European Aggressors on the March
In 1935, Mussolini attacks Ethiopia to build a colonial empire. League of Nations does not stop aggression.
In 1935 Hitler begins rebuilding the German army.
In 1936 Germany occupies Rhineland.
Britain urges appeasement, a policy of giving in to aggression. In 1936, Germany, Italy, and Japan – the Axis power-form and alliance.
Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace
United States follows an isolationist policy.
Isolationism- avoidance of political ties with other countries. Americans discouraged Jewish immigration.
In 1935, Congress passes Neutrality Acts—banning arms shipments to Italy and Ethiopia.
The German Reich Expands
Hitler plans to expand Third Reich—German Empire
In March 1938, Hitler annexes Austria (Anschluss)
In September 1938, Hitler demands the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Czechs refuse, ask France for help.
Britain and France again choose appeasement.
Leaders meet at Munich Conference to settle Czech crisis.
Mussolini proposed a meeting between Germany, France, Britain, and Italy; held on September 29, 1938; Czechs were not invited. Britain and France agree to let Hitler take Sudetenland, respect new borders. Hitler still takes rest of Czechoslovakia less than 6 months later. Mussolini takes Albania; Hitler demands part of Poland.
Britain and France ask for Soviet Union’s help to stop Hitler’s aggression. Stalin bargained with Hitler; Nazis and Soviets sign nonaggression pact. On August 23, 1939, Stalin and Hitler pledge never to attack one another.
Germany Sparks a New War in Europe:
Nonaggression pact—Germans, Soviets agree not to fight each other. Agreement includes secret deal to spilt Poland.
September 1, 1939—Hitler launches invasion o Poland.
Britain, France declares war on Germany September 3, but Poland falls quickly. Blitzkrieg—“Lighting war”—Germanys new military strategy. Fast moving planes and tank followed by massive infantry forces, used to take enemy defenders by surprise and quickly overwhelm them.
The Soviets Make Their Move:
September 17, 1939—Soviets troops occupy eastern half of Poland. Soviets capture Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, resistance met in Finland in November. Finland surrenders in March, 1940.
The Phony War:
French, British mobilize along French border on the Maginot line; wait for German attack from the Siegfried Line. Many months of no action—the “phony war” or “Sitzkrieg”. In April 1940 Hitler attacks and quickly captures Denmark in 2 hours and Norway in 2 months.
The fall of France:
May 1940—Germany conquers Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg. German forces slice through the Ardennes forest, squeeze through the Maginot Line in France. Soon after 10 days. German army reaches French Coast.
German forces trap British, French on coast of Dunkirk.
British Navy, civilians take ships across Channel to rescue soldiers. June 22, 1940—France surrenders to Germany.
Charles de Gaulie, French general organizes oppositions to Germany.
The United States Aids the Allies:
Most Americans want to avoid war.
Roosevelt fears that if allies fall, U.S would have to fight. He hopes to strengthen allies so they can resist Germany.
Lend Lease Act—U.S. loans weapons to non-Axis countries.
Roseville and Churchill; issue statement of principles.
Atlantic Charter—supports free trade, right to form own government.
The Battle of Britain:
Winston Churchill—Becomes British prime minister, vows no surrender. Germany plans invasion of Britain; begins with air attacks, 1940. British use air force, radar, code-breaking to resist Germany. Battle of Britain—Air war over Britain that lasted until May 194. Stunned by British resistance, Hitler calls off attacks.
The Mediterranean and the Eastern Front
Axis Forces Attack North Africa:
Mussolini Italy at first neutral
Mussolini declares war on France, Britain after German victory. September 1940—Mussolini attacks British in North Africa...
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