Before world war 2
Devasted after WW1
Many found the Treaty of Versailles too harsh as Germany was forced to take the blame for the war, pay reparations, lose most of their military force, lose all their colonies and lose some of their land to Poland, France, Belgium and Denmark
Hitler had radical idea's that he wanted to put into action such as all Germans(the Arian race) living in the same country so having more lebansraum for them, the Jews were a sub-race and were to blame for all Germany's hardships and he wanted the Treaty of versailles to be destroyed.
The start of the fight for Lebansraum
Hitler begins to increase his army and rebuild his navy and airforce
On the 7th of March 1936 Hitler orders 22,000 troops to re-enter the Rhineland which as part of the treaty of Versailles was demilitarised.
The Anschluss, the German take-over of Austria, happened in March 1938. The League of Nations had banned this union but did nothing because they weren't ready for another war and Hitler claimed that most of the Austrian population wanted this union so he was doing nothing wrong.
The Sudetenland had 3 million Germans living in it and Hitler wanted the coal and oil in this area as well. This was the Czech Crisis of 1938. The Munich conference was held in September 1938 and there were representitives of Britain, Germany, France and Italy. The USSR and Czechoslovakia were not invited. At the conference Hitler got what he wanted as long as he agreed to not invade any where else.
Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939
Britain and France decide to make an agreement with Poland that if Germany do invade then they will declare war.
In August 1939, the Nazi-Soviet pact was made. In this pact Hitler agreed not to attack USSR and in the secret clauses agreed to split Poland with him.
September 1st Hitler invades Poland
September 3rd War is declared between Germany, France and GB.
Britain and France braced themselves for an attack but it never came this was called the Phoney War.
Germans used a form of attack called the Blitzkreig which used tanks and dive bombers to hit an army with maximum speed and power.
Poland was defeated in 6 weeks.
In May 1940, the German army began their attacks again. They attacked Holland, Belgium and France.
The French made the Maginot line which ran all along the border between Germany and France however the Maginot was very weak at the borders of Belgium and Luxemburg because there was no threat of attack from these countries however when Hitler invaded Belgium he just kept going and occupied France as well. By the 14th of June the Germans were in Paris.
Britain during the war.
1940- The battle of Britain.
Britain stood alone but as it was an island it was a lot more difficult for Germany to invade so there was a huge battle over who would get possesions of the sky. It was the Luftwaffe versus the RAF.
A new invention called RADAR was important in helping Britain to win this battle as it could spot planes before people on the ground could see them whiuch meant that Britain was better prepared.
Preparations began for the German attack.
On the 31st of August an order was sent out for all children to be evacuated along with nursing or pregnant mothers. The country was a safer place for them as there wasn't much risk of bombings like there was in the cities.
A blackout was also ordered in which no light was to be shone on the streets etc. at night. However this increased the amounts of RTA's.
The Anderson shelter was put in people's gardens for families to be protected from bombing. These were given out free from the government.
The Morrison shelter was used in tenemants and back to backs as they wouldn't have gardens.
The London Underground and Public shelters were also available for use if the siren rang out.
Rationing was also a precaution to ensure that Britain would have enough food as German submarines were bombing the supply ships that were carrying foreign produce. This kept up until 1954.
The Blitz ended in May 1941. However in this time 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 seriously injured.
Hitler had a pact with the USSR however he had always planned to invade them.
The USSR had lots of land area and had important resources such as oil and wheat.
He also hated the Slavs and Communists.
In 1941 a secret attack was launched. Stalin was taken by surprise and the Russian armys in the West were taken by surprise and quickly beaten but the Russians withdrew further east. The winter slowed Germany and by the end of 1942 it became apparent that this would not be a quick blitzkreig victory like all the rest.
The war widening
Throughout the 1930's Japan had taken huge areas of China because they wanted the oil reserves that were controlled by GB, France and Holland who were all fighting Germany in the 1940's. This was the opportunity Japan was looking for.
Japan was intimidated by the USA and decided to launch a surprise attack that would cripple the US Navy.
