.. s disrupted almost all transport and troop movements that the Poles desperately needed. Even more important, it prevented any successful reconnosince by the enemy that would have been much needed to deal with any offensive attacks. On September 2nd, 1939, a day after the Polish invasion began, Premier Chamberlain of Great Britain gave a speech in which he finally stated that, This country is at war with Germany..(Wernick 8). The joint declaration of war on Germany with France became official the same day.
In spite of efforts to avoid combat, the fears of the British people had come true on that day. However, the British and both the French never offered any assistance to Poland till it was too late.Without adequate scouting and military intelligence, the Poles lost control of even their own forces. Even larger defense units could not plan major attacks and because of this the Polish army began to dissolve. The President and Commander in Chief of Poland both fled as fugitives and by September 28, 1939, the German’s conquest of Poland was completed. ENGLAND AND FRANCE ENTER THE WAR Although England and France both entered the war when Hitler invaded Poland, No support was sent to Poland to aide in their fight.
At home, both forces were rallying their Navies to form a maritime blockade. The blockade was not set near the German Shores but at the narrow sea approaches to the continent. The combined forces of both the British and French sides was nearly nine times large as the navies on the German side. All ships entering the continent were searched and any supplies heading to Germany were confiscated and sent elsewhere. Because the Germans could not compete with such a large outfit they started to produce their notourious submarines again, which gave them quite an edge in the first World War.
The Sea Wolves, as they were called, reaked havoc on the Allied ships. After only three months of war, a total of 134 ships were lost on all sides, with about seventy five of these being from the British navy alone. At this time, the British announced that as of December 4th, all German exports, regardless of ownership or the carrier would be seized. This brought forth protests from countries that chose to remain neutral and even threats of retalliation from Japan. By the end of the year, German exports had been cut in half.
In the first nine months of the war, no important developments were made by either side. In the first weeks of the war, the French made advancements into no man’s land but with the arrival of German re-inforcements in the West after the conquest of Poland, they were pushed back across their border. The Germans, under strict orders, were not to invade on any French soil. This was Hitler’s attempt to force Britain and France to peace without him having to give up Poland or Czechoslovakia. His attempts failed.
In just a few short months, Hitler and his troops invaded Poland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg and on June 25th, 1940, even France were forced to lay down their arms to the growing German army in order to save their own people from death on their own soil. With help from the Allies, to no avail though, the Germans still won the battles and occupied these areas. U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR The whole while war had been waging in Europe, the United States took a neutral stand. The U.S., like Great Britain, had hoped to avoid bringing the horrors of war to it’s people again. For them, the memories and losses of World War I were still fresh in their minds. Although the U.S participated in a peace treaty to prevent the capture of Shanghai by the Japanese, who were waging another war in the Eastern hemisphere; already increasing Japanese expansion throughout China and occupying the French Indochina in July, 1940, the U.S.
didn’t want to put their troops placed in any danger. On the morning of December 7,1941, at Pearl Harbor, a U.S. naval base in Hawaii, the Japanese fleet of carriers that had been making it’s way toward the Hawaiian Islands went into action. Wave after wave of Japanese aircraft came into the harbor and attacked the American fleet as it sat helpless. No one saw the attack coming, so defense to the assault was minimal.
In the aftermath , the final tallies were five U.S. battleships and ten warships had been destroyed, and three more battleships were severely damaged. The death toll was also high. Over 2,400 American soldiers were killed in the strike. That was not the only attack that day, In twenty four hours Japan had launched attacks on Hong Kong, the Malay pennisula, Borneo and the U.S.
outpost of Guam. On December 8, The U.S, with Franklin Roosevelt as the President, declared war on Japan. The U.S. was joined by Great Britain, the Netherlands, and several Latin American nations. In retalliation, on December 11, Germany and Italy, which had previously signed a military alliance with Japan, Also declared war on the U.S.
