the attack leads to the complete surrender of the Dutch on May 17

- The Nazis also invade Belgium and Luxembourg on May 10
- The Nazis also invade Belgium and Luxembourg on May 10

- Thinking that the German forces will be concentrated in central Belgium, as they did in World War I, the Allies focus their best forces on that region; however, the Nazis invade through the Ardennes and push north toward the English Channel, entrapping the Allied forces in northern France

- With their forces surrounded, the Allies retreat from Belgium to the beaches at Dunkirk, France, allowing Germany to seize both Belgium and Luxembourg on May 28
- Fearing of German influence in neutral Iceland, Britain invades it on May 10, establishing bases on the island; Iceland cooperates with the Allies while remaining neutral

- In June, Canadian troops arrive to take over from the British, allowing the latter to return to the U.K. to fight German advances in the Battle of Britain; Canadian forces guard Iceland for about 10 months before being called off to the war in Europe in the spring of 1941, leaving a British garrison force to secure Iceland
- With the German armies surrounding them in northern France after pushing through the Ardennes, the Allied troops are forced to the beaches at the town of Dunkirk, warranting one of the largest Allied evacuation operations of the war

- From May 27 to June 4, 338,226 British and French troops are evacuated to Britain from northern France using a mixed fleet of 800 naval warships and assorted privately-owned seacraft; while the operation saves thousands of lives, most of Britain's tanks, artillery, and weapons are left behind
- With the Allies evacuating in the north, the heavily-armed German forces push around the Maginot Line, outflanking the French forces there, and allowing the Germans to advance further into France; on June 14, the Nazis enter undefended Paris;

- On June 10, Italy, which had been neutral up to this point, declares war on both France and Britain; Mussolini sends forces into southern France in the hopes of cutting the French off from the Mediterannean; Italian ambitions are not fully achieved, and the conflict concludes on June 25 with the signing of an armistice

- With the seizure of France, all organized French attacks come to an end; French government officials evacuate to Britain

- France is divided into regions of control, with Germany controlling the north and west (including Paris) and Italy controlling a small area to the southeast; a new French state, Vichy France, led by Philippe Pétain, is set-up in the lands not occupied by Germany or Italy; Pétain creates an authoritarian state based on that of Germany
- With France put out of the war, Hitler focuses his attention on invading Britain; Operation Sea Lion, an airbourne and amphibious assault on Great Britain, is planned

- On July 10, the German Luftwaffe begins targeting British airbases and munitions warehouses, in the hopes of surpassing the Royal Air Force in aerial supremacy; whether by accident or intentionally, German planes bomb several areas of London on August 24; Britain retaliates by bombing Berlin, urging the Nazis to continue bombing British towns in retaliation

- In response to the German threat, Britain orchestrates city-wide blackouts, air raid shelters are built, and thousands of British children are sent out of the cities and into the countryside
- After three months of conflict and feeling frustrated by the British use of plane-detection radar, advanced fighter planes like Spitfires and Hurricanes, and well-trained Commonwealth combat pilots, as well as the growing number of lost German planes, Hitler abandons his ambitions of conquering Britain

- "The Blitz" lasts until October 31, resulting in over 23,000 British civilian deaths; out of 544 Allied pilots killed in the battle, 47 are Canadian
- As a newly established member of the Axis side in Europe after June 10, Italy begins to set its sights on dominating the Mediterannean; hoping to unite the Italian colonies of Italian North Africa (Libya) and Italian East Africa by land, as well as seize the Suez Canal, Mussolini opens battlefronts against the British in Egypt, as well as Greece

- The Italian advancements on both fronts are disastrous; the British launch a massive counter-attack in Egypt on December 9, and advance into Libya, taking 130,000 Italian prisoners of war by February 9, 1941; the Greeks, from Oct. 28, 1940 to April 23, 1941, are able to repel the Italian forces advancing into their country and push them back over the Albanian border
Battle in the Balkans
- Beginning on June 10, 1940, the East African Campaign is pushed by British Commonwealth, Belgian, and French forces with the aim of driving the Italians from their colonies in the Horn of Africa, including the modern-day countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea

- Incited by several incidents where Italian troops invaded Kenyan and Sudanese towns near the border with Italian East Africa, the Allies embark on a year and a half long conflict against the Italians

- By November 27, 1941, Italian East Africa is under the control of Allied troops, though incidences of guerrilla warfare with small groups of Italian troops persist into 1943
- On April 1, a coup d'état in Iraq ousts the pro-British king and introduces a new, pro-Axis government led by military leader Rashid Ali; he asks both Germany and Italy for assistance should war occur with Britain; both agree, and send troops to assist Iraq

- Britain, alarmed by the Axis-sentiment in the Middle East and the loss of its petroleum resources in Iraq, launches an invasion in hopes of ousting the government of Rashid Ali on May 2

- The invasion is successful, as the Iraqi nationalist movement is halted, Rashid Ali flees the country, and the Iraqi monarchy reinstated on May 31; however, when Britain learns of supply-running to Iraqi forces carried out by Vichy France-controlled Syria, Britain begins a campaign against Syria and Lebanon
- From June 8 to July 14, British and Free French forces attack Vichy French forces in Syria and Lebanon; the campaign leads to victory for the Allies, Syria and Lebanon are returned to the adminstration of the Free French, and become independent countries shortly afterward
- From August 25 to September 17, Britain and the Soviet Union dedicate a joint campaign toward occupying neutral Iran

- With Germany advancing into the Soviet Union through Operation Barbarossa, Stalin needs a quick access point from which to get supplies from American ships to the Eastern Front; the Trans-Iranian Railway is an enticing option

