Blitzkrieg in Poland: ● 1st September 1939 the War began as Hitler attacked Poland. ● On September 3rd, Britain and France declared war on Germany after pledging to defendPoland. ○ But they could do little to stop a German victory in Poland. ● Soviet troops attacked Poland from the east on the 17th: ○ This was part of the Pact signed between Germany and the USSR. ○ Stalin took control of eastern Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. ● The campaign in Poland and all subsequent campaigns were based upon the Blitzkrieg (lightning war) method: ○ The use of overwhelming force in as short a time frame as possible. ○ Extensive use of tanks and other armored vehicles. The Phoney War: ● October 1939-April 1940: ○ Little direct fighting between Germany and Britain and France. ○ Britain and France concentrated on stopping German sea trade and on stopping Germany’s supply of iron ore from Scandinavia. ● October 1939-March 1940: ○ The USSR invaded Finland (Baltic). ○ The Finnish army fought well and it took the USSR a long time to defeat. ○ This difficulty that the USSR experienced in defeating even a small state such as Finland convinced Hitler that he could easily turn on the USSR: ■ Long term plan was to destroy the USSR after destroying the west and set up a new empire in the East. ● April 1940: ○ France and Britain placed mines in Norwegian waters to stop the trade of iron orebetween them and Germany. ○ Germany invaded Norway and Denmark as a result. ○ The invasion of Finland, Norway and Denmark forced Daladier and Chamberlain to resign: ■ Winston Churchill took Chamberlain’s place. (May 1940). ■ Albert Sarraut took Daladier’s place. The Fall of France: ● May 1940: ○ Hitler moved west and conquered the Netherlands, Belgium and France. ○ Only part of the south and south-east of France was left and these were placed under a puppet government based in the town of Vichy. ○ A British army was forced to flee from the port of Dunkirk back to England. ○ The war was nearly over: ■ Mussolini joined forces with Hitler in June 1940; he wanted Italy to get some of the spoils of war. ● Hitler then prepared for an invasion of Britain: ○ August and September the Luftwaffe – German Air Force – bombed military sites,factories and London. ○ The RAF clashed with the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain: ■ Both sides suffered heavy losses. ■ The RAF came out with the upper hand. ■ Hitler was thus forced to postpone his plans for Britain. ● Italy: ○ An Italian army was defeated by Britain in North Africa. ○ Greece stopped an Italian invasion of their territories. ○ German forces had to be sent to Africa and Greece to help their ally.
Hitler turns East: ● 22nd June, 1941 Hitler decided it was time to dispose of the USSR: ○ He used the Blitzkrieg tactic. ○ 3 million soldiers stormed the USSR with 3000 tanks and 5000 aircraft. ○ Stalin was taken by surprise. ○ Germany was able to capture key cities; Smolensk and Kiev. ● Mid-October: ○ The German forces were nearing Moscow. ○ They were met with fierce defense. ○ They failed to capture the city. ● Again the German troops were unprepared for the frigid Russian winter as Hitler thought that the war with the USSR would be over in three months. America joins the war: the attack on Pearl Harbour: ● Whilst Germany was sieging Moscow the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. ● 7th December 1941: ○ Japanese troops bombed Pearl Harbour in a surprise attack. ○ Provoked the USA to join the war on the British and Russian side. ● In the early months of 1942: ○ Japan seized much of Eastern Asia. ○ Japan conquered many of the islands in the Pacific. The Tide Turns: ● Summer 1942: ○ The Germans launched an attack on the southern Russian city of Stalingrad. ○ A fierce battle ensued and was fought throughout the autumn. ● November 1942: ○ The USSR counter-attacked. ○ The German troops were eventually surrounded. ● January 1943: ○ The German army at Stalingrad surrendered. ○ This proved that the Red Army could beat the German army. ● After this the war began to go against Hitler. ● June 1942, the USA and Japan: ○ The Battle of Midway Island stopped the Japanese conquest of the Pacific Islands. ○ The USA then began retaking the Pacific Islands from the Japanese. ● October 1942, Germany and North Africa: ○ British forces defeated the German army at the Battle of El Alamein. ○ By May 1943, all Italian and German forces had been driven out of North Africa. The Holocaust: ● Germans and Japanese treated their prisoners brutally. ● Germans condoned the Holocaust: ○ A systematic murder of millions of Jews and other groups disliked by the Nazis (communists and socialists). ○ July 1941, German leadership decided on the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish problem’: ■ Death camps were set up to gas Jews to death or to use them as slaves until they died. ○ This was personally sanctioned by Hitler. The End Game: ● 1943: ○ British and American forces landed in Italy. ○ Germans resisted fiercely. ○ Rome was captured in June 1944.
○ Though it was not until 1945 that the whole of Italy was under the control of Britain and America. ● January 1944: ○ The Germans abandoned the siege of Leningrad: ■ This had already been progressing for two years already. ○ By the summer of 1944 they were in steady retreat across Russia. ● 6 June 1944: ○ The British and American troops invaded France in the D Day operation. ○ By the 25th August, British and American troops had reached Paris. ○ The Germans counter-attacked in December 1944 in the Ardennes area of Belgium. ○ Their counter-attack had some early successes but was soon turned back. ● The Pacific War was difficult; Japanese troops resisted ferociously throughout the conflict. ○ October 1944 the Americans invaded the Philippines. ○ Over 170 000 Japanese soldiers had to be killed before the capital, Manila, could be taken. ● German power in Europe collapsed in April 1945: ○ The Soviet Red Army captured Berlin. ○ Hitler committed suicide. ● 8th May 1945, German forces finally surrendered. ● Japan: ○ America anticipated huge losses if they invaded the main islands of Japan: ■ The resistance of Japan was already ferocious over the Pacific Islands, what this resistance would be like if someone attempted to invade Japanese home territory was frightening to imagine. ■ American scientists had developed the A-bomb: ■ August 1945 two atomic bombs were dropped; one on Hiroshima the other on Nagasaki. ■ Together these convinced the Japanese to surrender. ○ The Japanese surrendered on the 14th August, 1945. ● The Second World War had ended with the Allies being the victors.