AP European History Notes

Chapter 29: Dictatorships and the Second World War

  1. Authoritarian States
    1. Conservative Authoritarianism
      1. The traditional form of antidemocratic government in European history was conservative authoritarianism (leaders of such governments tried to prevent major changes that would undermine the existing social order)
      2. Authoritarian leaders depended on obedient bureaucracies, vigilant police departments and trustworthy armies; liberals, democrats, and socialists prosecuted
      3. The old-fashioned authoritarian government were preoccupied with the goal of mere survival and limited their demands to taxes, army recruits, and passive acceptance
      4. The parliamentary regimes that had been founded on the wreckage of empires in 1918 fell one by one and by early 1938 only economically and socially advanced Czechoslovakia remained true to liberal political ideals
        1. The lands lacked a tradition of self-government, with restraint and compromise
        2. Many of these new states were torn by ethnic conflicts that threatened existence
        3. Dictatorship appealed to nationalists and military leaders as a way to repress such tensions and preserve national unity (middle class weak in Eastern Europe)
      5. Although some of the conservative authoritarian regimes adopted certain Hitlerian and fascist characteristics in the 1930s, their general aims were limited
        1. They were more concerned with maintaining the status quo then with forcing society into rapid change or war; this tradition has continued into our own time
        2. In Hungary, Bela Kun formed a Lenin-style government, but communism in Hungary was soon crushed by foreign troops, landowners, and hostile peasants
        3. A combination of landowners instituted a semi-authoritarian regime, which maintained the status quo in the 1920s; Hungary had a parliament with controlled elections and the peasants did not have the right to vote (landed aristocracy)
        4. In the 1930s the Hungarian government remained conservative and nationalistic and it was increasingly opposed by a Nazi-like fascist movement, the Arrow Cross, which demanded radical reform and mobilization of the masses
      6. Another example of conservative authoritarianism was newly independent Poland, where democratic government was overturned in 1926 when General Joseph Pilsudski established a military dictatorship; Pilsudski silenced opposition and tried to build a strong state (supporters were army, major industrialists, and nationalists)
      7. Yet another example of conservative authoritarianism was Portugal in western Europe
        1. Shaken by military coups and uprisings after a republican revolution in 1910, Portugal finally got a strong dictator in Antonio de Oliveira Salazar in 1932
        2. Salazar gave the church the strongest possible position in the country, while controlling the press and outlawing most political activity but there was no attempt to mobilize the masses or to accomplish great projects (tradition)
    2. Totalitarianism or Fascism?
      1. While conservative authoritarianism predominated smaller states of Europe by the mid-1930s, radical dictatorships emerged in the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy
      2. Leaders of the radical dictatorships rejected parliamentary restraint and liberal values; they exercised unprecedented control over the masses and sought to mobilize them for constant action (three main approaches to understanding radical dictatorships)
        1. The first approach relates the radical dictatorships to the rise of modern total-itarianism and the second focuses on the idea of fascism as the unifying impulse
        2. The third stresses the limitations of such generalization and uniqueness of regime
      3. The concept of totalitarianism emerged in the 1920s and the 1930s and in 1924 Mussolini spoke of the “fierce totalitarian will” of his movement in Italy; in the 1930s many exiled writers used the concept of totalitarianism to link Italian and German fascism with Society communism under a common antiliberal umbrella
        1. Early writers believed that modern totalitarianism burst on the scene with the revolutionary total war effort of 1914 to 1918 (subordinate all institutions)
        2. As stated by French thinker Halevy, the varieties of modern totalitarian tyranny—fascism, Nazism, and communism—are related with the nature of modern war
        3. Writers such as Halevy believed that the crucial experience of WW I was carried further by Lenin and the Bolsheviks during the Russian civil war; Lenin showed how a dedicated minority could make a total effort and achieve victory
        4. Lenin showed how institutions and human rights are subordinated to the needs of a single group and its leader and provided a model for single-party dictatorship
        5. Modern totalitarianism reached maturity in the 1930s in the Stalinist U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany, according to this school of interpretation
      4. The grandiose vision of total state control broke decisively not only with conservative authoritarianism but also with nineteenth-century liberalism and democracy; indeed, totalitarianism was a radical revolt against liberalism as classical liberalism had sought to limit the power of the state and to protect the sacred rights of the people
      5. Liberals stood for rationality, peaceful progress, economic freedom, and a strong middle class and the totalitarianism believed in will power, preached conflict, and worshiped violence (individual was infinitely less valuable than the state)
      6. Modern totalitarianism was based not on an elite but on people who had become engaged in the political process, most notably through nationalism and socialism; real totalitarian states built on mass movements and possessed boundless dynamism
      7. Totalitarianism was in the end a permanent revolution, an unfinished revolution, in which rapid, profound change imposed from on high went on forever (Trotsky)
      8. A second group of writers approached radical dictatorships outside the Soviet Union through the concept of fascism; a term of pride for Mussolini and Hitler, who used it to describe the supposedly “total” and revolutionary character of their movements, fascism was severely criticized by these writers
        1. Fascism was linked to reactionary forces, decaying capitalism and domestic class conflict and Marxists argued that fascism was the way powerful capitalists sought to manipulate a mass movement capable of destroying the revolutionary working class and thus protect eh profits to be reaped through war and territorial expansion
        2. Less doctrinaire socialists saw fascism as only one of the several possible ways for the ruling class to escape from a general crisis of capitalism
        3. Fascist movements all across Europe showed that they shared many characteristics, including extreme, often expansionist nationalism; an antisocialism aimed at destroying working-class movements; alliances with capitalists and landowners; mass parties appealing to the middle class and peasantry; a dynamic and violent leader, and glorification of war and the military
        4. European fascism remains a product of class conflict, capitalist crisis, and postwar upheaval in these more recent studies but interpretation has become convincing
      9. Historians often adopt a third approach which emphasizes the uniqueness of developments in a country (challenge interpretations of totalitarianism and fascism)
      10. Four tentative judgments concerning these debates seem appropriate
        1. Leading schools of interpretation are rather closely linked to the political passions and the ideological commitments of the age (some liked totalitarian framework)
        2. The concept of totalitarianism retains real value (Germany and Soviet Union made an unprecedented “total claim” on the belief and behavior of their citizens
