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Long Term Causes of World War II

These included Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression and the Failure of the League of Nations

Treaty of Versailles (Cause)

This document placed unfair restrictions on Germany's military; it took away land and placed all blame for the war on Germany (aka: the war guilt)

Great Depression (Cause)

This event began with the crash on Wall Street and lead to global inflation, high unemployment and the rise of fascism

League of Nations (Cause)

This organization failed to keep a just and lasting peace because it excluded countries like Germany and Russia, its members wanted to avoid war and it did not have an army to enforce its policy


The policy of giving in to an aggressor (nation) in hopes of avoiding war; this was used by Britain and France prior to World War II

Neville Chamberlain

The British Prime Minister who practiced a policy of appeasement as Hitler continued to violate the Treaty of Versailles


A political movement that promotes an extreme form of nationalism, a denial of individual rights and one-party rule by a dictator

Non-Aggression Pact

An agreement between Stalin and Hitler to not attack each for a period of ten years; secretly, they agreed to divide Poland between them

July 7, 1937

World War II began in Asia when Japan invaded mainland China (date)

September 1, 1939

World War II began in Europe when Germany invaded Poland (date)

Invasion of Poland

World War II began when Germany launched a surprise attack against Poland to regain the Polish Corridor; this caused Britain and France to declare war on Germany.

Phony War

The term given to World War II between September and April because no fighting took place between Germany and the Allies


A military strategy involving fast-moving airplanes and tanks, followed by massive infantry forces, to take the enemy by surprise. Then blitzkrieg forces would crush the opposition with overwhelming force

Maginot Line

A system of defensive forts build by the French to offer protection from Germany

Invasion of the Western Front

In April, Hitler attacked Denmark and Norway; In May, Hitler invaded Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium before attacking France in June

June 22, 1940

France surrendered to the superior German army but continued to resist German domination (date)


The beach where 338,000 Allied soldiers were rescued from German troops by a ragtag fleet of British ships including naval vessels, yachts, motorboats and fishing boats

Winston Churchill

The British Prime Minister who choose to fight rather than surrender when he said, "We shall fight whatever the cost may be...We shall never surrender!"

Operation Sea Lion

Hitler's planned invasion of Great Britain; his plan was to bomb by air and then invade by sea


The name of the British airforce


The name of the German airforce

Battle of Britain

Hitler's campaign of intensive bombing to destroy the will of the British as well as their vital defense systems and their factories; it was a turning point in the war and forced Hitler to abandon Operation Sea Lion


An electronic tracking system that could tell the number, speed and direction of incoming war planes


A German code-making machine that allowed Britain to decoded the secret messages of the Germans

Axis Powers

An alliance between Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II

Erwin Rommel

The German general sent to North Africa to help regain the ground lost by Italy; he was known as the Desert Fox

Invasion of the Balkans

Those countries that refused to join Hitler were attacked; Hitler needed this land in order to build military bases for his future invasion of the Soviet Union

Operation Barbarossa

Hitler's planned invasion of the Soviet Union; he build military bases in the Balkans so he could capture Russia's rich oil supply

Battle of Stalingrad

Hitler's attempt to take this city became a turning point on the East for the Allies; as a result of this battle, the Russians were able to force the Germans to retreat

December 7, 1941

Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii; as a result, the United States declared war again Japan and her allies (date)

Battle of the Coral Sea

During this battle, both sides used a new kind of naval warfare; the entire battle was fought by airplanes and aircraft carriers (Japan won)

Battle of Midway

During this battle, the Allies allowed Japan to begin its attack then the Allies attacked Japan's naval fleet (Japan's crippled fleet was forced to retreat)

Battle of Guadalcanal

During this battle, the Allies, who wanted to prevent Japan from building an airbase, fought against the Japanese for six month (Japan eventually retreated from the "Island of Death")

Operation Overlord

The Allies planned invasion of Normandy, the northern coast of France; originally it was scheduled for 1942, then 1943; it took place in June of 1944

June 6, 1944

The Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy in an attempt to break through the German lines and to liberate France on their way to Germany; they suffered heavy losses but liberated Paris (date)

Bernard Montgomery

The British general who was sent to command the Allied forces in North Africa after Rommel took the port city of Tobruk

Battle of El Alamein

During this battle, the Allies surprised the Germans and forced them to retreat; this was considered to be a turning point of the war in North Africa

Operation Torch

The Allies planned invasion of North Africa; it was made possible by the Battle of El Alamain

Dwight Eisenhower

The American general who was sent to invade North Africa; as a result of Operation Torch, Germany suffered a crushing defeat

Benito Mussolini

The fascist dictator who committed Italy to war; he was later caught trying to escape -- as a result, he was shot and hung (April 1945)

Total War

A conflict in which the participating countries devote all of their resources to the war effort


The limiting of the amount of goods people can buy when goods are in short supply


Information spread to advance a cause or to damage an opponent's cause

Battle of the Bulge

During this battle, Hitler made his last attempt to defeat the Allied Powers on the Western Front

Adolf Hitler

The fascist dictator who committed Germany to war; On April 30, 1945 he committed suicide rather than surrender

May 7, 1945

Germany surrendered to the Allies to end World War II in Europe (date)

Harry S. Truman

The president of the United States who "dropped the bomb" on Japan to force an end to the war in the Pacific

August 6, 1945

The Japanese city of Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb (date)

August 9, 1945

The Japanese city of Nagasaki was destroyed by an atomic bomb (date)

September 2, 1945

Japan surrendered to the Allies to end World War II in the Pacific (date)


The systematic mass slaughter of Jews and other groups judged inferior; Hitler referred to this as the "Final Solution" -- 6 million Jews were killed


The systematic killing of an entire group of people

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