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15.2 Course of World War II

World War II began with Hitlerís attack on Poland on September 1, 1939. As both Britain and France had entered into an alliance with Poland in April 1939, they declared war upon Germany. The Germans occupied Western Poland. The Soviet Union annexed Eastern Poland. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and a part of Rumania, were invaded and annexed by Russia, soon after.

In April 1940, Denmark and Norway were attacked and annexed by Germany. In May 1940, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland were raided by German bombers. All these three states surrendered within a week. Following this, the Germans invaded France in June 1940. Paris fell to the Nazis on June 14, 1940. Germany soon occupied the whole of northern and western France, while Italy seized Nice and other French districts that were adjacent to Italy.

After the fall of Poland and France, Britain alone was at war with the Axis Powers from June 1940 to June 1941. However, the British forces were victorious over the Axis powers in Africa.

On June 22, 1941, Russia was attacked by Germany. The Anglo-Russian Alliance was formed on July 22, 1941, for mutual military aid in the war against Germany. The United States also gave the Soviet Union assurances of military help.

Exhibit 15.1
The Pearl Harbor Attack

The American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Hence the U.S.A. declared war on Japan, on December 8, 1941. Germany and Italy then declared war against the U.S.A. Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the U.S.A. and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union mobilized their forces to destroy the Axis powers namely, Germany, Italy, and Japan.


The Nazi and Fascist forces were successful in their conquest of Europe, upto the end of October 1942. However on November 8, 1942, the Allied forces succeeded against the Axis powers in North Africa. On September 3, 1943, Italy surrendered unconditionally and signed an armistice with the Allies on September 3, 1943.

Exhibit 15.2
The Rescue of the Allied Troops at Dunkirk

Forging across the Rhine in March 1945, the Allied forces defeated the German forces. As a result, Hitler lost all hope and committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Hence, the Germans surrendered unconditionally, on May 7, 1945. Japan continued to battle until atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively, by the United States. Japan finally surrendered unconditionally on August 14, 1945, signing a document of surrender on September 2, 1945.

Exhibit 15.3
The atom bomb exploding on Hiroshima

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Index

15.0 - Introduction
15.1 - Causes of World WarII
15.2 - Course of World WarII
15.3 - Consequences of World WarII
15.4 - Dates & Events
15.5 - Points to Remember

Chapter 16






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