Monday, May 24, 2010

WH II History: 25 May 2010

Current Events:

Management Company Says Flag Displays Violate Policy. The company's policy stated they were following the H.R. 42: Freedom to Display the American Flag Act legislation but it seems that the intent of the law is just the opposite: to permit a person to fly the American flag on their property. The patriot's property is subsidized by the Federal government. The government is not allowing a WW II veteran to fly the American flag on his property.

HW is due daily.

Those students who need to take the Make-Up Chapter 17 Section 3 Quiz may do so. Other students who need to make up the earlier Quizzes should have done so already; they are available.
Section 2 The Course of World War II

World War Two : Europe and North Africa 1939 - 1945 Map

British Declaration Of War - Radio Broadcast - 3 Sept 1939

Stuka Dive Bomber Cf.

Janina Sulkowska and a German plane of the Blitzkrieg

Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka"

Hitler's Early Victories

The Battle of Britain

Germany Launches the Blitz

Attack on the Soviet Union

Japan At War

More than just a significant military battle in world history, the events at Pearl Harbor awakened the local military and civilian residents to the character of war.

December 7, 1941

Losses, United States 2,390, Japan, 64

Personnel Wounded

United States, 1,178, Japan, unknown

Ships, Sunk or Beached, United States, 12, Japan, 5

Damaged, United States, 9, Japan, 0

Aircraft Destroyed, United States, 164, Japan, 29

Aircraft Damaged, United States, 159, Japan, 74

Figures are subject to further review
All U.S. Ships, except Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma, were salvaged and later saw action.

Attack Map - Remembering Pearl Harbor at the National Geographic

Pearl Harbor Remembered: The Day
Propaganda posters began to appear in early 1942, as the country prepared for war. One of the first, created soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, declared "Remember Dec. 7th!" As the war continued, the cry changed to "Remember Pearl Harbor." The Oregonian (of Portland) is generally credited with this phrase that became the rallying call of a nation at war.

Original text of the President's speech showing his last minute corrections (page 1 shown).

Many Americans payed an enormous price in the Pacific War; here is a poster from the Mystic Seaport, Connecticut Museum. Five Irish brothers lost at sea in the Solomon Islands, (collection, photo taken summer 2009).

The Japanese in China

Since 1937, the Japanese had been trying to expand into Asia by taking over China. Although the Japanese occupied much of eastern China, the Chinese refused to surrender. The occupying Japanese treated the Chinese brutally. Below, Japanese soldiers load Chinese civilians onto trucks to take them to an execution ground during the sacking of Nanjing in 1937.

Japanese forces took control across Asia and the Pacific. Their self-proclaimed mission was to help Asians escape Western colonial rule. In fact, the real goal was a Japanese empire in Asia. The Japanese invaders treated the Chinese, Filipinos, Malaysians, and other conquered people with great brutality, killing and torturing civilians throughout East and Southeast Asia. The occupiers seized food crops, destroyed cities and towns, and made local people into slave laborers. Whatever welcome the Japanese had first met as “liberators” was soon turned to hatred. In the Philippines, Indochina, and elsewhere, nationalist groups waged guerrilla warfare against the Japanese invaders.

p. 600, Reading Check


By the spring of 1942, which territories did Japan control?

The Allies Advance
British poster encouraging women to work in factories to increase production.

The European Theater


World War II in Europe and North Africa, 1942–1945


Go Online
For: Interactive map and timeline
Web Code: nap-2931

Map Skills

Axis power reached its height in Europe in 1942. Then the tide began to turn.

1. Locate (a) Vichy France (b) Soviet Union (c) El Alamein (d) Normandy (e) Berlin

2. Place

Describe the extent of Axis control in 1942.

3. Make Inferences

How did geography both help and hinder Allied advances?

Note Taking

Recognize Sequence In a flowchart like the one below, sequence the events that turned the tide of the war towards the Allies.

For the Allies to succeed against the relentless Axis war machine, everyone—on the home front as well as on the battlefield—had to work tirelessly. Ships needed to be built in a matter of days, not months. Airplanes, tanks, and ammunition had to be mass-produced. As factories converted to war production, the production of consumer goods such as automobiles ceased. All efforts were focused on the massive production of the materials of war.

