World War II was the deadliest and most destructive war. This war cost 17 million military lives and even more civilians were killed due to bombings starvation, massacres and epidemics. The fight which involved nearly the whole world left uch of Asia and Europe in ruins. The war began with fascism. The Great Alliance eventually brought the long and difficult war to and end. Even though the Great Alliance were successful the suffered great losses.
In the early stages of the war, the Socialist began invading Eastern Europe. Dictators such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had risen to power after World War I. The Great depression along with World War I caused economic hardships. These leaders promised better times. They also had strong militaries. By 1940 Hitler and Mussolini had conquered most of Western Europe. Hitler failed in his attempt to seize Great Britain. Japan had invaded China and bombed Pearl Harbor. Early in the war socialism seemed unstoppable.
The leadership of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini resulted in the conquering of most of Western Europe. Benito Mussolini, known as Il duce, the leader, led the Fascist party in Italy. “…Fascism meant government control of most political, economic, cultural, religious, and social activities (Grussendorf, 422). Control was what he desired. He invaded Northern Africa and planned “…revival of the Roman Empire” with his _____ army (Grussendorf, 422). Almost ten years later, Adolf Hitler who had been watching Mussolini’s rise to power took control of Germany in 1933. Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) party promised prosperity to Germany as did Mussolini to Italy. Hitler’s obsession with power began to extend outside of Germany’s borders as he “…called for a world war to kill off the [weak]…” (Grussendorf, 424).
Mussolini and Hitler, the Axis powers, combined military power to conquer the world. Only months later, Joseph Stalin, Russia’s dictator, joined with the Nazi party. This union was called the Nazi-Soviet Pact which occurred in August 1939. Then on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. The Soviet armies attacked from the East. After the fall of it’s capital, Poland surrendered on October 5th. Great Britain, who was allies with Poland, along with France declared war on Germany. Stalin took over the Baltic states while Hitler moved west. Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg lost their freedom to Hitler. He pushed on to France and conquered there as well. With most of Western Europe conquered Hitler turned his eyes to Great Britain.
Hitler attacked Great Britain by both land and sea. But, to successfully invade Britain he needed to wipe out the Royal Air Force (RAF). So he began Operation Sea Lion. “Sea Lions success depends on control of the skies over Britain, so the Germans sent their bombers to destroy Royal Air Force (RAF) bases.”(Murray, 18). In July of 1940 the Germans began bombing British airfields. The Royal Air Force had disadvantages as well as advantages. A disadvantage that hindered the RAF was that they had few planes. An advantage that assisted the RAF in their defense was that the German planes were not made for long distance bombing. During the bombings the Germans mistakenly bombed London which triggered the British into launching a small but rattling attack on Berlin. The British persevered through the many months of fighting. Finally in September of 1940, after over 60,000 civilians casualties the Germans gave up and backed off. Hitler suffered a great defeat against Great Britain.
Japan seized the opportunity, like Germany and Italy to invade other lands. In 1937 Japan desired land from China and so they seized most of China’s coast. Two years later in 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Soon afterward Japan and Germany created an alliance. Japan then invaded and conquered European colonies in Asia. The United States did not trust Japan; therefore, they “imposed a trade embargo on Japan and on August 1, 1941, froze all Japanese assets in America.” (Grussendorf, ) Japan needed to capture the Philippines which was United States territory. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, sinking six battleships and damaging two others.
Twelve ships were sunk along with 164 aircraft and another 128 damaged.The tragic casualties were 2403 soldiers and civilians. Unfortunately, Japan only lost 29 aircraft and 6 submarines. This resulted in the U.S entering the war. After the attack on Pearl Harbor Japan began to attack the pacific southeast Asia with aggression. Such as the Philippines, Malaya, Borneo Thailand, Guam, Wake, Atoll, and the Gilbert Island. During the attacks Japanese planes bombed Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mahila and Singapore. The battle of Midway was the turning point for the Americans. This battle lasted June, 4-7. In which, a U.S carrier task force stopped a Japanese fleet. The fight against Japan’s greed for land remained a serious threat.
In the beginning socialism was spreading and seemed unstoppable. Western Europe had fallen under Hitler and Mussolini, with only Great Britain resisting. Japan began invading Asia and later bombed Pearl harbor. With socialism taking over the world a great alliance was made to fight these dictators that needed to be stopped.
The road to victory was long and hard. Many battles were fought world wide. The three top allied commanders were Winston Churchill of Great britain, Franklin Roosevelt of the the U.S, and Joseph Stalin of Russia. These “Big Three” planned various strategies. The United States was a vital asset in defending freedom. D-day marked the beginning of the end of the war. This attack allowed troops to reach Germany which eventually caused Hitler’s surrender. After the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, they too surrendered. The allies were successful because of a huge united effort.
