The Second World War I

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Published on April 13, 2008

Author: Noemie

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The Second World War (1939-1942, Victories of the Axis):  The Second World War (1939-1942, Victories of the Axis) In March-April 1939, two German acts of agression put an end to the “policy of appeasement” of Britain and France. Hitler decided to destroy Czechoslovakia completely and urged in March 1939, the Slovak separatists to proclaim independence and Hungary to occupy Subcarpathia. He imposed an agreement on the Czech government, occupied Prague on March 15 and proclaimed a German protectorate over Bohemia and Moravia. Slide2:  At the end of March 1939, Germany made also claims against Poland, and imposed an economic treaty on Romania to obtain oil. Mussolini decided in April 1939 to annex Albania where it had economic and political influence since 1926. But the Duce acted even more for strategic reasons (control of the Adriatic Sea, beachhead in the Balkans). There were strong diplomatic reactions from Britain and France, but Germany and Italy reacted by signing in May 1939 an alliance treaty called the “Pact of Steel.” Slide3:  To these violations of the international agreements, France and Britain reacted by trying to set up a barrier. They declared in April that they would intervene militarily in case of a German aggression against the Netherlands, Belgium, or Switzerland. They would also come to the aid of Poland if that country’s independence was threatened and if it chosed to resist. Also, in uniletaral declarations, they promised aid to Greece, and Romania, and in May 1939 Britain signed a treaty of mutual assistance with Turkey. Slide4:  Attention This sudden change in British policy was caused by the annexation of Czechoslovakia and the loss of faith of Britain in the policy of appeasement. A German domination of the European continent would threaten the world position of Britain. Slide5:  Britain proposed to France, the USSR and Poland to examine common measures to stop any aggression against European states. Belgium turned down a military agreement as it wanted to keep an independent policy. France and Britain gave a guarantee to Poland but without USSR as Poland refused to allow any Soviet troops to pass through its territory. Poland did not want to depend on either Germany or USSR. Also Britain was distrustful of Stalin who seemed to want to avoid a war with the III. Reich and sought a rapprochement with Hitler. Slide6:  The USA did not want to play any role in a French-British-Soviet European front against the Axis and Roosevelt did not succeed in amending the Neutrality Laws of 1935. Hitler wanted to intimidate France and Britain and to isolate Poland, and to settle the issue by war if necessary. Mussolini said Italy was not to be ready for war before 1942 as it needed to pacify Albania and Ethiopia and to complete its naval armament program. In April 1939, Hitler demanded the restitution of Danzig and extrateritorial railroads and highways through the Polish Corridor. He was already determined to start war, and waged a campaign of nerves against Poland. Slide7:  Poland resisted German demands after France and Britain declared on different occasions that they were to honor their alliance obligations toward Poland. Hitler offered a non-aggression pact to the USSR and after six weeks of secret negotiations, the pact was signed by German foreign minister Ribbentrop and Soviet foreign minister Molotov in Moscow (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). A secret annex called for the partition of Poland and put Baltic states in the Soviet sphere of influence. On 23 August 1939, the Pact was finally signed between Germany and USSR establishing cooperation against Poland and it came as a shock in the Western Europe. Slide8:  Thanks to that pact, Nazi Germany was to obtain valuable raw materials from the USSR. Seeing that France and Britain were not serious about a pact, and after Poland’s refusal, Stalin had accepted the German offer which was to help the USSR regain large territories and remove the barrier set up by Versailles Treaty between the Soviet Russia and Central Europe. Stalin also wanted war in Europe to take place in the West rather than in the East. He did not want war with Hitler and its rising war machine and needed a temporary breathing spell. Stalin also wanted to prevent Germany from taking all of Poland and to prevent German support for Japan in Siberia. Slide9:  Before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, while France was putting pressure on Poland to let Russian troops through, Britain was more hesitant because of its mistrust of the USSR. Poland was then in a dramatic situation, and hoped to resist alone in a case of aggression with France hopefully pressing Germany in the west. As soon as the pact with the USSR was signed Hitler decided to attack Poland, thinking that France and Britain would not intervene once again. But France was ready to support Poland and Britain signed an alliance treaty with Poland on August 25, 1939. Slide10:  Hitler tried to negotiate Britain’s neutrality but Britain refused and proposed negotiations on Dantzig and the Polish Corridor if Germany adhered to international guarantees to the Polish borders. Mussolini stated then that Italy was not to enter in a war. Slide11:  Poland ordered general mobilization on August 30 and designed a negotiator. Hitler refused to reveal his conditions and