I. World War II (1939-1945) (Some people say that WWII started when Japan invaded

    China in 1931, but most historians say that the war began when Germany invaded

    Poland in September 1939).


    A. The Sides:  “Who fought who in World War II ?”


            Allies                                       vs.                                    Axis


            United Kingdom                                                                Germany

            France                                                                             Italy

            China                                                                               Japan

            Soviet Union (Russia) (beginning June 1941)                       (Soviet Union to June 1941)

            U.S.A. (beginning December 1941)                                                       


    B.  What were the causes of World War II ?


          1.  World War I and the Treaty of Versailles

               a. Germans were angry because the Treaty of Versailles blamed them for

                   WWI … many Germans wanted revenge!

               b. Italians were angry because they believed that France and Britain took all of

                   the land and colonies for themselves after WWI.


           2.  The Great Depression

                a. When the Great Depression started, the world economy was so bad

                    that many people supported any leader who promised to improve things;

                    here are some examples:


                   1)  Benito Mussolini - Italy

                         a) Benito Mussolini gained control of the Italy when the economy

                             collapsed in the 1920’s.

                         b) Mussolini believed that “laizze-faire” economic policies had hurt Italy

                             in the 1920’s, so he started government control of many Italian

                             industries to create jobs for people.


                   2)  Adolf Hitler - Germany

                         a)  By 1933 the German economy had completely collapsed.

                         b)  When Adolf Hitler promised work relief by creating government

                               jobs and rebuilding the German military; people supported him

                               because he created work for people.


                    3)  Japan (under the rule of Emperor Hirohito)

                         a)  Many Japanese became angry because the government couldn’t

                              improve the economy during the Great Depression.

                         b)  In the early 1930’s, the military took over the government and started

                              to invade neighboring nations to gain control of resources Japan

                              needed to improve the economy.

                         c)  Many Japanese people supported the military government because

                              they improved the economy.









           3.  Democracy v. Fascism (see chart below for comparison)

                 a) The countries that supported fascism believed that their people and their

                     nation was superior to all other people and nations.

                 b) Germany and Japan attacked and killed people who they believed were

                      inferior races” and inferior nations.

                     1) Germans believed the Polish, Russians and Jews were inferior races.

                     2) Japanese believed that the Koreans and Chinese were inferior races.

                     3) Germany and Japan believed that democratic nations (like Britain, France

                         and USA) were too weak to defend themselves from attack.



                democracy and capitalism              vs.           totalitarianism and fascism

                (U.K., France, U.S.)                                  (Germany, Italy, Japan, Soviet Union)

                1.  People are free to elect                            1. Government decisions are

                      their leaders.                                                 made by one person (dictator).

                 2.  People are free to propose                       2. The government controls how

                      ideas on how to run the                                people live; people who oppose         

                      nation (individual rights and                        the government are jailed or

                      free of the press).                                         killed (no individual                                                           

                3.  There is private property                               rights or free press).                          

                     and free enterprise.                                   3. Many businesses are controlled

                                                                                                 by the government.




           4.  American Isolationism – some historians believe that U.S. isolationism made it

                easier for Germany, Japan and Italy to start World War II.

                a) Neutrality Acts – laws passed in the 1930’s that were designed to keep the

                    U.S. out of war.

                b) What did the Neutrality Acts say?

                     1)  U.S. companies cannot sell weapons to nations at war.

                     2)  U.S. banks cannot lend money to nations at war.


           5. European appeasement of German expansion before WWII.

a) appeasement – accepting demands in order to avoid conflict/war.

                b) examples of appeasement before WWII:

                    1)  Germany was allowed to takeover Austria.

                    2)  Germany was allowed to take over Czechoslovakia.

               c)  Because of appeasement, Hitler believed that Britain and France would allow

                    him to do anything in order to avoid another war in Europe.













C.     Why did the U.S. enter World War II?

1.  We were attacked!!; Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

      a. Why did Japan attack us?:

           1) When Japan invaded China in 1937, the U.S. threatened to cut off trade

                with Japan.  

      2)  Japan needed some U.S. trade goods; especially oil, iron and steel.

      3)  Japan attacked the U.S. so that it could take the resources it needed from

           other places; the U.S. had the only navy that could stop them from

           attacking other nations.


2.       German submarine warfare sank U.S. ships

a. Germany was attacking and sinking Allied ships in the Atlantic Ocean.

b. Some of the ships belonged to the U.S. and this angered many Americans.


3.       Germany had nearly taken over all of Europe by June 1941. (Can’t anyone stop these people??)

a. Germany took over France in May 1940.

b. Germany was bombing Britain all during the summer and fall of 1940;

    people worried that Germany would invade Britain.

c. Germany invaded northern Africa in spring 1941, and invaded Soviet Union

                   June 1941.






























   D. The War – World War II killed more people and cost more money than any other

    war in world history.


     1.  Important Battles and Events from World War II (1939-1945)


         a. German Invasion of Poland (1939) – First Battle of World War II; first time

             Germans use “blitzkrieg” warfare.

