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World War II
Transcript of World War II
The start of the war is generally held to be September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by most of the countries in the British Empire and Commonwealth, and by France.
On September 1, 1939, Germany and Slovakia — a client state in 1939 — attacked Poland. France, Britain, and the countries of the Commonwealth declared war on Germany but provided little military support to Poland other than a small French attack into the Saarland. On September 17, 1939, after signing an armistice with Japan, the Soviets launched their own invasion of Poland. By early October, Poland was divided among Germany, the Soviet Union, Lithuania (returned Vilnius capital province) and Slovakia, although Poland never officially surrendered and continued the fight outside its borders. At the same time as the battle in Poland, Japan launched its first attack against Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.
INVASION OF POLAND, FALL 1939
One of Adolf Hitler's first major foreign policy initiatives after coming to power was to sign a nonaggression pact with Poland in January 1934. This move was not popular with many Germans who supported Hitler but resented the fact that Poland had received the former German provinces of West Prussia, Poznan, and Upper Silesia under the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. However, Hitler sought the nonaggression pact in order to neutralize the possibility of a French-Polish military alliance against Germany before Germany had a chance to rearm.
Soviet Union (1941-45)
United States (1941-45)
China (at war since 1937)
Japan (at war since 1937)
Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) was the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km (1,800 mile) front. It was the largest military offensive in history. In addition to the large number of troops, it also involved 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses. Planning for Operation Barbarossa started on 18 December 1940; the secret preparations and the military operation itself lasted almost a year, from spring to winter 1941.
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor (or Hawaii Operation, Operation Z, as it was called by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, and Battle of Pearl Harbor by some Americans) was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. It resulted in the United States' entry into World War II. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Philippines. The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers.
On June 6, 1944 (known as D-Day), the Western Allies invaded northern France and, after reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, southern France. These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the German Army units in France. Paris was liberated by the local resistance assisted by the Free French forces on August 25, and the Western Allies continued to push back German forces in Western Europe during the latter part of the year. An attempt to advance into northern Germany spear-headed by a major airborne operation in the Netherlands was not successful. The Allies also continued their advance in Italy until they ran into the last major German defensive line
On December 16, 1944, Germany attempted its last desperate measure for success on the Western Front by marshalling German reserves to launch a massive counter-offensive in the Ardennes to attempt to split the Western Allies, encircle large portions of Western Allied troops and capture their primary supply port at Antwerp in order to prompt a political settlement. By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled. In Italy, the Western Allies remained stalemated at the German defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Soviets attacked in Poland, pushing from the Vistula to the Oder river in Germany, and overran East Prussia. On February 4, U.S., British, and Soviet leaders met in Yalta. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Germany, and when the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.
Axis collapse, Allied victory
Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day or VE Day) was on May 8, 1945, the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. On April 30 Hitler committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin, and so the surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany Karl Dönitz. The administration headed up by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government. The act of military surrender was signed on May 7 in Reims, France, and May 8 in Berlin, Germany. More than a million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war. Many hardships remained, however, including continued rationing of food and clothing, which lasted even longer in peacetime than it had during the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the Palace before cheering crowds. Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander anonymously among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.
Victory in Europe Day
WORLD WAR II