- Iran maintains a distant relationship with Germany given the anti-Russian and anti-British sentiments of both countries; nonetheless, the British view the Pahlavi dynasty of Iran as being Nazi-supporters; fearing that their oil refineries in the country would be seized by German forces, Britain commits to the invasion

- Iran falls to Britain and the Soviet Union on September 17, forcing Reza Shah Pahlavi to abdicate
- From November 28 to December 1, Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union meet with each other in Tehran, Iran to coordinate future plans for the war

- From the conference, it is determined that the Allies will support the Yugoslav Partisans in Yugoslavia, support Turkey's future entrance into the war, and engage in a massive coordinated assault against Germany in 1944, with Britain and the U.S. invading northern France (D-Day) and the Soviets invading Belorussia and Poland
- From August 17 to August 24, William Lyon Mackenzie King of Canada, Franklin D. Roosevelt of the U.S., and Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom meet secretly in Quebec City to discuss developments on the Manhattan Project (development of the atomic bomb) and the coordination of an Allied assault on Normandy

- Roosevelt and Churchill also sign a secret deal to exchange nuclear information between the U.S. and the U.K.
- After a little more than a year since the conclusion of the Winter War, the Soviets begin to demand more resources and territory from Finland; with Hitler planning to invade the Soviet Union through Barbarossa, Finland allies itself with the Nazis, in the hopes of regaining territory lost in the Winter War

- From June 25, 1941 to September 19, 1944, Finland pushes into the Karelia region; however, with its alliance to the Nazis, Finland alienates Britain and the Allies, whom have allied with the Soviets to battle Germany; Britain and the Commonwealth eventually declare war on Finland

- Finland is successful in the early stages of the conflict, recapturing and holding many of the territories they lost; however, by 1944, with the Nazi disaster at Stalingrad and effective invasions by the Soviets into Finland, Finland seeks an end to the war; the conflict ends with the signing of the Moscow Armistice, ending conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union; Finland retains its independence
- Leningrad, the heartland of the Russian Revolution, today known as St. Petersburg, is one of the main objectives of Germany's Operation Barbarossa

- On September 8, 1941, Germany, assisted by Italian and Finnish troops, begins what becomes an 872 day siege on the city

- On Hitler's orders, after encircling Leningrad, the Nazis refuse the capitulation of the city, as the Nazis do not want to be held responsible for feeding the populace; instead, the Nazis hold their positions, cutting Leningrad off from food sources for two and a half years; 670,000 Soviet civilians die of starvation and exposure; many turn to eating rats, birds, and pets and even resorting to cannibalism for survival

- The siege is lifted on January 27, 1944 by invading Soviet forces; the siege of Leningrad becomes most costly siege in human history, with over 4 million casualties
Moscow
- In 1939, after reports of the horrors commited against the Chinese by the Japanese reach the Western powers, Britain, France, and the U.S. agree to assist the Chinese offensive against Japan through weapon and artillery suppliments and economic sanctions

- To prevent the Allied aid from reaching China, Japan invades French Indochina (Vietnam) in 1940; Japan's imperial desires also urge it to expand further south, to the natural resource rich colonies of the Dutch East Indies and British Malaya, as well as the American-controlled Philippines

- Finding a common enemy in Britain and the Ally-supportive U.S., Japan signs the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy in September 1940, making it a member of the Axis Powers
- Intent on gaining resources in southeast Asia but fearful of American intervention in its invasions of European colonies, Japan plans for an attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet, hoping to end American naval supremacy in the Pacific

- On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launches a surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying or damaging 19 ships, destroying 188 aircraft, and killing 2,403 servicemen of the U.S. Navy, as well as 68 civilians

- Within hours of the attack, President Roosevelt announces America's declaration of war on Japan, ending U.S. neutrality; Germany and Italy, as members of the Tripartite Pact, react by declaring war on the United States
The Paris Peace Conference
The Treaty of Versailles
Symbol of the League of Nations
"Flapper" Girls of the Roaring Twenties
The Statute of Westminster
Stock Traders on Wall Street, October 1929
Children Protesting Job Availability
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Canadian Prime Minister R.B. Bennett
Joseph Stalin
Emblem of the Soviet Union
Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong
Nationalist Soldiers During the Civil War
Flag of the Empire of Japan
Emperor Hirohito
Japanese Imperial Extent, 1931
"Il Duce" Benito Mussolini
Italian Imperial Ambitions
Organizing the Stresa Front
The War in Ethiopia
Francisco Franco
Benito Mussolini with Adolf Hitler During the Fuhrer's Visit to Rome
German Expansion, 1938
Annexation of the Sudetenland
Italian Invasion of Albania
Land Agreements of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov
British PM Chamberlain with Adolf Hitler
Political Cartoon of Chamberlain's Appeasement Policy
Nazis Marching Into Poland
Nazi and Soviet Advancements into Poland
Newspaper Announcing War Declaration
PM Mackenzie King Addressing the Canadian Public
Shelling of a British Merchant Ship
The Maginot Line
Hitler with his Generals
Lithuanian Freedom Fighters
A Finnish Gun Post
Finnish and Soviet Positions
Hitler's Advances into Norway and Denmark
The Invasion of Denmark and Norway
A Dutch Family in the Ruins of a Town
Allied Troops Securing Belgium
The Evacuation at Dunkirk
Announcement of Italy's War Declaration
Vichy France and Philippe Petain
Allied Troops Arriving in Iceland
Allied Positions in Iceland
German Bombers Over Britain
Londoners Fend the Flames After "The Blitz"
Commonwealth Fighters in the Battle of Britain
Italian Failure in Greece
Italian Advancement into Egypt
Australian Soldiers Posing with the Fascist Italian Flag
Collapse of Italian East Africa
British Soldiers Preparing for War in Iraq
Iraq During WWII
Australian Soldiers in Syria
The Middle Eastern Conflict
Soviet Tanks in Iran
Finnish and Soviet Positions in 1941
Victims of the Siege of Leningrad
The Japanese Empire Before Pearl Harbor
The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Mackenzie King, Roosevelt, and Churchill
Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill
- In 1919, Adolf Hitler, returning from battle in the First World War, joins the German Worker's Party, a party that is anti-Communist and against the democratic Weimar Republic of post-Versailles Germany; the party is also anti-Semitic, and promotes Pan-Germanism