As 1942 began, the Allies were in trouble. German bombers flew unrelenting raids over Britain, and the German army advanced deep into the Soviet Union. In the Pacific, the Japanese onslaught seemed unstoppable. But helped by extraordinary efforts on the home front and a series of military victories, the tide was about to turn.

To defeat the Axis war machine, the Allies had to commit themselves to total war. Total war means that nations devoted all of their resources to the war effort.

To achieve maximum war production, democratic governments in the United States and Great Britain increased their political power. They directed economic resources into the war effort, ordering factories to stop making cars or refrigerators and to turn out airplanes or tanks instead. Governments implemented programs to ration or control the amount of food and other vital goods consumers could buy. They raised money by holding war bond drives, in which citizens lent their government certain sums of money that would be returned with interest later. Prices and wages were also regulated. While the war brought some shortages and hardships, the increase in production ended the unemployment of the depression era.

Under the pressures of war, even democratic governments limited the rights of citizens, censored the press, and used propaganda to win public support for the war. In the United States and Canada, many citizens of Japanese descent lost their jobs, property, and civil rights. Many Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians were even interned in camps after their governments decided that they were a security risk. The British took similar action against German refugees. Some 40 years later, both the United States and Canada provided former internees with reparations, or payment for damages, but for many the compensation came too late.

As men joined the military, millions of women around the world replaced them in essential jobs. Women, symbolized by the character “Rosie the Riveter” in the United States, built ships and planes and produced munitions.

British and American women served in the armed forces in many auxiliary roles—driving ambulances, delivering airplanes, and decoding messages. In occupied Europe, women fought in the resistance. Marie Fourcade, a French woman, helped downed Allied pilots escape to safety. Soviet women served in combat roles. Soviet pilot Lily Litvak, for example, shot down 12 German planes before she herself was killed.

The years 1942–1943 marked the turning point of the war. The Allies won victories on four fronts—the Pacific, North Africa and Italy, the Soviet Union, and France—to push back the Axis tide.

In the Pacific, the Japanese suffered their first serious setback at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The battle lasted for five days in May 1942. For the first time in naval history, the enemy ships never even saw each other. Attacks were carried out by planes launched from aircraft carriers, or ships that transport aircraft and accommodate the take-off and landing of airplanes. The Japanese were prevented from seizing several important islands. More importantly, the Americans sank one Japanese aircraft carrier and several cruisers and destroyers.
Allied soldier in the Pacific.

This Allied victory was followed by an even more impressive win at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, which was also fought entirely from the air. The Americans destroyed four Japanese carriers and more than 250 planes. The battle was a devastating blow to the Japanese. After Midway, Japan was unable to launch any more offensive operations.

Allied forces won decisive victories in the Coral Sea and at Midway Island. The Japanese pilots below may have taken part in these battles, which were fought from planes launched from aircraft carriers. How do you think aircraft carriers changed naval warfare?

After the United States entered the war, the Allied leaders met periodically to hammer out their strategy. In 1942, the “Big Three”—Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—agreed to focus on finishing the war in Europe before trying to end the war in Asia.

From the outset, the Allies distrusted one another. Churchill and Roosevelt feared that Stalin wanted to dominate Europe. Stalin believed the West wanted to destroy communism. None of the new Allies wanted to risk a breakdown in their alliance, however. At a conference in Tehran, Iran, in late 1943, Churchill and Roosevelt yielded to Stalin by agreeing to let the borders outlined in the Nazi-Soviet Pact stand, against the wishes of Poland’s government-in-exile. However, Stalin also wanted Roosevelt and Churchill to open a second front against Germany in Western Europe to relieve the pressure on the Soviet Union. Roosevelt and Churchill replied that they did not yet have the resources. Stalin saw the delay as a deliberate policy to weaken the Soviet Union.