ordered the invasion Poland on September 1, 1939 (“From now on, bombs will be met by bombs!”) Two days later France and Britain declared war to the III. Reich. Hitler had expected Britain to remain neutral but France and Britain did not accept a second Munich betrayal. The French government thought that it could not abandon Poland as a victorious Germany would then turn against it with all of its power. Slide12:  Attention The Second World War was initiated by the actions of Hitler and could have been avoided only if he had not wanted it. Hitler’s policy had long long been defined in his book Mein Kampf. Hitler’s actions were realizable because of the long passivity of the big democratic powers. Slide13:  Until April 1939 Britain did not really try to support any French initiative to resist the German violations of the Versailles (with a few exceptions), and had delayed its rearmament until 1936. The isolationist attitude of the USA had strongly influenced Britain. All these hesitations made Hitler’s successes possible. As a final step before the outbreak of the WW II, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact decided the fate of the peace. Slide14:  Once the WW II started, in September 1939, in its war against Poland, France and Britain, Germany was in a better position than in 1914 thanks to the neutrality of Soviet Russia. It crushed Poland in three weeks then turned all its forces to the Western Front and defeated France in June 1940. Britain found itself alone, Germany was joined by Italy, prepared a plan to invade the British Isles (Operation Seelöwe) and tried to paralyze its communication lines in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The war became worldwide in 1941, with the intervention of the USSR in June and the USA in December, through the initiatives of Germany and Japan. Germany could no longer win the war. Slide15:  In 1942, Hitler still hoped to defeat the Soviet Russia and to get a advantageous peace from the Allies. The military defeat in Stalingrad in November 1942 detroyed this hope, the Allies landed in North Africa and moved from there to Italy which capitulated in September 1943. The German armies retreated in Russia, American forces launched counter-offensive against the Japanese Empire in the Pacific. Germany, retreating in front of the USSR in Eastern Europe, faced an Allied landing in France in June 1944, was invaded and the III. Reich collapsed in Spring 1945, making Japan’s surrender inevitable. Slide16:  In the history of international relations, like in WWI, the various interventions or defections brought changes in the balance of the military forces and in the strategic situation. The transformations of the relations between peoples and continents resulting from the war were to be also very important.   Slide17:  The first phases of the war Germany had in September 1939 54 army divisions (6 of them armoured Panzerdivisionen and 5 motorised) and 3,500 combat aircraft, and could add within two weeks 56 reserve divisions to the Wehrmacht. Most of these divisions were launched in the Blitzkrieg against Poland with only 11 divisions to cover the Western Front. Poland had only 30 divisions, partially modernized, much less tanks and aircraft compared with the Wehrmacht. It was very vulnerable because of 1,900 kms of borders to protect. Poland hoped for a French offensive on Germany in the west. Slide18:  Britain had only 2 divisions as it developed mainly its air defenses and combat air fleets. With 55 divisions the French army was almost equal to the German army but was ill-equipped for an offensive operation (had only 1 tank division in spite of earlier warnings of De Gaulle and 400 modern combat aircraft). After the signature of the August 1939 German-Soviet Pact, the French high command was convinced that Poland was to be quickly defeated. The Polish army was beaten in three weeks, the air force in the first 48 hours. The last blow was dealt by the Red Army which entered the Eastern Poland to make sure that Germany did not take the area “allocated” to the USSR by their August 1939 secret pact. Slide19:  In October 1939 Hitler informed the British government that he was ready to make peace on the basis of the territories gained by Germany. Britain and France refused because they knew the real goal of the war was to stop Hitler’s hegemony on the continent. The defeat of Poland ended for Hitler the need for a war on two fronts. During the Polish campaign, German troops were ordered not to cross the French border. Hitler would have liked to start an attack against France in November but his generals favoured a delay, so he waited until Spring 1940 (drôle de guerre). Slide20:  On 1 May 1940 Germany had 139 divisions on the Western Front (including 5 armoured ones with 3,500 tanks) and 5,200 aircraft, all built since 1935. The new German military doctrine was emphasized on massive attacks with tanks and combat aviation to break through fortified lines of defense (Blitzkrieg). France then had 101 divisions, with 15 holding the fortified Maginot Line, 2,800 tanks, less aircraft than Germany, and most of its artillery dating back to the WW I. French military cadres were less professional, the generals were confident in a defensive posture and preferred to wait until Britain could give a more effective assistance to France. Slide21:  But the British army was very weak, could line up only 8 new divisions between September 1939 and May 1940. Britain only improved its air force with 1,700 combat aircraft. Belgium