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16 World War II.docx

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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Tuesday March 26, 2013 World War II Question: What element of this war should we focus on if we are truly going to understand its consequences? I. Setting Up A. Appeasement 1. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain a) Lebensraum: Living Space (1) Hitler’s aggressive policy, yet moved very slowly throughout the 1930s (a) announce Germany's withdrawal from league of Nations (b) 1932: Rearmament (c) 1934: Sponsored the assassination of the Austrian dictator (d) 1937: wanted to unite Austria and Czechoslovakia b) Was interested in not stopping the annexation but in not hindering british colonial interests c) Sensitive to German nationalism - legitimate and felt they had been poorly treated after WWI d) Pursued official policy of appeasement (1) Cave on certain critical issues in order to make everyone happy (2) Hitler convinced France and UK to allow annexation of Sudetenland (a) 300k ethnic German occupants there e) Britain signs treaty with Poland and makes them independent f) Popular support for appeasement for support go down (1) Churchill comes into power 2. Austria a) 1938: German troops marched into Austria (1) Welcomed as liberators (2) Direct contradiction of Treaty of Versailles 3. Czechoslovakia a) Nazi’s had more time to prepare for conquest of Czechoslovakia (1) 1939: German troops take Prague (2) Took Memel and Danzig in the East B. German Alliances and Pacts 1. Axis a) East: Germany tied itself to Japan as a mutual defense against Russia (1) 1936: Hermany and Japan signed anti-communist agreement b) West: Mussolini and Hitler hormed the Axis against communism (1) Also divided European areas into spheres of influence, breaking down Europe between Mussolini and Hitler (2) 1939: formal military alliance despite Italy’s poor standing 2. Molotov-Ribbentrop a) Despite Russo-German animosities in 1939 b) Temporary pledge (1) Stalin needed to buy time in order to recreate military structures (2) Hitler wanted to undermine France and UK’s desire to defend Poland 3. Nonaggression Pact a) Agreement not fight each other II. The War Itself A. Poland (Sept. 1939) 1. German tanks march into Poland on Sept. 1 2. Britain and France respond by declarin war on Germany two days later a) Don’t take action 3. Blitzkreig a) Lightning War - Puncture enemy lines with tanks and air force and then get behind enemy lines with troops b) Shock, disorient, terrorize and demobilize the enemy c) Highly effective against the Polish d) Policy of terror (1) Kill the elite and POWs, and imprison and burn towns and villages (2) Britain and France stood back; unwilling to commit to all out war e) Mussolini declared a policy of non-belligerence (1) Opposed neutrality in WWI, but way of being neutral B. France (May-June 1940) 1. Needed to eliminate French-Anglo assault in order to continue Lebensraum and Anschluss 2. French defense: Maginot Line a) Went from France to Switzerland and Belgium b) French Eastern border c) French Generals and troops became restless and demoralized 3. May 10, 1940: Wait was over a) Carefully rehearsed Nazi attack captured huge Belgian force b) Planes destroyed gald of the British air-forcethere to help France c) Nazis reach the English Channel - cutting English forces in half d) Lull in battle allows for evacuation of 300K French troops 4. June 14, Paris fell a) Negotiated armistice (1) Pétin agrees to this without consulting the other allies (2) Hitler accepts, and Vichy France arises 5. Anticipating danger of the French, the Brits destroy French battleships a) Kill 1300 French sailors (1) Outcries and soured relations C. The Battle of Britain (July-Oct. 1940) 1. After success in Fance, Hitler contemplates an attack on UK 2. Britain anticipates this by interning subjects a) In order to get across the channel - they had to ensure they would not be attack from above b) There was a battle in the sky (1) UK lost 650 planes, but managed to continue replacing both (2) Germans tried night-bombing to avoid counter-attacks during daylight c) Hitler gave up the battle (1) Could not break the British will 3. Allan Turing a) Invented the machine to decrypt German communications (1) Important in U-Boat warfare (2) Critical step toward creation of modern computer technology D. Lend-Lease (starting Sept. 1941)
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