Why Did Germany Start World War II
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World War II officially started with the swift invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and from then on would rage through Europe showing no mercy. With Hitler introduced a new strategy of warfare, blitzkrieg (‘Lightning war’), It expressed two main features, surprise and speed, that would leave their opponents in ruins. Poland being the first of countries to experience, with complete surprise, for the Germans had attacked Poland without even declaring war. The blitzkrieg tactic consisted of attacking very small sections of the country first, allowing them to break through, then they would sweep through the enemy lines, but the day before, they would bomb all of the enemy’s air power, railroads, communication lines, and munitions dumps. Then the next day they would follow this with a massive land invasion with tanks, troops, and artillery.
Unfortunately, the Polish were stuck with the task of defending a 1,750 border, and on top of that, they had an army of a poorly equipped 800,000 men. Along with the men were 11 brigades, a large body of troops, of horse-mounted troops, with only a few tanks. When Poland’s puny army and catastrophic early strategic miscalculations was compared to Germany’s vast forceful army, and superior military technology, Germany was able to claim a swift victory. With only approximately 2 day of the overtaking of Poland, France and Britain then declared war on Germany, and the war of all wars had begun. After the start of the war countries were immediately split into sides, the Axis and Allied powers. The Allies consisted of Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, china, and America, while the axis powers consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Later following the conquest of Poland, there was a very little fighting for several months, named the phony war. When Britain and France had declared war on Germany the citizen of these countries initially went into panic with many defensive preparations as such as men were called to military service, bomb shelters, gas masks were distributed, volunteers recruited for war-related duties, cities were kept dark at night, and all food was rationed. Because of the growing fear of air raids, millions of British schoolchildren boarded trains to the countryside, when these children went to these safer rural locations, they left everything from their families to their friends to be safe.
After the initial rush nothing seemed too happened. Months went by without any land-based actions the Allies and the Nazis; therefor, the public’s attitude had changed from fear to boredom, naming this time period as, the phony war, also the Bore war. Later after the Phony War, Hitler immediately invaded Norway and Denmark, and on May 10, 1940, Hitler raged three more blitzkriegs on Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The campaign for these invasions began with an airborne attack on the Netherlands and Belgium, when 4,000 Germans parachutists overtook all the bridges and airfields. Then when the British and French advanced to the attack, then later to realize it was a trap. As the French and British had advanced, the main German forces broke through the French lines farther south in Ardennes, France.
This wooded region thought to be unsuitable for tanks and thinly guarded, made the perfect place to break through. Once the breakthrough had been made, the German tanks raced through north to the English Channel, encircling the French and British troops. Even though the Allies, only the French and British at the time, had more soldiers and tanks than the Germans, they were overwhelmed by this brand new tactic, Blitzkrieg; the Allies were forced to retreat by the Germans into the English Channel, with the constant attack of the Stuka dive-bombers. Then later on May 20, the Germans had beat the Allies to the coast destroying the area, but Hitler ordered the Germans to halt for three days allowing the British to rescue approximately 338, 226 soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches, abandoning all of their tanks and artillery. Later, June 10, the dictator of Italy, Mussolini, joined sides with Germany, declaring war on France, started to advance for the south. Meanwhile, the Germans were advancing to the southwest to Paris, France, the capital of France, which was taken over on June 14; this ended up resulting, with the French to surrender 3 days later.
Through the piping hot summer of 1940 the Royal Air Force, the British air force, consisting of Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes, would take the sky fighting a desperate against the Luftwaffe, German air force, in the skies over southerner England, known as the Battle of Britain. After the disaster in Dunkirk, Hitler’s first thought was that the British would make peace, but he was wrong the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, determination to fight the force of Hitler, but in order for Hitler’s invasion of Britain to succeed, he had to have complete control air control over the English channel. As the British and the Germans fought in the air this became known as the battle of Britain.
Later in September of 1940, the Luftwaffe gave up fighting the RAF in the daytime, and began bombing London and other British cities at night. These nights bombing started a new campaign named the blitz. This campaign lasted eight months, killing 43,000 civilians. This Blitz was originally started by Hitler as his vengeance for the British air raids on berlin, the German capital. By hitting these British cities, he hoped to eliminate the Brittan’s will to keep fighting on. The other motive of Hitler was to destroy war factories which were based in these cities. The first blitz had begun on the 7th of September, for 247 German bombers had attacked London East side, setting many docks up in flames. This first raid would be the first for 57 more successful night raids to hit London.
With these bombings, had resulted in the British government to build many street shelters, consisting mainly of bricks and concrete, would hold up to about 50 people, but many civilians of London would go into the underground railroad stations believing it was safer. Original the authority of attempted to discourage this, worrying people would start to live underground, but they eventually gave in. The government even closed train stations to convert them into shelters. Later, starting on November 1940, the Luftwaffe began to bomb the industrial midlands, soon resulting in the biggest blitz yet done. November 14, Coventry a city of which had 21 tank and aircraft factories, was hit with a ten hour raid with 515 bombers dropping tons of bombs on the city. This left the city demolished with approximately 60,000 buildings destroyed, with 600 people dead, but even despite the destruction, all the war production was back on track in only six weeks.