        3. Antidemocratic, antisocialist movements sprang up all over Europe but only in Italy and Germany (and some would say Spain) were they able to take power
        4. The problem of Europe’s radical dictatorships is complex few easy answers exist
  2. Stalin’s Soviet Union
    1. From Lenin to Stalin
      1. By the spring 1921 after Lenin and the Bolsheviks had won the civil war, in southern Russia drought combined with the ravages of war to produce one of the worst famines; the Bolsheviks had destroyed the economy as well as their foes
      2. In the face of economic disintegration, riots by peasants and workers, and an open rebellion by previously pro-Bolsheviks sailors at Kronstadt changed Lenin’s course
        1. In March 1921 Lenin announced the New Economic Plan, which re-established limited economic freedom in an attempt to rebuild agriculture and industry
        2. With the NEP, Lenin substituted a grain tax on the country’s peasants producers, who were permitted to sell their surpluses in free markets; peasants were encouraged to buy as many goods as they could afford from private traders
        3. Heavy industry, railroads, and banks, however, remained wholly nationalized
      3. The NEP was shrewd and successful both politically and economically
        1. It was a necessary but temporary compromise with the Soviet Union’ peasantry
        2. Flushed with victory after the revolutionary gains of 1917, the peasants would have fought to hold onto their land (Lenin realized that in 1921, his government was not strong enough to take land from the peasants) Brest-Litovsk Treaty
        3. The NEP brought rapid recovery and in 1926 industrial output surpassed levels of 1913 and Soviet peasants were producing almost as much grain as before the war
        4. Counting shorter hours and increased social benefits, workers were living better than they had lived in the past (as the economy recovered and the government relaxed its censorship and repression, intense struggle for power began within the Communist party between stolid Stalin and the flamboyant Trotsky (after 1924)
      4. Joseph Dzhugashvili, later known as Stalin, joined the Bolsheviks in 1903 and after engaging in many revolutionary activities in the southern Transcaucasian area during the WW I, including a daring bank robbery to get money for the Bolsheviks
      5. This raid gained Lenin’s attention and approval; Stalin in his early writings focused on the oppression of minority peoples in the Russian Empire (good organizer)
        1. Trotsky, a great and inspiring leader who had planned the 1917 takeover and then created the victorious Red Army, appeared to have all the advantages
        2. Stalin succeeded Lenin because Stalin was more effective at gaining the all-important support of the party, the only genuine source of power in the state
        3. Rising to general secretary of the party’s Central Committee just before Lenin’s first stroke in 1922, Stalin used his office to win friends and allies with jobs and promises and Stalin also won recognition as commissar of nationalities, a key position in which he governed many of the minorities of the vast Soviet Union
      6. The “practical” Stalin also won because he appeared better able than the brilliant Trotsky to relate Marxian teaching to Soviet realities in the 1920s
        1. As commissar of nationalities he built on Lenin’s idea of granting minority groups a certain degree of freedom in culture and language while maintaining rigorous political control through carefully selected local communists (multinational state)
        2. Stalin developed a theory of “socialism in one country” that more appealing to the majority of communists than Trotsky’s doctrine of “permanent revolution”
        3. Stalin argued that the Russian-dominated Soviet Union had the ability to build socialism on its own while Trotsky maintained that socialism in the Soviet Union could succeed only if revolution occurred quickly throughout Europe
        4. Trotsky’s views seemed to sell their country short and to promise risky conflicts with capitalist countries by recklessly encouraging revolutionary movements
        5. Stalin’s willingness to break with the NEP and push socialism at home appealed to young militants (provided the party with a glimmer of hope against NEP)
      7. Stalin achieved absolute power between 1922 and 1927
        1. First, Stalin allied with Trotsky’s personal enemies to crush Trotsky, expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929 and eventually murdered in Mexico in 1940
        2. Stalin aligned with the moderates, who wanted to go slow at home, to suppress Trotsky’s radical followers and third, having defeated all the radicals, he turned against his allies, the moderates, and destroyed them as well
        3. Stalin’s final triumph came at the party congress of December 1927, which condemned all “deviation from the general party line” formulated by Stalin
    2. The Five-Year Plans
      1. The party congress of 1927, which ratified Stalin’s seizure of power, marked the end of the NEP and the beginning of the era of socialist five-year plans; the first five-year plan had staggering economic objectives (total industrial output increases by 250%)
        1. Heavy industry, the preferred sector, was to grow even faster (steel production)
        2. Agricultural production was slated to increase by 150 percent and one-fifth of the peasants in the Soviet Union were scheduled to give up private plots and join socialist collective farms (by 1930 economic and social change swept the country)
      2. Stalin unleashed his “second revolution” for a variety of interrelated reasons
        1. There were ideological considerations and since the country had recovered economically and their rule was secure, they burned to stamp out the NEP’s private traders, independent artisans, and few well-to-do peasants
        2. A new socialist offensive seemed necessary if the economy were to grow rapidly
        3. There were political considerations and internationally, there was the old problem of catching up with the advanced and capitalist nations of the West
        4. Domestically, there was what communist writers of the 1920s called the “cursed problem”—the problem of the peasants; for centuries, the peasantry had wanted to own the land and finally they had it and sooner or later, the communists reasoned that peasants would become conservative capitalists and pose a threat to regime
        5. Therefore, Stalin decided on a preventive war against the peasantry (absolutism)
      3. The war was collectivization—the forcible consolidation of individual peasants farms into large, state-controlled enterprises and beginning in 1929, peasants all over the Soviet Union were ordered to give up their land and join these collective farms
      4. As for the kulaks, the better-off peasants, Stalin instructed party workers to “liquidate them as a class” and stripped of land, the kulaks were generally not permitted to join the collective farms and many starved or were deported to forced-labor camps; the term kulak soon meant any peasant who opposed the new system
      5. Forced collectivization of the peasants led to economic and human disaster
        1. Large numbers of peasants slaughtered their animals and burned their cops in sullen, hopeless protest, and between 1929 and 1933, the number of livestock fell by at least half; nor were the state-controlled collective farms more productive
        2. The output of grain barely increased between 1928 and 1938 (identical to 1913)
        3. Communist economists had expected collectivized agriculture to pay for new factories but instead, the state had to invest heavily in agriculture and was unable to make any substantial financial contribute to industrial development at first
        4. Collectivization created human-made famine in 1932 and 1933 (many perished)
      6. Collectivization was a political victory of sorts for the Soviet Union government
