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United States History

United States History. Chapter 26: The Road to War. Legacy of World War I. Officially, World War II began on September 1, 1939 However, you can also say that the beginning of WWII dates back to November 11, 1918

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United States History

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  1. United States History Chapter 26: The Road to War

  2. Legacy of World War I • Officially, World War II began on September 1, 1939 • However, you can also say that the beginning of WWII dates back to November 11, 1918 • The United States, fearing another conflict, refused to join the League of Nations, isolating the nation from world affairs • Reparations were forced upon Germany, devastating the European economy • Other nations struggled to pay their debt payments • The US lowered interest rates, but did not cancel debts • Sanctions were placed on Germany, preventing development of a military • Problems in Germany led to the rise of Adolf Hitler

  3. Adolf Hitler • Served in German military during WWI, surviving a gas attack • Formed National Socialist Workers’ Party (Nazi) • Imprisoned for trying to overthrow German gov’t in 1923 • Wrote autobiography, MeinKampf in prison • Book outlined his political aspirations and blamed Germany’s problems on Jews

  4. Latin America • The worldwide economic depression also had a negative effect on the nations of Latin America • Dictators came to power in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Honduras • FDR proposed the Good Neighbor Policy, promising to respect the nation’s neighbors in regards to their economy and land • The policy was tested in 1938 with Mexico • Many American oil companies drilled in Mexico • Mexico’s gov’t nationalized the oil industry • In regards to the policy, the US would respect Mexico’s decision, but at the expense of the companies • Luckily, the US and Mexico made a deal to compensate companies for lost property

  5. Italy • Led by Benito Mussolini • Founded the Fascist Party in 1921 • Fascists believe in a strict military control of all aspects of society • Suppressed basic rights and invaded several areas of Africa in a quest for an Italian empire • Used an army of followers known as Blackshirts to enforce his power • Principle ally of Germany before and during World War II

  6. Soviet Union • Already a Communist nation • Josef Stalin came to power in 1924 after Lenin’s death • Took away basic rights and took property under gov’t control, causing decreased production and famine • All opposition was crushed by the Red Army • Estimated 30 million Soviets killed as a result of Stalin’s policies

  7. Germany • Hitler’s Nazi Party gained popularity, especially during the early days of the Depression • In 1932, the Nazis won 40% of the vote in German elections • Hitler became Chancellor, or der Fuhrer, in 1933 • Using his SS stormtroopers, or Brownshirts, Hitler suppressed all opposition • Jews and non-Nazis were denied gov’t jobs • Military services was made mandatory • Breaking the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler set out to rebuild the nation’s military • As a result, unemployment decreased and Germany’s economy improved

  8. Germany • Hitler wanted to expand Germany’s Lebensraum (“living space”) • Rhineland invaded in 1936 • Austria annexed in 1938 • Sudetenland in 1938 • The problems of Germany, according to Hitler, were caused by the Jews • Passed the Nuremburg Laws in 1935, making Anti-Semitism official government policy • Stripped Jews of citizenship • Destroyed Jewish property • Kristalnacht (night of broken glass) on November 9, 1938 • Many Jews tried to escape, but had no place to go because of strict immigration laws

  9. Spain • Just as in Italy and Germany, a fascist dictator came to power in Spain • A civil war broke out between fascists and loyalists • Eventually, after a 3 year war, in 1936, General Francisco Franco came to power with the help of German and Italian military aid • The Soviets supported the Loyalists • The United States did not send direct aid, fearing getting involved in another international conflict • However, 3,000 Americans did fight in the conflict with the loyalist cause • Ernest Hemingway glorified the war in his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) • Much of Europe now fell under fascist control

  10. Japan • In a need and desire to rely less on foreign resources, Japan sought to expand their empire throughout Asia and the Pacific • Japan rapidly expanded their army and navy • In 1931, Japan invaded and conquered Chinese controlled Manchuria • By 1937, a full scale war between Japan and China broke out • The United States and the League of Nations condemned Japan’s actions, but were not successful in stopping them

  11. Fascist Reaction • Scared of Japanese action against them, the Soviet Union mended relations with the US in 1933 • France and Great Britain also joined the United States and USSR in opposing fascist aggression • Germany, Italy and Japan signed a formal agreement of friendship • These nations are known as the Axis Powers • To avoid conflict, Britain, France, Germany and Italy met in Munich in September 1938 • A policy of appeasement was adopted • Germany gained the Sudetenland, promising not to invade other lands • The United States adopted neutrality laws • Prevented shipments of weapons • Required any goods bought from the US to be shipped by their own ships

  12. Europe 1939

  13. The War Begins… • Britain and France, knowing the inevitable, threatened war if Germany attacked Poland, an area Hitler expressed desire for • Asked USSR to join, but the Soviets signed a nonaggression pact with Germany • Also agreed to split Poland with Germany • September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland • USSR followed suit, also occupying Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and part of Finland • France and Britain declared war on Germany two days later • The US continued to stay neutral • However, sold weapons to warring nations if they were carried on foreign ships • Established the Lend-Lease Act with the Allies to provide military equipment

  14. The War Begins… • Hitler employed a tactic called Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) against Poland • It took less than a month to conquer Poland • His next move was to eliminate France • Moved around the Maginot Line defenses into Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway • In the process, trapped thousands of French, British, and Belgian troops at the French town of Dunkirk • Only a bold evacuation across the English Channel saved the troops from surrender or annihilation in 1940 • Germany established a puppet gov’t in Vichy, France • The French Resistance, led by Charles de Gaulle, continued to oppose the Germans for the remainder of the war • In June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France • Germany sent bombers over Britain, but the British were able to hold off the German Luftwaffe

  15. The US’ Secret Meetings • FDR met with British PM Winston Churchill secretly in August 1941 • They discussed how the United States was practically already at war • They also drafted the Atlantic Charter • Agreed not to pursue territorial gains • Right of nations to choose their government • Disarming of aggressor nations • All nations needed to work to eliminate war and poverty • Situation became worse when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 • Broke the nonaggression agreement with USSR • Were knocking on Moscow’s door by Fall 1941

  16. Japan and America’s Entry into World War II • Meanwhile, Japan continued to expand in Asia and the Pacific • The United States cut diplomatic ties with Japan and froze all assets • Japan and the US met several times over the summer of 1941 to reach a peace • Secretly, PM Hideki Tojo was planning an attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor • The US broke codes and knew an attack was coming, but did not know where • On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor • Over 2400 dead • Much of the Pacific fleet damaged or sunk • FDR asked for a war declaration the next day, bringing the US into World War II

  17. Hideki Tojo Winston Churchill

  18. Flags of World War II

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