World War II (continued)Created by and used with permission from Dan Ewert, Friendswood High School
One of the reasons Japan did so much conquering (other than the racism and imperialism) was because Japan is poor in natural resources and was trying to get them from elsewhere.• When they attacked Pearl Harbor, it was to disable the U.S. fleet in the Pacific because the U.S. was restricting Japan’s oil supply. • For a naval power, this was a problem.
Pearl Harbor• December 7, 1941. YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS DATE!!!• Japanese forces launch a sneak aerial attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii.• The goal was to destroy the aircraft carriers, but they were at sea at the time. The battleships got it instead.• U.S. casualties were heavy and included 2,403 dead; 1,178 wounded; 5 battleships, 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers, and 188 planes. Japan casualties, by contrast, included 64 dead, 1 captured, 29 planes and 4 submarines.
• Dec. 7th wasn’t just an attack on Pearl Harbor, though. Japan also launched attacks on Thailand, Malaya, Hong Kong, and the Philippines on the same day.• The U.S. bases on Guam and Wake Island were lost soon afterward.
The Bataan Death March• In the Philippines, around 75,000 Americans and Filipino allies are taken as POW’s.• They’re forced to march about 70 miles in the blazing tropical sun.• They were given little food or water, if any. Those who fell behind were killed on the spot, by bullet, bayonet, or sword. About 10,000 died on the way to the prison camp.
The U.S. was caught off-balance, but regrouped.• One of the earliest offensives was the Doolittle Raid. • Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, 16 modified B-25 bombers took off the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet. • The B-25 was a medium bomber and not designed for carrier use. But they made it work. • The planes bombed several cities, including Tokyo. • They encountered light resistance from anti- aircraft fire or fighters… the Japanese never thought the U.S. could strike the home islands at that point. • The planes crash landed in China and the crews were helped by Chinese nationalists and civilians.
• Results • Little strategic value since 16 planes carrying just 2,000 pounds of bombs each can’t do that much damage. But that wasn’t the point. • Huge morale boost to the U.S. that we bombed Tokyo so soon after Pearl Harbor. • Confused the Japanese and compelled them to recall a few fighter units. • In trying to locate the bomber crews in China, the Japanese slaughtered some 250,000 Chinese civilians in reprisal raids.
The turning point in the way was the Battle of Midway• June 4-7, 1942.• The Japanese wanted to capture Midway, which was the last significant holdout in the Pacific except for Hawaii. The idea was that it would expose Hawaii for invasion or compel the U.S. to negotiate a peace treaty.• The Japanese also wanted to lure the remaining American carriers so they could be destroyed. The Japanese committed 150 ships to the effort. • They thought we only had two full carriers left since the Lexington had been sunk at Coral Sea and they thought the Yorktown had also been sunk.
• The U.S. advantage was that we had broken the Japanese code and knew what they were up to. • The U.S. was the one doing surprising.• Without going into detail, the Japanese made several critical mistakes. The carriers Enterprise, Yorktown, and Hornet succeeded in sinking all four Japanese carriers and downed 228 planes. 3,057 were killed. • The U.S. lost one carrier (the Yorktown) and planes. 307 were killed.• It was the first naval battle in history in which the opposing ships never came within sight of each other.
• Midway was a crippling defeat for the Japanese that broke its naval supremacy in the Pacific. • Not only did it lose four extremely valuable carriers, but it lost many skilled, experienced pilots. • The carriers themselves could not be easily replaced by the Japanese. In fact, they weren’t replaced until 1945. In that same time, the U.S. launched 24 fleet and light carriers and even more escort carriers.• The American victory allowed the U.S. to take the offensive in the Pacific and start pushing back the Japanese.
The United States goes on a island hopping campaign across the Pacific.• Guadalcanal• Leyte Gulf• The Philippines are retaken.• Iwo Jima• Okinawa• I won’t go into detail about these battles, since you’ve already watched Hell in the Pacific, but it was terrible, brutal fighting with many atrocities committed. The Japanese soldiers, following the Bushido code, were unwilling to surrender. As a result, the American soldiers rarely gave quarter.
A side note on propaganda• Propaganda wasn’t just a Soviet or Nazi thing.
In the Atlantic, U-boats were a problem.• U-boats were German submarines and they were adept at sinking allied shipping.
• They formed wolfpacks and hunted the ships.• By 1943, however, new Allied anti-submarine methods significantly reduced the damage inflicted by the U- boats as well as significantly increased the mortality rate of U-boat crews. • Depth charges, mortars, new radar methods, aircraft, and the convoy system all played a role.