- Being an effective public speaker, Hitler quickly came to be the leader of the party, which had now become known as the Nazi Party; in November 1923, he orchestrates the Beer Hall Putsch, a plot to overthrow the government of the German state of Bavaria; he is quickly arrested and sent to prison

- While in prison, Hitler begins writing Mein Kampf, a book describing his aspirations for Germany; its publishment introduces Nazi ideals to a wider audience around the world

- With the onset of the Great Depression in the late 1920s, the Nazi Party becomes the most popular political party in Germany; by 1933, it has a majority of the seats in the Reichstag, Germany's parliament
- With Nazi popularity growing amongst the populace and Germany nearing civil war between its political parties, Paul von Hindenburg, the ailing President of Germany, faces pressure to appoint Hitler Chancellor of Germany to appease the Nazis; on January 30, 1933, Hindenburg concedes, granting Hitler the title of Chancellor

- On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag is set ablaze; Hitler blames the event on the Communist Party of Germany; with Hindenburg's consent, mass arrests of Communists are carried out, emptying the once Communist seats of the Reichstag and putting Nazi delegates in their places; the event allows Hitler to sway German support and end the coalition government with the Communist Party
- In March 1933, the Nazi-dominated Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, granting Hitler the ability to make legal decisions without consulting parliament or abiding by the constitution

- After President Hindenburg's death in 1934, Hitler proclaims himself Führer, making himself the sole leader of Germany
Discrimination in Germany
- Shortly after gaining power, Hitler and his regime begin pushing anti-Semitic policies upon Germany, building concentration camps to detain the Jewish population and through the oppressive Nuremburg Laws of 1935; citizens of Jewish origin soon find themselves stripped of their rights; in 1938, thousands flee from Germany and Austria to Poland and Eastern Europe

- The Nazis become obsessed with preserving the "purity" of the German race, doing so by eliminating those who do not fit their profile; any peoples defying the Nazi ideology of the blue-eyed, blond-haired "Aryan master race" are persecuted, including Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and homosexuals
A Variation of the Flag of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
Paul von Hindenburg
Hitler's Rise to Power
Hitler Addressing the Reichstag as Fuhrer
- From November 9 to 10, 1938, the Jewish population of Germany endures Kristallnacht; synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses are destroyed, and thousands of German Jews are beaten and murdered; others are arrested and sent to concentration camps

- Much of the non-Jewish German population is disgusted by the actions of the Nazis; some even assist Jewish families after the ordeal

- The Jewish population is soon confined to ghettos; in January 1942, Hitler implements the "Final Solution," seeing thousands of Jews sent to concentration camps, where they are deprived of their belongings, employed as forced labour, subjected to torture, and systematically killed by firing squad or gas
- In August 1938, Hitler orders the expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany; among the families expulsed, is the family of Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year old Jewish boy living with his uncle in Paris; enraged at the hardships faced by his family, Herschel assassinates Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat, who, unbeknownst to Herschel, has anti-Nazi sympathies; Hitler uses the incident as an excuse to inflict a pogrom, spontaneous acts of violence on the Jewish population of Germany
The Entrance to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Jewish Business Damaged in Kristallnacht
Ernst vom Rath
The Aryan Ideology
- On October 2, 1941, as part of the central front of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, the Nazis attack Moscow, the capital and largest city of the U.S.S.R.; however, due to the strength of the Soviet defensive force, the Nazis are unable to capture their objectives

- With a strong counter-offensive by the Soviets in December, the Nazis are pushed away from Moscow; with anywhere between 174,000 to 400,000 casualties, the Nazis are left weak by the battle, saving the Soviet capital from Nazi occupation and ending Hitler's aspirations for conquering the Soviet Union

- The battle ends on January 7, 1942, with the Soviets saving their capital, but losing 650,000 to 1,280,000 men in casualties
Soviet Troops March to the Front in Moscow
Preparing for War in Red Square
- On the same day as their attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7), the Japanese lay siege to the British-controlled island city of Hong Kong

- The battle lasts until Christmas of 1941, becoming known as "Black Christmas," as the Japanese are successful in capturing the city

- The Battle of Hong Kong is one of the first battles of the war in which Canadian soldiers take part; in the autumn preceding the siege, two battalions, one from Quebec and the other from Manitoba, are sent to Hong Kong to aid in the defence of the city; however, due to the sudden need of their support, the Canadian troops are inadequately trained; in addition, with the Japanese successfully invading the American-controlled Philippines on December 8, Allied supply lines are cut off, leaving the island completely surrounded by Japanese forces; out of a force of 1,975 Canadian troops sent to Hong Kong, 557 are either killed in battle or die in Japanese prison camps after the seizure of the city
- From December 8, 1941 to January 31, 1942, Japan invades British Malaya through Thailand, pushing the Allied forces to the island of Singpore at the base of the peninsula

