Identify the reasons why the U.S. government decided to focus on the defeat of Germany rather than Japan, and to assess the wisdom of this decision List and explain the significance of the most important military engagements Describe the nature of fighting on the European Front during WWII.
Dictator- a person exercising absolute power with unrestricted control and no hereditary Selective Service Act- Made men between 18 and 45 liable for military service and required all men between 18 and 65 to register for the draft. Casablanca Conference- Meeting held to plan the European Strategy of the Allies during WWII. Operation Overlord- Allied invasion of Normandy, France. VE Day- Victory in Europe, May 8th 1945
Although it was the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, U.S. military planners decided that Germany, not Japan, was to be the primary target of operations. American forces were to maintain a largely defensive posture in the Pacific while forces were massed in the British Isles for an invasion of Europe.
Selective Service Act • 1.8 Million when war declared • Months later, 3.9 million Patriotism Anger towards Axis Desire for Adventure Joblessness • 1945; Peaked to more than 15 million 216,000 were women
1 Million African Americans Enlisted • Segregated units; often cooks or laborers 350,000 Hispanic Americans • Most decorated Native Americans • Marine Signal Corp Code Messages were sent in Navajo Japanese Americans • 442 Regiment was most decorated unit
1943 Casablanca Conference • Allies agreed to fight Axis powers • Unconditional Surrender Surrender without concessions United States v. Japan Allies v. Nazi Germany
Nonaggression Pact of 1939 • Stalin distrusted Hitler Germans invaded on June 22, 1941 • Blitzkrieg tactics • Starvation of residents • Freezing to death
July 42-February 1943 Cited as the turning point in the war One of the bloodiest in the history of warfare with nearly two million Captured German casualties. Prisoners of War Soviet Victory
The decision was made, therefore, to land U.S. and British troops in North Africa, where Axis forces threatened to overrun British-held Egypt. • by the spring of 1943 the German and Italian forces in North Africa had surrendered.
November 1942 American and British forces land in North Africa (Operation Torch) Allies were victorious by May 1943 Used land to invade Sicily and Italy when the fascist government fell from power Italy announced unconditional surrender September 9, 1943
June 5, 1944 Fake invasions of vessels and fake bombers • Also fake messages Germansthought nothing of it because of bad weather
D-Day, June 6, 1944 Largest combined land/sea/air invasion (amphibious) in history 176,000 allied soldiers went ashore along 60 mile stretch of Normandy beaches 122,000 Allies KIA 114,000 Germans KIA
5000 Vessel Armada 30,000 vehicles on board 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs 5,000 tons of gasoline needed for first twenty days Captured Germans were sent to American POW camps • 33 in Texas alone
American troops broke through German lines in the well-known “Battle of the Bulge” 1944-January 1945 Would become the final European offensive • Soviet encircled the entire city • Entered city quickly Berlin’s defenders finally surrendered May 2nd. May 8th, 1945 would be celebrated at VE (Victory in Europe) Day.
Success • Base to sweep Germans out of France Booming Industry Paris Liberated August 25, 1944 Exhausted German Troops
Death of Hitler VE Day Manhattan Project Atomic Bombings VJ Day Formation of United Nations • Put in chronological order. • Summarize the details of the events which ended the war.
For Example: • The Death of Mussolini. •Former dictator of Italy •Overthrown from government in 1943 (disliked?)Death of Mussolini •Was hung by Italian partisans along with his wifeApril 28, 1945 •12 fascists were also hung •Even after his death, people would continue to spit on him and shot him. BBC News, “On This Day”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/sto ries/april/28/newsid_3564000/3564529.stm
It was in the night and I was sleeping, and my sergeant came running and said, "There are a thousand different ships coming in the English Channel.“There was thousands of ships, and we could see landing boats of American troops. Then came thousands of men at one time coming on land and running over the beach. This is the first time I shoot on living men, and I go to the machine gun and I shoot, I shoot, I shoot! For each American I see fall, there came ten hundred other ones!The final company in the first assault wave, Company E, landed its six boats between a mile and two miles left of its designated beach, which was Easy Green.
As our teams were called, we assembled on the landing craft and were lowered into the water, and it was tremendously rough and the spray from the sea was cold, and it came over the sides of the landing craft and nearly everybody got soaked. We were taking water from the rough sea over the bow, and we were bailing to try to keep afloat. Some of the landing craft sank before they got in because of the rough sea. In fact, we picked up some of our buddies who had floundered eight or nine miles from shore, and we had taken them on as extra cargo; and some that we should have picked up or would have liked to have picked, we left because we didnt have room. We hoped somebody else would.It was a terrible ride to the beach. Over to our right, the battleship Texas was firing into the cliffs, and every time that big fourteen inch gun went off, a tremendous tsunami swamped our boat, and the water would come over the side and just soak us and make our seasickness worse.As we got in to one thousand yards offshore, we started taking some mortar shells and some artillery. They were just over our bow and exploding off to our side, and we could also hear the small arms as we got in a little closer -- the small arms were firing at us.
We proceeded toward the beach, and many of the fellows got sick. The water was quite rough. It was a choppy ride in, and we received a lot of spray.Our boat was one of six of A Company in the first wave, and when we got to the beach, or close to it, the obstacles erected by the Germans to prevent the landing were fully in view, as we were told they would be, which meant the tide was low.I was the rifle sergeant and followed Lieutenant Anderson off the boat, and we did what we could rather than what we had practiced doing for so many months in England. There was a rather wide expanse of beach, and the Germans were not to be seen at all, but they were firing at us, rapidly, with a great deal of small-arm fire.As we came down the ramp, we were in water about knee high, and we started to do what we were trained to do -- move forward, and then crouch and fire. One of the problems was we didnt quite know what to fire at. I saw some tracers coming from a concrete emplacement which to me looked mammoth. I never anticipated any gun emplacements being that big. I attempted to fire back at that, but I had no concept of what was going on behind me. There was not much to see in front of me except a few houses, and the water kept coming in so rapidly, and the fellows I was with were being hit and put out of action so quickly that it become a struggle to stay on ones feet. I abandoned my equipment, which was very heavy.
I floundered in the water and had my hand up in the air, trying to get my balance, when I was first shot. I was shot through the left hand, which broke a knuckle, and then through the palm of the hand. I felt nothing but a little sting at the time, but I was aware that I was shot. Next to me in the water, Private Henry G. Witt was rolling over towards me. "Sergeant, theyre leaving us here to die like rats. Just to die like rats." I certainly wasnt thinking the same thing, nor did I share that opinion. I didnt know whether we were being left or not.I made my way forward as best I could. My rifle jammed, so I picked up a carbine and got off a couple of rounds. We were shooting at something that seemed inconsequential. There was no way I was going to knock out a German concrete emplacement with a .30-caliber rifle. I was hit again, once in the left thigh, which broke my hip bone, and a couple of times in my pack, and then my chin strap on my helmet was severed by a bullet. I worked my way up onto the beach, and staggered up against a wall, and collapsed there. The bodies of the other guys washed ashore, and I was one live body amongst many of my friends who were dead and, in many cases, blown to pieces.