        1. Regimented and indoctrinated as employees of the all-powerful state, the peasants were no longer even a potential political threat to Stalin and the Communist party
        2. The state was assured of grain for bread for urban workers, who were much more important politically than the peasants (collective farmers had to meet quotas)
      7. The industrial side of the five-year plans was more successful—quite spectacular
        1. The output of industry doubled in the first five-year plan and doubled in the second; No other major country had ever achieved such rapid industrial growth
        2. Heavy industry led the way, consumer industry grew slowly, and steel production (Stalin means “man of steel”) increased roughly 500 percent from 1928 to 1937
      8. Industrial growth also went hand in hand with urban development and more than twenty-five million people migrated to cities during the 1930s in the Soviet Union
        1. The great industrialization drive was achieved at enormous sacrifice and the creation of new factories required a great increase in total investment and a sharp decrease in consumption (few nations had ever invested more than one-sixth of their net national income); Soviet planners decreed more than one-third of the net income be devoted and that meant money being collect by hidden sales taxes
        2. There was therefore no improvement in average standard of living and average wages apparently purchases only about half as many goods in 1932 as in 1928
      9. Two other factors contributed to rapid growth: labor discipline and foreign engineers
        1. Between 1930 and 1932, trade unions lost most of their power and the government could assign workers to any job and individuals could not move
        2. Foreign engineers were hired to plan and construct many of the new factories and highly skilled American engineers were particularly important until newly trained Soviet experts began to replace them after 1932 (surge of socialist industry)
    3. Life in Stalinist Society
      1. The aim of Stalin’s five-year plans was to create a new kind of society and human personality as well as a strong industrial economy and a powerful army for the state
      2. Once everything was owned by the state, they believed, a socialist society and a new kind of human being would inevitably emerge and this had both good and bad aspects
        1. The most frightening aspect of society was brutal, unrestrained police terrorism; first directed against the peasants after 1929, terror was increasingly turned on leading Communists, powerful administrators, and ordinary people for no reason
        2. In the early 1930s, the top members of the party and government were Stalin’s obedient servants but there was some grumbling in the party
        3. After Stalin’s wife complained at a small gathering in November 1932, she died that same night, apparently by her own hand and in late 1934 Stalin’s number-two man, Sergei Kirov, was suddenly and mysteriously murdered
        4. In August 1936, sixteen prominent old Bolsheviks confessed to all manner of plots against Stalin in spectacular public trials in Moscow and then in 1937 lesser party officials and newer henchmen were arrested; in addition to party members, union officials, managers, intellectuals, army officers, and citizens were struck
        5. In all, at least eight million people were probably arrested
      3. Stalin’s mass purges were baffling and many explanations have been given for them
        1. Possibly Stalin believed that the old Communists, like the peasants under NEP, were a potential threat to be wiped out in a preventative attack
        2. Many leading Communists confessed to the crimes probably “in order to do a last service to the Party,” the party they loved even when it was wrong
        3. Some prisoners were cruelly tortured and warned that their loved ones would also die if they did not confess (Stalin’s bloodbath weakened the government/army)
        4. Others see the terror as an aspect of the fully developed totalitarian state, which must by its nature always be fighting real or imaginary enemies (message)
      4. Another aspect of life in the 1930s was constant propaganda and indoctrination
        1. Party activists lectured workers in factories and peasants on collective farms, while newspapers, films, and radio broadcasts endlessly recounted achievements
        2. Art and literature became highly political (“engineers of human minds”)
        3. Writers who could effectively combine creativity and political propaganda often lived better than top members of the political elite (glorified Russian nationalism)
        4. Stalin seldom appeared in public, but his presence was everywhere and although the government persecuted religion and turned churches into “museums of atheism,” the state had both Marxism-Leninism and Joseph Stalin
      5. Life was hard in Stalin’s Soviet Union and mass of people lived primarily on black bread and wore old, shabby clothing (constant shortages in the stores and in housing)
      6. A relatively lucky family received one room for all its members and shared both a kitchen and a toilet with others on the same floor as that family (average 4 per room)
      7. Idealism and ideology had real appeal for many communists, who saw themselves heroically building the world’s first socialist society while capitalism crumbled
      8. On a more practical level, Soviet workers did receive some important social benefits, such as old-age pensions, free medical services, free education and day-care centers
      9. The keys to improving one’s position were specialized skills and technical education
        1. Industrialization required massive numbers of train experts, such as skilled workers, engineers and plant managers (state provided tremendous incentives)
        2. The technical elite joined with the political and artistic elites in a new upper class, who members were rich, powerful, and insecure, especially during the purges
        3. Yet the possible gains of moving up outweighed the risks of the purges
    4. Mobilizing Women in the Soviet Union
      1. Marxists had traditionally believed that both capitalism and the middle-class husband exploited women and the Russian Revolution of 1917 immediately proclaimed complete equality of rights for women (in the 1920s divorce and abortion available)
      2. Women were encouraged to work outside the home and liberate themselves sexually
      3. After Stalin came to power, sexual and familial liberation was played down and the most lasting changes for women involved work and education
        1. Young women were constantly told that they had to be fully equal to men, that they could and should do anything men could do (peasant women enjoyed equality on collective farms with the advent of the five-year plans)
        2. Most of the opportunities open to men through education were also open to women and determined women pursued their studies and entered the ranks of the better-paid specialists in industry and science (medicine became women’s job)
        3. Stalinist society gave women great opportunities but demanded great sacrifices
      4. The vast majority of women simply had to work outside because wages were so low that its was almost impossible for a family to live only on the husband’s wages
      5. Most of the Soviet men in the 1930s still considered the home and the children the woman’s responsibility (men continued to monopolize the best jobs)
  3. Mussolini and Fascism in Italy
    1. The Seizure of Power
      1. In the early twentieth century Italy was a liberal state with civil rights and a constitutional monarchy and on the eve of WW I, the parliamentary regime finally granted universal male suffrage but serious problems existed in Italy
        1. Much of the Italian population was still poor and many peasants were more attached to their villages and local interests than to the national state