Winston Churchill (1874–1965) was a staunch anti-socialist and defender of the British Empire. As a member of Parliament, he loudly warned the British of the threat posed by Nazi Germany. After Neville Chamberlain’s government failed to defend Norway from Hitler, Churchill replaced him as prime minister on May 10, 1940. Within seven weeks, France had surrendered, and Nazi forces threatened Britain. Churchill’s courage and defiance steeled British resolve in the darkest days of the war when Britain stood alone against the Nazis. How did Churchill inspire the British people?

In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945) started his first term as president, promising to bring the United States out of the Great Depression. During his second term, FDR lent, and then gave, millions of dollars in war supplies to the struggling British. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor quickly brought the United States into the war. From the start of American involvement, Roosevelt took the lead in establishing alliances among all countries fighting the Axis powers—including the Soviet Union. How did Roosevelt influence World War II before Pearl Harbor?

Joseph Stalin (1879–1953) was born Joseph Dzhugashvili (joo gush vyee lyee). He changed his name to Stalin, meaning “man of steel,” after he joined the Bolshevik underground in the early 1900s. Stalin emerged as the sole ruler of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and he maintained an iron grasp on the nation until his death in 1953. When Hitler’s army invaded the Soviet Union and threatened Moscow in 1941, Stalin refused to leave the capital city. He eventually forced the Germans into retreat. Why would Churchill and Roosevelt have distrusted Stalin?

By this time, Germany was reeling under incessant, round-the-clock bombing. For two years, Allied bombers had hammered military bases, factories, railroads, oil depots, and cities. The goal of this kind of bombing was to cripple Germany’s industries and destroy the morale of its civilians. In one 10-day period, bombing almost erased the huge industrial city of Hamburg, killing 40,000 civilians and forcing one million to flee their homes. In February 1945, Allied raids on Dresden, not an industrial target, but considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, killed as many as 135,000 people.

Vocabulary Builder

incessant—(in ses unt) adj. uninterrupted, ceaseless

Rommel, The Desert Fox, Montgomery, El Alamein, 3:39

In North Africa, the British led by General Bernard Montgomery fought Rommel. After the fierce Battle of El Alamein on November 1942, the Allies halted the Desert Fox’s advance. Allied tanks drove the Axis back across Libya into Tunisia.

Later in 1942, American General Dwight Eisenhower took command of a joint British and American force in Morocco and Algeria. Advancing on Tunisia from the west, the Allies trapped Rommel’s army, which surrendered in May 1943.

With North Africa under their control, the Allies were able to cross the Mediterranean into Italy. In July 1943, a combined British and American army landed first in Sicily and then in southern Italy. They defeated the Italian forces there in about a month.

After the defeats, the Italians overthrew Mussolini and signed an armistice, but fighting did not end. Hitler sent German troops to rescue Mussolini and stiffen the will of Italians fighting in the north. For the next 18 months, the Allies pushed slowly up the Italian peninsula, suffering heavy losses against strong German resistance. Still, the Italian invasion was a decisive event for the Allies because it weakened Hitler by forcing him to fight on another front.

Stalingrad, 1:16

The Pain of Defeat

German prisoners are marched through the snowy streets of Stalingrad after their defeat by the Soviet army.

Stalingrad: Current evaluation of the Bloodiest Battle in History, 3:12

A major turning point occurred in the Soviet Union. After their lightning advance in 1941, the Germans were stalled outside Moscow and Leningrad. In 1942, Hitler launched a new offensive. This time, he aimed for the rich oil fields of the south. His troops, however, got only as far as Stalingrad.

The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the costliest of the war. Hitler was determined to capture Stalin’s namesake city, and Stalin was equally determined to defend it. The battle began when the Germans surrounded the city. As winter closed in, a bitter street-by-street, house-by-house struggle raged. A German officer wrote that soldiers fought for two weeks for a single building. Corpses “are strewn in the cellars, on the landings and the staircases,” he said. In November, the Soviets encircled their attackers. Trapped, without food or ammunition and with no hope of rescue, the German commander finally surrendered in January 1943.

After the Battle of Stalingrad, the Red Army took the offensive and drove the invaders out of the Soviet Union entirely. Hitler’s forces suffered irreplaceable losses of both troops and equipment. By early 1944, Soviet troops were advancing into Eastern Europe.

