World War II

Table of Contents - World War II.

Causes of World War II
After World War I, the treaty of Versailles was put into place, and put Germany into large amounts of debt, or super-inflation. One reason as to why the French wanted to punish Germany so much was because of the Franco-Prussian War, in which France was humiliated, lost territory, and lost money. 

At that time, the US Dollar was worth 3.2 trillion German Marks! Under the treaty, Germany lost around 13 percent of its home territory and all of its overseas colonies, while German annexation of other states was prohibited, reparations were imposed, and limits were placed on the size and capability of the country's armed forces. Soon, the Nazis gained power among the German people, and the President of the Weimar Republic of Germany, von Hindenburg, announced that Adolf Hitler (Leader of the Nazis) was the First Chancellor. 

Hitler demanded that Germany annex (Sudetenland) Czechoslovakia, Austria, and militarize Rhineland. These countries fell to Germany. Germany invaded Poland - France and Britain declared war on Germany, starting World War II. Germany then invaded Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and soon France lost Paris to the Germans, and France was annexed. The Soviet Union invaded Finland, the Baltics, the other half of Poland, and Ukraine. Germany lost at the Battle of Britain, but they still started to attack the USSR. They failed at Stalingrad and Moscow, and the Soviets beat the Germans back, reclaiming lands that Germany took.

Then, on D-Day, the largest water-land invasion in the history of the world began on the shores of Normandy, France. This was called the Battle of Normandy. The Allies poured their troops onto Normandy, and soon, they took back France. They also staged another invasion in Italy, to defeat the Germans underneath. The Soviets reached Berlin first, then the Western Allies. Hitler commit suicide, and Germany surrendered, after Italy had lost. This day was called V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day. But Japan was still fighting.


The Pacific theatre was started by the Mukden Incident, after which Japan left the League of Nations. In the Mukden Incident, Japanese soldiers in the Kwantung Army staged an attack on their barracks, claiming it was a Chinese attack. Japan thereafter declared war on China.

The US joined the war because of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Japan had become militaristic and nationalistic in the transfer of power from the emperor to the military, which wanted to expand Japan's industry, by conquest. This had meant more imperialism, so Japan seized Korea and Taiwan (Formosa) from China in the Opium Wars and the First Sino-Japanese War. 

Japan continued to take the Manchuria, Shanghai, Eastern China, the Phillipines, Indochina, Burma, Indonesia, Brunei, New Zealand, and Malaysia (driving the Europeans in Southeast Asia out). The Japanese invasion created a sense of unity in China, which the ruling party of China, the Kuo Min Tang (or Guo Ming Dang), had failed to do.

The US demanded Japan to stop when it started to conquer French Indochina, but Japan wouldn't. Japan attacked both Indochina and bombed Pearl Harbor. The US aided Australia to retake the Pacific Islands, and the areas where Japan had conquered. During World War II, the United States imprisoned most of the Japanese-Americans in Detention Camps for "National Security". These detention camps were there for the purpose of Japanese Internment.

Japan surrendered after the US bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The day of Japan's surrender is called V-J Day, or Victory in Japan Day.

China's anthem was made because Japan was attempting to take over China. The Songmaker, Nie Er, died by drowning, while swimming for a break, in the middle of escaping from Japanese held China.

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Notes on World War II:

I. Causes of the War

A.    Treaty of Versailles (Germany)

1. German War Reparation = 50 billion gold marks.

2. Demilitarization.

3. Lose 13% of home territory.

4. Lose all colonies overseas.

B.    Tanaka Plan (Japan)

1. Take over the Manchuria.

2. Take over China.
3. Take over Southeast Asia.
4. Establish bases in the Pacific.
5. Attack Siberia, Alaska, West Canada, and Western United States.
C.    Little territory given to Italy in World War I (Italy)
1.      Italy gained almost no land benefits.
D.   Rise of the Fascists (Italy and Germany)
1.      Italy- Fascists took power by getting popular opinion, by attacking Socialists (which the middle class and upper class were worried about) and Mussolini demanded more land for Italy.
2.     Germany- the Nazis murdered opposing politicians, claimed Jews caused the loss, and promised more land.
E.    Nationalism in Japan (Japan)
1.      Meiji Restoration caused Japan to think they were the dominant race in Asia.
2.     Japan had the Tanaka Plan.
3.     Japan’s military leaders took control of the government.
4.     Overwhelming public support for a future World War II.
5.     Quick military buildup.
F.    Idea of appeasement.
1.      Great Britain and France did not want another war.
2.     The United States and Soviet Union were focused on internal politics.
3.     China wasn’t modernized enough to defend itself.
II. Nations Involved
A.    Germany – Axis.
Puppet States: (1940-1944) Vichy France, (1944-1945) Hungary, (1940-1944) Romania, (1939-1945) Slovakia, (1941-1945) Croatia, (1943-1944) Albania, (1943-1945) Italy
B.    Great Britain – Allies
Puppet States: (1941-1947) Iraq, (1941-1946) Iran
C.    France – Allies
D.   Italy – Axis
Puppet States: Albania (1939-1943), Vichy France (1940-1944), Monaco (1943-1945)
E.    Japan – Axis
Puppet States: Manchukuo, Nanjing Government, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
F.    China – Allies
G.   Bulgaria – Axis
H.  Soviet Union – Allies
Puppet States: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
I.      United States – Allies
III. Major Parts and Battles
A.    Poland (Germany and Soviet Union, Poland
B.    Saar Offensive (France and Germany)
C.    Operation Weserübung (Germany, Norway and Denmark)
D.   Netherlands (Germany and the Netherlands)
E.    Belgium (Germany and Belgium)
F.    France (Germany and France)
G.   Britain (Germany and Britain, Air raids)
H.  Winter War (Russia and Finland)
I.      Operation Barbarossa (Invasion of Russia)
J.     Battle of Moscow
K.   Battle of Stalingrad

A.    Mukden Incident (Japan, Manchuria)
B.    Invasion of China (Japan, China)
C.    Invasion of Southeast Asia (Japan, Southeast Asia)
D.   Pearl Harbor (Japan, USA)
E.    Invasion of Philippines (Japan, USA)
F.    Indonesia (Japan, Indonesia)
G.   Iwo Jima (Japan, USA)

IV. End of the War
The Soviet Union captured Berlin, and Hitler committed suicide. Japan, meanwhile, had created an army of defenders – women, children, old adults – numbering from hundred thousands to millions. To risk losing high quantities of troops, the United States bombed Hiroshima, then Nagasaki. Japan surrendered – the war was over.

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