- On February 8, 1942, the Japanese begin their attack against the British, Australian, and Indian soldiers of the Singapore garrison

- On February 15, the Japanese are successful in seizing the city, taking 80,000 prisoners of war in the process
- From the beginning of the war, Canadian Atlantic ports like Halifax and Sydney are prime locations for Allied naval convoy assemblies in preparation for the transportation of munitions to the Western Front; such a location soon attracts the attention of the Germans, whom begin operating U-Boats in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence

- From May 1942 to November 1944, 23 Allied ships are destroyed, 3 are damaged, and 340 people are killed; the Nazis suffer several damaged U-Boats and lose an unknown number of crewmen; several Nazi spy landing parties are also caught attempting to enter New Brunswick and two U-Boats are surrendered to the Royal Canadian Navy by the end of the war

- While the battle fails to exert extensive harm on the Canadian war economy, it upsets Canadian sense of security and morale
Hong Kong During the Invasion
Canadian Troops at a Gun Post
A U-Boat Similar to Those Used in the Gulf
Newspaper Announcing an Attack
- From May 4 to May 8, the Japanese launch a major naval offensive against Australian and American forces in the Coral Sea, in the hopes of strengthening their control in the South Pacific, capturing the strategic city of Port Moresby on the island of New Guinea, and eventually laying siege to major Australian cities

- The battle results in a tactical victory for the Japanese, as the Allies lose more vessels; however, the Allies achieve a strategic victory, pushing the Japanese away from Australia
- In 1941, after the defeat of the Italian forces in North Africa, Hitler sends Erwin Rommel, a well-respected German commander, along with a force of Nazi troops to assist the demoralized Italians in continuing the fight in Northern Africa

- On May 26, 1942, the Germans and Italians under Rommel move on the town of Tobruk, Libya, a stategically significant port town that would allow for easier munitions-supply points for the Axis invasion of Egypt; they face opposition from British, South African, and Free French troops

- After 25 days of battle, the Axis troops are victorious in capturing the port; by June 21, the Allies have lost 50,000 troops and 1,188 tanks, while the Axis have lost only 4,000 troops and 400 tanks
- On August 19, 1942, a force of 6,086 Allied troops storm the beaches at the German-occupied town of Dieppe in Northern France; the aim of the invasion is to capture the town for a brief period of time, gather intelligence on German fortifications in Normandy, and destroy the port to prevent it from being used further by the Nazis

- Of the 6,086 troops sent into the battle, 5,000 are Canadian

- The campaign is a disaster for the Allies; after landing on the beaches, the Allied ground troops become trapped behind numerous obstacles and German gunfire; aerial support is ineffective

- After only ten hours of battle, the last Allied troops are driven fom the beach; out of the 6,086 troops who land on the beaches, 3,367 Allied troops are lost; the failures at Dieppe help serve as reminders to the Allies when planning Operation Torch and the D-Day invasion
- From August 19 to 25, American and French forces attack the German garrison at Paris

- French servicemen under Nazi control stage an uprising, assisting the American and Free French effort to the north of the city; to assist the rebellion, the city's police and essential services people go on strike, forcing the Nazi garrison itself to contend with the rebels

- On August 25, the German garrison surrenders and the city is returned to French control; General Charles de Gaulle becomes the head of the French provisional government

- While Hitler orders that the city be destroyed, Dietrich von Choltitz, the leader of the German garrison in Paris, refuses to do so, saving the cultural and historical sites of the French capital
- Canadian merchant vessels are frequent victims of Japanese submarines during the war years

- Japan makes several attacks on the West Coast of North America; the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara, California and the U.S. military base at Fort Stevens, Oregon are both shelled

- Five Japanese submarines are known to have operated in Canadian waters over the course of the war; one such submarine shelled the Estevan Point Lighthouse on Vancouver Island on June 20, 1942

- On September 17, the Japanese lay siege to Changsha, the capital city of the Hunan province of China; capturing the city would allow the Japanese to consolidate their control over South China

- The Japanese begin fighting along the course of the Xinqiang and Miluo Rivers, in some cases, using poison gas

- The Chinese force of 160,000 soldiers is able to fend off the attack of the Japanese; by October 8, the last Japanese soldiers have been pushed away from the city

- Changsha remains a Chinese stronghold throughout the war, fending off Japanese attacks in 1941 and 1942; it isn't until 1944 that the city finally succumbs to Japan
- In the summer of 1945, with the European War over, the Japanese refusing to accept the Allies' terms of unconditional surrender, and the first successful testing of an atomic weapon by the Americans in the deserts of New Mexico, the U.S. military begins planning for an atomic bombing of the Japanese main islands

- After some planning, the Americans decide on the key towns of Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Niigata as sites for the bomb drops

- On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, departs from the island of Tinian to drop the uranium bomb known as "Little Boy" on Hiroshima; at about 8:00 am, the bomb falls on the center of the city, killing 90,000 to 166,000 people
- On August 15, to assist with Operation Overlord in the north of France, the Allies invade southern France through the French Riviera in Operation Dragoon

- The battle for southern France begins with a massive parachute drop of American troops; the attack is later assisted by a large American, Canadian, and British amphibious offensive coming in from the beaches near Toulon, France

- With their forces dedicated to battles against the Soviet Union in the east and Allied forces in Normandy, the Germans are unable to support their comrades fighting in southern France