             1) blitzkrieg – fast moving surprise attacks using “tank armies” created by

                 the German army during World War II.


        b. Battle of France (1940) – Germany defeated France and took control of all

             nations between Soviet Union (Russia) and the Atlantic Ocean – except for



c. Battle of Britain (1940) – British air force defeats the German air force to

    prevent a German invasion of the Britain


   d. “Lend Lease”U.S. program to provide war materials to Britain and Soviet

        Union before the attack on Pearl Harbor; to get around the Neutrality Acts,

        Roosevelt created “lend lease” to give war supplies to the Allies; FDR said

        we won’t fight but we will become the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’


e. Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) – U.S. enters World War II

    on the side of the Allies.


f.  Battle of Midway (1942) – U.S. navy defeats the Japanese navy near the

    Hawaiian Islands – “turning point in the Pacific War” – many people now

    believe that Japan will lose the war.


g. Battle of Stalingrad (called Volgograd today) (1943) – Germans invade the Soviet

   Union and are defeated at the Battle of Stalingrad – “turning point in the European

   War” – many people now believe that Germany will lose the war.


h. “D-Day” (June 6, 1944) – U.S., Britain, Canada and France invade the coast of

    France to push the German army out of France and back into Germany; this is

    the largest invasion force in world history (5,000 ships, 150,000 men, 12,000 planes)


i.  Battle of the Bulge” (December 1944) – last German attack of the war – it

    failed– but this surprise winter attack killed many American soldiers.


j.  Battle of Berlin (April-May 1945) – Adolf Hitler committed suicide when

    Soviet troops captured the German capital Berlin; Germany surrendered to the Allies a

    few days later (May 7, 1945) ending World War II in Europe.


k. Battles of Iwo Jima (Feburary 1945) and Okinawa (April 1945) – U.S. forces

    invaded two islands that were part of Japan; more U.S. soldiers died invading these

    two islands than in any other battles in WWII; Japan used “kamikaze” planes to attack

    U.S. ships.


l.  Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 1945) 200,000 people

    were killed when the U.S. used “atomic” (nuclear) bombs on 2 Japanese cities

    to bring an end World War II; Japan officially surrendered to the Allies

    September 2, 1945.


Review                                                                   Name:

World War II (1939-1945)


Instructions:  Use your textbook and class notes to complete each section of this review on a separate

sheet of paper.


Vocabulary:  Use the glossary in your textbook to provide complete definitions for each of the following


dictator                                                  fascism                                                   anti-Semitism

totalitarian                                             appeasement                                         blitzkrieg

lend-lease                                              disarmament                                          mobilization

ration                                                      internment camp                                   D-Day

genocide                                                Holocaust                                              island hopping



Main Ideas:  Use class notes and you textbook to answer each of the following questions in a complete



1.  Why is the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 considered to be an important event in

     world history?

2.  World War II was fought by two groups of nations called the “Allies” and the “Axis”.  List the

             nations that made up the “Allies” in WWII.  List the nations that made up the “Axis” in WWII.

3.  Briefly explain how each of the following items helped to cause World War II:

    1. World War I and the Treaty of Versailles
    2. The Great Depression

4.   People like to live in a nation that is a democracy.  Look at the chart in your notes comparing

      democracy and capitalism” and “totalitarianism and fascism”.  Using the information in the chart,

              explain what a “fascist” government is like.

5.    People like to live in a nation that is a democracy.  Look at the chart in your notes comparing

       democracy and capitalism” and “totalitarianism and fascism”.  Using the information in the chart,

       why do you think people like democracy and dislike “totalitarian” and “fascist” governments?

6.    Using the information in the chart comparing “democracy and capitalism” and “totalitarianism and

       fascism”, why do you think the people in the democratic nations fought against the “fascist”

       nations in World War II?

7.    How did racism and nationalism in Germany and Japan help to cause World War II?

8.    How did American isolationism help to cause World War II?

9.    How did appeasement help to cause World War II?

       10.   What event caused the U.S. to enter World War II?

       11.   What was “Lend Lease”?  What did President Franklin Roosevelt mean when he said that the U.S.

       should be “The Arsenal of Democracy”?

       12.   What happened on the morning of December 7, 1941?

       13.   Give the importance of the following battles from World War II:

                 a.  German Invasion of Poland (September 1939)                              e. “D-Day” (June 6, 1944)

                 b.  Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (December 7, 1941)            f.  Battle of Berlin (May 1945)

                 c.  Battle of Midway (June 1942)                                                         g. Atomic Bombing of Japan

                 d.  Battle of Stalingrad (January 1943)                                                        (August 1945)


People:  Match each leader from World War II with the correct nation.  Put a star (*) next to the leaders

who are considered by historians to be “The Big Three” from World War II.


Franklin D. Roosevelt          Adolf Hitler                 |         U.S.A.                    France

Winston Churchill               Benito Mussolini       |         Germany                Soviet Union

Chiang Kai-shek                   Emperor Hirohito        |         Japan                      Italy

Joseph Stalin                        Charles De Gaulle       |         U.K.                        China (2)

Mao Zedong                                                               |