        2. The papacy, many devout Catholics, conservatives, and landowners remained strongly opposed to liberal institutions and to the heirs of Cavour and Garibaldi, the middle-class lawyers and politicians who ran the country for their own benefit
        3. Class differences were also extreme and a revolutionary socialists movement developed and only in Italy did the radical left win go the Socialist party gain the leadership as early as 1912 (Socialists party from Italy opposed war in beginning)
      2. The war worsened the political situation (having fought on the side of the Allies for purposes of territorial expansions, the parliamentary government bitterly disappointed Italian nationalists with Italy’s modest gains at Versailles; no social and land reform)
        1. The Russian Revolution inspired and energized Italy’s revolutionary socialist movement and the radical workers and peasants began occupying factories and seizing land in 1920, scaring and mobilizing the property-owning class
        2. After the war, the pope lifted his ban on participation by Catholics in Italian politics and a strong Catholic party quickly emerged and thus by 1921 revolutionary socialists, antiliberal conservatives, and property owners were all opposed—through for different reason—to the liberal parliamentary government
      3. Into the crosscurrents of unrest and fear stepped Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
        1. Influenced by antidemocratic cults of violent action, the young Mussolini urged that Italy join the Allies, or which he was expelled from the Socialist party
        2. Returning home after being wounded at the front in 1917, Mussolini began organizing bitter war veterans into a band of fascists (“a union of forces”)
        3. Mussolini’s program was a radical combination of nationalists and socialists demands, including territorial expansion, benefits for workers, and land reform
        4. It competed directly with the well-organized Socialist party and failed to get off; when Mussolini saw that his violent verbal assaults on rival Socialists won him growing support from conservatives and middle classes, he shifted gears in 1920
      4. Mussolini and his growing private army of Clack Shirts began to grow violent; typically fascists would sweep down on a few isolated Socialist organizers but soon socialist newspapers, union halls and local Socialist headquarters were destroyed
      5. Mussolini’s toughs pushed Socialists out of the city governments of northern Italy
      6. Mussolini allowed his followers to convince themselves that they were not just opposing the “reds” but also making a real revolution of their own (dynamic)
      7. With the government breaking down in 1922, Mussolini stepped forward as the savior of order and property and striking a conservative note in his speeches and gaining the sympathetic neutrality of army leaders, Mussolini demanded the resignation of the existing government and his own appointment by the king
      8. Victor Emmanuel II asked Mussolini to form a new cabinet, Mussolini seized power “legally” and was granted dictatorial authority for one year by king and parliament
    2. The Regime in Action
      1. Mussolini became dictator on the strength of Italians’ rejection of parliamentary government coupled with fears of Soviet-style revolution (power not clear until 1924) Some of his dedicated supports pressed for a “second revolution” but Mussolini’s ministers included conservatives, moderates, and reform-minded Socialists
      2. A new electoral law was passed giving two-thirds of the representatives in the parliament to the party that won the most votes, a change that allowed the Fascists and their allies to win an overwhelming majority in the elections of 1924
      3. Shortly after, five of Mussolini’s fascist kidnapped and murdered Giacomo Matteotti, the leader of the Socialists in the parliament (opposition demanded violence cease)
      4. Declaring his desire to make the nation Fascist, he imposed a series of repressive measures; freedom of the press was abolished, elections were fixed, and the government ruled by decrees (Mussolini arrested his political opponents) and moreover, he created a fascist youth movement, fascist labor unions/organizations
      5. By the end of 1926, Italy was a one-party dictatorship under Mussolini’s leadership but Mussolini did not complete the establishment of a modern totalitarian state
        1. His Fascist party never destroyed the old power structure, as the communists did in the Soviet Union, or succeeded in dominating it, as the Nazis did in Germany
        2. Interested primarily in personal power, Mussolini was content to compromise with the old conservative classes that controlled the army, the economy, and state
        3. Mussolini never tried to purge these classes and controlled and propagandized labor but left big business to regulate itself (no land reform occurred in Italy)
      6. Mussolini also drew increasing support from the Catholic church and in the Lateran Agreement of 1929, he recognized the Vatican as a tiny independent state and he agreed to give the church heavy financial support (pope urged Italians to support)
      7. Mussolini abolished divorce and told women to say at home and produce children and to promote that goal, he decreed a special tax on bachelors in 1934 and in 1938 women were limited by law to a maximum of 10 percent of the better-paying job in industry and government (no change in attitude toward Italian women under fascism)
      8. Mussolini’s government did not pass racial laws until 1938 and did not persecute Jews savagely until late in the Second World War, when Italy was under Nazi control
      9. Nor did Mussolini establish a ruthless state police (never a totalitarian government)
  4. Hitler and Nazism in Germany
    1. The Roots of Nazism
      1. Nazism grew out of many complex developments: extreme nationalism and racism; these two ideas captured the mind of the young Hitler who dominated Nazism
        1. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria but after dropping out of high school following the death of his father he left for Vienna to become an artist
        2. Denied admission to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, the dejected Hitler stayed in Vienna and found many beliefs that guided his later life
        3. In Vienna Hitler soaked up extreme German nationalism (Austro-German nationalists believed Germans to be a superior people and natural rulers of central Europe; advocated union with Germany and expulsion of “inferior people”)
      2. Hitler was deeply impressed by Vienna’s mayor, Karl Lueger (“Christian socialist”)
        1. With the help of the Catholic trade unions, he had succeeded in winning the support of the little people of Vienna for an attack on capitalism and liberalism
        2. Lueger showed Hitler the potential of anti-capitalist and antiliberal propaganda
        3. From Lueger and others, Hitler absorbed virulent anti-Semitism, racism, and hatred of the Slavs (particularly inspired by racism of Lanz von Liebenfels)
        4. Liebenfels stressed the superiority of Germanic races, the inevitability of racial conflict, and the inferiority of the Jews (anticipated policies of the Nazi state)
      3. Anti-Semitism and racism became Hitler’s most passionate convictions; the Jews, he claimed, directed an international conspiracy of finance capitalism and Marxian socialism against German culture, German unity, and the German race
      4. After he moved to Munich in 1913 to avoid the draft, Hitler greeted the outbreak of the First World War as salvation and the struggle and discipline of war gave life meaning and Hitler served bravely as a dispatch carrier on the western front
      5. When Germany was suddenly defeated in 1918, Hitler’s world was shattered as war was his reason for living; convinced that Jews and Marxists had “stabbed Germany in the back,” he vowed to fight on and his speeches began to attract attention