had 22 divisions and the Netherlands 11 but these forces were to be disorganized and eliminated in the first clash with the mighty German army. The industrial potential of Germany was excellent but this industrial power was threatened by the blockade of the lines of naval communications cutting off access to sources of raw materials. There was a need to rely on synthetic products and on trade relations with other European countries like Sweden, USSR, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Slide22:  The situation was not as bad as in 1914-1918 but the German economy remained very vulnerable in case of a long war. The industrial potential of France and Britain was inferior to that of Germany, hindered by the great economic crisis in France through the 1930s, and developed only after 1934 in Britain. There was also a greater dependence on foreign trade than in the case of Germany. But the freedom to trade and import from the USA, Latin America, the Dutch Indies and the Middle-East was ensured for the Allies by the mastery over the seas and a combined naval power superior to that of Germany. Slide23:  In Britain, the desire to block the German expansionism, was supported by the Parliament, the press and the public. Winston Churchill became Prime minister in 1940 with moderate war aims: no territorial gains, only the restoration of the independence of Czechoslovakia and Poland, no dismemberment of Germany. In Germany, there was a ban on the communists and socialists, silencing all the opposition. The Nazi propaganda stressed discipline, respect of duty and of the state, all strong elements of German culture. No more unemployement, success in foreign policy, restoration of German power and military traditions, resulted in acceptance by or resignation of the major part of public opinion. Slide24:  The German opposition had to wait until the first signs of the defeat in order to act. In France, the conditions of political life in the 1930s affected the public opinion. There were two oppositions against the foundations of the regime: open by the communists (15% of the voters) and silent by rightist elements which are sympathetic to fascism in Italy and Franco’s regime in Spain. After the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the communist party distanced itself from a war to defend Poland. There was no unanimous support like the “sacred union” of 1914. Lack of initiative and of dynamism, pacifist sentiments, France’s demographic and economic exhaustion were all due to the devastating First World War. Slide25:  As a result, French and British general staffs did not believe a victory was possible in the near future as Germany was superior in men and armaments. But they believed in the efficiency of a blockade which would hinder in the long run the supplying of the enemy with raw materials and foodstuffs. Entire strategic concept was defensive: waiting for the effect of the economic weapon then taking the offensive. On the contrary, Germany had to fear the economic consequences of a long war, to seek a quick military solution or “control” of the industrial and agricultural resources of vast enemy territories. Slide26:  Once the Second World War had started, the economic resources of the neutral states attracted the attention of all belligerents. France and Britain knew already in spring 1940 that to be able to fight a long war, they were to need major economic support from the USA in raw materials, foodstuffs and manufactured goods even more than in WWI. Germany also needed iron ore and oil from Russia, Romania and Sweden. Only the armed intervention of the big neutral powers like the USSR or the USA could change the balance of forces. Slide27:  Italy declared non-belligerency in September 1939. It had a population of 43.5 million,with an insufficient industrial potential by that time. It had 67 divisions (18 of them out of Italy) with 34 of them incomplete, only 2 tank divisions. The situation was relatively improved, but still 71 divisions in Spring 1940, 20 of them incomplete. The armed forces had a considerable air force with 1,800 aircraft. In sum, Italy possessed stronger forces than in WWI. But it was economically weak, industry highly dependent on imports of raw materials (oil, coal, iron ore) from overseas. For Italy, it was even more difficult than for Germany to sustain a long war. Slide28:  There was an opposition to the fascist regime among the Italian aristocracy, the business circles, and liberal intellectuals. Public opinion did not actively support a great national effort and Italy’s entry into the war but there was no organized resistance movement either. The USSR was one of the most populated country in the world after China with a population of 170 million in 1939, 129 million living in the European part of Russia. It had more human resources than all other European powers or the USA and could equip them thanks to the considerable heavy industrial development achieved by the dictatorial rule of Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Slide29:  The USSR could line up 165 divisions, 5,000 aircraft and more tanks than Germany. However, its army leadership was disorganized by the purges of 1938. Thanks to the August 1939 pact with Germany, Russia gained part of Poland. But Stalin was concerned about its promised sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and the danger of Japanese imperialism in the Far East. Slide30:  The USA was in an exceptional position due to its economic power more than to its