On the 7th of December 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbour in Hawaii where there were huge Navy and Military bases. USA suffered huge losses to both the Navy, Military and civilians. Japan was virtually unscathed.
On the 8th of December 1941, Japan attacked the British colony of Malaya and US bases in the Phillipines.
As a retaliation for the Blitz and Pearl Harbour, GB and the US started bombing.
British Lancaster bombers would attack Germany throughout the day
US Flying Fortress bombers would attack during the night
German city's were hit badly and one in particular, Dresden, was totally demolished.
Later Dresden would be put in front of the War council as an alleged war crime as there were very little military personnel or factories in the area and the civilian losses were huge.
The war ending
In 1942 the war began to turn around.
The British won their first big victory against the Germans at El-Alamein in North Africa and the Russians defeated an enitre German army at Stalingrad.
In 1943 Mussolini's Italian government collapsed, the largest tank battle in the world was won by the Russians at Kursk and the Americans destroyed Japan's naval power.
During 1944, the Soviets pushed the Germans back to the border and on the 6th of June America, Britain and the Commonwealth invaded France on D-Day. The allies had control of Paris again by August.
In early 1945 allied troops enterede Germany. By April Soviet troops had captured Berlin. Hitler commited suicide on the 30th of April. Victory in Europe Day was on the 8th of May 1945.
The end of the war cont.
In the Pacific great battles were fought by sea. The Americans "island-hopped" across the Pacific to drive the Japanese back to their islands. In Burma and Malaya, Britiish and Commonwealth troops gained the upper hand.
The Japanese soldiers fought with great courage. Some became Kamikazes, suicide bombers who would try to kill as many of the enemy when taking their own lives.
The allies were preparing for an invasion of Japan that would cost hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The new American president, Truman, wanted a quick end to the war. Scientists had produced a highly dangerous and powerful weapon, the Atomic bomb. Truman gave the order for the bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. The entire city vanished on the 6th of August and over 90,000 died in the blast. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
Only then did the Japanese surrender.
The superpowers in 1945
Great Britain were still considered a superpower as they had a huge empire, however they were exhausted, owed money to the USA, had no money left and their Empire was beginning to fight for independance and break up.
Japan had no strengths in 1945 as they had been defeated, humiliated, their cities were ruined and their industries completely smashed.
The USSR had armies in 8 European countries, dominated Eastern Europe and had the largest army in the world, however they were exhausted, their cities were in ruins, they had lost 20 million to the war and were having to take resources from countries they had captured. They still had a large population and a powerful armed forces. They were a Communist country so everything belonged to the State and everything was run by the government on behalf of the people. There was no difference between different classes of people. All profits went to the State, the governmetn controlled the economy and there was only one party as there was only one class of people.
The superpowers of 1945 cont.
Germany was completely defeated, their industries and cities were completely ruined, they needed help if they ever wanted to be considered an important power again. Their country was no longer under their control and was instead controlled by America, the USSR, GB and France.
The USA were the richest nation in the world. No enemy plane had dropped a bomb on Mainland USA, they came out of the war stronger and they still had armies in Germany and Japan. They were the only country to have an atomic bomb which made them a huge threat to all other countires in the world. They had control over the Pacific and had a huge population. They were a capitalist country which gave their citizens a choice over how they lived.
The Marshall plan 1945
After WW2 Europe was in ruins.
George Marshall the US secretary of state wanted to save Europe from starvation and Communism. He planned to use American money to re-build Europe's economies. Between 1948-51 millions of dollars worth of food, clothing and machinery poured into Europe from the USA. The USA now had much more influence over Europe.
Britain accepted the USA's help to re-build their industry and to get over the war years struggle.
Stalin, however, forbade it because the USA would introduce Capitalism and control the countries that accepted.
However this wasn't a totally selfless act as the USA knew that Europe would spend the money on American goods so America was getting something out of it too.
The Berlin Airlift
In 1945 after Germany had surrendered Germany was split up between GB, France, the USSR and the USA. Although Berlin was deep inside the Soviet zone it was decided that it would be split into four as this was where all the important decisions were made.
