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German term meaning lightning war. Used to describe Germany's military tactics in WW2, which involved the rapid movement of infantry, tanks and air power over large areas

European Economic Community (EEC)

An alliance formed by Italy, France, West Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1957 and dedicated to developing common trade policies and reduce tariffs; it gradually developed into the European Union

European Union

The final step in a series of arrangements to increase the cooperation of European states in the wake of WW2; the EU was formally established in 1994, and 12 of its members adopted a common currency in 2002


Political ideology marked by its intense nationalism and authoritarianism; its name is derived from the fasces that were the symbol of magistrates in ancient Rome

Fourteen Points

Plan of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to establish lasting peace after WW1; although Wilson's views were popular in Europe, his vision largely failed

Franco-Prussian War

German war with France (1870-1871) that ended with the defeat of France and the unification of Germany into a single state under Prussian rule

Franz Ferdinand, Archduke

Heir to the Austrian throne whose assassination by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914, was the spark that ignited WW1

Great Depression

Worldwide economic depression that began in 1929 with the New York stock market crash and continued in many areas until the outbreak of WW2

Great War

Name given to the first World War (1914-1918)

Adolf Hitler

Leader of the German Nazi Party (1889-1945) and Germany's head of state from 1933 until his death


Name commonly used to describe the Nazi genocide of Jews and other "undesirables"


Crystal Night, name given to the night of November 9th 1938, When Nazi lead-gangs smashed and looted Jewish shops throughout Germany

League of Nations

International peace keeping organization created after WW1; first proposed by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson as part of his fourteen points

Marshall Plan

Huge US-Government initiative to aid in post-WW2 restoration of Europe that was masterminded by U.S. secretary of state George Marshall and put into effect in 1947

Mussolini, Benito

Charismatic leader of the Italian fascist party (1883-1945) who came to power in 1922

Nanjing, Rape of

The Japanese army systematic killing, mutilation, and rape of the Chinese civilian population in Nanjing in 1938


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A military and political alliance founded in 1949 that committed the United States to the defense of Europe in the event of Soviet aggression

Nazi Party

The Nationalist Socialist Democratic Workers Party, founded in Germany after WW1 and advocated a strongly authoritarian and nationalist regime based on notions of racial superiority

New Deal

A series of reforms enacted by the Franklin Roosevelt administration between 1933 to 1945 with the goal of ending the Great Depression

Nuremberg Laws

Series of laws passed by the Nazi dominated German parliament in 1935 that forbade sexual relations with Jews and other Germans and mandated that Jews identify themselves in public by wearing the Star of David

Revolutionary Right (Japan)

Radical Nationalism, movement in Japanese political life in 1930-1945 that was marked by extreme nationalism, a commitment to elite leadership focused around the emperor, and dedication to foreign expansion

Treaty of Versailes

1919 the treaty the officially ended WW1. The immense penalties it put on Germany was said to be the cause of WW2

Triple Alliance

An alliance consisting of Germany, Austria, and Italy that was one of the two European rivals on the eve of WW1

Triple Entente

An alliance consisting of Russia, France, and Britain that was one of the two rival European alliances on the eve of WW1

United Nations

International peacekeeping organization and forum for international opinion, established in 1945

Weimar Republic

The weak government that replaced the German imperial state at the end of WW1; its failure to take strong action against war reparations and the Great Depression provided the Nazi Party to rise to power

World War 2 in Asia

A struggle essentially to halt Japanese imperial expansion in Asia. Fought by the Japanese against Chinese and American foes

World War 2 in Europe

A struggle essentially to halt German imperial expansion in Europe. Fought by the coalition of allies that included Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States


The huge industrial enterprises that dominated the Japanese economy in the period leading up to WW2

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