- The great speed of the Allied offensive and the loss of communications due to the French Resistance movement forces Germany to retreat north to the Vosges Mountains; Marseilles and Toulon are in Allied hands by September 14
- After Japan continues to refuse surrender, a second bomb-drop is planned; on August 9, the Bockscar, another B-29 bomber, is sent out to drop plutonium bomb "Fat Man" on Kokura, however, the skies over Kokura are overcast, so the bomb is dropped on the port of Nagasaki instead, killing 39,000 to 80,000 people

- On August 15, after the destruction of Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the Japanese government surrenders; on the USS Missouri, Japan signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, ending World War II
- From July 17 to August 2, the leaders of the U.K., the U.S., and the U.S.S.R. meet in Potsdam, Germany to discuss the outcomes of the war

- Among the outcomes of the conference, are the Potsdam Agreements, a series of agreements outlining the future of Indochina, Germany, and Poland; Indochina is to be divided in half, with Britain controlling the south and China controlling the north; Germany is to be divided into regions of control and undergo denazification; Poland is to be operated by a Soviet government and its boundaries are to be adjusted

- The conference also establishes the Potsdam Declaration, a declaration outlining the surrender of Japan
- In November 1944, British Commonwealth, Chinese, and American forces invade Japanese-occupied Burma (Myanmar), facing heavy opposition from forces of Japan, Thailand, the Burmese Independence Army, and the Indian National Army

- Just before the arrival of monsoon rains, the Allies are able to capture the Burmese capital of Rangoon; the monsoon season after the capture of Rangoon discourages Japanese counter-offensives against the city

- The battle concludes in July 1945
- On December 16, German soldiers storm through the Ardennes forest of eastern Belgium and Luxembourg with the hopes retaking the port of Antwerp and pushing the Allies, including American, British, Canadian, and French soldiers, from the Low Countries

- By January 25, 1945, the Allies are successful in pushing the German offensive back; the U.S. has the most casualties, with 19,000 killed
- From February 4 to 11, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin meet in Yalta, Ukraine to continue the discussions started at the Tehran Conference

- At the conference, it is determined that Germany would be divided into four regions of occupation, that German surrender would be unconditional, that the Soviet Union would participate in the United Nations, and that the Soviet Union would engage in the war against Japan two to three months after the defeat of Germany
- From April 6 to 19, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is invaded by Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria; Germany seizes northern Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia, establishing the puppet-state of Croatia; Italy annexes southern Slovenia, Kosovo, and coastal Dalmatia; Hungary takes Vojvodina; Bulgaria seizes Macedonia; Yugoslav resistance movements continue until the country's liberation in 1945, establishing a Communist state under Josip Tito

- With Mussolini's failure in the invasion of Greece in 1940, Hitler fears Greek support for the British cause in Europe; he responds by sending a Nazi force to Greece on April 6, conquering the country for Germany on April 30
- On August 9, after almost six years of peace between them, the Soviet Union invades the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo, resuming the conflict between the Soviets and the Japanese

- By August 20, the Soviets are able to seize Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and northern Korea from Japanese control; the Soviet invasion of Manchuria helps push Japan to agree to the Potsdam Declaration, ending World War II
- On June 22, after the conclusion of the Balkan Campaign, Germany, Romania, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, and Finland begin one of the largest military operations in history, breaking the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by invading the Soviet Union

- The invasion is divided into three divisions; the north division is sent to capture Leningrad, the central division to Moscow, and the southern division to Kiev and the oil fields of the Caucasus region

- The Red Army is left unprepared for the attack; as a result, the Axis forces are able to move rapidly into the Soviet-controlled territories, winning key battles at Kiev and Smolensk
- Though the initial offensives are effective, the Axis fail to seize Moscow and Leningrad before the Russian winter sets in; the Soviets are able to defeat the Nazis at the Battle of Moscow and begin a massive counter-offensive, effectively ending Operation Barbarossa on December 5, 1941

- With Germany's betrayal, Stalin seeks an alliance with the Allies, joining the Allied cause in June 1941
- To back-up the Normandy offensive on the Western Front, the Red Army engages in a massive counter-offensive against the Nazis known as Operation Bagration

- From June 22 to August 19, the Soviet forces push the Nazis out of the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, and eastern Poland; by August 19, Soviet soldiers are within striking distance of Berlin

- The offensive allows for future campaigns against Hungary, Romania, and the Nazis in Yugoslavia in the following months
- From January 12 to February 2, the Red Army continues the push initiated by Operation Bagration by crossing the Vistula River and pushing the Nazis back to the Oder River

- As the Soviets push into Poland, Germans who have settled in Polish territory during the Nazi occupation flee back to Germany, fearing Soviet occupation

- During the invasion, the Red Army is also able to liberate several concentration camps, including Auschwitz

- The invasion also puts the Soviets into the final position for their march into Berlin
- From June 4 to 7, the Japanese attempt to seize the American naval base on the Midway Atoll in the middle of the North Pacific; however, unbeknownst to the Japanese, the Americans have been alerted to the Japanese offensive at Midway ahead of time by American codebreakers

- The Japanese loss at the Battle of Midway becomes one of the largest defeats dealt to the Japanese navy, as 4 aircraft carriers, 1 heavy cruiser, and 248 aircraft are destroyed; the battle also pushes the Japanese away from the Hawaiian Islands
- On June 3, 1942, a small force of Japanese soldiers seize the islands of Attu and Kiska in the remote Aleutian Island chain of Alaska

- Despite having a larger fighting force, the Allied offensive comprised of American and Canadian soldiers is unable to drive the Japanese from the islands until August 15, 1943, as the difficult weather and terrain of the region inhibits immediate action
- After discussions between Roosevelt and Churchill on replacing the failed League of Nations conclude in 1941, in early 1942, 26 nations sign the "Declaration by United Nations," an agreement demanding that its signers participate in the war against the Tripartite (Axis) Powers