On June 6, 1944, America launched Operation Overlord on Normandy Beach off the coast of France. The commanding General was General Dwight Eisenhower. American, British and Canadian forces rushed several fortified beaches. 6,5oo Navy transport vessels, 12,000 aircraft nd 65,00 troops were deployed the U.S. to take Omaha beach. It is known as the largest assault in history. “This massive invasion, code named Operation Overlord, marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany’s European domination” (Rice pacific or europe, 66) Sword, Gold, and Juno Beaches were taken by the British and Canadians. The beaches controlled by the Germans were defended well, causing heavy casualties. This attack was crucial for the victory in Europe. Utah beach was attacked and taken by U.S. 4th Infantry Division, paratroopers, went in beforehand to weaken the defenses. This massive invasion, code named Operation Overlord, marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany’s European domination.
The victory on D-Day allowed the allies to bring soldiers and equipment to France which would help end of World War II in Europe. (King 190). Paris was freed from the enemy occupation on August 25, The liberation of Brussels, Antwerp, and Luxembourg followed. The Russians began moving from the East and into Poland as well as other parts of Eastern Europe. During the summer of 1944 the Germans launched their second “Blitz” on London. In June was bombed by unmanned aircraft called V-1s. September 1944 the Germans launched V-2 rockets from the German word Vergeltungswaffen which means revenge Weapons.
These rockets could travel up to 4,000 mph and could carry 2,000 pound bombs. These Terror of the skies could not be shot down, and were only stopped when allied forces captured the launching sites. Later that year in december Nazi troops stormed 50 miles into allied areas in the forest of Ardennes in Belgium. The battle to ensue is known as the battle of the bulge. The Germans had the advantage of being used to the snow, unfortunately they were very short on fuel. During the battle the Germans suffered the loss of “120,000 casualties, 600 tanks and assault weapons, 1,600 aircraft, [and] 6,000 vehicles.”(Rice, 94)
Hitler’s decision to launch this attack did not more than hasten his inevitable defeat. The following year on May 1, the German Governor announced that Hitler had committed suicide. Follow by this was surrender of German troops in Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Austria. On May 8th General Dwight D. Eisenhower accepted Germany’s surrender. This day is now known as Victory in Europe Day, V-E Day, which was “the signal for the greatest outburst of joy in the history of mankind” according to Winston Churchill.
Even though the Germans were defeated and Europe had been liberated war against Japan was still raging in the Pacific. Even while the Allies fought the evil of the Nazis, war was being fought against the aggressions of Japan. Six important battles led to V-J Day. The first battle to occur was Bataan-Corregidor. Started on January 2, and lasted through May 1942. The battle resulted in a Japanese victory and a great defeat of the U.S. Army. The surrender took place in Manila Bay with General MacArthur promising to return to the Philippines and greatly defeat the Japanese.
The next engagement occurred in Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands which lasted from August 7, 1942 through February 7 of the Year 1943. The battle concluded was the Imperial Japanese Army’s first defeat on land in WWII. Mid november of 1943 brought a battle for airbases on Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands. “The capture of Tarawa provided a strategic air base for the next phase of Allied operations and opened the door the the American drive across the central Pacific (H, 9). The fourth battle to ensue began on October 23 and ended on the 26, 1944. During the battle the U.S. Navy basically destroyed the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The battle is known as the battle at Leyte Gulf. This sea battle “cleared the way for U.S. forces to extend their Philippine conquests northward and drive relentlessly closer to Japan itself” (H,9).Only 760 miles south of Tokyo, on the volcanic islands of Iwo Jima ,the allies worked their way closer to Japan’s capital. This campaign for the islands airfields lasted from February 19th through March 26, 1945. Sadly 26,000 Marines were lost, yet the United States won.
The Soldiers, Marines, and Navy combined forces and landed on Okinawa for a final battle before they could reach Japan. After the victory on Okinawa the United States Military prepared for the biggest battle, the Invasion of Japan. Nevertheless, after careful consideration President Truman called off the invasion due to the heavy casualties it would cause on both sides. On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped the first Atomic bomb on Hiroshima.Three days later a second was dropped on Nagasaki.
Japan’s blunder woke the sleeping giant. Because of united efforts the sacrifice led to the defeat of the enemies. One of the more famous battles was D-day. Because of this Battle the Germans soon surrendered. This day is now known as Victory in Europe Day. Japan was stubborn but eventually surrendered on what is known as Victory in Japan Day. The Allies were successful in stopping the enemies. In doing so they regained freedom and innilated fear in their countries. This dreadful war was worth the fight.
Only united efforts and huge losses could free the world. In the early stages of the war it seemed fascism was taking over. The Allied victory was long and difficult. WWII is one of the worst and most impactful wars in history. The consequences of this tragic war were far reaching. The devastation of most of western europe and Asia, along with the rise of the soviet Union led to the formation of the U.N.