It was the bloodiest, deadliest war the world had ever seen. More than 38 million people died, many of them innocent civilians. It also was the most destructive war in history. Fighting raged in many parts of the world. More than 50 nations took part in the war, which changed the world forever.
For Americans, World War II had a clear-cut purpose. People knew why they were fighting: to defeat tyranny. Most of Europe had been conquered by Nazi Germany, which was under the iron grip of Adolf Hitler. The war in Europe began with Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939. Wherever the Nazis went, they waged a campaign of terror, mainly against Jews, but also against other minorities.
In Asia and the Pacific, Japanese armies invaded country after country, island after island. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, the U.S. Congress declared war, taking the U.S. into World War II.
The people that participated in these world changing years have much to offer to us, the ones who continue to benefit from their sacrifice.
Essential Questions What character traits can you hope to attain that you witnessed from the men and women that participated in World War II?
What were the causes of World War II?
What are the effects of World War II? How are we still affected by World War II?
In your opinion, what is the most important lesson to be learned from your study of World War II?
Terms/People/Events Directions: The following terms you are responsible for the unit on World War II. Most of them are defined throughout the Unit Plan. The words that are underlined must be defined by you as we go through the unit.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Neville Chamberlain British Prime Minister (1937 to 1940). Feeling Germany had been unfairly penalized by the Versailles Treaty and wanting to maintain peace, Chamberlain was the leadership at the Munich Conference (Sept. 1938) which promoted "appeasement," granting Hitler's demands for return of the Sudetenland in exchange for his promise that he would not seek any more territory.
Winston Churchill Great Britain's Prime Minister, Churchill was an eloquent speaker, who steeled the British to defy the Nazis, even as the Luftwaffe bombed London nightly. At the fall of France, which left the Britons entirely alone to fight off Hitler, Churchill said: "We shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone… we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."