End of WW2 in Europe

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Transcript End of WW2 in Europe

End of WW2 in Europe
• American Contributions to the Allied Cause
– Greatest contribution: vast industrial capacity
• One year after Pearl Harbor the US production of
armaments equaled that of Germany, Italy, and Japan
– How would the US help the Soviets?
• USSR figured out how to stop the blitzkrieg: miles deep of
zones of defense with successive belts of mine fields,
trenches, bunkers, gun positions, and tank traps which
would slow down the armored spearheads and eventually
wear them away. The only issue with this is that the urban
areas were devastated by this tactic of warfare.
– On the average, countries east of Germany lost about 10% of
their entire population. (The US lost about ½ of 1%)
– 1943-44: Soviet army lost 80% of engaged forces
End of WW2 in Europe
– Churchill wanted to fight the Germans on the
• He wanted to take back North Africa and the Middle East;
combined with bombing raids of Germany
• Americans disagreed on this tactic
– They said it would waste more lives than save because it was to
– US Chief of Staff George Marshall also believed it was foolish to
leave the Red Army (Soviets) to face Germany alone. He thought
they could be defeated
– Marshall had another fear the “Asia-firsters”, because of a strong
political base, would be able to switch priorities to concentrate on
the Japanese
Why would Marshall want to get involved with
Europe first?
End of WW2 in Europe
– Americans wanted to help the Soviets but were
hampered by a couple items:
• Mobilization for war in Europe was incomplete
– Landing craft were in short supply; soldiers were green; German
u-boats were sinking ships coming in from the Atlantic
• British wanted to start a front in French North Africa
(Operation Torch)
– Which, of course, would not help the Soviets.
• FDR told the Soviets he hoped to open a second
European front that year (1942)
– The Soviets took that to mean the Americans were coming
• Operation Torch is chosen by the Allies
The second front in Europe wasn’t opened until the summer
of 1944. This caused resentment from the Soviets and
sowed the seeds for the Cold War in the years following the
End of WW2 in Europe
Operation Torch
Objective: land and seize nine important objectives along a
nearly 1000 mile coastal front from Casablanca to Algiers
Issues: complex situation;
– some of the French military were loyal to Marshall Petain’s Vichy Regime
while others supported the Allies
– After France fell the French Navy sailed to North Africa and Petain
refused to assure the British that the fleet would not fall into German
– July 1940: the British Navy attacked and severely damaged the
anchored fleet, killing over 1200 French sailors
– The animosity from this situation was difficult for the French to forget.
– There was a fear Americans and British had that the French would fight
against them to preserve their honor
– Lastly, the Allies had to deal with the French General Charles de Gaulle
who had been exiled to London after the fall of France.
End of WW2 in Europe
• 8 November, 1942: Operation Torch began
– 117,000 troops (75% US) attacked in North Africa
– Among the captured in the attack at Algiers was
admiral Jean Darlan, commander of the Vichy
French Forces, and Petain’s deputy.
• Darlan was the only Frenchman with the prestige to stop
the French from resisting the American and British
• So a deal was struck to prevent French resistance
– In return for a cease fire, Darlan would be made the military
governor of French North Africa
– Germans were so angered by this, so they entered Vichy France
and took back control
– A stroke of good luck for the Allies: Darlan is killed by a French
monarchist, this saved the Allies the embarassment of
collaboration with a Nazi.
End of WW2 in Europe
• The whole Darlan fiasco left Stalin to wonder if the Americans and
British would do other deals without the Soviets.
• Charles de Gaulle and the French were disgusted that the Allies
would bargain with the hated Vichy regime. De Gaulle used this to
stake his claim that he should be leading the French armed forces
• The invasion of North Africa was a success and lead
to the downfall of Italy. Italy was the next logical step
after North Africa.
– July 1943: Sicily was invaded, Mussolini was replaced as
head of state, and Italy surrendered to the Americans and
– The country was immediately occupied by German troops.
– At the end of the war the Allies reached the Alps, which was
impressive. But this fighting against the Italians only delayed
the invasion of Western Europe another year.
End of WW2 in Europe
• Key battle of WW2: Stalingrad
– Churchill said it best: it was the Red Army who “tore the guts
out of the German army.”
• City named after the Soviet leader: Josef Stalin
– It was a siege of the city and the Soviets were not backing
down. Every time the Germans sent more troops the Soviets
responded in kind.
– Fighting was brutal
• The Soviets lost more in this battle than the US had during the war
– 19-20 November, 1942 the Soviets counter-attack broke
through the Hungarian, Rumanian, and Italian units guarding
the flank of the German Sixth Army.
– The German generals pleaded with Hitler for permission to
breakout while there was still time, Hitler refused.
End of WW2 in Europe
– German soldiers were outnumbered and freezing. Also
without food, some resorted to cannibalism. The Germans
held out for 2 months.
– End of January 1943, the German Sixth Army surrendered.
• Soviets captured 91,000 prisoners, 1500 tanks, and 60,000 vehicles.
• The Germans had to give up everything they conquered in the spring
of 1942.
