World War II as the most Influential Events in History
World War II was one of the most influential events in world history. Not only did it shape the way the modern world works, it influenced the multitude of governments within it and changed the course of history. There was 16 allied nations fighting with 7 axis nations killing 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 people making it the deadliest conflict in human history.
Nazi Germany had one of the biggest roles in WW2 because of many reasons. WW2 started on September 1, 1939 with the invasion of Poland. Germany invaded Poland and falsely accused them of wanting to dismember the Germans and that Poles were persecuting Germans as their reason of invading Poland. The German military staged an attack on a German radio station as Poles prompting Hitler to launch retaliatory campaign against Poland (www.encyclopedia.ushmm.org). Hitler invaded Poland to give the German people more room to live and enslave the natives. He had invaded 3 other countries and hoped the invasion of Poland would be tolerated like the three other countries( www.history.com). The three countries the Germans conquered before the invasion of Poland were Austria, Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia. The Nazis did not only target countries they targeted a religious group known as the Jews . The Nazis had a new way of thinking in formulating the ideology of race. They classified Jews as being a race of irrelevance and made up a bunch of horrible stereotypes and classified them as their primary target. Once the Jews were captured and arrived at the killing centers they were put in a line and went through a selection process. A doctor would then come and examine the people and see if they were healthy and strong enough for forced labor and point left or right to choose where they were going. Babies, young children, women, the handicapped, the elderly, and the sick had very little chances of survival. Mostly strong and healthy men were chosen for labor and survival (www.encyclopedia.ushmm.org).
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Great Britain was one of the first allied countries to join the war and helped greatly.
The British helped by supplying a big number of troops and heavy artillery and air support to push back the Nazis and end the war. The Royal Navy also helped the allies by keeping the North Atlantic open, the Mediterranean open, and some routes open in the Indian ocean that lead to India and Australia (www.wikipedia.com). Britain joined the war because the Nazis invade one of their allies Poland. After Joining the war the first casualties were British soldiers aboard the ship Athenia which was attacked by a German U-30 boat. The British responded by dropping anti-Nazi propaganda leaflets over Germany and began bombing German ships on the fourth of September 1939 (www.history.com). Britain didn’t just drop posters over Germany they accomplished many things. The Battle of Britain was an air battle however it stopped many land battles and confrontation in Britain. In 1940 Germans and British forces clashed in the sky over the United Kingdom in the biggest sustained bombing campaign known to date. The battle ended when the German Luftwaffe (the German Air Force), which targeted British bases and military outpost, and Britain’s citizens, failed to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force and was taken down. This event saved Britain from German troops invading the Country and eventual occupation and showed that air power alone could be enough to win a major battle.(www.history.com). This was not the only accomplishment the British achieved. The S.O.E was another great accomplishment that sparked and achieved further accomplishments. The Special Operations Executive was a secret agents association which undertook missions deep into enemy lines. The British set up this operation to achieve missions that would very much impact the war. They blew up important Nazi outpost, factories, and assassinated essential Nazi personnel. This operation was very important in gathering intel and chipping away at the Nazis from the inside. This gave the allies some momentum which kept building even though there was some losses the Allies took the building momentum and eventually won the war. .
Another country that first joined the war was France. They joined the war with Britain right after the invasion of Poland (www.bonjourlafrance.com). The French surrendered to Germany early in WWII but those who refused to give up to German occupation was known as the French Resistance. The Resistance played a vital role in aiding the allies especially leading up to D-Day. They supplied the Allies with vital information along with doing a lot of work in disrupting the German supply and communication lines within France ( Trueman www.historylearningsite.com). The Resistance resisted because the French Government surrendered to Germany early in the war and they knew something needed to be done. In 1940 Charles De Gaulle spoke to the French people from London telling them to continue the fight and resist against German oppression and roll them back. The French resistance often took direct orders from the S.O.E and the first S.O.E agent was dropped into France to assist the work of the Resistance. Britain and the Resistance worked very close together with Britain via the SOE supplying the Resistance with equipment and trained agents and the French returning the favor by giving the British vital intel. The majority of the Resistance joined because they thought the treatment of Jews was wrong and they wanted to help the Allies take down Hitler. The German attack on Russia also led to French communist joining the Resistance movement ( Trueman,www.historylearningsite.com).
The Invasion and attack of Russia was the biggest surprise attack in military history however to some people it should have never been a surprise at all. Although Hitler and Russia signed a famous non-aggression pact in 1939 many anticipated Hitler would still attack the Russians thinking they were an inferior race. Stalin had know idea that this attack was happening he even ordered his men to not fire at German spy planes when they accidentally invaded Soviet air space. Stalin’s trust was shattered on June 22, 1941 when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union with nearly three million men. Operation Barbarossa was set to have taken three to six months but within the early days of the attack people thought it might fall much quicker. Although the Soviets were caught off guard and had major setbacks the amount of troops the Soviets had was too much for the Germans. The hope of a swift victory for the Germans was lost and the war would drag on. Along with the supply of troops by the Soviets the cold weather played a huge role in this Soviet victory. The Germans were hoping to conquer Russia before the cold set in but they ran low on supplies and the spirited resistance kept them in Russia for the winter. The Germans were still in their summer uniforms and frostbite became an epidemic and the Germans had to amputate over 15,000 limbs. The Soviets who were used to the weather used special supplies and camouflage to take advantage and fight in these unbearable conditions while the Germans were weak. The Germans were so devoted they had women on their front line and had orders to fight till the last man was dead. If the Soviet troops tried to flee they would be shot on the spot by Russian special forces behind the Soviets. If any soldiers surrendered they would be seen as traitors in the eye of the law and be executed if they ever returned to Russia. The Soviets killed about an estimated 150,000 of their own troops over the course of the war. This series of events also included the largest tank battle in military history. The Soviets finally won the attack and surrounded the Germans in one of their own cities defeated them and the Germans retreated and were forced out of Russia. The final nail in the coffin was when Russia didn’t release most of the German POWs till 1956 (www.history.com). They helped the allies by chipping away the Germans and stealing and stalling their momentum so they allied nations could later defeat the Nazis. The Soviets teamed up with the allies in the effort to stop Germany. The were a pivotal role in stopping the invasion of eastern Europe and pushing back the Germans.