        1. In later 1919 Hitler joined a tiny extremist group in Munich called the German Workers’ party and in addition to denouncing Jews, Marxists, and democrats, the German Workers’ party promised unity under a German “national socialism” which would abolish injustices of capitalism and create a “people’s community”
        2. By 1921 Hitler had gained absolute control of this small but growing party and Hitler was already a master of mass propaganda and political showmanship
        3. Hitler’s most effective tool was the mass rally, a kind of political revival meeting and when he arrived he would work the audience with attacks on the Versailles treaty, the Jews, the war profiteers, and Germany’s Weimar Republic
      6. Party membership multiplied tenfold after early 1922 and in late 1923 Hitler decided on an armed uprising in Munich; Hitler found an ally in General Ludendorff
      7. After Hitler had overthrown the Bavarian government, Ludendorff was supposed to march on Berlin with Hitler’s support but the plot was poorly organized and it was crushed by the police and back up by the army, in less than a day
      8. Hitler was arrested, tried, and sentenced to five years in prison
    2. Hitler’s Road to Power
      1. At his trial, Hitler violently denounced the Weimar Republic and skillfully presented his own program and in doing so, gained enormous publicity and attention; Hitler concluded that he had to undermine, rather than overthrow, the government, that he had to used its democratic framework to intimidate the opposition and come to power
        1. Hitler forced his more violent supporters to accept his new strategy and he used his brief prison term (released in less than a year) to dictate Mein Kampf
        2. There he expounded on his basic themes: “race,” with a stress on anti-Semitism; “living space,” with a sweeping vision of war and conquered territory; and the leader-dictator (Fuhrer) with unlimited, arbitrary power
      2. In the years of prosperity and relative stability between 1924 and 1929, Hitler concentrated on building his National Socialist German Workers’ party, or Nazi party
        1. By 1928 the party had 100,000 highly disciplined members under Hitler’s absolute control and to appeal to the middle classes, Hitler de-emphasized the anti-capitalist elements of national socialism and vowed to fight Bolshevism
        2. The Nazi were still a small group in 1928 and only received 2.6 percent of the vote in the general elections and twelve seats in the Reichstag (parliament)
        3. There the Nazi deputies pursued the legal strategy of using democracy to destroy democracy (Hitler’s talented future minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels)
      3. In 1929 the Great Depression began striking down economic prosperity as unemployment jumped from 1.3 million in 1929 to 5 million in 1930; industrial production fell by ½ between 1929 and 1932 (by 1932, 43 percent unemployed); No factor contributed more to Hitler’s success than the economic crisis (promises)
      4. Hitler pitched his speeches especially to the middle and lower middle class business people, office workers, artisans and peasants (left conservative/moderate parties)
      5. Simultaneously, Hitler worked hard to win the support of two key elite groups
        1. Hitler promised big business leaders that he would restore their depression-shattered profits, by breaking Germany’s labor movement even reducing wages
        2. He reassured top army leaders that the Nazis would overturn the Versailles settlement and rearm Germany (successfully followed Mussolini’s fascist recipe)
        3. Hitler won at least the tacit approval of powerful conservatives
      6. The Nazis appealed strongly to German youth (mass movement of young Germans)
        1. Hitler and most of his top aides were much younger than other leading German politicians (“National Socialism is the organized will of the youth”)
        2. National recovery, exciting and rapid change, and personal advancement: these were the appeals of Nazism to the millions and millions of German youth
      7. In the election of 1930, the Nazis won 6.5 million votes and 107 seats, which made them second in strength only to the Social Democrats, the moderate socialists; as economic and political situation deteriorated, Hitler and the Nazis kept promising that they would bring economy recovery/national unity (largest party in Reichstag 1932)
      8. Another reason Hitler came to power was breakdown of democratic government as early as May 1930; unable to gain support of a majority in the Reichstag, Chancellor Heinrich Bruning convinced the president General Hindenburg, to authorize rule by decree (before, only used in emergency but Bruning intended to use it indefinitely)
      9. Bruning was determined to overcome the economic crisis by cutting back government spending and forcing down prices and wages (intensified economic collapse and convinced lower middle classes that the republican country’s leaders were corrupt)
      10. After President Hindenburg forced Bruning to resign in May 1932, the new government, headed by Franz von Papen, continued to rule by decree
      11. The continuation of the struggle between the Social Democrats and Communists was another aspect of the breakdown of democratic government
        1. The Communists refused to cooperate with the Social Democrats even after the elections of 1932; German Communists were blinded by the hatred of Socialists and by ideology: the Communists believed that fascism was reactionary
        2. Hitler’s rise represented the last agonies of monopoly capitalism and that a communist revolution would soon follow his taking of power
        3. Socialist leaders pleaded for at least a temporary alliance with the Communists to block Hitler but to no avail and perhaps the Weimar Republic had gone too far
      12. Finally, there was Hitler’s skill as a politician and as a master of mass propaganda and psychology, he had written in Mein Kampf that the masses were the “driving force of the most important changes in this world” and were driven by fanaticism
      13. To arouse such hysterical fanaticism, he believed that all propaganda had to be limited to a few simple, endlessly repeated slogans (passionate, irrational oratory)
      14. At the same time, Hitler continued to excel at dirty, back-room politics and in the complicated in-fighting in 1932, he succeeded in gaining additional support from key people in army and big business (thought they could use Hitler for own advantage)
      15. There would be only two other National Socialists and nine solid conservatives as ministers, and in such a coalition government, they reasoned, Hitler could be used and controlled; on January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor by Hindenburg
    3. The Nazi State and Society
      1. Hitler moved rapidly and skillfully to establish an unshakable dictatorship
        1. His first step was to continue using terror and threats to gain more power while maintaining legal appearances; he immediately called for new elections and applied the enormous power of the government to restrict his opponents
        2. In the midst of a violent electoral campaign, the Reichstag building was partly destroyed by fire and Hitler screamed that the Communist party was responsible
        3. On the strength of this accusation, he convinced President Hinenburg to sign dictatorial emergency acts that practically abolished the freedom of speech and assembly as well as most of the basic personal liberties
        4. When the Nazis won only 44 percent of the vote in the elections, Hitler quickly outlawed the Communist party and arrested its parliamentary representatives
      2. On March 23, 1933, the Nazis pushed through the Reichstag the so-called Enabling Act, which gave Hitler absolute dictatorial power for four years (only Social Democrats voted against this bill, for Hitler blackmailed the Center Catholic party)
        1. Hitler and the Nazis moved to smash or control all independent organizations
