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World War II Classwork


Directions: Read the following article and answer the questions on the back in complete sentences.

The Battle of Britain/ The Blitz 1940-1941


After Germany conquered France, it set up airbases in France and began bombing the
major cities in England every night. This began the
Battle of Britain which was also known as The
Blitz. Germans targeted the factories making
England's tanks, airplanes and supplies, but civilians
were under constant threat, too. At this time, the USA
was officially neutral, but shipped millions of tons of
food and equipment to help England. Germany's Uboats (submarines) did their best to stop this by
sinking any foreign ships they could.

Hitler and Stalin


Hitler and Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact, and became allies in 1939. The
leaders did not agree politically, but agreed that the results of World War I were not favorable
for their countries. They also did not want to worry about fighting each other while being at
war with so many other countries.
In 1941 Hitler violated pact and attacked the
USSR by surprise. This created a new front in the war
known as the Eastern Front. This was a terrible decision
for Hitler as Germany suffered 80% of its military
casualties on the Eastern Front. Stalin joined the Allied
Powers.
The Soviets used their climate and geography to
defeat the Nazis like they had to defeat Napoleon 100
years earlier. The battles in Russia were long and
incredibly bloody; 4 million German soldiers and 10
million Russian soldiers were killed (In all of WWI only
9.5 million soldiers were killed in total). The War on
the Eastern front was devastating for anyone near it, too.
It is estimated that 20 million Russian civilians were

killed at the Eastern front, and another 25 million were homeless because of destruction to cities
and villages.
Hitler believed he was a military genius and insisted on continuing the war with the
Soviet Union, even when it was obvious Germany could not win. When his generals disagreed
with him, Hitler would fire them and replace them with yes-men and fanatic Nazis who would
do anything Hitler said. This cost Germany millions of soldiers, as well as a large amount of
valuable supplies.
The end of American Neutrality
Like during World War I, America remained neutral during the beginning of the war.
Americans secretly supplied Britain with food and equipment during the Battle of Britain, but
did not send troops. This changed, however, when Japan attacked the United States naval fleet.
The entire Pacific fleet of the US Navy had been stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the
early morning of December 7th, 1941 Japanese
bombers attacked the US fleet by surprise. US
sailors were unprepared at first and suffered heavy
losses. During the same attack, the Japanese also
seized all British holdings in the Pacific. The
United States responded by declaring war on
Japan and her allies Germany and Italy. America
joined the Allied Powers.
Once America was officially in the war, the
country turned its focus to the war effort. Like
World War I, WWII was a total war. Americans
had food and materials rationed, young men were drafted into service, and industries converted
to producing weapons, ammunition, tanks, planes, boats, and submarines.
Allies in Italy
While Germany had expanded its Reich into France, Poland and Czechoslovakia,
Mussolini and Italy had tried to rebuild the glory of the Roman Empire and expanded into North
Africa and the Middle East in 1940. Allied forces invaded Italian-occupied Africa in 1943 and
quickly pushed the Axis armies back up to Italy. Eventually, the Allies pushed the Axis out of
Africa entirely and were able to make it to Sicily, an island off the coast of Italy.

When major Italian cities like Rome were bombed, the Italians lost patience and faith in
Mussolini and imprisoned him. He was freed by Hitler and put back in charge of Italy, but
never regained any real power the Italian armies were commanded by German generals. The
Italian people had also learned to not believe in
Mussolinis propaganda and stopped supporting
him.
Mussolini tried to escape from Italy with the
retreating German army before being captured by
the Allies. He was instead captured by an angry
mob of Italians who executed him and displayed
his body in a gas station. The Italian army
surrendered a few days later on 5/2/1945.
D-Day and V-E Day
On June 6th, 1944 the US staged a massive invasion of France to begin to liberate
France from Germany, known as D-Day. In a bold move, Allied forces landed at Germanoccupied beaches in Northern France and took them over in fierce combat. The Allies were
able to take the beaches and set up a base to control European operations. Slowly, the Allies
began working through Northern France toward Germany.
At the same time, the USSR moved in from the East. Hitlers military was weakened
from several military blunders and were being driven back to Germany both from the USSR
and from Italy. Germany was obviously losing.
Rather than give up, Hitler insisted the Germans fight to
the last man, and destroy every bridge, railroad, and road left in
Germany rather than let the Allies use them. At this time, many
of Hitlers generals knew the war was lost and refused this
order.
As the Allies and Soviets surrounded Berlin, Hitler
committed suicide on 4/30/1945.
Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 7th, 1945.
With Both Italy and Germany defeated, this became known as
V-E day, short for Victory in Europe.

Answer SIX of following Questions in complete sentences.

1. What was the Battle of Britain? How did Germany prepare for this?

2. Why did the United States enter WW2 with Japan?

3. Why did the US declare war on Italy and Germany? How is this similar to WWI?

4. What was Italys goal in WW2?

5. How did Italy lose the war?

6. Why was Hitlers attack on the USSR a surprise?

7. Germany had superior equipment, how did the Soviets defeat them? How is this similar to
another figure from history?

8. How did the Allies approach Germany? (From what Three directions?)

9. What was D-Day? What was the goal?

10.What did Hitler order the Germans to do as the war ended? Why do you think this order was
ignored?

Choose ONE of the following tasks. Answer in at least 5 complete sentences.

Imagine you are Adolph Hitler on April 30th, 1945. The war is nearly over and Germany is
losing. Your grand vision of a Nazi-ruled world is a disaster. You choose to commit suicide
rather than be captured. Write a one paragraph letter detailing why you have made this
decision.

Imagine you are Joseph Stalin. You are politically opposed to Hitlers National Socialism and
the Capitalist Democracy of the Allied Powers. Youve made an agreement with Hitler to not
fight each other. Write a journal entry for the day Hitler attacks your forces. Explain what
you think happened and why you will join the Allied Powers.