Their strategy was to win the Eastern world to cut off valuable resources such as oil, tin and rubber. The U.S. had their own plan though. Along with Britain and the Soviet Union, they had planned to defeat Germany and Italy first than take care of the problems in the east. THE ALLIED AND AXIS POWERS There were now two groups fighting this war, the Allied forces, consisting of the U.S, Britain and the Soviet Union, and the Axis forces made up of Germany, Italy and Japan. The first large-scale U.S forces went into North Africa in November, 1942.
The Germans, trapped between American troops on the west, British troops on the east, and the free French Forces on the south, the Germans and Italians were forced to surrender in May, 1943. This victory, put the Allies in control of the Mediterranean and paved the way for the invasion of Europe. The first target for the Allies was Italy. Using the newly won North African bases as a jumping point, American forces invaded Sicily in June, 1943, and conquered it in five weeks. This led to many air attacks from the Allies on Italy.
After three months, British and American soldiers landed in Southern Italy. Italy’s Dictator, Mussolini fled north. Italy surrendered but many Germans were still stationed there and still fighting. For two years, the Allies made their way throughout Italy taking Rome in June, 1944 and finally pushing the German resistance out of Italy in May, 1945 This was very important to fighting elsewhere in Europe because with the war in Italy, it kept large numbers of German troops from being used somewhere else where they may have been needed. At the time of the battles in Italy, wars were waging elsewhere in Europe.
German defeats were growing in numbers and things were starting to look brighter for the Allies. The Soviets, who previously had a non-agression act with Germany, had been on the defensive side of a seige on Stalingrad. For three months the Soviets just defended, when they counter-attacked the Germans were defeated losing almost their entire force. Throughout 1943 and 1944, The Soviets drove the Germans out of the Soviet Union and back across Europe. In September,1944, they had moved across Eastern Europe and were at the gates of Warsaw, Poland, where five years earlier Hitler started his conquest into the rest of Europe. TURNING POINTS OF WORLD WAR II One of the main turning points of the war was D-Day.
On June 6, 1944 a long awaited, carefully planned out assault was carried out on the beaches of Normandy. In May, while preparing the invasion, the Allied forces were sending fake radio signals to different locations. Futhermore, the also had rows of inflatable tanks and landing craft situated away from the true staging area. All these factors confused the Germans. They sensed an attack but were unsure of the location.
Also, they were confused as to the size of the attack. On D-Day, five thousand Allied ships crossed the english channel and started what is still the most intense bombardment in naval history. In addition, under the cover of thousands of airplanes, the Allied armies amphibious forces landed on Omaha beach, Utah, Juno, Gold, and Sword. On Omaha beach and Utah beach, the troops found nothing but slaughter. However, on Juno beach, Gold beach, and Sword beach, the Allied forces made their way through lighter defenses and easier terrain. Within a day, the joined naval forces combined with the airborne pushed their way into France eventually ridding it of all German influence. After swiftly conquering France, the troops pushed on.
They forced Nazi control and influence out of Belgium, Holland, and Luxemburg. In December, they were met by a counter-attack of the German forces, this only caused a temporary delay. The Allies drove relentlessly onward, Finally crossing into Germany in March, 1945. As the Allies advanced into Germany, the Soviets moved in from Poland, seized Austria, and approached Berlin. The two armies met at the Elbe River and spliting Germany in two.
At this point the war came to a rapid end. German armies were cut to pieces and pounded from the air frequently. On May 2th, both Allied forces met and entered Berlin. Just five days later, Germany surrendered unconditionally. Germany was eventually divided into four zones, each zone was to be occupied by either British, French, Soviet or American military at all times. Sadly, while the Allied forces made their way through Berlin, Hitler commited suicide and was never to answer or to be punished for the atrocious crimes he commited as Dictator of Germany.