The Asian Theater
1st Marine Division patch from Guadalcanal.
A defeated General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in 1942. As he departed, he pledged his determination to free the islands with the words “I shall return.” In October 1944, that pledge became a reality when MacArthur landed on the Philippine island of Leyte. As one soldier recalled,

“When I heard that he had returned, I finally had the feeling that I might have a chance of living through the war. . . . [O]nce they landed in Leyte, I knew it was only a question of hanging on for a few more months and I would be able to live through it.”

—Edwin Ramsey

MacArthur, Leyte Landing, 1:22

Until mid-1942, the Japanese had won an uninterrupted series of victories. They controlled much of Southeast Asia and many Pacific islands. By May 1942, the Japanese had gained control of the Philippines, killing several hundred American soldiers and as many as 10,000 Filipino soldiers during the 65-mile Bataan Death March. One survivor described the ordeal as “a macabre litany of heat, dust, starvation, thirst, flies, filth, stench, murder, torture, corpses, and wholesale brutality that numbs the memory.” Many Filipino civilians risked—and sometimes lost—their lives to give food and water to captives on the march.

After the battles of Midway and the Coral Sea, however, the United States took the offensive. That summer, United States Marines landed at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Victory on Guadalcanal marked the beginning of an “island-hopping” campaign. The goal of the campaign was to recapture some Japanese-held islands while bypassing others. The captured islands served as steppingstones to the next objective. In this way, American forces, led by general Douglas MacArthur, gradually moved north toward Japan. By 1944, the United States Navy, commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz, was blockading Japan, and American bombers pounded Japanese cities and industries. In October 1944, MacArthur began the fight to retake the Philippines. The British, meanwhile, were pushing Japanese forces back into the jungles of Burma and Malaya.
Vocabulary Builder

objective—(ub jek tiv) n. something worked toward; a goal

p. 603, Reading Check


Why was the German assault on Stalingrad a crushing defeat for the Germans?

Last Years of the War

The European Theater

By 1944, the Western Allies were at last ready to open a second front in Europe by invading France. Allied leaders under Eisenhower faced the enormous task of planning the operation and assembling troops and supplies. To prepare the way for the invasion, Allied bombers flew constant missions over Germany. They targeted factories and destroyed aircraft that might be used against the invasion force. They also bombed railroads and bridges in France.

The Allies chose June 6, 1944—known as D-Day—for the invasion of France. Just before midnight on June 5, Allied planes dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines. Then, at dawn, thousands of ships ferried 156,000 Allied troops across the English Channel. The troops fought their way to shore amid underwater mines and raking machine-gun fire. As one soldier who landed in the first wave of D-Day assault recalled,

Primary Source

“It all seemed unreal, a sort of dreaming while awake, men were screaming and dying all around me. . . I honestly could have walked the full length of the beach without touching the ground, they were that thickly strewn about.”

—Melvin B. Farrell, War Memories

Still, the Allied troops clawed their way inland through the tangled hedges of Normandy. In early August, a massive armored division under American General George S. Patton helped the joint British and American forces break through German defenses and advance toward Paris. Meanwhile, other Allied forces sailed from Italy to land in southern France. In Paris, French resistance forces rose up against the occupying Germans. Under pressure from all sides, the Germans retreated. On August 25, the Allies entered Paris. Within a month, all of France was free.

Saving Private Ryan, the "I'm a school teacher" (from PA scene), 3:27

(screening only 2:07 on to omit the language)

Saving Private Ryan - Opening Scene - D-Day Omaha Beach, 5:34

Events That Changed The World



Web Code: nap-2932

After freeing France, Allied forces battled toward Germany. As their armies advanced into Belgium in December, Germany launched a massive counterattack. At the bloody Battle of the Bulge, which lasted more than a month, both sides took terrible losses. The Germans were unable to break through. The battle delayed the Allied advance from the west, but only for six weeks. Meanwhile, the Soviet army battled through Germany and advanced on Berlin from the east. Hitler’s support within Germany was declining, and he had already survived one assassination attempt by senior officers in the German military. By early 1945, the defeat of Germany seemed inevitable.

