World War II: The Road to War! A. “Town shelter” Kathe Kollwitz

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World War II: The Road to War!
A. “Town shelter” Kathe Kollwitz.
I. Impact of WW I- Treaty of Versailles

- war guilt

- territorial concessions

- limits to military

- pay billions in reparations

II. The Weimar Republic:

- unable to solve problems

- discredited from beginning, “signed the hated treaty”

- The “stabbed in the back” theory. Scapegoat !
B. Post-War Inflation. 100,000 Deutsch Marks, buy $ 1dollar !
I. Germany had spent $ 37 billion during WW I , yet collected $ 1,5 billion in


II. Inflation. Germany simply printed more money.

III. 1923, glass ob beer cost $2 million marks, loaf of bread 4 million. By the fall

1923, one U.S. dollar was worth $ 4 trillion marks! Outrageous. Dawes-

Young Plan, U.S. to relieve financial crisis. Loans called in after “the

“Crash” 1929. Global Depression.

IV. Middle class Germans were the hardest hit, lost entire life savings.

C. Herr Comes Adolf Hitler! Follow you Handout- Evolution of Hitler.
D. Pro-Hitler Election Poster. “…with Hitler’s leadership, Germany can be Free.”
I. In 1933, Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany, begins to establish a

Totalitarian state. The Third Reich is born!

E. Benito Mussolini’s rise to Power in Italy.
I. Italy faced economic hardships following WW I

II. Socialism and Communism gaining popularity

III. Mussolini’s “black shirts” Italian Fascists- nationalist, “return to the glory

days of the Roman Empire.”

IV. 1922, Mussolini and his Black Shirts “March on Rome”, frightens

Government. Mussolini is appointed Prime Minister.

V. Failure to solve Italy’s economic woes, led him to an aggressive Foreign

Policy. 1st- Albania then war in Ethiopia in 1935 “brutal”-League of Nations=

Condemns act (stop it) but takes no action. Emboldened Germany reoccupies the Rhineland

(a clear violation of Versailles) in March ,1936. League= (stop it)

F. Hitler and Mussolini: Rise of the Rome-Berlin Axis,
I. Spanish Civil War begins 1936.

- Viewed as an ideological struggle between Fascism, led by General

Francisco Franco and Republicanism, the loyalists.

- Hitler and Mussolini dispatched troops and supplies to back Franco.

This close cooperation led to the creation of the “Axis” Alliance.

- Spain became a “proving” ground for German “blitzkrieg” tactics.

(Pablo Picasso’s – Guernica)

- France , Great Britain, and the United States (Abraham Lincoln Brigade

of volunteers only) gave token support. Franco’s Fascists prevail in 1939

- Hitler became convinced of the “weakness of the Western Democracies”

Encouraged to carry out his expansionist plans= APPEASEMENT!
G. Japan’s “ Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Hitler meets Tojo!
I. Militarists seize power.

- Economy in Japan grew after WW I, yet became extremely dependent on

world markets for their goods and raw materials.

- Great Depression caused economic disaster.

- Dissatisfied by treatment as a “second rate power”, enabled a group of

military leaders to rise to power. A police state was established, with the

Emperor Hirohito as its’ figurative head.

- Japan was resource poor, militarist believed the acquisition of an

Overseas empire would solve their problems.
II. Japanese Expansion in the 1930’s.

- Japanese were the first to start aggression. In 1931, Japanese attacked

the Chinese province of Manchuria ( renamed Manchukuo- puppet gov’t)

League of nations-(stop it)

- 1937 full scale war breaks out as Japan invades China.

- 1937 China Incident. Japanese sink U.S. ship Panay. Japan quickly

apologizes. The U.S. accepts the apology.

- Western countries condemn the aggression by the Japanese. Before

further expansion they seek alliances. In Sept. 1940 Japan signs

the Tripartite Pact, becoming the 3rd member of the Axis Alliance.

H. The Storm Clouds Gather: Hitler on the move!
I. Appeasement.

- 1938- Anchluss = Union of Austria and Germany.

- 1938 Czechoslovakian Crisis. Hitler claims the millions of ethnic

Germans living in the Sudentenland.

- The Munich Conference was convened in Sept. 1938 between Hitler,

Mussolini and the Prime Minister of Great Britain Neville Chamberlain

- Hitler reassured Chamberlain “…give us the Sudetenland, there will be

no more territorial demands.” Peace for Our time!

- In March,1939 Hitler occupied all of Czechoslovakia

- Munich = Appeasement! Hitler’s next move would mean War!

II. “Blitzkrieg”.

- Attention shifts to Poland. Avoid a two front War!

- Hitler and Joseph Stalin astonish the world by signing the Nazi-Soviet

Non-Aggression Pact in Aug.1939.

- On September 1, 1939 Blitzkrieg is unleashed on Poland. WW II in

Europe had begun! America was alarmed! Yet Neutral for the moment

I. From Neutrality to War: Changing U.S. Policy!
I. Nazi Forces Overwhelm Western Europe.

- Poland was the first to fall to “lightning warfare” Winter “Sitzkrieg”

- In Spring of 1940 Germany attacked Norway and the Low countries

France surrendered within a week. By June 1940, the only surviving US

ally still standing was Great Britain.
II. The Battle of Britain.

- President Roosevelt was convinced that British survival was crucial to

U.S. security. He began to “chip away” at the restrictive neutrality laws,

allowing him to ship the massive aid to Britain.

- In Aug. 1940 the Battle of Britain began. Sept.“The Blitz”. 57 straight

nights of German bombing. Americans were inspired. Nazi failure.

Great Britain remained standing. Edward R. Murrow …This is London!
III. Arsenal of Democracy.

- 1939 “Cash and Carry”

- Selective Service Act of 1940= 1st peacetime draft in American history

- Sept. 1940 Destroyers-for- Bases deal.

- Dec. 1940 fireside chat, Roosevelt…We must be the great arsenal of democracy!

- Jan. 6th,1941 Roosevelt speech to congress “Four Freedoms”

- March 1941, Lend-Lease Act signed into law. British could obtain all the

arms and materials they needed on credit.

- Aug. 1941 Secret meeting held by Roosevelt and British Prime Minister

Winston Churchill at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. They drew up a

document know as the Atlantic Charter which affirmed their peace

objectives for the war & when the USA entered the war… “Europe first”

- Sept. 4 1941 U.S. destroyer Greer attacked by German u-boat.

Roosevelt ordered “shoot-on-sight”. Undeclared war existed!
IV. Pearl Harbor.

- Strained relations because of Japan’s war with China

- U.S. economic sanctions followed signing of the Tripartite Pact

in 1940. Prohibited export of steel and scrap iron. Cut off Japanese

credit in the U.S. and stopped exports of oil.

- Negotiations failed.

- The US Pacific fleet was anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On Sunday

Dec.7th 1941 Japanese surprise attack. Lasted 2 hours with 2,400


- On Monday, Dec.8th President Roosevelt addressed Congress…

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 a date which will live in infamy”

- Congress declared war with only one dissenting vote. Three days later,

Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

United States History now became World History!

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