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  1. 1. THE END IS JUST THE BEGINNING December 24th, 1945 World War II leaves behind the bodies and tears of NationsTheir FinestHour….The effects of World War II inEurope One of the causes of the war wasthe one that had come before it. World After the fall of Poland, cameWar I left Germany in financial and Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark,political ruin, with hyperinflation and Norway, and even France. It appearedreparations causing her to further that Britain was cornered, with no realsuffer. Plunged into desperation, the allies. Many believed the war to bechaos gave the Nazi party and Hitler a already over – if Britain fell, what wasfoothold. They rose to power within the to stop the rest of the world fromchaos, offering the German people hope, following?scapegoats, and a sense of superiority. However, the following battle broke When Adolf Hitler accepted the the chain of Nazi victories and embodiedChancellorship, things began to England’s refusal to stand down. Thedeteriorate in Germany. From his purge Battle of Britain, fought when theof political rivals to his persecution of German air force tried to conquer theJews, it was clear that Hitler was English Royal Air Force, proved to theinstigating a plan. world that the Nazis could, indeed, be He began to directly violate the defeated. The battle was a perquisiteTreaty of Versailles, with acts like for the possible invasion of England byreanimating the air force, occupying the land and naval German forces.Rhineland, and staging a coup over However, the English Air force inflictedAustria. However, the rest of Europe heavy losses, securing their victory.was fearful of another war and Another decisive battle was theprotested only mildly. North African Campaign. This struggle On September 1st, 1948, Hitler for control of the Suez Canal wasdisobeyed the Munich Pact, which stated important in the sense that Greatthat he would not try to acquire more Britain relied heavily on oil for the warterritory. The Germans invaded Poland, effort. The fighting began when Italymuch to the distress of Great Britain declared war on the Allies, continuedand France. They ordered the fighting to for 3 years with battles through Libyacease, but when their demands were and Egypt, and finally ended when U.S.ignored, they declared war. and British forces pushed the Axis forces back into Tunisia. If the Axis powers had won, they could have effectively starved Britain of oil and thus gained the upper hand. A turning point in World War II was the battle of Stalingrad. Germany believed that if the battle were won, it would be the end of Russia. However, the Russians, despite being outnumbered, held out and defended the city until the harsh winter aided them and the Germans were forced to surrender. Perhaps the last and most important battle was the Invasion of Normandy. This was an attempt to invade France
  2. 2. and free her from German control. The the shock of the holocaust stamps a deepGerman’s failure to defend the beach imprint upon every nation. Although themarked the beginning of the end – of the end of the war brings celebration, itwar, the Nazis, and Hitler’s dream of also leaves grief. Never before had weworld domination. If it had been lost, seen fighting on such a huge scale, orperhaps the Allies’ victory would not the full capacity of human evil. Onehave been achieved. thing is certain – the war has upset the The war has left Europe weakened old order, and nothing will ever be theand in shambles. The debut of nuclear same again.bombs, the rise of “super” powers, andThe Fate of AnEmpire…World War II in Asia During the events leading up to thewar, the Japanese Kwantung armyattacked Chinese soldiers in Manchuria,around the year 1931. Six years later,Japan furthered her aggression byattacking China and signing a pact withthe Germans and Italians, sealing heralliance with the Axis powers. The United States grew wary of Shocked and enraged by the attack,Japan’s alliance and her wish to the U.S. declared war on Japan thedominate all of East Asia. This would following day. The rest of the Axisinclude toppling one of the largest powers followed suit and declared warPacific powers – the U.S. herself. Hoping on the United States. World War IIto appease her aggression and finally had begun in the Pacific.encourage the withdrawal of troops After Pearl Harbor, Japan beganfrom China, the U.S. imposed economic to gain a considerable number ofsanctions on Japan. Because of the victories. By 1942, the Guam and Wakesanctions, Japan found herself Islands, the Philippines, the Dutch Eastdesperately in need of natural resources Indies, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore,(such as oil) and even more ambitious to and Burma had all fallen to thedisplace the United States. Japanese forces. Only Thailand On December 7th, 1941, Japan remained neutral.launched the infamous surprise attack During the middle of 1942, there wason Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, using fighter a change in the tide. New Zealand andand bomber planes to cripple the U.S. Australian forces were able to repulsenaval base. the Japanese in New Guinea, while the British halted their advance in India. A turning point in the war came during the Battle of Midway. In 1942, the American Navy managed to inflict heavy enough losses on the Japanese fleet to drive them back. After the