THE HOLOCAUST In April 1933, just three months after Adolf Hitler took power in Germany, the Nazis issued a degree, ordering the compulsory retirement of non-Aryans from the civil service. This included Poles, Russians, and their favorite target, the Jews. This law was the first spark in what was to become the Holocaust, one of the most ghastly things that has happened in history. Before Hitler’s campaign against the Jews was halted by the defeat of Germany, something like eleven million people had been slaughtered in the name of Nazi racial purity. The Holocaust had many things leading up to the severe brutality it would turn out to be. In the years following 1933, the Jews were deprived of their civil rights, of their jobs and even their property. Violence and brutality became a part of their everyday lives.
Their places of worship were defiled, their windows smashed, their stores ransacked. Old men and young were beaten and stomped to death by Nazi officers. Jewish women were ravaged, in broad daylight, on main roads. All these crimes were carried out by Hitler’s own Nazi law enforcers, known as the Gestapo, or the SS. Some Jews fled Germany.
But most, with a belief in God, sought to wait out the Nazi terror. It was in vain sadly. In 1939, after Hitler’s conquest of Poland, the Nazis got much worse. Jews in their millions were now herded into concentration camps, there to starve and die as slave laborers. Other millions were driven into dismal ghettos, which served as holding pens until the Nazis got around to disposing of them.
The mass killings began in 1941, with the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Nazi murder squads followed behind the armies enthusiastically killing Jews and other conquered peoples. First tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands of people were led off to remote fields and forest to be slaughtered by SS guns. Assembly-line death camps were established in Poland and train loads of Jews were collected from all over Germany occupied Europe and sent to their deaths. At some of the camps, the Nazis tried to disguise their intentions, at others, the Jews saw scenes beyond belief.
What had begun as a law against Jewish civil servants was now ending in the death six million Jews, Poles, gypsies, Russians, and other sub-humans Thousands of Jews and other inmates were used as guinea pigs in a wide range of medical and scientific experiments, most of them of little value.Victims were infected with diseases, mainly Typhus, to no one’s surprise, all of them died quickly. Prisoners were forced to drink only sea water to see how long castaways might survive. Gynecology was an area of interest. Various methods of sterilization were practiced by massive X-ray, irritants, drugs, and surgery without anesthetic. The Jews were also used by Nazi doctors who needed practice performing various operations. After, these patients would probably just be sent to the Gas Chamber.
The worse killing machine were called shower baths. After their arrival at a death camp, the Jews who had been chosen to die were told that they were to have a shower. Dirty from their long, miserable journey, they sometimes applauded the announcement. Countless Jews and other victims went peacefully to the shower rooms which were gas chambers in disguise. As the Allied armies pushed through conquered German territories, the Jews were freed from these horrible camps as they came up on them. Finally, when the war ended, so did the last of the concentration camps that Hitler and his Nazis created during their reign of terror.
ENDING THE WAR WITH THE JAPANESE In the years that the Allies were finally making head way with the fighting in Europe, there was still the conflict in the east with Japan to end. After Italy and Germany had been defeated, the Allied forces centered their focus on driving the Japanese out of the areas they invaded in the previous six years. They ended any threat Japan might pose to Australia and Hawaii. From then on, it was a short matter of time before they were forced out of the Philipines, the Malay pennisula, the Dutch East Indies, China and forces were already prepared to invade Japan. By June, 1945, the U.S.
were able to launch heavy aerial assaults againest the home islands of Japan. With bases now on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, The U.S. were ready to go ahead with their plans. On August 6, 1945, with Japan’s forces in widespread retreat, supply lines disrupted, and with the bombings of the major cities being bombed more and more heavily, the U.S. dealt their final blow, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Wiping out a large part of the city, the Japanese still didn’t surrender.
The U.S. proceeded to bomb Nagasaki with the same type of bomb and on August 14, 1945 the Japanese begged for peace. The surrender terms were issued by the Allies a month before. They stated that Japan was to be disarmed; their war criminals were to be punished; and there was to be a constant military occupance in Japan territory. The emperor was premitted to retain his throne, but a democratic government was to be established. Written by Jerry Burt, Newfoundland…ICQ # 104972002 . Bibliography orks cited Aish HaTorah, Understanding the Holocaust Created in 1995. Visited March 15, 2001.
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