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WWII Concept Map
Transcript of WWII Concept Map
There are different opinions about whether economy benefits from or is harmed by the events of total war. The answer seems to depend on the situation at hand. For example, America's industry was energized when the United States entered WWII in 1941. And during Operation Barbarossa (Germany's critical invasion of the Soviet Union) that same year, an industrial boom grew out of Russia's decision to move their factories East. On the other hand, total war is exhaustive, without question. Every country involved with World War II lost countless vehicles, equipment, men, etc. There are certainly negative economic effects of total war.
The crux of economy's relationship wit total war, however, is that total war demands all economic resources to be mobilized in order to achieve victory. During total war, an active economy and industry should always be working towards production, invention and implementation of the most efficient, destructive technology.
Tactics + Strategies
There is a lot of interplay between the strategies of WWI and WWII, if only that WWII expectation defaulted to the offensive maneuvers of WWI. Ultimately, this was rarely true, but more on that later.
The most important point to remember is that WWII was a total war for a reason. The tactics and strategies employed nations were destructive, merciless, and sweeping. Collateral damage was inevitable...
WWII as Total War
Total war involves the utilization of all resources, population and effort, and is often freed from the typical constraints of fairness and morality, in order to defeat the enemy. An important characteristic of total war, something that separates it from other wars, is scope. Total war is all-consuming. In his book
, Dyer argues that attrition is ultimate factor in deciding who wins these wars.
WWII is frequently cited as being a "greater" total war than WWI. There are many reasons for this, which can be broken down categorically.
Total war required that civilians contribute to "the cause" in a variety of ways. Men often enlisted in the armed forces, if they weren't already drafted. Women tended to work in factories. Furthermore, individuals and families were sometimes required to hand over as much as 90% of their income to support their country's war effort. A shortage of food supplies wasn't uncommon because, during total war, it's the soldiers who need food the most.
Ubiquitous propaganda evoked nationalism and a will to fight among the people; it maintained their commitment and support for the war by characterizing the enemy as a direct threat on their nation's way of life. It's messages inspired urgency and importance that was hard to deny.
Total war infects every aspect of life, even civilian life. It has to. Hitler wanted to shelter Germans from the hardships of war. He tried everything to maintain pre-war standards of living. This was a huge mistake, but, by the time he realized this in 1944, it was too late. Hitler's failure to reallocate resources sooner played a part in Germany's WWII outcome. To put it another way, the countries that won WWII didn't have the same misconceptions about the impact of total war on civilian life that Hitler did; they understood that total war has no bounds.
Life During Wartime
Nov. 14, 2013
IB MW History
WORLD WAR II
And In the End...
In the Beginning...
A Quick Who's Who: The Major Players
The Axis Powers | The Allied Powers
France + Britain declare war on Sept. 3, 1939
Most immediate cause: German invasion of Poland (Sept. 1)
Precipitated by years of European frustration with Germany (e.g. several Treaty of Versailles violations, appeasement at Munich over the Sudetenland-1938)
Germany finds success at first, manages to defeat France in just six weeks
Hitler believed the war could be won quickly; ultimately, he was very wong
Above: Factory floor where airplanes were being mass produced during WWII. Balancing quantity with quality was a necessary struggle, which some were successful with and others were not.
Right: U.S. propaganda encouraging women to save food during war. It was necessary for civilians to make sacrifi-ces in order to conserve resources.
An example of the Panzer tank, which played a critical role in Germany's successful invasion of France in 1940.
London in ruins following the Blitz, in which Germany carried out strategic bombing on Britain's largest city in 1940-41.
World War II came to an end in 1945. By this time, Germany was defeated, and Hitler had committed suicide. The U.S. was demanding unconditional surrender from Japan; otherwise, they would face "prompt and utter destruction." After the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August, Japan surrendered and the war was over.
World War II was unlike any war before it. Unrivaled. Advances in technology and transport made WWII just WWI in motion. This mobility amplified its scope dramatically. World War II is also the deadliest event in human history, with a death toll in the tens of millions. The estimates are endless and hard to define. For example, what constitutes a WWII-related death? Death from disease or residual injury in subsequent years, or death during the war only? Etc.
Either way, it's clear that the limitless qualities of World War II made it a blind infection, consuming everything it came into contact with. To return, our working definition of total war was the mobilization of all resources and population for the purpose of total victory. World War II embodies this concept, earning it the indisputable title of being a total war.
The War on Land
was key to Germany's success, both on land and elsewhere, until 1941. Notably, Case Yellow during the Battle of France in 1940. Germany's early efforts on land showcased how well-organized offensives can emerge victorious over sheer strength.
The War at Sea
Most of the war at sea revolved around the preservation of trade routes, especially for the island nations within the United Kingdom. For this reason, the Battle of the Atlantic, which took place throughout the duration of WWII, was of great importance.
The War in the Air
One of the most defining characteristics of World War II as a total war was the emergence of strategic bombing. While this type of warfare took time to develop into something accurate, it possessed the ability to do a lot of damage in very little time. And while strategic bombing inflicted much military damage, one of its original intents was to lower civilian morale. Far more civilians died in strategic bombings than soldiers, however, Germans proved that British bombings couldn't slow them down. In fact, it actually renewed their will to fight. This was one of the failures associated with strategic bombing.