  3. 3. battle, the U.S. initiated a counter- Three days later, they dropped anotheroffence called island hopping, on Nagasaki. Over 120,000 citizens diedmethodically jumping from island to from the blasts, and even more fromisland, conquering them and inflicting radiation. On August 8th, the Sovietheavy causalities. Union declared war on Japan and The Allies were slowly gaining invaded Manchuria.ground on the sea and in the air, but the This proved to be too much for JapanJapanese still held control over – she formerly surrendered on SeptemberMainland China. In 1945, the United 2nd, 1945.States freed the Philippines and the As we reflect on the war, weBritish freed Burma. In the same year, realize it marked the end of imperialism.the costly battles of Iwo Jima and It tore apart the nation of Japan, andOkinawa were fought. Despite heavy introduced the cruel power of nuclearcausalities and Kamikaze (Japanese war. Heavy human losses and enormoussuicide) attacks, the U.S. was the victor. amounts of destruction leave a On August 6th, the U.S. dropped an generation that must be ready to pick upatomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. the pieces. OPINIONLetters to the EditorExploring the Issue: The Allies and Auschwitz order to plan an effective bombing. However, at the time, the United States had information on the layout of Auschwitz from the eyewitness accounts of several escaped prisoners. The reports of horrors occurring in Auschwitz were not always taken serious – the Allies usually believed them to be exaggerated. Although it’s true that wartime propaganda usually embellishes things, it appears that the reports were not investigated thoroughly enough and were briefly dismissed. We cannot be sure why they chose not toThe gates of Auschwitz. The German bomb the camp. There were many other concentration camps through Poland, andphrase translates to “Work is liberty” or destroying one would be like severing only“Work makes you free.” the limb of a monstrous beast. The Allies must have believed that winning the war was a bigger priority, thus destroying theDear Editor, entire monster.The Allies’ failure to bomb Auschwitz However, the bombing of Auschwitz did notappears to be an example of a desire for seem to be an impossible task. Prisonersvictory replacing regard for human life. would have been killed, but they wereThis topic, of course, is one of the most already marked for death. Most of thesecontroversial subjects of the war. prisoners worked outside of the camp, anyway, and during a daylight raid theyMany people have stated that the Allies did would not have been affected. Wouldnot have enough information on Auschwitz in casualties have been minimal? The better question would not be how many would have
  4. 4. been killed, but how many would have been we calculated the odds and they were not insaved. our favor.As history tells us, however, the allies did But if even only a single life had been savednot bomb the camp. Winning the war proved at Auschwitz, who are we to say that heto be more important. However, even with was not worth it? Perhaps if history hadpatchy intelligence and a risk of failure, I taken a different course, the world’s mostmake my stand on the fact that they did not infamous concentration camp would now betry. Nothing was done – no effort was made. remembered as having a happier – and earlier - ending.At least if they had tried and failed, wewould have been assured that we did allthat we could. However, we only know that - R.M.S, New Hampshire · SPOTLIGHT ·Examining the Role of Women During World War II… common enemy. It was a frightening time, but for those on the home front, it was exciting – even thrilling. Everyone was eager to band together, to triumph over evil, and It is most important, especially today, make sacrifices for the war effort. Womenthat we neither forget nor neglect the were just as eager to do their part as thecontributions made by our ladies during these men, and as the war progressed, they gainedhard times. From the Americans, to the a new sense of freedom.English, to the Russians, women have not As the men were sent off to fight,been absent. companies suffered from severe shortages of It cannot be denied that the war bound labor. Industry and production had beenAmerica together in patriotism. Through retooled to fuel the war, and factoriespropaganda, we felt united against a needed hundreds of more workers. Instead of
  5. 5. employing children as the previous centuryhad done, women stepped forward to take created in America and given full militarytheir places. They now filled a variety of status. By 1945, there were more thanpositions that were once only available to 6,000 female officers and 100,000 membersmen. Even woman who were married and had operating in the war. The Navy, Marineyoung children – although it was still Corps, and the Coast Guard also began toundesirable – joined the work force. employ “Women Accepted For Volunteer Women’s roles also began to change in Emergency Service”. The greatest changesthe military. The Women’s Army Corps was occurred in the aviation field – by 1943, over 65% of the U.S. Aircraft Industry’s workforce consisted of women. Also created was the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, which contained more than 1,000 members and was granted the Congressional Gold Medal. Even at home, women were never idle. Propaganda stressed the need for women to enter the work force and contribute. They sent letters to the men serving, tended Victory Gardens, hosted troops, dealt with rations, raised the children, talked to lonely soldiers, recycled scarce materials, collected blood, raised money for war bonds, aided in civil defense, and dealt with the emotional turmoil of the war. This Christmas, we must strive not to forget the contributions made by our sisters, our daughters – even our mothers. Without them, the outcome of the war – perhaps - could still be uncertain. ADVERTISIN G
  6. 6. Windows on the World Museum Report (WWMR) References:
  7. 7.