Lsn 26 World War II

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Transcript Lsn 26 World War II

World War II:
Blitzkrieg, North Africa, and the
Eastern Front
Theme: Hitler’s Initial Success
Lesson 19
Allied Political Leaders
Churchill, Roosevelt, and
Axis Political Leaders
Mussolini and Hitler
Rise of Hitler
(Where we left off in Lesson 11)
• Treaty of Versailles
was very punitive to
• Unemployment and
other issues created
conditions conducive
for Hitler to rise to
Dec 21, 1931
Rebirth of Germany
• Hitler reinstituted
conscription (after France
doubled the length of its
conscripts’ service) and in
March 1936 was strong
enough to reoccupy the
• In June 1934, Hitler purged
many of his paramilitary and
the SS rose up to replace
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
Continued Aggression
• Britain and France now knew
appeasement wouldn’t stop
Hitler and they pledged to
defend Belgium, Holland,
Switzerland, and Poland
against German aggression
• On Aug 22, 1939, Russia and
Germany signed a nonaggression pact
– In the event of a GermanPolish war, Russia could
annex eastern Poland,
Latvia, Estonia, and
• On Sept 1, Hitler invaded
Russia and Finland
• On Nov 30, Russia
attacked Finland and
on Mar 12, 1940, the
Finns finally
– Russia’s army did not
perform particularly
well which made Hitler
think the Russians
would not be much of
a challenge if
Germany invaded
Finnish infantry passing
a destroyed Russian tank
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
The Panzer's Race To The Channel
Battle of France: May 14-24, 1940
Dunkirk was
the last
evacuation port
available to the
Moving in for the Kill
• German forces pressed
the Allied armies trapped
in the north, from south
and east, into the English
• Meanwhile, German
infantry divisions
reinforced the southern
flank of the German
• But….
Dunkirk Harbor ablaze from
German bombing
Halt Order
• Hitler halted the German armor
– German armor had suffered heavy losses and
would be needed to conquer the rest of France
– Luftwaffe called upon to finish the job
• Luftwaffe proved unable to destroy the British and
– Bases in western Germany were further away
from Dunkirk than British planes were from
their bases on the British Isles
• 340,000 Allied troops were evacuated
The Weygand Line Collapses
Battle of France: June 4-14, 1940
• On June 16 the French asked for an armistice.
• Battle of Britain began.
– “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and
so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its
Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will
still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” (Winston
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
• German interwar doctrine emphasized:
– decentralized, mission-oriented orders
– speed and exploitation of enemy
weaknesses maximized by troop
commanders taking the initiative
(understand commander’s intent)
– close integration and cooperation between
combat branches (mobile warfare required
armor, infantry, and artillery)
– leadership from the front
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
• Characteristically Rommel attacked and drove
the British Commonwealth forces out of Libya
except for Tobruk
• With the situation in North Africa stabilized, Hitler
turned his attention to shoring up Italy, leaving
Rommel to deal with North Africa
• One of Rommel’s biggest challenges would be
his long, tenuous supply line
– Between Oct and Nov the Allies sank nearly 80% of
Axis supply ships crossing the Mediterranean
• Rommel pushed the British deep into Egypt but
Montgomery stopped Rommel at El Alamein in
July 1942
Operation Torch
• While this was going on in Egypt and Libya,
Americans acquiesced to British pressure and
began planning Operation Torch– landings to
occupy Algeria and Morocco and co-opt the
Vichy French
– The “Vichy French” had reached an agreement with
the Germans allowing a French government headed
by Marshall Henri Pétain to govern the French
colonies and those parts of France not occupied by
the Germans
– The “Free French” established their own government
in exile led by Charles de Gaulle
Operation Torch
• The Anglo-American forces landed at
Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers and then
advanced by land and sea to Tunisia
Operation Torch
• At first the Vichy French resisted, but eventually
• Hitler began rushing troops to Tunis before the
Allies could get there
• Hitler was successful in winning “the race to
Tunis” and therefore denying the Mediterranean
to Allied shipping but he did so at a great price,
committing Italian and German troops to an
ultimately hopeless fight when they could have
been better used elsewhere
Kasserine Pass
• By January, Rommel had escaped from Libya
and arrived in Tunisia
• He developed a plan to sweep up from southern
Tunisia and destroy the Allied supply dumps in
eastern Algiers
• Rommel attacked on February 14 and punched
his way through the Kasserine Pass
• It was a tactical victory, but Rommel was unable
to continue with his larger plan and began
withdrawing on Feb 22
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
First Battle
• The Americans did
not perform very well
in their first combat
experience and senior
leadership was
– General Eisenhower
was forced to relieve
Lloyd Fredendall of
command and replace
him with George
Lloyd Fredendall, commander
of the American II Corps
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.
Stalingrad (Aug 1942-Feb 1943)
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
Casablanca Conference
Jan 1943
• Britain
– “the control of the
meant… control of
the Western world.”
– Had imperial
fortunes in Egypt,
the Middle East,
and India
– Felt it was the Axis’
vulnerable point
• Americans
– “periphery
pecking” would
delay the crosschannel invasion
that would strike
the German
What They Agreed On
• Forces from Operation Torch could continue on
to Sicily once the North African Campaign was
– Churchill knew this would preclude a cross-channel
invasion in 1943
• At the end of the conference, Roosevelt
announced that “peace can come to the world
only by the total elimination of German and
Japanese military power . . . (which) means
unconditional surrender.”
• World War II
– Italy
– Normandy