Flashcards in World War II and the Postwar years Deck (35)
How did Hitler actively try to overturn the Treaty of Versailles?
He openly began the rearmament of Germany. When France and Britain did not respond, the Germans remilitarized the Rhineland. While the French contemplated an aggressive response to this action, they didn't want to act without British support. These steps convinced Hitler of the weakness of democracies.
How did Hitler take territory in Austria?
Even in Mein Kampf, Hitler spoke of his desire to incorporate Austria into the larger German Reich. In March 1938, German troops occupied Vienna. The Anschluss was welcomed by a majority of Austrians, who greeted Hitler upon his arrival in the city and attacked Jews.
How did Hitler take territory in Czechoslovakia?
Czechoslovakia was burdened with nationality problems, with Sudeten Germans having particular animosity toward the state. Ultimately, Germany occupied Czechoslovakia despite guarantees from France and the Soviet Union for Czechoslovakian protection.
What policy did the British pursue? Why did they do so?
The British, led by Neville Chamberlain, pursued a policy of appeasement. They pursued this policy because the German occupation of the Rhineland, the creation of the Rome-Berlin Axis, and the Berlin Olympics were propaganda victories for Germany. Chamberlain thought it was impossible for Britain to rearm against the combined strength of Germany and Italy and instead wanted to reach a diplomatic solution.
How was appeasement put into practice?
Britain started by recognizing Italy's annexation of Ethiopia and allowing Germany to annex Austria. However, when Germany threatened to invade unless the Sudetenland was turned over to the Reich, Chamberlain's will was tested.
What was the Munich Agreement?
It was the aversion of war that occurred between a meeting of the leaders of France, Italy, Germany, and Britain. All Sudeten territories were transferred to Germany, while Hitler promised to respect the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia.
Why did the Western powers practice appeasement?
Politicians like Chamberlain tried to avert Europe from war as much as possible, as WWI was still fresh in the minds of those who lived through it. The British also understood that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair. Finally, few individuals understood that Hitler had to be stopped at all costs and did not intend to maintain any of his promises.
What was Hitler's next target after Czechoslovakia? What were the implications for British foreign policy?
Hitler next wanted to invade and take over Poland, as he saw it as part of Germany. Chamberlin realized that Hitler wanted to take Poland, and in response he worked out an arrangement with France where the two nations would respond in the even that Poland's borders were threatened.
How did the Soviet Union's foreign policy play out before WWII? What were the implications of its foreign policy?
After they were rebuffed from a military alliance with France and Britain because of Stalin's purges, doubts of Stalin's character, and the weakness of the Russian army, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a nonaggression pact. It cleared the way for Germany to invade Poland, while the Soviets could seize Poland, Finland, and the Baltic states.
How did Hitler take Poland?
The German army used blitzkrieg warfare, swift attacks using tanks and other highly mobile units supported by warplanes. The Polish army was routed within a month.
What areas did Hitler conquer after Poland?
Despite a lull in warfare called the Phony War, Hitler invaded Norway and Denmark for iron ore. He then followed this up with an invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands.
What French defenses were erected to protect against German invasion? How were they ineffective?
During the interwar period, the French built the Maginot Line, a series of seemingly impregnable defenses to protect their soldiers during another war of stagnant positions. The Line did not extend to Belgium, and the German armies simply went around the fortifications.
What French government was formed after the fall of France?
A new government was formed under Marshal Petain. He pulled France out of the war and used the opportunity to create a more authoritarian French government. Petain's Vichy regime ended the French Third Republic, and Vichy France ultimately cooperated with Hitler.
Who worked against the Vichy government? What did he do?
A charismatic general, Charles de Gaulle, arrived in London and issued a call for French forces in the colonies to form a new French army. Branded a traitor by the Vichy authorities, he created a free French army while inspiring the French resistance to fight against both the Germans and the Vichy state.
What was the Battle of Britain?
It was an air battle drawn out over many months between the German Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force. The British had advantages in that they had radar, cracked the German code, and their planes were better. After the German air force bombed London and other cities, the Royal Air Force recovered and drove the Luftwaffe out.
What were the Nuremberg Laws?
It was a series of Nazi laws that deprived Jews of citizenship and forced them to wear a yellow Star of David. Marriage and sex between Jews and Gentiles were also forbidden.
