13 Ge bi (Fb) WWII The Second World War: Questions on the presentations (to be answered by you) Questions on part I: (1) What different interpretations have historians made of Hitler’s conduct of German foreign policy in the late 1930s? (2) In what different ways have historians viewed the policy of appeasement since the publication of A.J.P. Taylor’s controversial work in 1961? (3) Why were the Germans so successful during the Second World War up to June 1940? (4) Explain why Hitler decided to invade the USSR in June 1941. (5) Why had the Second World War become a global war by December 1941? Questions on part II: (1) What were the main reasons for the rapid victory gained by German forces on the Western front in 1940? (2) To what extent were Hitler’s successes in 1939 and 1940 due to the weaknesses and mistakes of Germany’s opponents? (3) What factors enabled Britain to avoid invasion and defeat by Germany in 1940? Questions on part III: (1) Why had Hitler decided by 1941 to go to war with both the USA and the Soviet Union? (2) What were the consequences of Hitler’s decision to attack the Soviet Union in 1941? (3) How would you explain a) the initial weakness of the Soviet response to the German invasion and b) the later success of Soviet resistance? (4) Why was the German war effort so much more successful in 1939-41 than in 1942-43? (5) What do you regard as the most important turning point in the Second World War? Give reasons for your answer. (6) What disadvantages did Nazi Germany suffer from 1942 onwards in terms of the production of military material? (7) How convincing is the argument that Germany had the capacity to win the Second World War had it not been for the entry of the USA into the conflict? Questions on part IV: (1) How effectively was the German war effort served by the Nazi authorities in the occupied territories? (2) Who benefited most from policies of collaboration, the Nazis or the populations of the territories that they occupied? (3) How effective was the Nazis’ implementation of the ‘final solution’? (4) What different conclusions have historians drawn about the importance of resistance movements during the Second World War? Why do they disagree on the importance at all? Questions on part V: (1) What were the main military blows that the Allies struck at German control of mainland Europe between 1943 and 1945? (2) To what extent do you agree with the claim that ‘the success of the D-Day landings was the crucial factor in the defeat of Germany’? (3) What changes did the Second World War bring about in the balance of political power in Europe? What do you regard as the most significant impact? Give reasons for your answer.