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Flashcards in WWII Deck (33)
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1

In 1941, President Roosevelt announced an embargo (an official ban on trade with a particular country) on the shipment of any war material to Japan but promised to lift the embargo if Japan agreed to withdraw from _____.

China

Japan refused to abandon its war in China. Oil, rubber, and other raw materials were essential to Japan's continued conquest. To gain these materials, the Japanese decided to strike at the Dutch East Indies (where such materials were in abundance). 

The U.S. would likely declare war on Japan in the event of an attack on Dutch territory, so Japan resolved upon a quick strike against U.S. forces in an effort to achieve a rapid victory.

2
Define

Appeasement 

Giving into Hitler's aggressive acts to avoid war.

Although strictly against the terms of the Versailles Treaty, in 1938 Hitler's Germany annexed Austria, and then went on to take control of the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and eventually Poland.

Once more, the League of Nations, the European powers, and the United States did little except to conduct some mild diplomatic protests.

3

In 1941, at a secret meeting off the coast of Newfoundland, President Franklin Roosevelt reached a secret agreement called the Atlantic Charter with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. What were the Charter's terms?

Although the United States was not at war, the Charter described the Allies' war objectives, which included free trade, no territory acquired by conquest, and self-determination (countries create their own rules and are not controlled by foreign governments) of subject peoples.

Given that Germany was still on the offensive and that Britain had little hope of imposing peace without American involvement, the Atlantic Charter virtually committed the United States into entry into World War II. 

4

Which three countries composed the Axis Powers?

The three Axis Powers were Germany, Italy, and Japan, who signed a mutual defense pact in 1940.

5

Explain the response that the international community had to the Bataan Death March?

A horrific example of a wartime atrocity that occurred in the Philipines in which Japanese soldiers forced American and Filipino prisoners to match up the Bataan Peninsula. 

During the march, prisoners were shot, stabbed, beheaded, run over by tanks and subjected to all types of cruel and unusual punishment.

6

What was the Battle of Britain?

After the conquest of France, and as a prelude to invading Britain, the German Air Force (the Luftwaffe) carried out a bombing campaign against

Great Britain, which the British narrowly defeated. With the Luftwaffe's loss, Britain was freed from the peril of an invasion by sea.

7

Which theater of World War II saw the first major involvement of American troops against the Germans and Italians?

The United States first attacked the Germans and Italians in North Africa in 1942, where the British had been involved since 1940.

By 1943, the North African theater was free of Germans and Italians, and Allied forces began making their way up the Italian Peninsula.

8

During the last week of December 1944, the Germans launched their last major offensive of the War in the Ardennes Forest, known as the Battle of the _____.

Bulge

The battle earned the nickname "Bulge" from the large breakthrough the Germans created in the Allied line. By early January, the offensive was contained and that month the Western Allies crossed the Rhine River into Germany.

9
Define:

Blitzkrieg

Blitzkrieg, German for "lightning war," referred to a tactic of using tanks and planes to create a hole in the enemy's line of troops, then use that hole to cause a collapse of the enemy's forces.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Blitzkrieg enabled Germany to conquer Poland in 30 days and to destroy the French army. 

10

Which general led the troops of Free France? 

Although France had surrendered to Germany in 1940, some of her army escaped to Britain where it was led by Charles de Gaulle.

The country they left behind became known as Vichy France, a rump state with its capital at the town of Vichy and firmly under the control of the Germans.

11

In 1942, the United States achieved two naval victories, which proved crucial to victory against Japan. What were they?

The Battle of the Coral Sea and Battle of Midway

During the Battle of the Coral Sea, the U.S. Navy sunk one Japanese aircraft carrier and heavily damaged another, forcing a Japanese invasion fleet headed for Australia to turn back.

Two months later in a resounding U.S. victory during the Battle of Midway, American forces sunk four Japanese carriers. After its losses at Midway, the Japanese were unable to keep pace with American shipbuilding and pilot training. 

12

What event took place on June 6, 1944?

On June 6, 1944, the long-awaited invasion of Europe from the West began with the D-Day landings in Normandy, France.

By the end of the year, France had been liberated. By May 1945, Allied armies were approaching Berlin from the east and west. Hitler committed suicide and Germany sued for peace.

13

Why did President Truman drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Truman ordered the attacks out of concern that attempting to conquer Japan would result in hundreds of thousands of American casualties, and he requested an immediate Japanese surrender before giving the order to drop the bombs.

Some 250,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan surrendered a week later.

14

How many Jews died in the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was the systematic killing of Jews and other undesirables under the direction of Hitler's German government and is estimated to have killed 6 million Jews at concentration camps.  The most notorious being Auschwitz. 

Some 3 million other persons, including gypsies, homosexuals, and communists, are estimated to have lost their lives in concentration camps dedicated to using industrial methods to kill as rapidly as possible.