- On April 25, 1945, representives from over 50 countries, meet in San Francisco to draft the UN Charter

- On October 24, 1945, upon the ratification of the Charter by France, the U.K. the U.S.S.R., the United States, the Republic of China, and a majority of the 46 other signatories, the United Nations is established
- After signing the Moscow Armistice in 1944, Finnish forces begin dedicating their efforts towards pushing the Nazis out of Finland

- After fighting from September 15, 1944 to April 25, 1945, Finland is able to successfully drive the Nazis out, pushing them into Norway at the cost of 774 Finnish soldiers

- The end of the Lapland War, as it comes to be known, helps to end Finnish involvement in World War II; however, until the signing of the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, Finland is technically at war with Britain, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany
- After the failure of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler remains optimistic about conquering the Soviet Union; with much of the readied Axis force not yet engaged in the conflict on the Eastern Front, Hitler has them mobilized to capture the Volga River, hoping to cut off Soviet river traffic from the oil-rich lands of the Caucasus region

- On August 23, 1942, German troops invade Stalingrad, a large industrial town on the Volga River; however, on November 19, the Soviets push through the German flanks, trapping the Nazi forces within the city; close-quarters combat ensues for the next three months

- The Germans are finally defeated at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943; the battle is often considered the turning point in the European Front, as over 1 million Axis and 1 million Soviet soldiers are lost; it becomes one of the bloodiest battles in history
- With the necessity of munitions for the war effort, most Canadian manufacturing operations are repurposed, beginning the production of ammunition and weapons; with much of the male population off at war, large numbers of women are employed in the factories

- To create revenue for the government to support the war effort, Mackenzie King urges Finance Minister James Ilsley to encourage the sale of Victory Bonds and to increase income taxes; King also introduces the Wartime Prices and Trade Board to freeze wages prices to prevent inflation; food rations are also introduced in 1942

- Unemployment insurance is introduced in 1940 and social security is introduced in 1945 through the Family Allowance Program
- Canada becomes involved with the Manhattan Project, a joint British and American operation dedicated to developing an atomic weapon; Trail, British Columbia and Chalk River, Ontario become locations for research sites; uranium from the Eldorado Mine in Port Radium, Northwest Territories is used in tests for the project, eventually including the "Little Boy" bomb, which is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan

- In 1941, Camp X is created in Ajax, Ontario by Sir William Stephenson as means of linking Britain and the United States at a time when the U.S. is forbidden from war participation by the Neutrality Act; the base is used for training paramilitary troops and commandos, as well as spies for the Allied cause; over 500 Allied units are trained at the base; Roald Dahl and possibly Ian Fleming are said to have attended training there
- Besides Nazi Germany, Canada also declares war on the other Axis powers, including Italy on June 10, 1940, and Finland, Hungary, Romania, and Japan on December 7, 1941

- The rapid speed at which the Germans occupy Europe alarms the Canadian Parliament; realizing that the British Commonwealth Air Training Program is not enough of a contribution to the war effort, Mackenzie King introduces the National Resources Mobilization Act, an act giving the government special powers to take over the country's resources; the act also permits conscription, though only for home defence

- With increased pressure from the Conservative Party, King holds a plebiscite on the subject of bringing overseas conscription to Canada on April 27, 1942; all of the provinces except Quebec vote in favor, so conscription is introduced; Quebecois respond with riots, though not to the extent of those that took place during WWI; in 1944, 15,000 men are conscripted, though only 2463 of these men actually make it to the front
- To protect major Canadian cities like Vancouver and Halifax from naval or aerial attack, fortifications are built to protect the cities and city-wide black-outs are imposed on occasion

- After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and fearing civilian support for the Japanese cause, Canada begins the internment of Japanese Canadians, seizing Japanese property and forcing them to move east of the Rocky Mountains or be sent to internment camps; Japanese internment remains in place until 1949, four years after the conclusion of the war
- With the seizure of Tobruk, Libya, in June, Rommel's Afrika Korps follows the Allied retreat into Egypt with the intention of seizing the colony and taking Cairo and the strategic Suez Canal

- From July 1 to 27, Rommel's forces attempt to drive the Allies from Egypt through battle at the coastal town of El Alamein, Egypt; the first conflict results in a tactical stalemate, with the Allies retaining control of the town

- Rommel tries again to capture El Alamein from October 23 to November 11; however, his forces are ultimately defeated; coinciding with Operation Torch, the Second Battle of El Alamein becomes the turning point of the North African Campaign, as the Allies are able to trap the Axis in Tunisia by early 1943
- As part of their "leapfrogging" strategy used when attacking the Japanese in the islands of the South Pacific, the U.S., Australian, New Zealand, and British forces embark on the Guadalcanal Campaign, hoping to drive the Japanese from the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands

- From August 7, 1942 to February 9, 1943, the Allies are able to seize Guadalcanal and several other key islands in the South Pacific, gaining a key airbase from which to base operations and denying the Japanese from interfering with Allied trade; the Guadalcanal Campaign becomes the first strategic offensive by the Allies in the Pacific Theatre, allowing for future invasions of the Solomon, the Marshall, the Mariana, and the Palau Islands, as well as New Guinea, Borneo, and the Philippines
- From November 8 to 16, Allied forces comprised of American, British, and Free French troops storm the beaches of Vichy-controlled French Morocco and French Algeria

