American Military History and the Evolution of Western Warfare

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Transcript American Military History and the Evolution of Western Warfare

Allied Political Leaders
Churchill, Roosevelt, and
Axis Political Leaders
Mussolini and Hitler
Germany’s Increasingly Militaristic
• In Nov 1937, Italy joined
Germany in an alliance against
the Soviet Union
• In Mar 1938, Hitler forced
Anschluss (union) with Austria
• On Sept 29-30, the British and
French foreign ministers
attempted to appease Hitler by
acquiescing to his demand for
the Sudentenland under the
understanding Hitler would make
no more territorial demands
– In March 1939 Hitler seized the
western part of Czechoslovakia
Neville Chamberlain
French and German Plans for
the Battle of France 1940
• French anticipated
the Germans
attacking through
the north as they
did in World War I
so they developed
the Dye Plan to
counter such an
• Built the Maginot
Line in the south to
protect the border
Maginot Line
• A line of concrete
fortifications, tank
obstacles, machine gun
posts and other defenses
which France constructed
along her borders with
Germany and Italy
• The fortifications did not
extend through the
Ardennes Forest which
was considered
Surprise in the Ardennes
• On May 12, 1940
Germany attacked
through the
weakly held
Ardennes region
• Penetrated Allied
defenses at
Sedan and Dinant
and then began to
envelop them
Dunkirk was
the last
evacuation port
available to the
Italy Joins the Axis
• On June 10, 1940,
Mussolini declared
war on Britain and
France and four
months later
invaded Greece
• In many ways
Mussolini will
hinder rather than
help Hitler
Greatest Extent of Axis Control
North Africa
Italian Presence in North Africa
• Since before World War II, Italy had been occupying
Libya and had over a million soldiers based there
• In neighboring Egypt, the British Army had only 36,000
men guarding the Suez Canal and the Arabian oilfields
• On Sept 13, 1940, the Italians advanced into Egypt but
halted in front of the main British defenses at Mersa
• On Dec 9, the British counterattacked and pushed the
Italians back more than 500 miles, inflicting heavy
• British troops then moved along the coast and on Jan
22, 1941, they captured the port of Tobruk in Libya
Germany to the Rescue
• In the meantime,
Germany sent forces
across the
Mediterranean to Tripoli
– The Afrika Corps
commanded by Erwin
• Italy’s disasters in North
Africa and elsewhere
(i.e., Greece) threatened
to undermine the Axis
position in the Balkans
and the Mediterranean
Operation Torch
• The Anglo-American forces landed at
Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers and then
advanced by land and sea to Tunisia
Germans Defeated
• Rommel then turned
south against the British
who were arriving from
• British General Bernard
Montgomery dealt
Rommel a stunning
defeat and Rommel
personally left Africa
• The Axis position in North
Africa steadily
deteriorated and in early
May the Allies controlled
American soldiers enter
Kasserine Pass
Results of North Africa
• The Germans had wasted valuable
resources in an indecisive theater
• Mussolini was severely weakened
• The Americans learned from their poor
performance and made the necessary
• The British and American coalition
weathered a potentially threatening storm
The Eastern Front
• On June 22, 1941, Hitler invaded Russia in Operation
• The operation encompassed a total troop strength of
about 4 million men, making it the biggest single land
operation ever
• Benefiting from initial surprise, by the end of July Hitler
had occupied a portion of Russia twice the size of
• However, by the time the Germans reached the outskirts
of Moscow in December, the Russian winter had set in
– Remember what we talked about in Lesson 10 about Napoleon’s
invasion of Russia
Operation Barbarossa
The Eastern Front
• In the total four years of fighting on the
Eastern Front, an estimated 4 million Axis
and 9 million Russians were killed in battle
• 20 million Soviet civilians were killed as a
result of extermination campaigns against
Jews, communists and partisans, casual
massacres, reprisal killings, diseases, and
(sometimes planned) starvation.