Vocabulary Builder

inevitable—(in ev ih tuh bul) adj. unavoidable, inescapable

In February 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met again at Yalta, in the southern Soviet Union. Once again, the Big Three planned strategy in an atmosphere of distrust. Stalin insisted that the Soviet Union needed to maintain control of Eastern Europe to be able to protect itself from future aggression. Churchill and Roosevelt favored self-determination for Eastern Europe, which would give people the right to choose their own form of government. However, Churchill and Roosevelt needed Stalin’s help to win the war.

At the Yalta Conference, the three leaders agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan within three months of Germany’s surrender. In return, Churchill and Roosevelt promised Stalin that the Soviets would take possession of southern Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, and an occupation zone in Korea. They also agreed that Germany would be temporarily divided into four zones, to be governed by American, French, British, and Soviet forces. Stalin agreed to hold free elections in Eastern Europe. However, as you will read later, growing mistrust would later cause a split between the Allies.

People in History

Winston Churchill
By March 1945, the Allies had crossed the Rhine into western Germany. From the east, Soviet troops closed in on Berlin. In late April, American and Russian soldiers met and shook hands at the Elbe River. All over Europe, Axis armies began to surrender.

In Italy, guerrillas captured and executed Mussolini. As Soviet troops fought their way into Berlin, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker. On May 7, Germany surrendered. Officially, the war in Europe ended the next day, May 8, 1945, which was proclaimed V-E Day (Victory in Europe). After just 12 years, Hitler’s “thousand-year Reich” was bomb-ravaged and in ruins.

The Allies were able to defeat the Axis powers in Europe for a number of reasons. Because of the location of Germany and its allies, they had to fight on several fronts simultaneously. Hitler, who took almost complete control over military decisions, made some poor ones. He underestimated the ability of the Soviet Union to fight his armies.

The enormous productive capacity of the United States was another factor. By 1944, the United States was producing twice as much as all of the Axis powers combined. Meanwhile, Allied bombing hindered German production. Oil became so scarce because of bombing that the Luftwaffe was almost grounded by the time of the D-Day invasion. With victory in Europe achieved, the Allies now had to triumph over Japan in the Pacific.

The Asian Theater

By early spring 1945, the war in Europe was nearing its end, and the Allies turned their attention to winning the war in the Pacific. There remained a series of bloody battles ahead, as well as an agonizing decision for American President Harry Truman.


World War II in the Pacific, 1941–1945


Web Code: nap-2941

Map Skills

After the Battle of Midway, the Allies took the offensive in the Pacific. They gradually worked their way north towards Japan itself.

1. Locate

(a) Japan (b) Pearl Harbor (c) Iwo Jima (d) Okinawa (e) Hiroshima (f) Manila

2. Regions

Describe the extent of Japanese control in 1942.

3. Draw Conclusions

How did geography make it difficult for Japan to maintain control of its empire?

Hiroshima: Dropping the Bomb, 4:36

Hear first-hand accounts from the air and ground, re-telling every memory from the day the world first witnessed the horrors of atomic warfare.

With war won in Europe, the Allies poured their resources into defeating Japan. By mid-1945, most of the Japanese navy and air force had been destroyed. Yet the Japanese still had an army of two million men. The road to victory, it appeared, would be long and costly.

In bloody battles on the islands of Iwo Jima from February to March 1945 and Okinawa from April to July 1945, the Japanese had shown that they would fight to the death rather than surrender. Beginning in 1944, some young Japanese men chose to become kamikaze (kah muh kah zee) pilots who undertook suicide missions, crashing their explosive-laden airplanes into American warships.

While Allied military leaders planned for invasion, scientists offered another way to end the war. Scientists understood that by splitting the atom, they could create an explosion far more powerful than any yet known. Allied scientists, some of them German and Italian refugees, conducted research, code-named the Manhattan Project, racing to harness the atom. In July 1945, they successfully tested the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The world’s first nuclear explosion instantly vaporized the tower from which it was launched. Seconds later an enormous blast sent searing heat across the desert and knocked observers to the ground. Shown here is an atomic bomb’s characteristic mushroom cloud. Why might the scientists who created the bomb have counseled leaders not to use it?

