Europe during Second World War


Europe during Second World War

Review for years 1941-1945

First Stage

• Outbreak of war: what were Hitler’s war aims in 1939?

• Impact of Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 (division of Eastern Europe, etc.) • Allied response to invasion of Poland.

• Russo-Finnish war/Scandinavian interlude

SWW, Stage 2

• Western Offensive, May 1940 • Battle for Britain: A turning point?

• Italy’s parallel war (October, 1940): Mussolini an asset or liability?

• Balkan conflict (April, 1941): What is the significance of this phase of the war?

• North African campaign, 1941-1943

Stage 2, cont.

• Britain stands alone: Battle of Britain (a turning point?); US/British relations up to 1941.

• Operation Barbarossa: What was it and how did it change the course of the war?

The “Inner War”

• Internal developments: Creating (colonizing) a “New Europe” (e.g., Vichy France, Occupied former Yugoslavia, etc.) • Life behind the lines: Women at War; importance of industrial productivity.

• The Holocaust and crimes against humanity.

• Role of resistance movements and intelligence (Enigma, Ultra, SOE).

Turning points

• 1941 -- U.S. enters the war • 1942-43 -- Battle of Stalingrad (Kursk, etc.) • 1942-43 -- North African campaign/Italy defeated • Opening a second front: Invasion of Italy, Operation Overlord and Bagration.

Politics of War

• War-time conferences (Casablanca, Teheran, Yalta, Moscow meeting 1944) • Events: Warsaw uprising of 1944.

• Manhattan project • Role of personalities: Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, etc.

• Moral issues raised by war: Crimes against humanity, bombing missions, etc.

End of War

• Defeating Germany: Significance of final battles (Arnhem, Bulge, Berlin) • Europe transformed: origins of Cold War