Casablanca Conference
• After the Axis surrender
in Tunisia, the Allies
began planning the next
phase of the war
• Roosevelt and Churchill
met in Casablanca,
Morocco in January
– Stalin had been
invited, but declined
to attend because of
Strategic Differences
• US argued for a cross
channel invasion to
directly attack Germany
• Churchill preferred an
indirect approach,
attacking through the
“soft underbelly of
– Reflected the preference
for peripheral operations
he had shown in World
War I
British Approach
American Approach
Legacy of Anzio
• It wasn’t until June 4 that the
Allies finally reached Rome in “a
hollow triumph”
– By then the decisive Allied
effort had shifted to France
• Most of the German Tenth Army
escaped Clark at Rome and the
Germans established a strong
defense along the Gothic Line
– Kept the Allies away from the
Italian industrial area and the
Alpine approaches to
Summary of the Italian Campaign
• Through the summer of 1943 it was an excellent
training ground for Anglo-American forces
• Casualties the Allies inflicted on German ground
and air forces in Tunisia and Sicily were a
significant return on the investment
• “After that point, however, Italy cost more than it
– Robert Doughty, American Military History and the
Evolution of Western Warfare
Operation Overlord: The Invasion
of Normandy
German Defenses
• Debate between
Rundstedt and
Rommel over
whether to deny
the initial
landing on the
beaches or to
destroy them
with strong,
mobile counter
attack forces
German Defenses: Compromise
• Rundstedt and Rommel
couldn’t settle their
disagreement over which
defensive strategy was best
so they compromised and
combined the two plans
• This resulted is the worst of
– Beach defenses not
strong enough to stop
landing; reserves not
strong enough to destroy
the beachhead
The Plan
• Airborne forces would
secure exits from the
beaches to allow the
amphibious forces to
move inland and block
German counterattack
routes to protect
amphibious forces
• Amphibious forces
would secure the
beachhead to allow for
the logistical buildup
and breakout
The Plan
• Airborne forces would
secure exits from the
beaches to allow the
amphibious forces to
move inland and block
German counterattack
routes to protect
amphibious forces
• Amphibious forces
would secure the
beachhead to allow for
the logistical buildup
and breakout
Breakout and Pursuit
How it Ends
• July 25: Beginning of Operation
• Aug 15: Operation Anvil
landings in southern France
• Sept 17: Operation Market
• Dec 16: Beginning of the Battle
of the Bulge
• Apr 20, 1945: Russians take
• Apr 25: Americans and
Russians meet at the Elbe
• Apr 30: Hitler commits suicide
Imperial Japan
(Where we left off on Lesson 17)
• Japan continued to see
the US and others as a
threat to its influence in
Asia and in 1940 the
Japanese began
developing plans to
destroy the US Navy in
• On Dec 7, 1941, the
Japanese attacked
Pearl Harbor
– We’ll discuss this in
Lesson 21
In May 1940, the main part of the
US fleet was transferred to Pearl
Harbor from the west coast
Pearl Harbor
• Dec 7, 1941
– “a date which will live
in infamy”
• Americans taken
completely by
• The first attack wave
targeted airfields and
• The second wave
targeted other ships
and shipyard facilities
Tactical Damage
• Eight battleships were
damaged, with five sunk
• Three light cruisers, three
destroyers, three smaller
vessels, and 188 aircraft
were destroyed
• 2,335 servicemen and 68
civilians killed
• 1,178 wounded
– 1,104 men aboard the
battleship USS Arizona were
killed after a 1,760-pound air
bomb penetrated into the
forward magazine causing
catastrophic explosions.