`In June of 1941, Britain still hold its ground, Hitler decided to widen the war and began to attack the Soviet Union, present day Russia. This invasion was named Operation Barbarossa, which was supposed to be a new blitzkrieg. With this tactic he expected to conquer the Soviet Union within weeks. With Hitler’s aim being lebensraum, the Soviet Union looked like a respectable outcome for this goal. Hitler also believed that the Soviet Red Army would be an easy win, but he was proved wrong. The invasion was launched June 22, 1941, at 3 AM and it was a complete surprise to the Soviet Union. The German armies rapidly advanced toward the industrial city of Leningrad, in the north, simultaneously also heading to Moscow, the capital, farther south. Later, by September the Germans had reached Leningrad in September, completely surrounding the city, beginning a siege that would be close to 900 day, resulting in the deaths of one million civilians.
Down in Moscow, the Germans were slowed down by heavy autumn rains, turning all the primitive roads, flowing rivers of mud. Soon, with a harsh Russian winter coming into play, with freezing fuel, the tanks were utterly useless. Because the Germans were not prepared for winter, they were still wearing summer uniforms. To keep warm the Germans had even tried to stuff their uniform with newspaper. Even though this attack was a big dent in the Soviet Union, it was continually reinforced, and all the war factories were moved east away from the German border. Meanwhile, Joseph Stalin, Leader of the Soviet Union, had been recruiting an army in Moscow with brand new troops, and in December, the Red Army was strong enough to launch a counter attack on Germany. This started to cause a crisis in the German leadership when Hitler’s generals asked for permission to retreat but, he refused to do so. Hitler, losing faith in his senior generals, decide to make himself the direct commander-in-chief in the German army. Despite this gigantic loss, the Germans were still able to hold their ground and beat off the Soviet attacks.
On December 7, 1941, the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor was hit by complete surprise attack from Japanese bombers and fighter planes. With this shocking event the war had officially became a total global impact. Before the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Japanese had been building up an empire in Asia since 1931; they invaded Manchuria, followed by China in 1937. After the fall of France to Germany in 1940, Japan occupied northern French Indochina. Shortly after that U.S. President Roosevelt demanded that Japan must give up these conquests The in July, 1941, he cut off their shipment of oil from the U.S. which affected them greatly. Faced with a threat to their plans of conquest, Japan decided to go to war with the U.S. Because the U.S. was a more powerful nation, Japan’s only hope was a surprise attack on the U.S. fleet, which resulted in the Pearl Harbor attack.
The Pearl Harbor attack was planned and led by the Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, during the night December 6-7; he secretly took his fleet of six aircraft carriers 275 miles north of Pearl Harbor. Then before sunrise, 350 bombers, torpedo, and fighter planes took off from these aircraft carriers. These planes had reached their targets completely undetected; they found U.S. fighter planes on the grounds and destroyed 188 of them. Facing very little resistance, these Japanese planes sunk or severely damaged 18 ships, and they killed 2,335 U.S. servicemen. Yet, at the end, the destruction could have been worse. Only three carriers were able to escape from the dreadful attack, mainly because of the fact that they were at sea. Even with the attack on Pearl Harbor being very devastating, it was only a part of a bigger plan for Japan to create a vast Asian empire. Simultaneously, on that day, Japan was invading the Philippines where U.S. army and navy bases were based. Also attacked was the British-held land, Hong-Kong and Malaya. Japan had carried out a lightning fast attack before America and Britain could even attack. Everywhere the Japanese went, they were victorious. Later, December 11, Adolf Hitler declared war on the U.S. making it a true war.
While this war raged through the Soviet Union, the Allies were planning to free the western Europe for the rule of the Nazis. This massive invasion squad was being put together in Britain, ready for landings on the coast of Normandy, france. The planning for D-day, operation overlord, began in 1943. The aim for the first 24 hours was to establish a beachhead, a little area of land on which they could defend an attack from the opposing side. Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander, had planned to be able to get around the 100,000 men along with the tanks, guns, equipment in only 24 hours. D-day began after midnight on June 6, 1944 with the paratroops floating from the sky to seize all the bridges and road junctions. The at the sunrise, more than 600 warships and 3,000 transport ships arrived off the Normandy Coast. As the warships had opened fire on German defense, the men began to wade in. This coast was divided into 5 different landing areas. On the east side it was sword beach of which the British were to come in,
At the beginning of 1945 the Allied armies were on the eastern and western borders of Germany, ready to invade their key target, the capital of Germany, Berlin, where Hitler’s headquarter was. With the Red Army beginning a new offensive in the east, and the Germans short of fuel and ammunition, they were easily defeated. Now the Red Army had just reached the Oder River about 60 miles away from Berlin. In late April, the red army fought its way into Berlin from all directions, and the city was only defended by 90,000 German soldiers consisting mainly of old men and teenagers, the German home guard formed September of 1944. Even though the Germans were heavily outnumbered, the Germans held strong. By the date of May 8, the war was over in Europe. Even though at the point of 1945 it was clear that Japan had lost the war, the Japanese continued to resist. On April 1, the U.S. troops had entirely invaded Okinawa to the southwestern proportion of Japan. The battle cost the innocent lives of 12,613 Americans and 110,000 Japanese and Okinawans. Harry S. Truman, as president Roosevelt had died (April 12, 1945) he took his place as president, was advised that invading Japan could lead to the deaths of one million Americans, and when the president saw the atomic bomb as an easy way to end the war saving American lives, he took it.
The world had changed since 1939, in 1945; for instance, Japan was occupied with the Allied powers, led by General Douglas MacArthur. Discussed with a team of legal experts, MacArthur created brad-new rules of government to remake Japan a democracy, similar to the U.S. These people were granting the right to elect their own leaders, and along with that new political parties were formed.