WWII part 1a

Waging Global War
World War II
Key Questions
1. How did the American people and
government respond to the international
crises of the 1930’s?
2. What are the major phases of WWII?
I. Timeline: major phases of World War II
The Expansion of Nazi Germany and
Fascist Italy in Europe 1939-1942
Liberation of Europe by the Allies
American Mood: No More War
• Concerned with rising fascism but
determined not to be pulled into
another war
• Viewed involvement in WWI as a
• Congress passes the Neutrality Acts
Neutrality Acts 1935, 1936, 1937
• If there’s a war, restrictions
automatically take effect
• Americans could not:
– sail on belligerent country’s ships,
– sell weapons
– lend money
(regardless if aggressor or victim nations)
Hesitant Responses to the Fascist
Stage 1: Axis Victories
A. Axis offensives in Europe
1938-1939 The Gathering Storm
• 1939 Hitler seizes the remainder of
• Threatens to attack Poland
• Signs Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact
– ensures Russian neutrality during German
invasion of Poland in exchange for
territory in Finland & Baltic states
• Americans grow alarmed, some push
for more active American role
– FDR agrees but not Congress
War Begins – Hitler’s Belligerency
and US’s Neutrality
• September 1, 1939 - Hitler invades
– WWII begins
• Britain and France in need of weapons
• US passes Neutrality Act 1939
– European democracies can buy
weapons on a Cash & Carry basis
– US is no longer truly neutral
Axis Victories continued
• France and Great Britain declare war
on Germany but no combat until
• After victory Poland, Nazi Germany
attacks Northern and Western Europe
(April 1940)
• Blitzkrieg (lightning war) enables quick
victories over Norway, Denmark,
Netherlands, Belgium
The Fall of France
• June 1940, France
falls to Hitler
• Armistice signed
June 22nd
• Demarcation line
between Occupied
France (north) and
“Free” France (south
under Vichy)
• England stands
alone in Europe
• US begins building its
• September 6, 1940
– 1st Peace-time
conscription law
passed in the U.S.
Marshal Petain, head of the French state established at the
spa town of Vichy, shaking hands with Hitler.
Charles de Gaulle accompanies King George VI in
an inspection of Free French troops, summer 1940.
The English Campaign
• August 1940 Germany bombs England
in preparation for an invasion (The Blitz)
• Hitler’s systemic bombing fails to
overcome British resistance led by
Winston Churchill
• Hitler renounces a land invasion
Bolstering Britain with the
Destroyer Deal (1940)
• “Fortress of America” or Help to Britain?
• Committee to Defend America
– Favors aiding allies (Weapons, money, etc.)
• America First Committee
– Against American involvement
• September 1940, Roosevelt gives UK
ships from WWI in return for bases
• Most Americans favored any aid
necessary, short of war
• Video: London Blitz & US Isolationism
Congress passes
the Lend Lease Act
• What was it?
March, 1941
Send supplies to victims of aggression
“Billions not bodies”
FDR: like lending a neighbor a garden hose
Video: Lend lease, The Roosevelts
• Seen as an economic declaration of war
• Officially marked the end of neutrality
– Germany begins sinking US ships
B. The War goes Global
• Conflict extends to the Mediterranean
• Axis powers attempt to cut off UK
access to Suez Canal and oil supplies
in Middle East to isolate India
• Axis push UK out of Egypt
• Germans take Yugoslavia & Greece in
April 1941
Hitler’s Assault on the Soviet Union
• June 22, 1941 - Operation Barbarossa
The Russian counterattack
of December used troops
trained and equipped to
operate in the sub-zero
conditions. German
commanders were badly
shaken, and Hitler
assumed personal
command of the army,
ordering his men to hold
on regardless of cost.
Other Russian Tactics included:
•Destroying all resources (burning crops, etc) while
•Dismantling and transporting factories East as retreated
•Trained Partisan groups prepared to enter fighting
Atlantic Charter
– Roosevelt and Churchill meet
• Stalin not invited
– Outline goals for postwar world
– No territorial changes
– New League of Nations
Video: Atlantic Charter The Roosevelts
US Destroyers and Hitler’s U-Boat
• July 1941, FDR decides US ships will
escort Lend-Lease supplies to Iceland
– Roosevelt orders a “shoot on sight” policy
• November 1941
– Merchant ships can be legally armed
Reading Material
Mastering Modern World History
Part I. War and International Relations
Chapter 6 The Second World War,
1939-1945 (pp. 89- 95)