- With Canadian, Dutch, and Australian naval support, the operation is successful, driving the Axis from North Africa and confining them to Tunisia

- The operation grants greater Allied control of the Mediterannean; to prevent the Allied seizure of southern France, Germany and Italy occupy Vichy France, ending the country's nominal independence
- From February 19 to March 26, American soldiers fight to push the Japanese from the island of Iwo Jima in order to establish a staging ground from which to base attacks on the Japanese main islands

- The five-week battle concludes with American victory; however, out of a fighting force of 70,000 soldiers, the Americans lose 6,821, and over 19,000 others are wounded; Japan experiences a loss of 18,844 soldiers out of a force of 22,060; the Battle of Iwo Jima becomes one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war
- From April 1 to June 22, American and British soldiers attack the Japanese-held Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa just south of the Japanese main islands, hoping to gain a staging area for the invasion of Japan; the attack is one of the last "island hopping" attacks of the war

- Though the invasion is intense, the Allies are victorious, fighting through kamikaze attacks from the Japanese; 110,000 Japanese soldiers are either killed in the battle or commit suicide afterward; Allied losses amount to 12,000 men
- With his forces confined to Tunisia after the Allied successes of Operation Torch and the Second Battle of El Alamein, Rommel prepares for a final offensive against the Allies in North Africa

- From November 17, 1942 to May 13, 1943, the German and Italian troops attempt to push the Allies away from Tunisia, achieving some initial success; however, the size of the Allied offensive is able to overwhelm that of the Axis, subsequently ending with the defeat of the Afrika Korps, making 230,000 German and Italian soldiers prisoners of war; the war in North Africa is over
- Following the success of the Tunisia Campaign, the Allies begin an invasion of the Italian and German controlled island of Sicily

- Beginning on July 9, the Allied forces comprised of British, American, Canadian, Australian, Free French, and South African soldiers instigate an amphibious and aerial assault on the island's Italian and German forces

- Canadians help seize the port of Syracuse on the island, and also fight through 240 kilometers of mountainous terrain, losing 562 soldiers in the process

- On August 17, the last Axis troops are evacuated from the island; the loss of Sicily leads to the overthrow of Mussolini, allowing the new government to surrender to the Allies; however, the Nazis continue to hold their ground in Italy; as a result, the Italian Campaign begins


- From September 3 to 16, American and British soldiers make the first Allied offensive against the Italian mainland

- At the conclusion of the operation, the Americans and British have gained control of the cities of Salerno, Calabria, and Taranto; the operation also allows for future Allied advances on Rome in the following year

- Canada also plays a part in the invasion, though later than the initial assault; from December 20 to 28, Canadians are endeavored in the Battle of Ortona in the coastal city of Ortona, Italy; the Canadians are able to seize the city and advance further into Italy before being sent to aid the fight in France; 1,375 Canadians are killed in the fight
- From January 17 to May 18, Allied forces comprised of American, Canadian, British, Australian, and other national soldiers converge on the abbey of Monte Cassino, Italy; thinking the historic abbey was a Axis observation post, the Allies bomb the church; Germans later occupy the rubble of the abbey, leading to further Allied ground offensives; while the Axis are eventually driven from the mountain and Rome is later secured by the Allies, the victory comes at a heavy cost to Allied lives

- The Battle of Anzio, taking place in Anzio, Italy from January 22 to June 5, utilizes a successful Allied amphibious assault; from the invasion, the Allies are able to reach Rome
- On September 17, the Allies launch an airborne offensive in the Netherlands and northern Germany in the hopes of circumventing the heavily defended Siegfreid Line and capturing bridges to allow for an armed invasion of Germany's industrial heartland in the north; the operation is a failure, ending in Allied defeat on September 25

- After pushing north through Belgium and liberating Antwerp, Canadian soldiers are engaged in the Battle of the Scheldt from October 2 to November 8, a conflict dedicated toward pushing the Germans out of the Scheldt estuary of the Netherlands and regaining Antwerp's access to the ocean; the Canadians are victorious in defeating the Germans; however, in the process, Canada loses 6,367 soldiers; the campaign in the Scheldt allows Canada to continue north into the Netherlands, which they also liberate in 1945
- On September 5, 1945, Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa defects, taking with him 109 documents on Soviet espionage in the West; he seeks asylum at Camp X, where he reveals Stalin's plot to steal nuclear secrets to Canadian RCMP, the British MI5, and the American FBI; the event triggers a panic amongst the Canadian public, and eventually contributes to the ensuing "Cold War"

- By 1948, a new kind of war has entered the world stage; the concept of an atomic war between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. becomes feasible, as tensions rise between the Eastern and Western blocs; the creation of NATO, the Communist take-over of China, and growing tensions between the democratic and communist factions in Korea and Vietnam only instigate conflict; the world is immersed in the psychological turmoil of the Cold War
- With the Allies pushing into the Rhineland on the Western Front and the Soviets converging on Berlin on the Eastern Front, Hitler prepares what is left of his armies for the final battle; with much of the adult male population lost in conflicts at the fronts, Hitler resorts to using Hitler Youth, women, and the elderly to protect the German capital

- On April 16, the Soviet Army storms Berlin; amidst the conflict, in a bunker beneath the city, Hitler, his wife, and several high-ranking Nazi followers commit suicide; on May 2, the Soviets have successfully captured what becomes East Germany

- On May 7 and 8, the remaining German forces surrender to Allied troops, ending the conflict in the European Theatre
- From October 20, 1944 to August 15, 1945, American and Australian forces fight to regain control of the Philippines after the Japanese invasion of the islands in 1942