How did conditions in Germany get worse for Jews after the Nuremberg Laws?
Jews were forced out of all professions and had their stores boycotted and property confiscated. The Nazis then launched Kristallnacht, as Jewish businesses and homes were vandalized and destroyed. Many Jews were also killed and sent to concentration camps.
What were the implications of German obsession with the "Jewish Question?"
The Nazis directed resources that could have been used in the war effort to exterminate the European Jews instead.
What was the Final Solution?
Initially, it was the mass murder of Jews by carbon monoxide gas or machine-gunned by specially designated S.S. troops. After finding this method too inefficient, the Nazis organized a camp system throughout Poland, where Jews from around occupied Europe were gathered and placed in extermination camps. The camps also contained gypsies/Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Russian prisoners of war, Communists, and undesirables.
Why was the Final Solution so efficient?
In most areas throughout Europe, the conquered peoples of Europe also helped the Nazis round up the Jews. In Vichy France, officials rounded up Jews and turned them over to the Nazis even before the Germans requested help. In Ukraine, Croatia, and other parts of eastern Europe, the local population set off their own initiative to exterminate their Jewish neighbors.
What were the three critical turning points in WWII?
The Battle of Britain, the invasion of the Soviet Union, and the entry of the United States into the War.
What was the German operation to invade the Soviet Union? How did it play out?
The Germans caught the Russians by surprise and drove deep into Russia. The Russians reached the outskirts of Leningrad and Stalingrad, but both cities held out, holding up German supplies and troops. It forced the Soviet Union to enter into an alliance with Great Britain and the United States.
How did the Allies have success in North Africa?
The Italians wanted to conquer Egypt, but were pushed back by the British. Erwin Rommel initially met success, but were forced back at the Battle of El Alamein by a British Army under the command of General Montgomery, who pushed the German and Italian forces back to Tunisia.
What was the effect of U.S. involvement?
After the United States was attacked at Pearl harbor, the United States supplied troops in North Africa and pushed the Axis forces out of Africa and sent troops to Italy. The Americans then joined the British in invading Western Europe.
What was the significance of the Tehran conference?
It was a meeting between Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt where it was decided that the British and the Americans were too invade western Europe.
What occurred during the fall of Germany?
The Allied landing at Normandy in France and the Russian counterattack following the lifting of the siege of Leningrad marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. As the two armies advanced into Germany, Hitler committed suicide, and on May 8, 1945 Germany surrendered unconditionally.
How did WWII end?
America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, prompting a Japanese surrender.
How destructive was WWII?
It was even more destructive than WWI. 50-60 million people lost their lives during the conflict, with the Soviet Union seeing the most deaths. Cities were bombed as attacks on civilian targets occurred in Warsaw, Rotterdam, London, and eventually German towns like Dresden. Nearly all of Germany's military, economic, or administrative institutions were in rubble.
How did WWII affect the movements of Europeans?
The roads became clogged with displaced people, including Jews who had no place to go. Many Jews would live in difficult conditions in Cyprus, unable to go to Palestine. Russian POWs returned to the Soviet Union and were rearrested or put to death, seen as spies or weak. Millions of Germans went west, fleeing from the mass rape of the Soviet army. Other Germans were forced from their homes in Czechoslovakia and Poland.
What was denazification?
It was the process by which the Allies removed all remnants of Nazi ideology from German culture, and Nazi Party members were removed from positions in the government and Nazi organizations were disbanded.
What were the Nuremberg trials?
Although Hitler and Goebbels had committed suicide, several Nazis were placed on trial, with eleven sentenced to death. Although there were thousands of rank and file Nazi Party members, they were largely not prosecuted.
Why do Germans refer to 1945 as "Zero Hour"?
It was the darkest point in German history. People thought Europe would not recover from the war, but Europe staged a remarkably thorough recovery and transformed the lives of people throughout the region and ushered in an age of political and social stability.
What was the Atlantic Charter? What did it create?
The Atlantic Charter was a document Roosevelt made advocating for the establishment of an international organization to replace the League of Nations. It ultimately created the United Nation, which had the United States participating in it.
What was America's foreign policy after the war?
It was not going to return to its interwar isolationism and would instead remain committed to European recovery and stability.