population of 132 million in 1940. By 1936 it had overcome the economic recession and its industrial production accounted again for 35% of world production. Like after 1914, the economy was stimulated by the start of the war in Europe, and by the US exports of wheat, cotton, and oil. US export restrictions were lifted in October 1939, again France and Britain which must pay on “cash and carry” basis were the main beneficiaries as Germany was blockaded. The army, reduced to 132,000 men in 1923, remained weak for ten years, and numbered about 200,000 troops in 1939. Slide31:  The American rearmament program had hardly started when war began in Europe, only the navy was an adequate force because of the Japanese danger in the Pacific. The public opinion was isolationist and saw no reason for direct intervention in an European war and the army’s mission was defensive as the USA’s security was not directly threatened. Slide32:  Japan had a population of nearly 100 million in 1938 and was following a policy of conquest since 1937, occupying most important regions of China but could not break down the resistance of the Chinese people and penetrate the interior of the country. It was a difficult war, Japan had 1 million men in China but still had enough reserves left to take advange of the war in Europe in order to expand in the Pacific region. It had a strong navy with modern aircraft carriers and 2,700 aircraft (including formidable Mitsubishi Zero fighters). However, its economic situation was fragile, it had to import foodstuff from China and depended on the USA and the Dutch Indies for oil. Japan was vulnerable in case of a long war with the USA. Slide33:  The Japanese people had an old tradition of strong discipline, spirit of sacrifice and unconditional obediance to the Emperor who was believed to be a living god. Some business circles were worried about military adventures but the opposition forces were weak in front of the militarist government. Attention The big neutral powers were to play a decisive role in the war between France, Britain, and Germany, especially after Germany’s victory over France in June 1940. Slide34:  From the start of the war, the belligerents watched the attitude of the neutral states, Turkey included, which was again controlling the Straits since the Montreux Convention of 1936. After trying to negociate a “Black Sea Pact” with the USSR in August 1939, Turkey signed in October an alliance treaty with France and Britain which were to give aid to Turkey in case of an agression to the latter by an European power. In turn, Turkey was to assist the Allies if they were attacked in the Mediterranean but in no case would Turkey be obliged to enter into a war with the Soviet Russia. Slide35:  Before the 1940 German offensive against France, the Scandinavian states, Belgium and Italy were the focus of intense diplomacy. In October 1939, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland announced that they were to observe a “strict neutrality.” But the August 1939 German-Soviet Pact made this neutrality precarious. In November 1939, the USSR demanded border modifications from Finland and started war against it (the Winter War), putting Sweden in a difficult situation. Sweden declared it was to remain neutral and not to take part in any League of Nations military sanctions against the Soviet Russia. It only gave credits, some armaments and volunteers but no direct aid to Finland, and followed a careful policy. Slide36:  Neutral Sweden also supplied iron ore to Germany. British fleet could not enter the Baltic Sea in order to intercept it because of Denmark’s neutrality. Norway was not threatened by Finnish-Russian war but found it hard to remain neutral because of its geographic location and economic interests. It leased parts of its merchant navy to Britain, to the displeasure of Germany. It also agreed in a trade treaty with Germany that Swedish iron ore could be shipped through Norwegian port of Narvik, and Britain was not happy. In sum, Norway enjoyed a fragile balance between the belligerents in winter 1939-1940. Slide37:  The Swedish and Norwegian attitude were questioned in early 1940 by France, Britain, and Germany. France in March 1940 asked Sweden to let through its territory a French expeditionary corps of 50,000 men to help Finland under the terms of the League’s condemnation of the USSR, and also to cut off Sweden’s iron ore route for Germany. Sweden refused it in order to avoid a general war with both Germany and the USSR. The same demand was made on Norway which also refused. Finland, althought fought with a great endurance and patriotism, seeing that it could not receive any help, accepted the peace conditions imposed by Stalin, losing the region of Karelia (%10 of Finland). Slide38:  But the iron ore issue remained open and the Allies did not give up the plan of a military intervention in Scandinavia to seize the iron mines and the ports (Narvik in Norway, Lulea in Sweden) from which the iron was shipped to Germany. They asked Sweden to stop its shipments, wanted to mine Norway’s territorial waters, and decided to land forces in Narvik on April 10, 1940. Lightening response of Germany came earlier, on April 9 1940. Germany invaded Denmark and Norway (Operation Weserübung). Hitler had planned even earlier to occupy western Norway to anticipate British intervention and to set up bases there for air and naval warfare against the British Isles. Slide39:  But the iron ore issue was even more important and the German offensive