Thursday, November 26, 2015

The second world war 1939-45

Opening moves : sept 1939 to December 1940
(A)Poland defeated
-German Blitzkrieg(lightning war) supported by motorized divisions and Panzers(tanks),and Luftawaffe(airforce) which destroyed the polish railway system and airforce.
-poles resisted but failed because they were ill equipped.
-Britan and france did little because the failed to mobilize the troops and transport additional troops to Poland.
-when USSR attacked from the east, the whole resistance got collapsed. Poland was divided between Germany and USSR.
(B)The ‘phoney war’
Next five months
·         USSR took over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and invaded Finland, forced her to hand over her frontiers which would enable Russia to defend themselves in any future attack from west.
·         Germany did nothing – this pause was to give a chance to britan and france to negotiate for peace.because germans thought that germans were not ready to attack west.
·         This was named as “phoney war” by an US newspaper.
(C)Denmark and Norway invaded,1940:
Reason-Narvik was the main outlet for Swedish iron ore vital for german armaments industry.
                -British were interfering with this trade, which germans were trying to do .
-germans realized that fjords would be excellent naval bases from which to attack Britain’s trans- Atlantic supply lines.
-british destroyed german vessel Altmark and rescued 300 prisioners which cause hitler to land on Oslo.
-french troops arrived later but they were unable to dislodge the germans.sooner, the troops were drawn back
German success because –there was no time to mobilize Norwagien troops.
                                -local Nazis assisted the germans.
                                -good air support.
Result-germany was assured of her bases and iron ore supplies.
·         Chamberlin resigned as PM because of popular resentment  and Churchill took the post.
(D)Hitler attacks Holland, Belgium, France:
-Dutch and Belgium were easily occupied by Blizkrieg methods.
-France-Whole northern france was occupied.
                Dunkirk incident-Dunkirk, the only port in the hands of allies.
                                                -british evacuated 338000 troops even in the face of constant german attack.
                                                -this is very important incident because
                                                                -nearly half million troops were rescued to fight again. 2/3 of them were                                                              british
                                                                -churchil used it for propaganda purposes to boost British morale with
                                                                The Dunkrik spirit.
                                                                -serious blow to british because they lost arms and equipments which                                                                   became impossible to Britain to help france.
                -paris was captured. And armistice was signed to establish a government in south under Marshal
                Petain in collaboration with Germany.
                -Germans occupied northern and atlantic coast. Valuable submarine bases.and French army was                 demobilized.
(E)why was france defeated so quickly?
1)French were psychologically not prepared for the war.
 - they were divided into right – sympathizers of Facism and wanted an agreement with hitler.
                                                Left-were also aginst the war because of the agreement between Germany and                                                                              Russia.there is no reason to continue war after the Poland defeat.
2)serious military weaknesses-
·         Unlike the worldwar-1 france had face the full weight of german army.
·         Maginot Line , stretching from swiz to Belgium, was weak at Belgium eased the attack of Germany
·         French were split up with a certain numbers to an infantry division.germans were concentrated in completely mechanized armoured divisions with great speed.
·         Germans were supported by combat planes, where as French were not.
3)French general made fatal mistakes.
·         No help from france in the form attack on the west when Germany was busy with Poland.
·         No troops mobilization to the maginot line to resist the Germany.
·         Poor communication between army and airforce.
(F)the battle of Britain,1940:
-fought in the air.
-Luftwaffe tried to destroy the RAF as a preliminary to the invasion of Britain.
-switched to bombing on London.
-1389 german planes were lost as against 792 British
-Hitler realized the strength of RAF and called off the invasions.
Reasons for the success are
·         Chain of new radar stations gave plenty of warning.
·         German bombers were poorly armed.
·         Switch to bomb36ing on London relieved pressure on the airfields at the critical moment.
Battle is a turning point because it came to know that the Germans were not invincible.
(g)Mussolini invades Egypt, 1940:
v  Mussolini sent an army  to lts colony libiya to invade Egypt and to Greece and Albania.
v  Both got failed by the British and Mussolini was beginning to be an embarrassment to Hitler.