News of this test was brought to the new American president, Harry Truman. Truman had taken office after Franklin Roosevelt died unexpectedly on April 12. He realized that the atomic bomb was a terrible new force for destruction. Still, after consulting with his advisors, and determining that it would save American lives, he decided to use the new weapon against Japan.

At the time, Truman was meeting with other Allied leaders in the city of Potsdam, Germany. They issued a warning to Japan to surrender or face “complete destruction” and “utter devastation” When the Japanese ignored the warning, the United States took action.

On August 6, 1945, an American plane dropped an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. The bomb flattened four square miles and instantly killed more than 70,000 people. In the months that followed, many more would die from radiation sickness, a deadly aftereffect of exposure to radioactive materials.

Hiroshima in Ruins

The atomic bomb reduced the center of Hiroshima to smoldering ruins (top left), but the full effect of the bomb would take years to materialize. A woman (above) pays respects to the victims of the atomic bomb at the Memorial Cenotaph in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. A cenotaph is a monument that honors people who are buried elsewhere.

On August 8, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria. Again, Japanese leaders did not respond. The next day, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the city of Nagasaki. More than 40,000 people were killed in this second explosion.

Finally, on August 10, Emperor Hirohito intervened, an action unheard of for a Japanese emperor, and forced the government to surrender. On September 2, 1945, the formal peace treaty was signed on board the American battleship Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.

p. 604, Reading Check


What was the "second front" that the Allies opened in Western Europe?

Section 3 The New Order and the Holocaust
To further their war effort and Hitler's plans for Aryan expansion, the Nazis forced millions of people to resettle as forced laborers. No aspect of the Nazi New Order was more terrifying than the deliberate attempt to exterminate the Jews. As part of the Nazis' Final Solution, Jews were locked into cramped, unsanitary ghettos or forced to dig their own mass graves before being killed. When this proved too slow for the Nazis, they transported Europe's Jews to death camps where they were worked to death or sent to die in gas chambers. The Nazis killed between five and six million Jews and nine to ten million non-Jews. In Asia, Japan showed little respect for the conquered peoples in its effort to secure industrial markets and raw materials. Japanese treatment of prisoners of war was equally harsh. Japan professed a commitment to ending Western colonialism, but the brutality of the Japanese convinced many Asians to resist Japanese occupation.

The The Holocaust

Note Taking

Reading and Note Taking Skill: Identify Supporting Details

In a concept web like the one below, fill in details about how the Nazis and Japanese military treated people under their power during World War II. Add circles as necessary.

The New Order in Europe

Hitler’s new order grew out of his racial obsessions. As his forces conquered most of Europe, Hitler set up puppet governments in Western European countries that were peopled by Aryans, or light-skinned Europeans, whom Hitler and his followers believed to be a “master race.” The Slavs of Eastern Europe were considered to be an inferior “race.” They were shoved aside to provide more “living space” for Germans, the strongest of the Aryans.

To the Nazis, occupied lands were an economic resource to be plundered and looted. The Nazis systematically stripped conquered nations of their works of art, factories, and other resources. To counter resistance movements that emerged in occupied countries, the Nazis took savage revenge, shooting hostages and torturing prisoners.

But the Nazis’ most sinister plans centered on the people of the occupied countries. During the 1930s, the Nazis had sent thousands of Jewish people and political opponents to concentration camps, detention centers for civilians considered enemies of the state. Over the course of the war, the Nazis forced these people, along with millions of Polish and Soviet Slavs and people from other parts of Europe, to work as slave laborers. Prisoners were poorly fed and often worked to death.

Resettlement in the East

Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945) was an unsuccessful chicken farmer and fertilizer salesman who became a leader in the Nazi party in the mid-1920s. As head of the SS as well as the Gestapo, he was a cold, efficient, ruthless administrator. He was the organizer of the mass murder of Jews, the man in charge of the concentration and death camps.


Himmler established the Nazi Party's intelligence service in 1931, appointing Reinhard Heydrich as its chief. This section of the SS was created to uncover the Party's enemies and keep them under surveillance. After the outbreak of the war, the SD was assigned operational tasks, joined the Einsatzgruppen,and played a central role in organizing and implementing the "Final Solution."