• It also helped when the British captured the devilish German Enigma machine allowing them to break the German ciphers.• And yes, it was the British who got it, not the Americans, despite what the movie U-571 portrays.
Back in Europe, the Allies invaded Sicily and then Italy in July and September of 1943, respectively.• Italy formally surrendered on 9/8/43, but Germany didn’t and those troops continued to fight. Italy was not completely taken until April, 1945.• Italy surrendered after Mussolini was overthrown. He was later killed in April, 1945, and his body and that of his mistress were hung upside-down on meat hooks and displayed to the crowds.
D-Day• June 6, 1944. You should know this date too.• The Allies finally open up a western front by invading France in Operation Overlord.• The plan was to drop paratroopers behind the German lines the day before to soften up defenses.• The main invasion force would come in the morning on the beaches of Normandy.• The invasion fleet consisted of 6,938 vessels from 8 different navies. This included 1,213 warships and 4,125 landing craft and other support ships.• The Germans had lost of time to prepare for an invasion.
• They actually thought the invasion would come at Pas de Calais (the closest point of France to Britain). • This was aided by cunning deception on the parts of the Allies who stationed a phantom army opposite Pas de Calais, complete with inflatable tanks, false radio traffic, and George Patton in command (Patton wasn’t happy about it).
Saving Private Ryan Caution: This is bloody and violent and you may hear some bad language in the background, but, according to the people that were there, this is the most realistic depiction of the Battle of Normandy.
The Holocaust• As we know, the Nazis were virulently anti-Semitic. But the concentration camps didn’t happen overnight. There was a lead up to them.• They started with rollbacks of rights. Initially, they wanted to compel Jews to emigrate. Many did, and many, many more tried.• During Kristallnacht, the night of Nov. 9, 1938, mobs, led by the Nazis, destroyed Jewish businesses. • 91 died, 7500 businesses and 1000 synagogues were destroyed. Another 30,000 Jews were arrested.
• By 1939, the Nazis started implementing the Final Solution to the “Jewish problem.” • Jews were arrested, rounded up, and confined to ghettos.
• By 1941, the killings began. • They first used firing squads. Men would be forced to dig a pit and then would be shot so they’d tumble into them. • There were special death squads. Some were soldiers, others were natives of the region. • This process began to be frowned upon only because of the ammo cost and the fact that it had negative psychological effects on the executioners.
• Then, true to German form, they industrialized the process. • Gas was much more efficient. • The first efforts were with auto-exhaust. Then they used a cyanide gas called Zyklon B.
• Men, women, and children would be separated upon entering the camp where they’d be separated by doctors. • The healthy were sent to the labor side, where they’d be worked to death or until they were too sick to work. • The rest would be sent directly to the gas chambers.• The condemned would be told to strip for a shower. Once they got into the room with the false showerheads, it would be sealed and the gas would start. • Clothes and other valuables would be taken by the state. Even gold teeth were extracted so that the gold could be melted down.
• The bodies would then be burned in crematorium furnaces.• The Nazis set up multiple concentration camps. Jews from all the conquered territories were transferred there.
• They also committed disgusting medical experiments.
Germany continued to resist the Allies advances.• They made one last-ditch effort with the Battle of the Bulge.• Being squeezed by the Americans, British, and French on the west and the Soviets on the east, though, was too much.• Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker and Germany formally surrendered on May 8, 1945.
Hitler takes the easy way out• In his underground headquarters, Hitler prepared for the end.• April 29, 1945: • Marries Eva Braun • Writes out his address to the German people • Blames the Jews and his Generals for losing the war• April 30, 1945 • Hitler commits suicide, his wife swallows poison • “Oh love of my life, Happy Honeymoon, dear. Here’s your cyanide capsule” • As ordered, Hitler’s soldiers carried their bodies outside, soaked them with gasoline, and burned them• May 8th, 1945 • Allies accept the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich • Celebrate V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) • The War in Europe was over
The war continued in the Pacific.• Brutal fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa convince President Truman to use the new atomic weapons.
The Atomic Bomb Americans knew that the Japanese would never surrender. Truman decided to use the Atomic Bomb to end the war instead of sacrificing innumerable American lives. A-Bomb was well kept secret First tested on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo, NM Known as the Manhattan Project- led by J. Robert Oppenheimer
August 6, 1945 • The Enola Gay released the atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy” over Hiroshima. • Japan still hesitated to surrender • 3 days later, “The Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki • Estimated 200,000 died of injuries or radiation poisoning by the end of the year • Japanese surrendered on September 2nd