WWII: Events that led to start of war

Timeline of Events that Led to WWII
• Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
o Spanish General Francisco Franco wanted to take over
the government
o Those loyal to the democratic government (Loyalists)
fought to prevent him from doing so
o Hitler and Mussolini gave money and weapons to Franco
o Stalin gave money and weapons to the Loyalists
o U.S., Britain and France stayed out – big mistake
 Basically told Hitler he would not be stopped
• Rhineland
o Hitler announced that he no longer would abide by the
Versailles Treaty and sent troops into the Rhineland
(between France and Germany)
o Nobody stopped him (Hitler later said that if France had
gone after him, he would have been finished)
• Anschluss (March): Hitler annexed Austria (took over without
agreement or fight); Ever see “The Sound of Music?”
• Sudetenland: Hitler demanded that the predominantly
German area of Czechoslovakia be returned to Germany
• Munich Conference (September): British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Edouard
Deladier met Hitler in Munich, Germany to negotiate a
o Hitler got Sudetenland in return for a signed promise to
not demand any further territories
o Chamberlain returned to England and famously
announced, “We have achieved peace in our time.”
o Chamberlain and Deladier’s actions known as
“Appeasement”: giving into a demand to avoid a larger
• Czechoslovakia (April): Hitler invaded all of Czechoslovakia;
nobody stopped him
• Non-Aggression Pact (August): Hitler and Stalin signed
an agreement to not fight each other (and split Poland
o France and Britain guaranteed Polish defense
• 1 September 1939: Germany invaded Poland: World War II
• After dividing Poland with the Soviets, Hitler did not do much
for several months
• Some thought he was finished and referred to his actions as
the “Phony War”
• Starting in April, 1940, Hitler started up again and quickly
took Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium
• May, 1940 – Dunkirk, France – Hundreds of British soldiers
were captured while trying to get into France to help –
hundreds more fled on small fishing boats all the way back to
England (some French fishermen stuck in England during war)
• June, 1940 – France surrendered – Britain now stood alone
against Germany
• Hitler tried to invade Britain, but it did not work out
• U.S. wanted to stay out of the war, but FDR wanted to help
Britain, so he came up with the Lend-Lease policy
o We gave Britain old military supplies in exchange for use
of its naval bases
• FDR had to try as long as possible to keep U.S. out of war
while he was trying to get re-elected for a 3rd term (Election
of 1940)
• U.S had also been in negotiations with Japan as they attacked
countries in the Pacific and expanded their empire
• Finally, U.S. cut off their sale of oil to Japan; Japan furious
and secretly started preparing for war
• 7 December 1941 – Japanese attack on U.S. naval base at
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
• 8 December 1941 – FDR gave speech to Congress, asking for
declaration of war against Japan; U.S. now in WWII