The Axis offensive widens:1941 to 1942
v  North Africa and Greece:
Ø  North Africa: together with Italians germans drove away the British and occupied Egypt almost upto Alexandria.
Ø  Greece: Hitler invaded Greece and forced the British, Newzealand, Australian troops to evacuate.
Ø  Allies lost 36000 troops
Ø  Weakening of British dominance over Africa.
Ø  Hitler involvement in yugoslovia and Greece delayed the attack on Moscow. Later germans were severely suffered with coming winter.
v  The German invasion of Russia(operation Bararossa) began in 1942 june:
Ø  Hitler motives
§  Fear that Russians might attack Germany.
§  Japanese would attack Russia in the far east.
§  The more powerful japan , the less chance of USA entering into the war.
§  above all there was his hatred of communism and his desire for Lebensraum( living space).
Ø  The attack was three- pronged
§  North- Leningrad
§  Centre –mascow
§  South – ukrain
Ø  Germans failed to capture Leningrad and Moscow due to severe rains followed by heavy frosts.
Ø  Hitler decided to concentrate on south east Russia-the caucasus to seize the oilfields.
v  The USA enters the war, 1941 december:
Ø  After Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Ø  Until then, the American, still intent on isolation- remained neutral
Ø  Though after the Lend-Lease Act,1941,they had provided Britain with massive financial aid.
1)Japan’s motives for the attack were tied up with her economic situation
§  Run short of raw material and they cast longing eyes towards Malaya, Burma rich in rubber , oil, tin and Dutch East Indies rich in oil.
§  Britain an Holland were not in position to resist japan ,so japan prepared to attack.
§  Americans assisted the Chinese, who were still in war with japan.
§  When japan annexed the indo-china USA demanded their withdrawl and place an embargo on oil supplies.
§  Japan started negotiating. But stalemate reached when USA insisted withdrawal from Indo-China and China itself.
§  Aggressive General Tojo became the Prime Minster and war seemed inevitable.
         2)The attack was brilliantly organized by Admiral Yamamoto:
§  No declaration of war.
§  3700 men were killed and injured.
§  It gave the Japanese control of the pacific , and captured Malaya, Singapore, Hong kong, and Burma(all part of british empire), the dutch east indies, the Philippines, and two American possessions , guam and wake island.
§  It caused Hitler to declare war on the USA.
·         Serious mistake.
·         Germany was now faced with the immense potential of USA.
·         It is necessary to swept away Britain and USSR before the US troops come in.
v  Brutal behavior by germans and  Japanese
§  German-Nazis treated the peoples of eastern Europe as sub-humans, fit only to slaves of German master race.
·         Jews were even lower-they were to be exterminated.
§  Japan treated the prisoners of war and the Asian people badly.
The offensives held in check: 1942 to 1943
in three separate fights Axis powers got defeated.
1.Midway island:
                -in pacific
                -Americans beat off a powerful Japanese attack.
                -Huge loss to japan-lost major Aircraft carriers, fighter planes, which weekend the japan.
                Reasons for American victory:
                                -they could able to break the radio code of japan.
                                -japanese split their forces which allowed the americans to concentrate on main fleet.
                                -japanese attacked with all ships simultaneously. It made impossible to rearm.
                -after the victory Americans began to recover the pacific Islands,
-The struggle was long and bitter, continued for a long time by a process known as ‘island    hoping’.
2.El Alamein:
                -In Egypt.
                -allied forces driven back the axis forces completely .
                                - good Air support to protect the food and ammunition supply.
                                - Axis ships carrying food and ammunition were destroyed.
                Turning point in the war, because
                                -prevented Egypt and the Suez Canal from falling into German hands;
-ended the possibility of a linkup between the Axis forces in the Middle East and those in the Ukraine;
-complete expulsion of Axis forces from North Africa.
-serious drain of German resources.
                -germans were deeply penetrated through Russia from the south up to Stalingrad.
                -though the city was completely destroyed, German had to face a stiff resistance from Russians.
                -they trapped the germans and destroyed their supply lines.
                -finally germans were surrendered.
                                -supply route of oil to Russia was protected.
