In October 1942, British and American forces began their first major campaign together in North Africa.
Since 1939 Great Britain and Germany both were trying to control North Africa; and in 1942 German General Erwin Rommel began a massive offensive in the region, Rommel was known as “The Desert Fox”, who had slowly pushed British forces.
In August 1942 British General Bernard Montgomery arrived in the North African Desert
Marked a turning point in the North African War and a major shift in the war as a whole. It was the beginning of the Allied drive to control the North African coast
At the same time the American General Dwight D. Eisenhower led Allied troops through Morocco and Algeria and in May 1943 the two forces came together in Tunisia, trapping 250,000 Germans and Italians. The coast of North Africa was in Allied hands.
For Hitler the news from the North African desert were bad but the news from the Soviet Union were worst . The Germans had been fighting in the soviet Union for two years, since 1941, the cold winter had stopped them in their tracks outside Leningrad and Moscow. When spring came the German tanks were ready to roll again.
Hitler hoped to capture the Soviet oil fields and he also wanted to control the city of Stalingrad (Volgograd)
Turning point in the Soviet Union War. In August 1942 Stalin sent the order to defend Stalingrad at all cost. Soviet defenders fought the Germans with knives, guns, bayonets and even clubs, eventhough the Germans appeared to be in control but then another winter came.
Soviet commander Georgi Zhukov saw the cold as an opportunity and began a counterattack.
Zhukov army closed around Stalingrad, trapping the Germans in the city and cutting off their supplies. The Germans situation was hopeless, but Hitler’s orders were: “Stay and Fight”…
The Germans did their best, but finally surrendered on January 31, 1943. After Stalingrad it was the Germans who were now on the defensive.
By now many German military leaders realized what Hitler refused to admit----THAT THE NAZI EMPIRE WAS COLLAPSING. THE THIRD REICH’S DAYS WERE NUMBERED.
On July 9 1943, an Allied invasion forced soldiers and marines crossed the Mediterranean and approached the shore of Sicily, which fell to the Allies in August after a bloody but brief stuggle lasting only 39 days.
Stunned by their army’s collapse in Sicily, the Italian people forced the dictator Mussolini to resign. On July 25, 1943, he was placed under arrest. Italy renounced his country’s pact with Hitler and urged the Italian people to fight the Germans. Italy’s sudden change of loyalties did not save it from invasion.
The enormous task of commanding the invasion fell to the American General Dwight Eisenhower. Under his direction the allies gathered a force of 2 million British, American and Canadian troops, together with military equipment and supplies.
The Allies planned to attack Normandy in northern France.
The Allied invasion code-named D-Day began on June 6, 1944. at night an immense fleet of 5,300
ships sailed for their target, the beaches of Normandy. After midnight, 13,000 airborne troops parachuted into France, followed early in the morning by thousands of seaborne soldiers. After 5 days of fighting the allies held a strip of France.
By the beginning of August 1944, German troops were pulling out of France to escape the Allied onslaught. Free French units led by Charles de Gaulle joined the Allies, who entered the city in victory on August 24, 1944.
Hitler now faced the old German nightmare—war on two fronts.
The end was near for Hitler’s Reich, but Hitler refused to recognize it. On April 30, 1945, Hitler killed himself. Mussolini was dead too, he had been assassinated on April 28.
The Allies also lost a great leader on April 12, 1945, Franklin Roosevelt
Roosevelt successor , Harry Truman. On May 2, 1945 Berlin formally surrendered to the Soviet army. On May 7, commanders of the German army and navy signed papers declaring the unconditional surrender of their forces. “The War in Europe was over.”
World War II in Europe and North Africa, 1939-1945
Allied forces in the Pacific were closing in on Japan. By 1945 the Allies had recovered most of the Pacific.
Japan still had a large army that would defend its homeland. “Kamikazes”.
President Truman saw only one way to avoid an invasion of Japan. “Atom bomb”.
From the German city of Potsdam where Truman was meeting with Churchill and Stalin, Truman warned the Japanese telling them: “ you will faced prompt and utter destruction” unless they surrendered at once. The Japanese did not reply.