The Gestapo was composed of professional police agents, unlike the SS or SA. The Gestapo, in addition to their own agents, had block wardens, who kept close watch on the tenants of their block. The Gestapo was everywhere. Even a hint of criticism of the National Socialist Regime could result in arrest.

The Nazi party military and police agencies wielded their power violently, leaving a wake of terror and fatalities. Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich orchestrated a night of terror in Germany, destroying synagogues, smashing windows of Jewish businesses and homes, looting, physically beating Jews, and arresting thousands of Jews who were then sent to concentration camps. On November 9 and 10, 1938, Kristallnacht,or "The Night of Broken Glass," was a turning point in the escalation of terror against Jews.

Heinrich Himmler: Anatomy of a Mass Murderer, 4:05

Hitler pursued a vicious program to kill all people he judged “racially inferior,” particularly Europe’s Jews. The Nazis also targeted other groups who did not meet the Aryan racial ideal, including Slavs, Romas (Gypsies), homosexuals, and the disabled. Political and religious leaders who spoke out against Nazism also suffered abuse. Starting in 1939, the Nazis forced Jews in Poland and other countries to live in ghettos, or sections of cities where Jewish people were confined. Many died from starvation, disease, overwork and the harsh elements. By 1941, however, German leaders had devised plans for the “Final Solution of the Jewish problem”—the genocide of all European Jews.

To accomplish this goal, Hitler had six special “death camps” built in Poland. The Nazis shipped “undesirables” from all over occupied Europe to the camps. There, Nazi engineers designed the most efficient means of killing millions of men, women, and children.

As the prisoners reached the camps, they were stripped of their clothes and valuables. Their heads were shaved. Guards separated men from women and children from their parents. The young, elderly, and sick were targeted for immediate killing. Within a few days, they were herded into “shower rooms” and gassed. The Nazis worked others to death or used them for perverse “medical” experiments. By 1945, the Nazis had massacred some six million Jews in what became known as the Holocaust. Nearly six million other people were killed as well.

Jewish people resisted the Nazis even though they knew their efforts could not succeed. In July 1942, the Nazis began sending Polish Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka death camp at a rate of about 5,000 per day. In the spring of 1943, knowing that their situation was hopeless, the Jews took over the ghetto and used a small collection of guns and homemade bombs to damage the Nazi forces as much as possible. On May 16, the Nazis regained control of the ghetto and eliminated the remaining Warsaw Jews. Still, their courage has inspired many over the years.

In some cases, friends, neighbors, or strangers protected Jews. Italian peasants hid Jews in their villages. Denmark and Bulgaria saved almost all their Jewish populations. Many people, however, pretended not to notice what was happening. Some even became collaborators and cooperated with the Nazi’s. In France, the Vichy government helped ship thousands of Jewish people to their deaths. Strict immigration policies in many Western countries as well as conscious efforts to block Jewish immigration prevented many Jews from gaining refuge elsewhere.

The scale and savagery of the Holocaust are unequaled in history. The Nazis deliberately set out to destroy the Jews for no reason other than their religious and ethnic heritage. Today, the record of that slaughter is a vivid reminder of the monstrous results of racism and intolerance.

Slave Labor in Germany

People in History

Anne Frank
Reading Check


What was Hitler's vision for the residents of eastern Europe?

The Holocaust

The Einsatzgruppen

Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942) became the chief of the SD. His more notorious achievements included the establishment of ghettos in Poland, his leadership of the Einsatzgruppen, and the convening of the Wannsee Convention. His assassination in 1942 caused merciless German reprisals, continuing after his death the terror and intimidation that characterized his life.

The Death Camps

Self-Pronouncing Map of the Nazi Camp System. Click on this interactive map for descriptions and pronunciations of the major camps.



Starting early in 1942, the Jewish genocide (sometimes called the Judeocide) went into full operation. Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau), Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibór began operations as death camps. There was no selection process; Jews were destroyed upon arrival.

