World War II, 1939-1945 - White Plains Public Schools
Transcript World War II, 1939-1945 - White Plains Public Schools
World War II, 1939-1945
In this lesson, students will be able to define
the following terms:
World War II
was in many
ways a continuation
of World War I.
Hitler wanted to avenge
defeat. German aims
coupled with Japanese
ambitions in Asia made
it the most destructive
war in history.
Fascist dictators glorified war and set
out to expand their territories through
conquest. The member states of the
League of Nation did nothing when
Hitler rebuilt his army in violation of
the Treaty of Versailles.
When Hitler annexed
or took Austria
and then claimed part
the British Prime
Appeasement is a
policy of granting
concessions to an
to avoid war.
Hitler made a secret
deal with Stalin to keep
the Soviet Union out
of war. When Britain
and France finally
refused to give Hitler
Poland, he invaded
Poland and started the
Second World War.
The German army used planes, tanks,
and motorized troop carriers to advance
rapidly into enemy territory. This
military tactic became known as the
Blitzkrieg, or “lightning warfare”. By
the end of 1940, Germany controlled
most of Western Europe-only Britain
In 1941, Hitler betrayed Stalin
and launched a surprise
attack on the Soviet Union.
However, the fierce winter
of 1941-1942 froze German
combat vehicles before their
army could reach Moscow.
By 1943, the Soviet army
pushed the Germans back.
However, the Soviets lost 21 million people
fighting the Germans.
The Holocaust refers to the genocide
(murder of an entire people) of the
Jews during World War II. Hitler called
his plan the “Final Solution” and built
large concentration camps to murder
the Jewish people.
Most Jews were gassed and their bodies
burned in large ovens. Some were spared
to do the work of running the camp. Jews
were half-starved and subjected to inhuman
conditions. Six million Jews were killed
by the Nazis.
Two-thirds of all Jews living in Europe
met their deaths at the hands of Nazis.
The Nazis also killed Gypsies, Slavs,
political prisoners, the elderly, and
mentally disabled people.
The Holocaust was one of the worst
Human Rights Abuses in the history of
The Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor in
1941 brought the Americans into the war.
Germany, Italy, and Japan were the
Axis Powers. Britain, the Soviet Union,
and the United States were the Allied
Powers. It was a brutal war.
Questions for Reflection:
• What were the causes of World War II?
• What was appeasement and why do you
think it failed?
• How did the strategy of the Blitzkrieg differ
from previous war strategies?
• What was the Holocaust and why was it
one of the worst human rights abuses?
• List the Axis Powers and the Allied