– July 1943 the Germans tried one major offensive with 17
armored divisions. In the greatest armored battle in history
the Soviets repelled the attack and pushed ze Germans
back 200 miles.
– The best the Germans could hope for was to hold on to
Eastern Europe. The Red Army had twice as many men and
2 to 3 times the weapons and equipment.
End of WW2 in Europe
D-Day: 6 June, 1944
• Allied invasion of France through Normandy
under US General Dwight D. Eisenhower
– Prior to the invasion a massive bombing campaign
of the French railroad system was conducted
• Killed many Frenchman
– Between 1 April and 5 June, 1944 the Allies lost
2000 aircraft and 12,000 air crew in pre D-Day
– Intense fighting upon landing 5000 ships and
12,000 planes, 156,000 (8 divisions) men on day
one and 5 divisions on day two.
End of WW2 in Europe
– Germans had 60 divisions (11 armored)
• However, there preparations were hampered by disagreements
and miscalculations
– Hitler insisted the entire coast be defended which thinly
dispersed the units
– Because of allies deception the Germans thought the bulk of the
forces attacking would be at Calais which left Normandy ill
– After one week the Allies had more troops in France than the
Germans and controlled the air
• 15 August, 1944: 151,000 American, British, Canadian, and
French troops landed on the Mediterranean coast and took
– The city became a logistical hub. In the Rhone Valley the
railroads were virtually untouched they became a primary means
of transport of men and materials
– Late August 1944 the Allies took back Paris.
End of WW2 in Europe
Beginning in 1942 the Allies began attacking Germany
• Used a technique called “carpet bombing”
– Would bomb almost every major city which resulted in:
• 593,000 German civilian deaths and 3.3 million homes destroyed
– Two deadly bombings took place in Hamburg and Dresden
• Hamburg: July 1943; Allied bombers started a firestorm that killed
40,000 people in about 2 hours
• Dresden: 1945; firestorm killed 135,000
Statistics Break-average result of a single British sortie with a 7 man crew was
less than 3 Germans dead; after an average of 14 missions the plane was
shot down.
– Hitler was determined to hold out because of some new
weaponry his people designed.
• Jet Airplanes; V-1 Cruise missile (22,400 launched, many shot down);
V-2 ballistic missile (1500 launched on London causing great
damage) 15,000 people were killed by the missiles and 45,000
End of WW2 in Europe
• July 1944: a group of anti-Hitler conspirators attempted to
assassinate him and end the war. A planted bomb went off
at his headquarters but failed to kill him.
– The Gestapo rounded up the conspirators and they were executed.
• The Allied march to Berlin was halted only once at the
Battle of the Bulge (December 1944)
– Allies retook the initiative, crossing the Rhine River on 7
March, 1945 at the Remagen Bridge which the Nazis failed
to destroy.
• Meanwhile, the Red Army was also advancing to Berlin.
– Both armies stopped at the Elbe River.
• There was a concern there would be a collision with the
Red Army.
– This lead to the Yalta Conference. Where it was decided Germany would
be divided into zones of occupation.
End of WW2 in Europe
• 30 April, 1945: Adolf Hitler committed
suicide. Earlier that month, Mussolini was
caught trying to escape and was shot.
• 7 May, 1945 Germany surrendered.
Americas and the Holocaust
• Quick background of
the Holocaust
– Jews were forced into
ghettoes and required
to wear the Star of
– Nazi plan was to
exterminate all 11
million Jews in Europe
– SS guards began to
round-up Jews of
Americas and the Holocaust
• Concentration and Death camps were
mostly in Poland
– 2 reasons
• Extermination could be hidden form German
• Most of Europe’s Jews lived in Eastern Europe
– Arrival at camps brought two choices for SS
• Those who were strong enough were sent to work
• Those who were not sent to work, were sent to die
in gas chambers
Americas and the Holocaust
• Victims were killed in
– It took 15 minutes for
Zyklon B to work
• After the 15 minutes the
bodies were searched
for hidden valuables
and gold tooth fillings
were removed
• After this the bodies
were cremated
– The SS could kill up
to 10,000 people daily
with little trace left
Americas and the Holocaust
• In USSR, SS would round up Jews and
have them dig huge trenches and then
mow them down with machine guns
– In Kiev alone, over 30,000 Jews were
massacred in one day
• Jews were not the only targets
– Homosexuals, political prisoners, mentally
handicapped, Russian prisoners of war,
gypsies also targeted
Americas and the Holocaust
• What was done to help these victims?
– There were many individuals who helped
– There were few governments that stepped in
• Denmark smuggled most of its Jews to neutral
• Hungary and Italy protected its Jewish community
– What did the US do?
• See handouts.
Americas and the Holocaust
• Answer these questions now that you have
read the sources
– How did the US government justify its inaction
toward the Holocaust?
– Why, after all the governments inaction, is FDR well
regarded by American Jews?
– Why were many of the reported atrocities shrugged
off as nothing?
– What did the United Nations report tell the world
leaders about the Holocaust?
– What are the values and limitations of each of these