Ultimately, the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of some 2.7 million Jews in the death camps. These murders were done secretly under the ruse of resettlement. The Germans hid their true plans from citizens and inhabitants of the ghettos by claiming that Jews were being resettled in the East. They went so far as to charge Jews for a one-way train fare and often, just prior to their murder, had the unknowing victims send reassuring postcards back to the ghettos. Thus did millions of Jews go unwittingly to their deaths with little or no resistance.

The total figure for the Jewish genocide, including shootings and the camps, was between 5.2 and 5.8 million, roughly half of Europe's Jewish population, the highest percentage of loss of any people in the war. About 5 million other victims perished at the hands of Nazi Germany.

The Death Toll

Approximately 11 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy. It was the explicit aim of Hitler's regime to create a European world both dominated and populated by the "Aryan" race. The Nazi machinery was dedicated to eradicating millions of people it deemed undesirable. Some people were undesirable by Nazi standards because of who they were,their genetic or cultural origins, or health conditions. These included Jews, Gypsies, Poles and other Slavs, and people with physical or mental disabilities. Others were Nazi victims because of what they did. These victims of the Nazi regime included Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the dissenting clergy, Communists, Socialists, a-socials, and other political enemies.

Those believed by Hitler and the Nazis to be enemies of the state were banished to camps. Inside the concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear various colored triangles, each color denoting a different group. The letters on the triangular badges below designate the prisoners' countries of origin.




Cf. references in:, Student Web Activity

Children in the War

During the Holocaust, children were subjected to many injustices and cruelties. At first, Jewish and Gypsy children were restricted from going to school, and German children were taught that the Jews and Gypsies were racially inferior. One of the methods used to teach Gentile children about this inferiority was to have Jewish children come to the front of the classroom while the teacher pointed out their distinguishing features. Shortly, restrictions were placed on the Jews and later they were forbidden to go to German schools at all.


Interactive Quiz about Children


Reading Check


What was the job of the Einsatzgruppen?

The New Order in Asia

Japanese forces took control across Asia and the Pacific. Their self-proclaimed mission was to help Asians escape Western colonial rule. In fact, the real goal was a Japanese empire in Asia. The Japanese invaders treated the Chinese, Filipinos, Malaysians, and other conquered people with great brutality, killing and torturing civilians throughout East and Southeast Asia. The occupiers seized food crops, destroyed cities and towns, and made local people into slave laborers. Whatever welcome the Japanese had first met as “liberators” was soon turned to hatred. In the Philippines, Indochina, and elsewhere, nationalist groups waged guerrilla warfare against the Japanese invaders.

Japanese Policies

Japanese Behavior

Reading Check


How did the Japanese treat the native people in occupied lands?

Ch. 19 Resources

Online guide to the Holocaust

Colonel Paul Tibbets describes dropping the A-Bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945.


See the war through the eyes of soldiers, secret agents, pilots and evacuees.

Life for children during the war.

Listen to an air raid warning.

The blitz and the home front in the UK.

Churchill and the bombing of Dresden

Audio file of the death dive of a Kamikaze.


London, England during World War II

Cologne, 1944


Email to

Tuesday: p. 604, #4

Analyzing Primary Sources, #1-3

p. 606, Preview Questions, #1-2

p. 607, Reading Check, Describing, What was Hitler’s vision for the residents of Eastern Europe?

AP Economics: 25 May 2010

Current Events:

Update on the class song?

Silly Money EP01: Where did all the Money Go

Ronald Reagan's Farewell Address


In the meantime we can view parts of:

Speaking Freely: Vol. 1: John Perkins, 52:00

John Perkins, 5:30

Thomas Sowell talks about his new book Economic Facts and Fallacies, 33:22

Peter Robinson speaks with Thomas Sowell about his new book Economic Facts and Fallacies in which Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues. Sowell takes on the conventional thinking on a wide swath of Americas economic life, from male-female economic differences to income stagnation, executive pay, and social mobility to economics of higher education. In all cases he demonstrates how economics relates to the social issues that deeply affect our country.

The History of Information, by David Siegel from dsiegel on Vimeo.

This Week

This Week:

5/24 Mon. Bell 1; 5/25 Tues. Bell 4; 5/26 Wed. Bell 1; 5/27 Thurs. Bell 3; 5/28 Fri. Bell. 1