The Second world war
Causes of Second World War (1939-1945)
(1) Humiliation by the Treaty of Versailles
The provision for disarming Germany.
Saar coal mine to France for 15 years.
Polish corridor was given to Poland.
City of Danzing was made free.
(2) Growth of Fascism and Nazism
Mussolini (Italy) and Hitler (Germany) strongly glorified war and violence.
While West was fighting communism, Germany and Italy started massive militarization.
(3) Rise of Japan
Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis (1936).
(4) Neglect of minority interests
New countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria were formed after the First World War. While drawing boundaries the interests of minority groups in each of these countries were neglected.
(5) Military Alliance
Allies – Britain, France, USA, USSR and China vs Axis Powers – Germany, Italy and Japan
Leaders – Churchill (Britain), Roosevelt (USA), Stalin (USSR)
(6) Germany’s attack on Czechoslovakia
In-spite of the Munich Pact between Germany and Britain (1938), Germany re-attacked and sized Czechoslovakia.
(7) Immediate Cause : Germany’s invasion of Poland (1st September 1939)
Germany annexed Polished corridor and Danzig city. The sudden attack on Poland is known as Blitzkrieg (lightning war).
Brtiain and France declared war on Germany.
Course of war
World War II officially began on September 1, 1939.
Germany conquered – Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and France.
Battle of Britain – Germany vs Britain (air battle; German Air force =Luftwaffe).
Battle of Stalingrad – Germany vs USSR. (Operation of Barbaressa (1941 = Attack on Yugoslavia and Greece; Russia countered attack on Moscow with Scorched Earth Policy).
Atlantic Charter (August 1941) – Between Churchil (UK) and Roosevelt (USA).
Pearl Harbor Attack (7th December 1941) – Japan on USA.
Italy vs UK in Africa (1942) – Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, British Somaliland, Eritrea.
France was conquered by Germany in 1940, but British and American troops liberated France in 1944.
Atom bomb – Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The German strategy During world war 2
In the first phase of World War II in Europe, Germany sought to avoid a long war. Germany’s strategy was to defeat its opponents in a series of short campaigns.
Germany quickly overran much of Europe and was victorious for more than two years by relying on a new military tactic called the “Blitzkrieg” (lightning war)
Blitzkrieg tactics required the concentration of offensive weapons (such as tanks, planes, and artillery) along a narrow front.
These forces would drive a breach in enemy defenses, permitting armored tank divisions to penetrate rapidly and roam freely behind enemy lines, causing shock and disorganization among the enemy defenses.
German air power prevented the enemy from adequately resupplying or redeploying forces and thereby from sending reinforcements to seal breaches in the front.
German forces could in turn encircle opposing troops and force surrender.
Germany successfully used the Blitzkrieg tactic against Poland (attacked in September 1939), Denmark (April 1940), Norway (April 1940), Belgium (May 1940), the Netherlands (May 1940), Luxembourg (May 1940), France (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941), and Greece (April 1941).
Germany did not defeat Great Britain, which was protected from German ground attack by the English Channel and the Royal Navy.
Despite the continuing war with Great Britain, German forces invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. At first, the German Blitzkrieg seemed to succeed. Soviet forces were driven back more than 600 miles to the gates of Moscow, with staggering losses. In December 1941, Hitler unilaterally declared war on the United States, which consequently added its tremendous economic and military power to the coalition arrayed against him. A second German offensive against the Soviet Union in 1942 brought German forces in the east to the shores of the Volga River and the city of Stalingrad. However, the Soviet Union launched a counteroffensive in November 1942, trapping and destroying an entire German army at Stalingrad.
Germany proved unable to defeat the Soviet Union, which together with Great Britain and the United States seized the initiative from Germany. Germany became embroiled in a long war, leading ultimately to its defeat in May 1945.
ALLIED FORCES strategy DURING WORLD WAR II
Germany First: The Basic Concept of Allied Strategy in World War II
Europe first, also known as Germany first, was the key element of the grand strategy agreed upon by the United States and the United Kingdom during World War II.
According to this policy, the United States and the United Kingdom would use the preponderance of their resources to subdue Nazi Germany in Europe first.
Simultaneously, they would fight a holding action against Japan in the Pacific, using fewer resources. After the defeat of Germany—considered the greatest threat to Great Britain
—all Allied forces could be concentrated against Japan.
At the December 1941 Arcadia Conference between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Washington, shortly after the United States entered the War, the decision for the “Europe First” strategy was affirmed.
The most pressing threat, the Allies decided in the beginning, was Hitler’s Germany. The German army seemed to be on the brink of defeating the Soviet army, its one-time ally. If the Russians fell, Germany could turn its full attention to Britain.
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin wanted the Allies to launch an invasion of German-held Europe as soon as possible, because Russia was being attacked by the Germans. But Churchill wanted to nibble at the edges of the German empire while bombing Germany from the air, and FDR went along with the Brits.
FDR, Churchill, and Stalin managed to put their sharp differences aside and generally cooperate. That proved to be a key ingredient in the Allies’ ultimate success. The trio met several times during the war to plot strategy and negotiate about what the world would be like after the war.
The most important of the meetings of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin actually came toward the end of the war at Yalta, a former palace on the Black Sea in the Soviet Union.
ALLIED FORCES MAKE PIVOTAL MOVES AGAINST GERMAN STRATEGY
One of the most immediate problems was dealing with the challenge posed by German submarines, or U-boats, in the Atlantic. Traveling in packs, the submarine sank three million tons of Allied shipping in the first half of 1942 alone. But the Allies worked out a system of convoys and developed better anti-sub tactics. Most importantly, they built far more cargo ships than the Germans could possibly sink.
In the summer of 1942, Allied planes began bombing targets inside Germany. Eventually, the bombing would take a terrible toll. In 1943, 60,000 people were killed in the city of Hamburg, and the city of Dresden was all but destroyed.
In the fall of 1942, Allied armies, under a relatively obscure American commander named Dwight D. Eisenhower, launched an attack in North Africa against Hitler’s best general, Erwin Rommel. The green American troops were whipped soundly at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in February 1943. But with bitter experience under their belts, U.S. forces combined with troops from Britain, Australia, and New Zealand to drive the Axis armies out of Egypt by mid-May.
From Africa, the Allies invaded Sicily, and then advanced into the Italian mainland. Mussolini was overthrown and eventually executed by his own people. But the German army poured troops into the country and it took until the end of 1944 for Italy to be completely controlled.
On the Eastern Front, meanwhile, the Russian army gradually had turned the tables on the invading Germans and begun pushing them back, despite staggering civilian and military losses. And in England, the Allies, under the leadership of Eisenhower, were preparing the greatest invasion force the world had ever seen, D-Day.
FDR came to Yalta hoping to establish the groundwork for a practical and powerful United Nations, to be formed after the war, and also to convince the Russians to enter the war against Japan and help speed up the end of the war.
Stalin eventually agreed, but at a price. In return, the Soviet dictator got the other two to agree to give the Soviets control over broad areas of Europe and a promise that each of the major nations on the UN Security Council would have veto power over council decisions.