Friday, June 11, 2010

Unit 10: World War II and Cold War

Causes of World War II
• The Germans resented the unfair Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I. They elected Adolf Hitler as dictator. He promised to make Germany a world power.
• Then Hitler took over part of another country. In response, European leaders appeased him—they gave him what he wanted in hopes of keeping the peace.
• Hitler eventually invaded Poland, leading England and France to declare war in 1939.

U.S. Neutrality
• At first, the United States remained neutral in World War II.
• However, under FDR’s Lend-Lease Program, the U.S. provided weapons and aid to the Allies, including England and France.

U.S. Enters War after Pearl Harbor Attack
• Germany’s ally, Japan, made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.
• President Roosevelt, calling it “a day that will live in infamy,” encouraged Congress to declare war on Japan. The U.S. thus entered World War II.

The Home Front
• 16 million American men fought in World War II. There were over 1 million casualties.
• Gasoline and food were rationed (limited) by the government, and people planted “victory gardens” to provide for their families during this time of sacrifice.
• People bought war bonds to fund the American war effort.
• Women took over factory work at home while their husbands were away.
• Japanese-Americans faced discrimination during the war. They were suspected of being spies, so they were evicted from their homes and sent to internment camps during war.

World War II: The Action
• In the war, the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) fought the Allies (USA, England, France, Soviet Union).
• In Europe, Hitler controlled much of the continent until the Allies launched a surprise invasion of France on D-Day. The war ended in Europe in May 1945.
• In the Pacific, Japan drove the Allies south to Australia before the Allies rallied. They fought back and were preparing to invade Japan in August 1945.

Atomic Bombs
• Harry Truman became president when Roosevelt died in April 1945. He learned that scientists working on the “Manhattan Project” had developed an atomic bomb.
• Truman decided to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
• The bomb killed over 100,000 people, mainly civilians. Truman decided it was a better choice than invading Japan—he believed more people would have died in an invasion.

After the War
• The United Nations formed after the war to allow for international peacekeeping talks.
• In the Nuremberg Trials, Germans were tried for their involvement in the Holocaust.

The Cold War
• Immediately after World War II, the U.S. and Soviet Union became fierce rivals. The U.S. had a democratic government, while the Soviet Union had a communist government. Their rivalry, which almost led to a violent war, was called the Cold War.
• The U.S.’s main strategy during the Cold War was to prevent the spread of communism. This strategy was called containment.
• Early in the Cold War, the U.S. gave economic aid to democratic countries, hoping to prevent them from becoming communist. This aid was called the Marshall Plan.
• During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union installed nuclear weapons in Cuba and aimed them at the U.S. In this crisis, the world came dangerously close to nuclear war.

Vietnam War
• The U.S. fought violent wars in Korea and Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism.
• Many Americans protested the Vietnam War. They said the war was a civil war, and the United States should not have interfered.
• Protests led to the “hippie” peace movement and the Kent State shootings.

Ending the Cold War
• In the 1970s, President Nixon agreed to ease tensions with communist governments in a program called détente.
• The Cold War ended in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union broke up.

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