Broader Results
• In spite of the tactical
success, the attack on
Pearl Harbor was an
operational and strategic
failure for the Japanese
– The attack failed to destroy
the American aircraft
carriers, fleet repair
facilities, or fuel reserves
– The “sneak attack”
galvanized American
support for entry into the
Greatest Extent of Greater East
Asia Co-prosperity Sphere
“I shall return”
Final Campaigns
• From Feb 19 to Mar 11, 1945
the Marines captured Iwo Jima
• From Apr to June Americans
captured Okinawa
– Total American battle
casualties were 49,151, of
which 12,520 were killed or
missing and 36,631
– Approximately 110,000
Japanese were killed and
7,400 more were taken
– Okinawa showed how
costly an invasion of the
Japanese home islands
would be
Raising the flag
on Mt. Suribachi,
Iwo Jima
Plan to Invade Japan
• US planned to invade
Japan with eleven
Army and Marine
divisions (650,000
• Casualty estimates
for the operation were
as high as 1,400,000
• Truman decided to
use the atomic bomb
to avoid such losses
Operation Cornet, the plan to take Tokyo
The Atomic Bomb
• In the early 1940s,
America had started
an atomic weapons
development program
code named the
“Manhattan Project”
• A successful test was
conducted at
Alamogordo in New
Mexico in July 1945
J. Robert Oppenheimer and
General Leslie Groves at the Trinity
Site soon after the test
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
• Hiroshima Aug 6, 1945
– 90,000 killed
• On Aug 8, the USSR
declared war on Japan
and invaded Manchuria
the next day
• Nagasaki Aug 9, 1945
– 35,000 killed
• Okinawa had been much
more costly than
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Captain Paul Tibbets piloted the
plane that dropped the bomb on
Hiroshima, vicinity of ground zero
Japan surrenders Sept 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri
Beyond World War II
Growth of Total War
Post-war impact of the atomic bomb
Expanded roles of women
Cold War (Lesson 23)
Growth of Total War
• Total war describes a war in which nations use
all of their resources to destroy another nation’s
ability to engage in war.
Military-industrial complex to include women workers
Unconditional surrender
Civilian targets to include the Holocaust
Rationing, price controls, and other impacts on the
– More destructive weapons to include the atomic bomb
• Jews were the primary targets of Hitler’s racially
motivated genocidal policies, but Slavs, Gypsies,
homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses,
communists, and others suffered as well
• Sometime during 1941, the Nazi leadership
committed to “the final solution” of “the Jewish
– At the Wansee Conference on Jan 20, 1942, experts
gathered to discuss and coordinate the
implementation of the plan to kill all the Jews living in
• Jews were rounded up and sent to
concentration camps
– The largest was Auschwitz where at least a
million Jews died
• The process was organized and
technologically sophisticated
– Gassing was the preferred method of killing,
but electrocution, phenol injections,
flamethrowers, hand grenades, and machine
guns were also used
Roll Call at Auschwitz
• Victims were subjected
to industrial work,
starvation, medical
experimentation, and
• Large crematories
were used to hide the
• Approximately 5.7
million Jews perished
in the Holocaust
Auschwitz crematory
Mass Grave at Bergen-Belsen
Children Subjected to Medical
Experiments in Auschwitz
Survivors of
Ampfing Subcamp of Dachau
Prisoners liberated at Auschwitz
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
• Changed the very nature
of war
– Presented the possibility of
annihilation of humankind
• US came to place great
strategic reliance on
atomic bomb
– War plans emphasized
sudden atomic attack
against USSR to allow time
for conventional
15 megaton thermonuclear
device test on Bikini Atoll in
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
• US held atomic
monopoly until 1949
– Huge US-USSR arms
race followed
– Eventually led to
Mutually Assured
Destruction (1967)
• Massive retaliation
strategy (1954) meant
US was prepared to
respond to Soviet
aggression with a
massive nuclear strike
Post-war Impact of Atomic Bomb
• Nuclear
proved to not
be a
option in limited
• We’ll see this in
Lesson 24
(Korea) and
Lesson 25
The US considered, but did not use, atomic
bombs in support of the French at Dien Bien
Phu in 1954
Expanded Roles for Women
• The emergencies of war
greatly expanded the
roles of women
• Some served in the
• Others replaced men on
factory assembly lines
• Women whose husbands
went overseas acted as
heads of households
Expanded Roles for Women
• From 1940 to 1944
over 6 million women
joined the workforce
filling jobs that had
been exclusively male
• After the war, women
were expected to
return home and
resume their
traditional roles as
wives and mothers
Woman's Day, Oct 1950.
The picture asks, "What more
needs to be said about a woman's