also extended to the north and Narvik. The Allies asked Sweden to come to the aid of Norway while Germany told it not to mobilize and to continue its iron ore shipments. Sweden could only reaffirm its neutrality as to do othwerwise would cause a harsh German reaction. This decision favoured Germany as it bared Allied troops from occupying the iron ore mines. Sweden was able to remain neutral because it was not at the center of the military operations like Norway. Slide40:  In April 1940, Stalin had warned that the neutrality of Sweden was in the vital interest of the USSR so Germany preferred not to provoke Moscow. In both cases the shadow of Russia influenced the designs of the belligerents. The Soviet Russia’s behavior toward Germany was uncertain. The Neutrality pact of August 1939 and secret protocol of September 1939 after the partition of Poland had placed Lithuania under Soviet influence. Hitler was distrustful and thought Stalin wanted to extend its influence in the Balkans and the Near East. But Germany received important raw materials from the USSR and exported industrial goods and even military equipment there to alleviate the effects of the Allied blockade. Slide41:  Belgium chose in 1936 neutrality instead of collective security. But it was on the road of invasion since the German armies could not risk a direct attack against France’s Maginot line and France one against Germany’s Siegfried line. In August 1939 all belligerents announced that they were to respect Belgium’s neutrality but Belgian government was conscious of the German threat. After German victory in Poland, Allies wanted to initiate military staff negotiations and a secret military accord to help Belgium in case of a German violation of Belgian neutrality but the Belgian government declined because of its fear of provoking Germany. It sent an appeal to France and Britain only on May 10, 1940 after its borders were violated by the Wehrmacht. Slide42:  In September 1939 Italy had declared not neutrality but non-belligerence in order to indicate its solidarity with Germany. It also favoured the nationalist anti-Yugoslav movement in Croatia. Difficulty in raw material supplies was Italy’s greatest weakness and it definitely had to stockpile if it wanted to enter into the war. There were deficiencies in the armed forces, their modernization program was not completed yet in April 1940. Public opinion was against a war, as well as the king and part of the military leadership. Mussolini thought the war would be short and France and Britain would stop fighting and accept a partial revision of the territorial status quo. Slide43:  Mussolini’s attitude gradually changed in 1940, wanting to join Hitler but still waited for the best moment, when the German armies were about to crush the French and British troops in France on May 26, 1940. Mussolini also waited for an improvement of Italian armed forces and until he was sure that France was defeated by Hitler’s armies. Slide44:  France and the Benelux countries were invaded on May 10, 1940 ending the “Phony War (drôle de guerre) and beginning the Battle of France. The Franco-British troops were defeated in front of the tactical and air superiority of the Wehrmacht. The British Expeditionary Force, trapped in the northern France, was evacuated at Dunkirk. France, defeated, signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940 and the Vichy France puppet government was created. The Third Reich was the master of the Western Europe. Slide45:  In June of 1940 the Soviet Union occupied Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and annexed Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania. Not having secured a peace settlement with Britain, Germany began preparations to invade the British Isles thorugh the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe and the RAF (Royal Air Force) fought for control of Britain's skies. The Luftwaffe initially targeted the RAF Fighter Command, but turned to the bombing of major British cities and suffered very heavy human and material casualties and finally Hitler had to abandon its plan to invade Britain. Slide46:  In a further long-running campaign, German U-Boats attempted to deprive Britain of necessary Lend Lease cargo from the United States. Shipments were reduced considerably by the U-Boats attacks, however it was not sufficient to cause Britain to seek peace. The Tripartite Pact was signed between Germany, Italy, and Japan on September 27, 1940, formalizing their alignment as the "Axis Powers“. Italy invaded Greece on October 28, 1940 from bases in Albania. Although outnumbered, Greek forces successfully repelled the Italian attacks and invaded parts of South Albania. The Nazi Empire in 1941:  The Nazi Empire in 1941 Slide48:  Hitler's forces then invaded Greece and Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. Hitler reluctantly sent forces to assist Mussolini's bogged-down forces in Greece, principally to prevent a British buildup on Germany's strategic southern flank. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, commenced on June 22, 1941 after a delay of six weeks due to the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. The offensive began with surprise attacks by three German army groups, which encircled and destroyed much of the Red Army’s western force, capturing or killing hundreds of thousands of men during the first weeks of the invasion. Slide49:  The Red Army immediately started to fight a war of scorched earth, withdrawing into the steppes of Russia to acquire time and to exhaust the German army. The Soviet industries were dismantled and withdrawn to the east of the Ural mountains for reassembling. Finland entered into war on the side of the Axis against the USSR on June 25, 1940 in order to liberate Karelia. However, in spite of their heavy human and material casulaties, the Soviet forces held off the Wehrmacht outside Moscow thank to the Russian winter. Slide50:  Operation Barbarossa Slide51:  U.S. President Roosevelt signed an executive order in May of 1940 allowing U.S. military personnel to resign from the service so that they could participate in a covert operation in China against Japan (Flying Tigers). With the United States and other countries cutting exports to Japan, Japan planned a surprise strike on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, dealing severe damage to the American Pacific Fleet. Japanese forces simultaneously invaded the British possessions of Malaya and Borneo and the American occupied Philippines, with the intention of seizing the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies. The British island fortress of Singapore was occupied in what Churchill considered one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time. Slide52:  At the end of 1941 the coalition or “Great Alliance” of Britain, USA, and the USSR against the Axis Powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy was superior in men, materials, and resources. Yet Germany continued to achieve military successes for one more year, and Japan conquered most of South East Asia. A strategic reversal was to take place only in Fall 1942. But once the USA entered the war, the Allies possessed, in Churchill’s words, “overwhelming force” and this was to alter totally the overall balance of forces. Thanks to their economic superiority, the Allied forces had more troops, more aircraft,and more tanks on the battlefields. Slide53:  The battle of Kursk, with 2,700 German and 4,000 Russian tanks involved, was the biggest tank battle of all times ended with the exhaustion of the German forces. The huge Soviet losses and the Anglo-Saxon ships lost in the Atlantic were quikly replaced. By 1945, the Soviet Russia’s superiority over Germany was very high: 5:1 in men and armour, 7:1 in artillery, and 17:1 in aircraft. The German armies were scattered all over Europe, large Japanese forces were stationed in China and Manchuria. Attention Germany and Japan had overextended themselves and lost the battle of intelligence, and their leaderships had committed crucial errors. Slide54:  The disproportion between the belligerents was even bigger than in World War I. The Allies had two times the manufacturing strength, three times the war potential, and three times the national income of the Axis Powers. The arms output of the US was to increase eightfold between 1941 and 1943. Already through the Land Lease Act of March 1941, the USA had provided $40 to $50 billion worth of aid to Britain, Russia and European governments in exile. As a consequence of this huge superiority, the Nazi Germany was to be ultimately overwhelmed and defeated. Slide55:  In November 1942 Allied forces landed in North Africa without consulting the Vichy government and the Free France government. The French authorities of North Africa sided with the Allies who were to ultimately achieve victory in the Mediterranean. In November 1942, the counter-offensive of the Red Army at Stalingrad encircled the German 6th Army obliging it to surrender in January 1943. On June 5, 1942, at the Battle of Midway, the Japanese navy suffered a serious defeat and the American counter-offensive started in the Pacific. Slide56:  The cooperation between the three allies was far from being perfect. The issue was the setting of the aims of the war and the bases of the future peace. The Free French government, the Polish government in London, and the governments in exile of Greece, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, and Norway were not consulted. In summer 1941 during the first weeks of the German attack, the Allies furnished war materials to the Soviet Russia. But Stalin wanted them to open also a second front in the West. Slide57:  In August 1941, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt without consulting Stalin issued the Atlantic Charter. Two aims of the charter worried Stalin: the right of self-determination of people and the renunciation of territorial advantages, which meant a rejection of the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact. Stalin stated the USSR’s claims, which were the restoration of Soviet influence in the Baltic States and Bessarabia, and a new Polish-Russian border along the Curzon Line of 1919. The Polish government in London was opposed and wanted the border set by the 1921 Treaty of Riga, and Stalin did not insist at that time Slide58:  Attention The Soviet military victory in Stalingrad at the end of 1942 ended the expansionism of the III. Reich and of the Axis on land, and, opened a new chapter in the US and British relations with the USSR. Stalin could then speak louder and more firmly, returned to his war objectives and insisted on a second front against Germany. In the Pacific, the defeat of the Imperial Japanese Fleet at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 marked the end of the Japanese expansionism and superiority in the Ocean. WW II in Europe:  WW II in Europe WW II in the Pacific:  WW II in the Pacific

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