                                -victory boosted the Russian morale who followed up with more counter attacks.
What part was played by Allied naval forces?
1)Aircraft from the carrier Illustrious sank half the Italian fleet at Taranto.
2)the ethreat from surface raiders was removed by the sinking of the Bismarck,Germany’s only battleship at that time.
3)the navy destroyed the German invasion transports on their way to crete.
4)they provided escorts for convoys carrying supplies to help the Russians.
5)their most important contribution was their victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.
6)sea and air power together made possible the great invasion of France.
The Battle of the Atlantic:
-struggle against German U-boats attempting to deprive Britain of food and raw materials.
-Britain incurred huge boat losses.
-But the Allies could produce ships at a faster rate than the U-boats could sink them.
             Reasons for allies success:
                         -more air protection was provided for convoys.
                         -both aircrafts and escorts improved with experience.
                         -new centimetric radar –small enough to be fitted into aircraft, enable the vision of                        submarines in night also.
What contributed did air power make to the defeat of the Axis
1.Battle of Britain(1940)- RAF beat off the Luftwaffe attacks.
2.British Navy + Airforce.
             -attacks on the Italian fleet at Taranto and Cape Matapan;
             -sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway;
             -protection of convoys in the Atlantic ;
             -anti submarine operations.
3.US Airforce+Navy-
-dive bombers operating from aircraft carriers won the Battle of Midway Island in 1942.
-‘Island hopping’ campaign, attacks by bombers prepared the way for landings by marines, ex- Mariana Islands and Philippines.
-kept up the vital flow of supplies to the Allies during the campaign to recapture Burma.
4.RAF-war in the desert –operating from bases in Egypt and Palestine, they constantly bombed Rommel’s supply ships in the Mediterranean and his armies on land.
5.British and US parachute troops to aid in landing in sicily and Holland.
Allied bombing of German and Japanese cities:
-controversial action by the Allies air forces
-in retaliation to the Germans attack on London city in 1940.
-British an American called it as ‘strategic air offensive’
-this involved massive attacks on military and industrial targets in order to hamper the German war effort.
-caused 1 million deaths in Germany;
-Americans launched a series of attacks on Japan from the nearest ‘mariana islands’.
How effective the                                                                                                                             
-heavy losses to the allied forces also. 15800 crew were killed.
-death of so many innocent people.
-campaign of Germany was not effective until 1944 from when onwards the increase in accuracy of raids, fall in oil production of Germany, closure of armament factories.
-Allied strategic air offensive was one of the decisive reason for defeate.
         -strangling fuel, armament s
          -destroying the railway communications.
           - caused the diversion of many aircraft from the eastern front, thus helping the Russian     advance into Germany.
The Axis power defeated:1945
1)The fall of Italy:-
-first stage in the Axis collapse.
-British and American troops landed in sicily and quickly captured it and entered into main land.
-Mussolini was expelled by king and Marshall Badoglio succeeded him. He signed an armistice and brought Italy on to the Allied side.
-germans determined to hold on to Italy, rushed troops to the border.
-bitter fight followed between both. Allies got win.
              1.Italy provide air bases for bombing the Germans in Central Europe and the Balkans
              2. German troops were kept occupied when they were needed to resist the Russians.
2)Operation Overlord,1944:-
-The invasion of France, also called the second front.
-Russians had been urging this since 1941, to relieve the German pressure on them.
-Though the resistance from the German landing 3260000 men with heavy tanks and lorries was taken place on the France.
-It was a remarkable operation because
          -used PLUTO- pipelines under the ocean carrying motor fuel.
          -3 million allied troops were landed.
          -within a few weeks France was liberated.
          -followed by Belgium, Brussels and Antwerp.
3)The assault on Germany:-
-assault on Germany Itself followed, but at the end It was delayed by the differences of opinion between US and UK forces.
-Montgomery(UK) wanted a rapid thrust to reach berlin before the Russians.
-Eisenhower(US, supreme commander of Allied forces) favored a cautious advance along a broad front.
-consequently, the allied troops were disperse and had moved with their own ways.