15

How did the Western European powers react to the Germans' attack on Poland?

Following Germany's attack on Poland in September 1939, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany.

Germany quickly destroyed Poland, conquered Norway, then turned on Denmark, the Netherlands, and France, conquering each in turn. By late 1940, almost the entirety of Western Europe was under German control.

16

In the Pacific Theater of World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur used a strategy known as _____ _____, which bypassed heavily defended Japanese positions and attacked weaker ones.

island hopping

By taking less heavily held islands, such as Saipan, the United States forces gradually moved into position to launch an attack on Japan itself.

Islands strongly fortified by the Japanese were blockaded and cut off. Left to die by the Japanese government, several Japanese contingents turned to cannibalism.

Major victories of the island hopping campaign include the Battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

17

In 1935, Italy attacked what fellow member of the League of Nations?

In 1935, Italy attacked Ethiopia. Both countries were members of the League of Nations. Yet other than protest, the other members of the League did nothing, a failure of the League's principle of collective security.

Ethiopia's fellow League members hoped that by appeasing Mussolini's desire for conquest, they would appease him.

18

Between February 19 and March 26, 1945, American forces took the island of _____ _____ in one of World War II's fiercest battles.

Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima had been a Japanese territory before the War and was the first piece of Japanese territory to fall to Allied forces. Some 27,000 American casualties resulted from the attack.

19

What was the Lend-Lease Act?

The Lend-Lease Act, signed in 1941 (prior to America's entry into World War II), was a policy that allowed Great Britain to purchase arms on credit.

Under Lend-Lease, the United States would serve as "the arsenal of democracy."

20

What was the Manhattan Project?

The Manhattan Project, under physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was a U.S. effort to develop atomic weapons. The first nuclear device was detonated in the New Mexico desert in July 1945.

21

Hitler's desire for a portion of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland led to what international conference in 1938?

The Munich Conference

At the Munich Conference, Britain and France awarded the Sudetenland to Germany, upon Hitler's promise not to make any further territorial demands. Giving in to Hitler's demands was known as appeasement, a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to an aggressor.

22

In 1939, Germany signed a non-aggression pact with which country?

In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a 10-year non-aggression pact. In addition to agreeing not to declare war on each other for 10 years, the two countries divided Poland and much of Eastern Europe.

23

Explain what occurred at the Nuremberg Trials and why this event marked a turning point in world history.

Nazi and Japanese officials are tried before a world court and imprisoned or executed for "crimes against humanity." This was the first time world leaders are held accountable for their actions during wartime.

24

What was the final major island to be conquered as part of the War in the Pacific during World War II?

Okinawa

Only 340 miles from Japan, the American military attack on Okinawa was integral to providing an American air base for the eventual attack on Japan. Constant kamikaze attacks and fierce resistance led to at least 65,000 Allied casualties and 100,000 Japanese casualties.

25

What did President Roosevelt term "a date which will live in infamy"?

The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which took place on December 7, 1941 (as did attacks on other U.S. bases). Japan's intent was to destroy America's three Pacific aircraft carriers, crippling the U.S. Navy.

Fortunately, all the American carriers were at sea and not present at the attack. Twelve hundred Americans lost their lives. On January 8, 1941, President Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan. One week later, Italy and Germany declared war against the United States.

26

Germany re-occupied the _____ in 1936, a clear violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

Rhineland

Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland and the Western Powers' lack of action indicated that the Treaty of Versailles was a dead letter. Hitler became convinced that the Western Powers would do nothing to stop his efforts.

27

In June 1941, Hitler turned on Stalin and attacked the U.S.S.R., conquering hundreds of square miles of territory. What battle proved a turning point in the war on the Eastern Front?

In a battle that raged from June 1942 to February 1943, Soviet forces surrounded the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, forcing its surrender. Steadily, and with millions of casualties, the Soviets began pushing the Germans back toward Germany.

Soviet casualties, both civil and military, were the largest of any nation. Some 25 million Russian soldiers were killed, wounded, or listed as missing in the War, comparable only to Stalin's wholesale slaughter of 43 million Russians in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.

28

Identify the turning point of the European theater in WWII and explain how this shifted the momentum of the war for the Allies.

The D-Day Invasion (aka the Invasion of Normandy or Operation Overlord) was a turning point of the European Front.  This successful attack started a war on two fronts, which eventually led to the defeat of Hitler.

29

Identify the turning point of Pacific theater during WWII and explain why it was a significant shift in momentum. 

The Battle of Midway

The U.S. sank 4 Japanese aircraft carriers which were a devastating blow and send the Japanese on the defensive for the remainder of the war.

30

In April 1945, while World War II was still going, 50 nations met in San Francisco to draft the charter of what international organization?

The United Nations

In October of the same year, the Senate approved America's involvement in the organization. Today, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are the same countries that led the fight against the Axis Powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and China.