A short History of World War II

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A Short History of World War II

James L. Stokesbury

Part II: The Expanding War Chapters 10-14

Two Uncommitted Powers

Chapter 10 The United States and the War



January, 1939

April, 1939

September 5, 1939

Opinions in the US

Cash and Carry

Phony war

Spring, 1940

German victories -

June 22, 1940

July, 1940 ( a month later…

September, 1940

November, 1940

January, 1941

Arsenal for democracy

March, 1941

May 21, 1941 and a week later….

August, 1941

September-October, 1941

December, 1941

Chapter 11 The Battle of the Atlantic

  1. Define the “Battle of the Atlantic.”

  1. What was Alfred Mahan’s argument regarding naval supremacy?

  1. Explain Germany’s advantage in geography for the Battle of the Atlantic.

  1. How did Great Britain improve on the World War I convoy system for World War II?

  1. Would you rather search for 10 one inch needles in a haystack or 5 two inch needles? Relate your search to the Battle of the Atlantic.

  1. Why did both sides know that subs would be used in World War II?

  1. How effective were the new German magnetic mines? How did the British counter them?

  1. What was a Q ship? How was it used? What was a “wolfpack?”

  1. Fill in the chart below:

Where you are sleeping?

What does your ship transport?

On deck

Below decks with clothes on and door open

Below decks, undressed, cabin door closed

  1. What is a hunter- killer group?

  1. How effective was the German u-boat campaign on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.?

  1. When had the “corner been turned” and the Allies begin to win the Battle of the Atlantic? How did each side strive to keep the advantage?

  1. What is a hedgehog? How about an acoustic torpedo? A towed box? A sub snorkel breathing tube?

  2. Which side had more of a cost to pay in the Battle of the Atlantic? What were the statistics?



Ships sunk


Sailors lost

U Boats lost


  1. What happened to the Graf Spee? The Hood? The Bismarck?

Chapter 12 The War in the Mediterranean Give a brief description of the fighting in each region of the Mediterranean.

War in the Mediterranean

Chapter 13 The Invasion of Russia

Support each of the following statements with evidence from the reading.

  1. “Neither partner to the Russo-German Nonaggression Pact was wholly satisfied with it (150).”

  1. “…he [Hitler] set out the basic lines of Operation Barbarossa (152).”

  1. “Three army groups were assigned to achieve this [Operation Barbarossa] (152).”

  1. “Two things were especially remarkable about the concept (152).”

  1. “Though both sides disposed of massive forces, neither one was of overwhelming strength (153).”

  1. “Democratic governments are not the only ones taken by surprise (154).”

  1. In late July and earl August, the Germans threw the game away. The flaws in the plan, and indeed the entire German system, began to show. On both the military and political level, things started to go wrong. (155).”

  1. “… in the dark hours of 1941 and 1942, Russians fought for their Motherland…(157).”

  1. “The machine was showing wear by now. (157).”

  1. “Both sides were at their last gasp. Both knew that they only had a few more weeks to go (159).”

  1. “By any reasonable numerical measure the Germans had won already (159).”

  1. “If Hitler were to invade Hell, I should find occasion to make a favorable reference to the Devil (159).”

  1. “The hand froze before it could clutch (160).”

Chapter 14 Japan and the Road to Pearl Harbor

Action / Situation


161-163 The Japanese armies had moved from triumph to triumph on the Asia mainland

For all their victories, the Japanese could not… win the war

163 The all too apparent weakness of the democracies and their imperial holdings in the Far East encouraged the Japanese to increase their pressure once again.

164 Hideki Tojo became the Premier Prince Konoye’s Minister of War

165 Japan became more overtly expansionist.

165 The Americans favored China, rightly but usually for the wrong reasons;

166 The Japanese completed the occupation of French Indochina

166 The Japanese proposed that the U.S. unfreeze assets, reopen trade… and divide the East Indies

167 Isoroku Yamamoto spoke fluent English… an expert on oil and naval aviation

167 There was only one obstacle to Japanese aggrandizement: the U.S. Pacific fleet

169 Yamamoto had suggested that if the Japanese were to go to war with the U.S., she might as well do it in a big way.

169 Message- “Climb Mount Niitaka”

169 The Americans knew something was going to happen

170 The Japanese first attack wave was picked up on a vintage radar set

171 In an hour, the U.S. forces lost about 150 planes, and another 100 damaged. Every battleship at Pearl was damaged … there were 4575 casualties

171 Winston Churchill’s first thought was “We have won the war!”

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