World War II

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World War II


“Diplomacy”: Turning Points

• Turn to pp. 7-8 of the WWII unit packet.

• Select two key

moments from the timeline in the

development of WWII and explain why you think they were

significant… (#1 and 2)


“Spineless Leaders of Democracy”


“Why should we take a stand…when it’s all so far away?


Diplomacy, 1925-39

Find examples of each claim…

3. Stunned by the disasters of WWI, many countries attempt to prevent war from ever occurring again.

4. Some countries begin to violate human rights and move toward dictatorships.

5. Some countries begin to violate previous treaties and become more aggressive.

6. Hoping to avoid war, countries either fail to punish violations or actually join with the aggressive powers.


Historians, Predictions

• Why did it take until 1939 before the Allied powers went to war against Hitler?


Historiography (pp. 8-12)

• Follow along with us as we jump read the accounts of the beginnings of WWII.

• We will stop every now and then to discuss the meanings of sections.

– Context/backstory – Question raised

– Discussion of previous answers that are unsatisfactory (counter-arguments)

– Logical explanations of answers to the questions – Evidence of preferred answers


George Kennan

7. US diplomat George Kennan wrote his

account during the Cold War, in which the US and USSR were the superpowers

looking to influence the rest of the world.

What do you think was Kennan’s purpose in criticizing appeasement strategy?

8. If you wanted to check on Kennan’s

accuracy, what sources would you want to see and why would you want to see them?


AJP Taylor

9. This is called a revisionist account, because it is revising a previous one. What is the sentence that directly counters the argument of George Kennan?

10.What context/backstory does Taylor use to

support his argument that the appeasers were rational?

11.What is some specific evidence that Taylor

offers to support his logic concerning the context of appeasement?


Keith Eubank

12.In what ways is Eubank’s account similar to that of Taylor?

13.What is the sentence that raises Kennan’s argument, though Eubank counters it?

14.What is the main argument/claim of the 2nd paragraph?

15.What is the main argument/claim of the 3rd paragraph?


Adam Tooze

16.In this current piece, what new question is Adam Tooze asking?

17.What historian’s argument does Tooze seem to be accepting when he asks this question?

18.What is the context of Hitler’s strategy,

established in the second and third paragraphs?

19.What new argument does Tooze raise in the fourth paragraph?

20.What specific evidence does he offer?


World War II


Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg

• Blitzkrieg “Lightning War” tactics relied on speed, the mass use of tanks and artillery fire as well as close air support to overwhelm the


• It captured territory

rapidly with a minimum loss of manpower and equipment.


A German A German Heinkel 111 Heinkel 111

Medium BomberMedium Bomber


The Invasion of The Invasion of

Poland Poland

• Germany invaded

Poland on September 1, 1939.

• Sept. 17th Russian forces invaded from the east as agreed in the Nazi-

Soviet Pact of August 22nd.

• The Red Army also occupied the Baltic States.


The Low Countries The Low Countries

May 1940 May 1940

• Germany invaded the Low Countries:

Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, on May 10th 1940.

• The Allied forces were surrounded at Dunkirk, but Hitler would not

authorize Panzer

attacks until the Allies evacuated




The Invasion of France The Invasion of France

• The Germans poured into France behind the famed Maginot Line and Paris fell on June 14th.

• Marshal Petain, the hero of Verdun, formed a

new cabinet and signed an armistice.

• A puppet government at Vichy was established.

Ruins of the Maginot Line


The Battle of Britain The Battle of Britain

• From August to October 1940 the Luftwaffe waged an air war against Britain in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles.

• The Royal Air Force or RAF fought an exhausting defensive campaign using radar to its advantage.


Hitler and the Field Marshall Herman Goring discuss the

strategy of the Luftwaffe.


The Battle of Britain The Battle of Britain

• Germans attacked the RAF bases.

• Enigma

• US Lend-Lease

• In September of 1940, Luftwaffe Commander, Herman Goring

switched to attacks on London.


Germany’s secret V-weapons the V-1 and V-2 24



Decision time…1939-1940

21.Why did the British and French declare war knowing they were not fully


22.Why did Hitler target cities rather than airfields with the Blitz?

23.Why did Hitler develop missiles rather than jets and nuclear “superbombs”?



The North Africa Campaign The North Africa Campaign

• The 1940 Italian campaign against the British in North Africa was a disaster.

• 1941: Hitler ordered Erwin Rommel to take command of the Afrika Korps to save the Italians from defeat and capture British controlled Suez Canal (oil supplies).

• A lack of supplies and the skill of the British General Montgomery led to the

defeat of the famed “Desert Fox”


The Italian Drain…

• Mussolini and the Balkans: Rescue

• Mussolini and Africa: Rescue



Operation Barbarossa-The Operation Barbarossa-The

Invasion of Russia Invasion of Russia

• June 21st 1941 Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the

invasion of the Soviet Union.

• Stalin was completely caught off-guard and the Soviets were

unprepared for the attack, but resistance was better by winter.


Excerpt: Enemy At the Gates

24.Russian disadvantages?

25.What Russian government is willing to do?

26.How are previous German methods are challenged by Stalingrad and Russian methods?





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