Although America joined later than other allied countries they might have played one of the biggest parts. The U.S joined the war on December 8, 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked the US Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The Japanese intended the attack to take out major US vessels and prevent the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with the Japanese fleet (www.wikipedia.com). The US reacted by joining the war and eventually dropping two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki years later. This was just the beginning of the US efforts in the war. America took part in several major battles during the war and had a great role in pushing the Germans back. They helped by adding numbers to the allied efforts in every aspect. They provided aid in ground, air, and water support along with helping in ammunition and troop support. They helped the allied nations which included Britain, the French Resistance, and the Soviet Union. Although other little countries and resistances took part those were the three main countries. The US helped in Northern Africa and Europe and invaded France on D-Day which was June 6, 1944 which started the huge momentum and effort to push the Nazis back and eventually win the war.
On June 6, 1944 the US, Britain, and Canadian forces of 156,000 troops stormed the beachhead at Normandy France. This Battle was on Beaches of Normandy in the Northwest Corner of France. The allies stormed five beaches at Normandy and eventually captured it after a month of fighting. This battle and event took place later in the war in 1944 just one year before the war ended when all the countries were worn out and sick of fighting. This gave the allies the push and momentum they needed to Liberate France and eventually Europe pushing the Nazis back to Germany and ending the War. The importance of this was to invade France and Liberate it and the rest of the occupied nations. The effect of this was in fact that it went as planned and the allies eventually Liberated France and the other Nations. The weaponry and artillery of this battle was heavy air support for the allies and Naval support with cannons and guns. The ground troops also had simple weaponry including guns and explosives. The enemies had the same thing except the had heavy machine guns and cannons as well.
The Liberation of Paris was also a major dent in the Germans offense. It was occupied by the Germans as a stronghold to occupy France and have a central place of operation. It was also used as a piece of significance knowing they had captured a main very important capitol. It was occupied by the Nazis as a simple of strength knowing they had the capital of France. It was important to occupy to keep a hold and grip on the rest of France. The importance of the liberation was to roll the Germans out of France and back to Germany. It affected Germany by rolling them back and taking away a major stronghold.
The Battle of the Bulge was another important battle for both sides. The Battle took Place from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945. It was in the densely forested Ardennes forest in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg. This was also at the end of the war when the Germans were low on supplies. The Allies were closing in on the last German offensive on the western side so the Germans launched a campaign and sent out 250,000 troops to roll the allies back. This was important to Germany to keep the offensive on the western side and in their minds eventually roll back the allies and take over Europe again. The allies needed to break this offensive to roll back the Germans and not let them advance any further back into Europe and eventually end the war after stopping all German offensive campaigns. The allies won by persistent fighting and gunfire and eventually the Germans ran low on supplies and retreated and the allies won.
The Yalta Conference shaped the way the world would look after the war. It was A meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin to discuss how to divide Germany, Liberated countries who were oppresed by the Nazi’s, and how to finally knockout Germany in February 1945. The country of Germany was to be divide into US, British, French, and Soviet zones. Although Berlin was in the Soviets zone this conference led to the US taking the west side of Germany and the Soviets taking the east and turning into turmoil and putting oppression on the people who lived there (www.history.com). The did not know what to do with the occupied countries whose Governments were abolished so the allied nation provided support until the Governments were strong again. This event was important to help have the world a stable society. It also helped the allied forces by planning an attack to finally wipe out Germany once and for all. This did cause turmoil post war because of the Soviet oppression on east Berlin. Although there was turmoil there was also happiness that many other countries were Liberated and the Jews were Liberated. It also kept society and the economy moving.
The Nazis finally surrendered on May 7, 1945 effectively ending the war and conflict in Europe. It took place in Reims, France and was signed by Gen. Alfred Jodl after Hitler commited suicide in the Battle of Berlin. On May 8 the war was officially over and was known as V-Day and is still celebrated by many European countries. Germany surrendered because the allies reached Berlin and took it from the Nazis and Hitler had died (www.hufingtonpost.com).
World War II was one of the most influential events in world history. The allied nations each joined together for the common goal of fighting against tyranny. The US, Britain, and the French resistance closed in on the Nazi’s from the west while the Russians closed in on them from the East. They pushed back the Nazi Germany until there was nothing else to push back. World War II changed the course of mankind, and its influence can still be felt and seen in the world today.