        2. Hitler and his propagandists constantly proclaimed that their revolution was legal and constitutional and this stress on legality, coupled with divide-and-conquer techniques, disarmed the opposition until it was too late for effective resistance
        3. The systematic subjugation of independent organizations and the apparent creation of a totalitarian state had massive repercussions; the Social Democratic and Center parties were soon dissolved and Germany became a one-party state
        4. Only the Nazi party was legal, elections were shams, Hitler and the Nazis took over the government bureaucracy that was intact, and created a series of overlapping Nazi part organizations responsible solely to Hitler
        5. The resulting system of dual government was riddled with rivalries, contra-dictions, and inefficiencies; Nazi state lacked the all-compassing unity
      3. The fractured system suited Hitler as he could play the established bureaucracy against his personal “party government” and maintain his freedom of action
      4. In the economic sphere, on big decision outlawed strikes and abolished independent labor unions, which were replaced by the Nazi Labor Front
        1. Professional people—doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers—saw their previously independent organizations swallowed up in Nazi organizations; publishing houses were put under Nazi control, and universities and writers were quickly controlled
        2. Democratic, socialist, and Jewish literature was put on ever-growing blacklists
        3. Modern art and architecture were prohibited and life became anti-intellectual
      5. Only the army retained independence, and Hitler moved brutally and skillfully to establish his control there, too; he realized that the army as well as big business was suspicious of the Nazi storm troops (SA), the quasi-military band of three million toughs in brown shirts who had fought communists and beaten up Jews
        1. The storm troopers expected top positions in the army and even talked of a “second revolution” against capitalism; Hitler decided that the SA leaders had to be eliminated and on the night of June 30, 1934, Hitler’s elite personal guard (SS) arrested and shot without trial a thousand SA leaders and political enemies
        2. Army leaders and President Hindenburg responded to the purge with congratulatory telegrams and shortly thereafter army leaders whore a binding oath
        3. The SS grew rapidly and under its methodical, inhuman leader, Heinrich Himmler, the SS joined with the political police, the Gestapo, to expand its network of special courts and concentration camps; no one was safe
      6. From the beginning, Jews were a special object of Nazi persecution and by the end of 1934, most Jewish lawyers, doctors, professors, civil servants, and musicians had lost their jobs and the right to practice their professions; in 1935 the infamous Nuremberg Laws classified as Jewish as anyone having at least one Jewish grandparent and deprived Jews of all rights of citizenship (by 1938 ¼ of Germany’s Jews had left)
      7. Following the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jewish boy trying desperately to strike out at persecution, the attack on Jews accelerated
      8. A well-organized wave of violence destroyed homes, synagogues, and businesses, after which German Jews were rounded up and made to pay for the damage
      9. It became very difficult for Jews to leave Germany; many Germans went along or looked the other way reflecting strong popular support Hitler’s government enjoyed
    4. Hitler’s Popularity
      1. Hitler had promised the masses economic recovery—“work and bread”—and he did
        1. Breaking with Bruning’s do-nothing policies, Hitler immediately launched a large public works program to pull Germany out of the depression
        2. Work began on superhighways, offices, gigantic sports stadiums, and public housing; in 1936 Germany turned toward rearmament, and government spending began to concentrate on the military (unemployment dropped steadily)
        3. By 1938 there was a shortage of workers, and women eventually took many jobs previously denied them by the antifeminist Nazis (everyone had to work and between 1932 and 1938 standard of living for the worker increased moderately
        4. The profits of business rose sharply and economic recovery was tangible evidence in their daily lives that the excitement and dynamism of Nazi rule was positive
      2. For masses of ordinary German citizens, who were not Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists, or homosexuals, Hitler’s government meant greater equality and more opportunities (position of traditional German elites strong)
      3. Barriers between classes were generally high and Hitler’s rule introduced changes that lowered barriers (stiff educational requirements favoring well-to-do relaxed)
      4. The new Nazi elite included many young and poorly educated dropouts and Nazis tolerated privilege and wealth only as long as they served the needs of the party
      5. Millions of modest middle-class and lower-middle-class people felt that Germany was becoming more open and equal, as Nazi propagandists constantly claimed
      6. It is significant that the Nazis shared with the Italian fascists the stereotypic view of women as housewives and mothers (pressure of war mobilized German women)
      7. Hitler’s rapid nationalism continued to appeal to Germans after 1933 and since the wars against Napoleon, many Germans had believed in a special mission for them
      8. When Hitler went from one foreign triumph to another and a great German empire seemed within reach, the majority of the population was delighted
      9. Not all Germans supported Hitler, however, and a number of German groups actively resisted him after 1933 (tens of thousands of political enemies were imprisoned)
      10. Opponents of the Nazis pursued various goals and under totalitarian conditions they were never unified (communists and social democrats in the trade unions); after 1935, a second group do opponents arose in the Catholic and Protestant churches; finally in 1938, some high-ranking army officers plotted against him, unsuccessfully
  5. Nazi Expansion and the Second World War
    1. Aggression and Appeasement, 1933-1939
      1. When Hitler was weak, he righteously proclaimed that he intended to overturn the “unjust system” established by the treaties of Versailles and Locarno (legal means)
        1. As Hitler grew stronger and as other leaders showed willingness to compromise, he increased his demands and finally began attacking his independent neighbors
        2. Hitler realized that his aggressive policies had to be carefully camouflaged at first, for Germany’s army was limited by the Treaty of Versailles to only 100,00 men; conquest of living space in the East and its ruthless Germanization” had dangers
        3. To avoid such threats, Hitler loudly proclaimed his peaceful intentions to all
        4. Hitler still felt strong enough to walk out of a sixty-nation disarmament conference and withdrawn from the League of Nations in October of 1933
      2. Following the action, met with widespread approval at home, Hitler moved to incorporate independent Austria into a greater Germany; Austrian Nazis climaxed an attempted overthrow by murdering the Austrian chancellor in July 1934 but failed to take power because a worried Mussolini mass his troops and threatened to fight
      3. When in March 1935 Hitler established a general military draft and declared the “unequal” disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles null and void, other countries appeared to understand the danger (France, Italy, Britain warned Germany)
        1. The emerging united front against Hitler quickly collapsed and of crucial importance, Britain adopted a policy of appeasement, granting Hitler everything he could reasonable want (and more) in order to avoid a war