In January 1948 GB and USA announced that their zones were combining into one unit called BIZONIA.
The Western allies agreed to a new, stonger currency in their zones of Germany including West Berlin. The Soviets walked out of a Berlin Control Council meeting as the Western allies wouldn't reveal their plans fpr their zones.
1948, Stalin announces he is blockading Berlin by closing all land routes. The allies watch as the Berlin people begin to starve. In June they decide to airlfit supplies into Berlin. They were taking in essential supplies such as food, coal and medicine.
The Berlin Airlfit cont.
Aircraft was landing every 45 seconds on airfields and even lakes. The pilots were under huge danger and pressure. They could crash due to tiredness or the snow and ice and fog at runways, they could be buzzed by Soviet fighters and this could cause a war with the USSR.
It was essential that the world saw that the Western allies had the courage to stand up to the USSR and that they weren't giving in like they did with Germany.
In May 1949 Stalin realised that the blockade had failed and re-opened all land roiutes back into Berlin
West and East Germany
West Germany in May 1949 was helped by the west and became rich and prosperous.
East Germany, created in October 1949, however was not as it was still controlled by the USSR and remained poor
3 million East Germans fled to the West. This was embarassing to East Germany and damaging as many of those who fled were skilled workers that East germany needed to rebuild the economy.
Between 1949-61 the easiest place to escape was in Berlin.
Khrushchev knew that something had to be done
The Berlin wall
In November 1958 told the Western allies that they had 6 months to leave Berlin. None of them moved an inch and all tried to communicate with Khrushchev. However all hopes of relations were screwed when an American U2 spy-plane was shot down over the USSR.
Khrushchev and Kennedy met in 1961 and Khrushchev expected to get what he wanted as he thought he could intimidate the younger American president. Kennedy refused to meet Khrushchevs demands of the USA recognising East Germany. The USA prepared for war, however instead Khrushchev built a wall through the middle of Berlin separating the East side from the West. This meant that people on the East side were stuck there in the poor conditions.
Cuban Missile Crisis
On the 16th of October 1962 Kennedy was shown photographstaken over Cuba. There were missiles in Cuba that weren't there just for defense, they could be used to attack the USA.
Kennedy formed a group of advisors, Ex-comm, to help him decide what to do. On the 22nd of October Kennedy announced a blockade of Cuba calling it a quarantine. The blockade came into effect on the 24th of October.
The Soviets backed down and removed their missiles from Cuba.
Three months later the USA removed their missiles from Italy and Turkey.
A treaty was signed between the two countries called a Test Ban Treaty in August 1963. They promised not to test nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.
Castro exchanged 1,113 prisoners captured during the Bay of Pigs inveasion for $60 million of food, medicine and cash.
The end of the British empire
Britain could get materials like cotton, oil, rubber, gold and spices from it's colonies. They could sell its manufactured goods like clothes and machinery to it's colonies.
After WW2 Britain was not considered as important as The USA and USSR because they didn't have as big an army and it's colonies were beginning to demand independance from the Empire.
The most important colony to gain independence was India. India was free from British rule in 1947.
In 1952 the Empire became known as the British Commonwealth.
In 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met to discuss what would happen after WW2. They came up with the Atlantic Charter.
USA,USSR,GB and China agreed on: The title of the new international body would be the United Nations: It's purpose is to maintain international security and world peace: It would seek to develop friendly relations amongst all nations: It would try to tackle international economic, social and humanitarian problems: It would act as a hub for all nations to act together so that all their actions could be directed towards acheiving good for the whole world.
The charter established six parts of the UN: The general assembly, The security council, Economic and Social council, Trusteeship council, International court of Justice and the Secretariat.
11th November 1918- fighting in WW1 stopped.
Important dates cont.
1942-45- Allied bombings on Germany
June 1944- D-Day, Allies go back to mainland Europe
May 1945- Victory in Europe day
August 1945- Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
1948-9- Berlin Airlift
1961- Construction of the Berlin Wall
1962- Cuban Missile Crisis.