- Beginning with an amphibious invasion of the island of Leyte, the Allies are able to recapture the main islands of Mindoro and Luzon, as well as the Filipino capital of Manila by the signing of the Potsdam Declaration by the Japanese in August 1945

- After the war, the Philippines gains independence from the United States on July 4, 1946
- Forming the basis for the final Allied offensive in Italy in the spring of 1945, the Gothic Line offensive occurs in northern Italy; from late August 1944 to early March 1945, British, American, Canadian, Indian, Italian Resistance, Polish, and Brazilian forces push to drive the Nazis from northern Italy

- The battle produces inconclusive results, as while there are break-throughs of the line, there is no break significant enough to drive the Nazis completely from Italy; the Allies do not succeed until the spring 1945 offensive in the Lombardy region of Italy
- After the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference, the major Allied Powers of the war move into the territories of occupation they have agreed upon; France occupies German regions bordering the southern Rhine, Britain occupies German regions along the northern Rhine and the North Sea, the U.S. occupies part of the city of Bremen, Bavaria, and central Germany, and the Soviet Union occupies Saxony and much of eastern Germany; Berlin is further divided into four areas of control
- On the morning of June 6, 1944, 156,000 American, Canadian, and British soldiers storm five beaches and paratroopers are dropped in German-occupied Normandy, initiating Operation Overlord

- The Americans land at Utah and Omaha beaches, the British land at Gold and Sword beaches, and the Canadians land at Juno beach

- The offensive becomes one of the largest of the war, breaking Hitler's Atlantic Wall and opening a battlefront in France

- While the Canadian forces on Juno and the British forces on Gold are the only two divisions to accomplish their objectives on that day, the Americans and other British division soon follow

- 359 Canadians are killed invading Juno Beach out of a force of 14,000
- With the territories they conquer through the war with Germany, the U.S.S.R. sets up numerous satellite states in Eastern Europe

- Communist governments take power in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and the Soviet-occupied region of East Germany; the region comes to be known as the Eastern Bloc as a result of the Soviet Union's influence
- Over the course of the six year war, over 60 million people are killed

- Civilian deaths account for 38 to 55 million of the total, while military deaths account for 22 to 25 million

- In the Holocaust, 17 million people are killed, 6 million of those being Jews; the additional 11 million is comprised of Romani, Roman Catholics, Poles, and Slavs, as well as the mentally disabled, the deaf, the physically disabled, homosexuals, transexuals, and political opponents, including communists and socialists; anyone who does not fit the Aryan ideology or defies the Nazi Party is subjected to the concentration camps, tortured, and murdered; some victims are subjected to human experimentation

- Asia is also subjected to war attrocities; thousands of Asian women are raped by Japanese soldiers during Japanese occupation; villages and towns are looted; Allied POWs and the native populations of occupied countries are subjected to forced labour, torture, human experimentation, mass killings, and cannibalism
- Thousands of Canadian soldiers who have served overseas return home; those imprisoned in Axis internment camps are liberated

- Women gain higher status in Canadian society due to their participation in the wartime economy of the country

- The efforts of Aboriginal, Asian, and African Canadians, as well as other minority groups in the war help further civil rights for all Canadians, and lead to a relaxation in immigration laws

- As a result of its economic dedication toward supplying the war effort, Canada is left economically prosperous after the war, effectively ending the Great Depression; Canada also becomes a more modern industrial country and less of an agrarian one

- Many war brides join their Canadian soldier husbands and have families in Canada

- Canadians cash-in their Victory Bonds, providing additional income to support families

- Many returning soldiers settle down and have families, inciting a "baby boom" in the country

- Canadian unity is strengthened as a result of the war
- 700,000 German civilians are killed by aerial bombings and in the evacuation from Eastern Europe

- In the Allied bombing of the German city of Dresden from February 13 to 15, 1945, 25,000 German civilians are killed; the city is levelled

- In March 1945, Tokyo is bombed by the Allies, killing 124,711 people in the period of one night; the bombing is the most deadly in human history, surpassing the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki

- Many Japanese civilians exposed to the radiation unleashed by the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki fall victim to leukemia; 200 people die of leukemia, while 1,700 others die of cancers attributed to the radiation of the bombings
- Within the occupied zones of the country, the denazification process begins; pro-Nazi political groups are forcibly disbanded, Germany is de-industrialized, and all remnants of the Nazi Party are destroyed

- In August 1945, the U.S. begins actively deporting 1,500 Nazi scientists from Germany to the United States in the hopes of securing scientific knowledge obtained by the Nazis for the U.S.; the operation becomes known as Operation Paperclip; the program's goal is to keep Nazi knowledge out of the hands of the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union

- From November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946, the Nuremburg trials against Nazi war criminals commence in Nuremburg, Germany; 23 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich are charged
- Japan, like Germany, also undergoes Allied occupation; however, unlike Germany, the main Japanese islands are placed under a single jurisdiction primarily influenced by the United States; Japan's outlying territories are dispensed between the Allied powers, with the U.S. taking Okinawa, Micronesia, and South Korea, Britain taking Hong Kong and the Solomon Islands, the Soviet Union taking North Korea and the Kuril Islands, and the Republic of China taking Taiwan and Penghu; the establishment of a communist government in North Korea and a democratic government in South Korea eventually help lead to the Korean War

- Under Allied control, Japan is disarmed, liberalized, and introduced to democracy; the country also undergoes an education reform and trade unions are introduced

- Japanese war criminals, such as Hideki Tojo, are tried at the Tokyo Trials of 1946; the Japanese Royal Family is pardoned
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