        2. The first step was an Anglo-German naval agreement in June 1935 that broke Germany’s isolation and the second step came in March 1936 when Hitler suddenly marched his armies into the demilitarized Rhineland (violating treaties)
        3. Hitler had ordered his troops to retreat if France resisted militarily but an uncertain France would not move without British support and the occupation of German soil by German armies seemed right to Britain (psychological defeat)
        4. British appeasement, which practically dictated French policy, lasted far in 1939 and was motivated by British feelings of guilt toward Germany and the pacifism of a population still horrified by the memory of the First World War
        5. Many powerful conservatives in Britain underestimated Hitler and believed that Soviet communism was the real danger and that Hitler could be used to stop it
      4. The Soviet Union watched developments suspiciously as Hitler found powerful allies
        1. In 1935 Mussolini decided that imperial expansion was needed to revitalize Italian fascism and attacked the independent African kingdom of Ethiopia
        2. Western powers and the League of Nations condemned Italian aggression without saving Ethiopia from defeat and Hitler (secretly supplied Ethiopia) supported Italy energetically and thereby overcame Mussolini’s lingering doubts about the Nazis
        3. The result in 1936 was an agreement on close cooperation between Italy and Germany, the so-called Rome-Berlin Axis and Japan soon joined the Axis alliance
        4. Germany and Italy intervened in the long, complicated Spanish Civil War, where their support eventually helped General Francisco Franco’s fascist movement defeat republican Spain (Spain’s only official aid came from the U.S.S.R)
      5. In late 1937 while proclaiming peaceful intentions to the British and gullible prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, Hitler told his generals his real plans; his “unshakable decision” to crush Austria and Czechoslovakia at the earliest possible moment as the first step in his long-contemplated drive to the east for extra living space
        1. By threatening Austria with invasion, Hitler forced the Austrian chancellor in March 1938 to put local Nazis in control of the government and Austria became two more provinces of Greater Germany in March of 1938
        2. Hitler began demanding that the pro-Nazi, German-speaking minority of western Czechoslovakia—the Sudetenland—be turned over to Germany (but Czechoslovakia was prepared to defend as France had been it’s ally since 1924 and if France fought, the Soviet Union was pledge to help)
        3. In September 1938 negotiations to which the U.S.S.R. was not invited, Chamberlain and the French agreed with Hitler that the Sudetenland should be ceded to Germany and sold out by Western powers, Czechoslovakia gave in
      6. Confirmed once again in this opinion of the Western democracies as weak and racially degenerate, Hitler accelerate his aggression and in a violation of his assurances that Sudetenland was his last territorial demand, Hitler’s armies occupied the Czech lands in March 1939, while Slovakia became a puppet state
      7. When Hitler used the question of German minorities in Danzig as a pretext to confront Poland, a suddenly militant Chamberlain declared that Britain and France would fight if Hitler attacked his eastern neighbor (Hitler decided to press on)
      8. Hitler and Stalin signed a ten-year Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact in August 1939 whereby each dictator promised to remain neutral if the other became involved in war; an attached protocol divided eastern Europe into German and Soviet zones “in the event of a political territorial reorganization” (total secret protocol)
      9. Stalin had remained distrustful of Western intentions and on September 1, 1939, German armies and warplanes smashed into Poland from three sides
      10. Two days later, Britain and France, finally true to their word, declared war on Germany; the Second World War had begun
    2. Hitler’s Empire, 1939-1942
      1. Hitler’s armies crushed Poland in four weeks using a blitzkrieg or “lightning war”
        1. While the Soviet Union took the eastern half of Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, French and British armies dug in in the west
        2. In Spring 1940 after occupying Denmark, Norway, and Holland, German columns broke through southern Belgium, split the Franco-British forces, and trapped the entire British army on the beaches of Dunkirk (lightning war struck again)
      2. France was taken by the Nazis and the marshal Henri-Philippe Petain formed a new French government (Vichy government) to accept the defeat and German armies occupied most of France (By July 1940 Italy was an ally and Soviet Union a neutral)
      3. Only Britain led by the uncompromising Winston Churchill remained unconquered and Churchill proved to be one of history’s greatest wartime leaders, rallying the British with stirring speeches, infectious confidence, and bulldog determination
        1. Germany sought to gain control of the air and the Battle of Britain, up to a thousand German planes attacked British airfields and key factories in a single day, dueling with British defenders high in the skies (heavy losses on both sides)
        2. Hitler changed his strategy in September and turned from military objectives to indiscriminate bombing of British cities in an attempt to break British morale
        3. British factories increased production of their excellent fighter planes, anti-aircraft defense improved with the help of radar and in September and October 1940, Britain was beating Germany three to one in air war (no possibility of invasion)
      4. The most reasonable German strategy would have been to attack Britain through the eastern Mediterranean, taking Egypt and the Suez Canal and pinching off Britain’s supply of oil and Mussolini’s defeats in Greece had drawn Hitler into the Balkans where Germany had conquered Greece and Yugoslavia while forcing Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria into alliances with Germany by April 1941
        1. By late 1940 Hitler decided on his next move and in June 1941 German armies suddenly attacked the Soviet Union along a vast front and Hitler’s decision was a wild, irrational gamble epitomizing the self-destructive ambitions of Nazism
        2. Faithfully fulfilling all obligations under the Nazi-Soviet pact and even ignoring warnings of impending invasion, Stalin was caught off guard
        3. By October 1941 Leningrad was practically surrounded but when a severe winter struck German armies, the invaders stopped as they wore summer uniforms
      5. Engaged in a general but undeclared war against China since 1937, Japan’s rulers had increasingly come into diplomatic conflict with the United States
        1. When the Japanese occupied French Indochina in July 1941, the United States retaliated by cutting off sales of oil products and tension mounted further and on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii
        2. Hitler immediately declared war on the United State, without treaty obligations
        3. When Japanese forces advanced swiftly into Southeast Asia, Hitler and his European allies continued the two-front war against the Soviet Union and Great Britain and not until late 1942 did the Nazis suffer their first major defeats
      6. Hitler and the top Nazi leadership began building their “New Order” and they continued their efforts until their final collapse in 1945
        1. Hitler’s New Order was based on the guiding principle of Nazi totalitarianism: racial imperialism and Nordic peoples (Dutch, Norwegians, and Danes) received preferential treatment, for they were racially related to the Germans
        2. The French, an “inferior” Latin people, occupied the middle position and were heavily taxed to support the Nazi war effort but were tolerated as a race
        3. Once Nazi reverses began to mount in late 1942, all the occupied territories of western and northern Europe were exploited with increasing intensity