-Battle of the Bulge- with this, Hitler was able to launch an offensive towards Antwerp
-He risked everything on the attack and incurred huge losses
-Germany was invaded on both fronts , from east and west. Britain wanted a rapid attack.
-Eisenhower refused to be hurried , Berlin fell to Stalin’s forces
-Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered.
4)The defeat of Japan:-
-Atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki –August 1945
-Japan surrendered.
-most controversial in the entire war.
-US president Truman’s justification that he saved the lives of America by not extending the war one more year.
-some argues that
            -bombing was not necessary, since the Japanese had already put out peace feelers via Russia.
            -real reason was to end the fighting swiftly before the Russians gained too much Japanese territory which would entitle them to share the occupation of Japan.
Why did the Axis powers lose the war?
a)      Shortage of raw materials
Both japan and Germany ws short of cotton rubber,oil .
b)      The allies soon learned from their early failures
         Allied learned from Blitzkrieg attacks and built u an air and naval superiority which won the battles of the Atlantic and the Pacific and slowly starved their enemies of supplies.
c)       The Axis powers simply took on too much
i)                    Hitler failed to realize that Britain would involve their entire empire and german army was thinly spread compared to Russia which even attacked from the west front of the france.
ii)                   Japan did the same. They stretched out far beyond their basic capacity for holding their gains.
iii)                 Mussolini war partly to blame, his incompetence was a constant drain on Hitler’s resourses.
d)      The combined resources of the USA, USSR and the British empire
i)                    The war was victorious to the allies because it lasted for a long time.
ii)                   Russia rapidly shifted its all industries to the east of Ural mountains.
iii)                 Production in USA reached its peak and It could produce 70000 tanks and 12000 aircraft a year.
e)      Serioustactical mistakes
i)                    Japanese failed to recognize the importance of aircraft carriers, rather it concentrated on warships.
ii)                   Hitler failed to provide for a winter campaign in Russia and became obsessed with the idea that the Germans must not retreat.
iii)                 Serious of all was Hitler decided to concentrate on producing merely on V-rockets when  he could have been developing a jet aircraft.
What were the effects of the war?
A)     Enormous destruction
-          Destruction of lives, homes, industries and communications in Europe and Asia.
-          Almost 40 millin people wer killed. Half of them were Russians.
-          Another 21 million people had been uprooted from their homes
-          Large parts of Germany , western Russia, Northern France , southern Italy were ruined.
-          The most notorious was the Holocaust- the deliberate murder in extermination camps of over 5 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of non-jews, mainly in Poland and Russia.
B)      There was no all inclusive peace settlement
-          Unlike versilles.
-          Because the distrust between USA USSR
-          Separate treaties were signed
-          1)  Italy lost Albania and Abyssinia
-          2) USSR took parts of czechslovakia, finland an Latvia ,Lithuania and Estonia.
-          3)Romania recovered Transylvania
-          4)Trieste, claimed by both Italy and Yugloslavia , was declared a free territory by UNO
-          5)Japan, agreed to sureende all territory acquired included complete withdrawal from china.
C)      The war stimulated important social changes
-          War migrant were pushed to go to their homes especialy the germans.
-          Extensive urban development took place as ruined cities had to be constructed in USSR and Germany.
D)     War cause the production of nuclear weapons
-          Bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
-          Caused the fear of future nuclear war which could have destroyed the entire planet.
E)      Europe’s domination of the rest of the world ended
-          Germany devastated and divided
-          France and Italy were on the verge of Bankruptcy
-          Britain was facing strain with war payments to USA.
F)      Emergence of the super powers
-          USA and the USSR
-          USA had suffered relatively little from the war and enjoying great prosperity. Became worlds largest Naval and Airforce.
-          USSR,though severely weakened, still it was the worlds largest Army.
-          Both were suspicious of each other.
G)     Decolonization
-          War encouraged towards the decolonization.
-          Japanese –Malaya, Singapore and Burma.
-          French- Indo-China.
-          Dutch – Dutch East Indies.
H)     The United Nations Organization (UNO)
-          Successor to the League of Nations.

-          Aim- to try to maintain world peace.

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