        4. Slavs in the conquered territories to the east were treated with harsh hatred as “sub-humans” and at the height of success in 1941 to 1942, Hitler planned for the Poles, Ukrainians, and Russian to be enslaved and forced to die out
        5. Himmler and the SS in parts of Poland arrested and evacuated Polish peasants to create a German “mass settlement space”; the Polish workers and Soviet prisoners of war were transported to Germany then systematically worked to death
        6. The conditions of Soviet slave labor in German were so harsh that four out of five Soviet prisoners did not survive the Second World War
      7. Jews were condemned to extermination, along with Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and captured communists (by 1939 German Jews had lost all their civil rights)
        1. In Poland, Jews from all over Europe were concentrated in ghettos, compelled to swear the Jewish star, and turned into slave laborers and by late 1941, Himmler’s SS began to carry out the final solution of the Jewish question” (Jews murdered)
        2. All over Hitler’s empire, Jews were systematically arrested, packed onto freight trains, and dispatched to extermination camps (concentration camps)
      8. At camps, the victims were taken by force or deception to “shower rooms,” which were actually gas chambers (first perfected in the execution of seventy thousand mentally ill Germans between 1938 and 1941) permitted rapid, hideous, and thoroughly bureaucratized mass murder (people choked to death on poison gas)
      9. Body parts were used and at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous of the Nazi death factories, as many as twelve thousand humans were slaughtered each day
      10. The extermination of European Jews was the ultimate monstrosity of Nazi racism and racial imperialism; by 1945, six million Jews had been murdered
    3. The Grand Alliance
      1. While the Nazis built their savage empire, the Allies faced the hard fact that change, rather than choice, had brought them together (only the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s immediate declaration of war had overwhelmed the isolation)
        1. The Allies overcame their mutual suspicions and built an unshakable alliance on the quicksand of accident; by means of three interrelated policies they succeeded
        2. President Roosevelt accepted Churchill’s contention that the United States should concentrate first on defeating Hitler and only after victory in Europe would the United States turn toward the Pacific for on all-out attack on Japan (lesser threat)
        3. America’s policy of “Europe first” helped solidify the anti-Hitler coalition
      2. Second, within the European framework the Americans and the British put immediate military needs first and avoided conflicts that might have split the alliance until after
      3. To further encourage mutual trust, the Allies adopted the principle of the “unconditional surrender “ of Germany and Japan (cemented the Grand Alliance because it denied Hitler any hope of dividing his foes; this also meant that victorious allies would come together to divide all of Germany, and most of the Continent
      4. The United State geared up rapidly for all-out war production and drew heavily on a generally cooperative Latin America for resources (50 billion dollars given total)
      5. Too strong to lose and too weak to win standing alone, Britain continued to make a great contribution and the economy was totally mobilized and the sharing of burdens through rationing and heavy taxes on war profits maintained social harmony
      6. As for the Soviet Union, in the face of German advance, whole factories an populations were successfully evacuated to eastern Russia and Siberia, war production was reorganized and expanded, and the Red Army was well supplied
      7. The United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union were aided by a growing resistance movement against the Nazis throughout Europe, even in Germany; after the U.S.S.R. was invaded in June 1941, communists throughout Europe took the lead in the under-ground resistance, joined by a growing number of patriots and Christians
    4. The Tide of Battle
      1. The Germans renewed their offensive against he Soviet Union in July 1942 and
        1. They drove toward the southern city of Stalingrad in attempt to cripple communications and seize crucial oil fields of Baku (occupied the ruined city)
        2. In November 1942, Soviet armies counterattacked, rolled over Rumanian and Italian troops, and surrounding the entire German Sixth Army of 300,000 men and by January 1943, only 123,000 soldiers were left to surrender (refused to retreat)
      2. In late 1942 the tide also turned in the Pacific and in North Africa and by late spring 1942, Japan had established a great empire in East Asia (appeals to local nationalists using propaganda and many preferred Japan’s Greater Asian Co-prosperity Sphere)
        1. In the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942, Allied naval and air power stooped Japanese advance and also relived Australia from the threat of invasion; this victory was followed by the Battle of Midway island where American pilots sank all four attack aircraft carriers establishing American naval superiority in Pacific
        2. In August 1942 American marines attacked Guadalcanal in the Solomon islands (only 15 percent of Allied resources going to first war in Pacific) the Americans under General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz, and the Australians began “island hopping” toward Japan (Japanese forces on defensive)
      3. In May 1942 combined German and Italian armies under General Erwin Rommel attacked Egypt and the Suez Canal for the second time but were finally defeated by British forces at the Battle of El Alamein (70 milers from Alexandria)
      4. In October the British counterattacked in Egypt and an Anglo-American force landed in Morocco and Algeria (French possessions went over to the side of the Allies)
      5. Having driven the Axis powers from North Africa by the spring of 1934, Allied forces maintained initiative by invading Sicily and then mainland Italy and Mussolini disposed, the new Italian government accepted unconditional surrender in September
      6. Germany applied itself to total war in 1942 (production tripled between 1942 and 1944) and British and American bomb raids killed many German citizens (no effect)
      7. After an unsuccessful attempt on Hitler’s life in July 1944, thousands of Germans were brutally liquidated by SS fanatics (Germans fought on suicidal stoicism)
      8. On June 6, 1944, American and British forces under General Dwight Eisenhower landed on the beaches of Normandy in history’s greatest naval invasion (tricked Germans into believing the attack would come near the Belgian border)
      9. In a hundred dramatic days, the 2.5 million men broke through German lines and Eisenhower moved forward cautiously on a broad front; not until March 1945 did American troops cross the Rhine River and enter Germany
      10. The Soviets reached the outskirts of Warsaw by August 1944 and in January 1945 Red armies moved westward through Poland and on April 26 met on the Elbe River
      11. As Soviet forces fought their way into Berlin, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker and on May 7, the remaining German commanders capitulated
      12. Three months later, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the Japanese surrendered, and WW II ended (50 million deaths)

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 29: Dictatorships and the Second World War" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 04 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Jul. 2017. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/european-history/outlines/chapter-29-dictatorships-and-the-second/>.
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