This Fall 2012 semester, I am teaching a course entitled Modern America (HIST 386) in which I concentrate on the Great Depression, New Deal, and World War Two.

My most updated material for this World War Two module is on the following page of our wiki:



The Course to War in Europe, 751
German Aggression under Hitler
Isolationist Views in the United States
Nye Committee Hearings
Roosevelt's Evolving Views
Poland and the Outbreak of World War II

Japan, China, and a New Order in Asia, 754
Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek)
Manchurian Crisis
Map: Japanese Expansion Before Pearl Harbor
Roosevelt's Quarantine Speech

U.S. Entry into World War II, 757
Map: The German Advance
Links to the World: Radio News
First Peacetime Military Draft
Atlantic Charter
U.S. Demands on Japan
Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor
Explaining Pearl Harbor
Avoidable War?
Legacy: Presidential Deception of the Public

World War II Diplomacy interactive

Historian of the State Department items to be inserted

Mukden Incident and the Stimson Doctrine

Good Neighbor Policy

Recognition of the Soviet Union

Neutrality Acts

American Isolationism in the 1930s

Henry Luce and 20th-Century U.S. Internationalism

Lend Lease

Lend Lease
(Today in History, Library of Congress)

Tehran Conference

Yalta Conference

Potsdam Conference

Website Spotlight blog posts that pertain to this module

World War Two (BBC)

Battle of the Atlantic Interactive (BBC)

World War II Europe (History Animated map)

World War II Pacific (History Animated map)

WWII Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (PBS)

Nuremberg Trials (Famous Trials)

Nuremberg Trials (American Experience)

The War (Ken Burns)

Bataan Rescue (American Experience)

Battle of the Bulge (American Experience)

Zoot Suit Riots (American Experience)

MacArthur (American Experience)

American and the Holocaust (American Experience)

Codetalkers (National Museum of the American Indian)

Japanese-American Internment (Smithsonian)

Powers of Persuasion: Posters from WWII (U.S. National Archives)


World War II in Europe

World War II in the Pacific



Japan became a major threat to U.S. goals in Asia:
Events preceding World War II in Asia (Wikipedia)

Standard Map: Pacific Theater

(1) Japan's "New Order" in Asia.

Wanted a sphere of influence in Asia
Similar to United States in Latin America
U.S. unwilling to permit such Japanese influence.
United States had major interests at stake in Asia:
Philippines and various Pacific islands
Religious missions
Trade and investments
Open Door in China.

Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (Wikipedia)

(2) Japanese seized Manchuria
Japanese invasion of Manchuria (Wikipedia)
Manchuria Invasion 1931 Mukden Incident (Wikipedia)

American response: Stimson Doctrine of nonrecognition
Mere moral lecture
U.S. had neither the means nor will to use military force.


U.S. recognized Soviet Union. To increase trade. To halt Japanese expansion.

US recognizes Soviet Union (1933)

Adolf Hitler: Chancellor of Germany (1/30)

Franklin Roosevelt: President of the United States (3/4)

U.S. Neutrality Acts. Neutrality Acts an expression of isolationist sentiment.
Congress sought to protect the nation by outlawing the kinds of contacts that had compromised U.S. neutrality during World War I.


Germany reoccupied the Rhineland (3/7)
Remilitarization of the Rhineland (Wikipedia)

Expansion in Europe by Germany, 1930s

Olympic Games held in Berlin (August)
1936 Summer Olympics

See also:

Jesse Owens . American Experience . WGBH | PBS

Jesse Owens (Wikipedia)

50 stunning Olympic moments No6: Jesse Owens's four gold medals | John Ashdown | Sport |

Civil war in Spain. (1936-1939)

Spanish Civil War (

Spanish Civil War
(Today in History, Library of Congress)

Spanish Civil War (Wikipedia)

Foreign involvement in the Spanish Civil War (Wikipedia)

Democratic (left-wing) Spanish government supported by Soviet Union and international mercenaries.

Abraham Lincoln brigade from America.

1st Lincoln Battalion flag.svg (Wikipedia)

General Franco (right-wing) supported by Germany and Italy (fascists).

Britain, France, and U.S. looked the other way.
U. S. arms embargo.
Franco eventually won.

Bombing of Guernica (Wikipedia)

BBC News - Picasso's Guernica in a car showroom

Spanish Civil War websites
1. DBQ Spanish Civil War (National Archives)
Don Henry story
See the Sacrifice for Spain poster at a college campus (Univ. of Kansas)

2. Spanish Civil War (LOC) Today in History July 17
Work through this as a guide to research sources

3. Spanish Civil War Letters from American Volunteers
One is a letter from a nurse; another from a woman volunteer.

4. Spanish Civil War Posters (LOC)
Go to Preview; click on All the Images
Can click on any of 124 posters

See also:

BBC News - Spain's Franco-era probe judge Baltasar Garzon on trial

Spain and the Lingering Legacy of Franco

Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War

The Spanish civil war remembered,6191,395635,00.html

Civil War legacy divides Spain

BBC News - Fate of Franco's Valley of Fallen reopens Spain wounds


Beginning of World War II in Asia.

Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Wikipedia)

Nanking Massacre (Wikipedia)

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Witness, Rape of Nanjing

On This Day: Thousands Die in Shelter During Japanese Bombing of Chongqing

Panay incident (Wikipedia)
Japanese Sympathy over Panay incident

Pearl S. Buck The Good Earth (Wikipedia)

Hideki Tojo (Wikipedia)
Hirohito (Wikipedia)

Japanese invasion of mainland China (7/7)
China then was a U.S. ally. Chang Kai–Shek, and Chinese communists under Mao Zedung, will both fight against the Japanese invaders.
Chiang Kai-shek (Wikipedia)

Comfort Women Still Resonates
Monument in Palisades Park, N.J., Irritates Japanese Officials -


German invasion and annexation of Austria (3/12)

Munich agreement (Chamberlain/Hitler) (9/15). Czech Sudetenland to Germany.
Munich Agreement (Wikipedia)
Neville Chamberlain (Wikipedia)
Sudetenland (Wikipedia)

Chamberlain and Hitler 1938 (UK National Archives)

September 30, 1938 | Hitler Granted the Sudentenland by Britain, France and Italy -


Germany occupied remainder of Czechoslovakia (March)

German-Russian Non-Aggression Pact (8/23). The odd couple: fascists and communists. Agreed not to attack each other.

01 Sep 1939: Germany invades Poland

On This Day: Nazi Germany Invades Poland, Starting World War II

1. Beginning of WWII in Europe

03 Sep 1939: Britain and France declare war on Germany

2. BBC Special Report: The Day the War Began
a. Read this section entitled "Hitler's War"
b. Read this section entitled "Newspaper Headlines"

3. U.S. declared neutrality (5 September 1939).
U.S. still trying to stay out of war

4. BBC NEWS | Europe | How Poles cracked Nazi Enigma secret


1. German blitzkrieg (lightning warfare) [today we call it "shock and awe"]

Germans invade Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium
Germans invade France

a. Remember: Hitler's conquests and attacks in Europe made French, Dutch, and British colonies in Asia vulnerable to Japanese attack.

Check out these possessions on Google Earth

b. BBC News Theme Report: Blitzkrieg

2. Animated Map of Dunkirk and the Fall of France
Read the description for each of the six maps: Fall of France; Germany Attacks; Allies Retreat; Allied Forces Trapped; Evacuation from Dunkirk; Paris Captured

3. Dunkirk:

10 May 1940: Churchill takes helm as Germans advance

Online Speech Bank Winston Churchill - Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat (13 May 1940)

The miracle of Dunkirk - Telegraph

British and French evacuated from beach (6/4)

a. BBC On This Day: 4 June 1940
Dunkirk Rescue Over: Churchill Defiant

b. Letter from a Dunkirk hero

BBC Archive: WWII: Dunkirk Evacuation (Major Source)

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Witness, Left Behind at Dunkirk

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Witness, Retreat from Dunkirk

4. France conquered (6/5-6/25)

14 Jun 1940: German troops enter Paris

Historic Headlines | June 22, 1940: Hitler Gains Victory Over France -

5. Battle of the Atlantic game. Guide a convoy across the ocean.

6. Battle of Britain

a. BBC On This Day: 10 July 1940
Luftwaffe Launches Battle of Britain
Note: Audio of a dogfight over the British Channel

BBC Archive: WWII: The Battle of Britain (Major Source)

BBC Archive: WWII: Outbreak - Britain on the brink (Major Source)

15 Sep 1940: Victory for RAF in Battle of Britain


BBC On This Day: 7 September 1940
London Blitzed by German Bombers

On This Day: Nazi Germany Begins Blitz Attack of London

On This Day: Coventry Devastated By German Bombing BLITZ 1940

Colour pictures revealed of London blitz from Nazi bombers in World War II | Mail Online


Chapter Vignette: Navajo "Code Talkers"
The United States at War, 769
A Nation Unprepared
War in the Pacific
Map: The Pacific War
"Europe First" Strategy

The Production Front and American Workers, 772
Businesses, Universities, and the War Effort
Manhattan Project
Women at Work
Success on the Production Front

Life on the Home Front, 775
Supporting the War Effort
Propaganda and Popular Culture
Families in Wartime

The Limits of American Ideals, 779
Internment of Japanese-Americans
African Americans and "Double V"
A Segregated Military
America and the Holocaust

Life in the Military, 784
Selective Service
Fighting the War

Winning the War, 785
Tension among the Allies
War in Europe
Map: The Allies on the Offensive in Europe
Yalta Conference
Harry Truman
War in the Pacific
Bombing of Japan
Legacy: Nuclear Proliferation


Lineup of opposing sides


United States
Franklin D.Roosevelt

Great Britain
Winston Churchill

On This Day: Churchill Galvanizes Congress in Fight Against Nazism

Churchill | PBS

Soviet Union
Josef Stalin

Charles DeGaulle

Chang Kai–Shek


Adolf Hitler

Why Was Hitler Popular in Germany?

Hitler Assassination Plan | The National Archives UK

Benito Mussolini

General Hideki Tojo; Emperor Hirohito


Lend–Lease Act (March)

Cash and carry (World War II) (Wikipedia)
Lend-Lease (Wikipedia)
U.S. became the "arsenal of democracy" by lending and leasing American military goods to those fighting against the Axis powers.
American unemployment dropped as our industries geared up to produce war material.

Battle of the Atlantic Game

Germany invaded Soviet Union

(6/22). Major mistake.

22 Jun 1941: Hitler invades the Soviet Union

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Witness, Operation Barbarossa

BBC Archive: WWII: The Soviet Union Joins the Allies (Major Source)

70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor

(12/7) Major mistake
Japanese initial victories (December): Philippines, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong.
War between China and Japan going on simultaneously.

07 Dec 1941: Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor

11 Dec 1941: Germany and Italy declare war on US

See also:

December 7 This is no Drill

Photos: The 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor | Plog The Denver Post

Pearl Harbor | Boston Globe

Was the United States Ready for Pearl Harbor?

American Home Front

Exhibit: Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from WWII

Boy Scouts Distribute Posters during World War II (2 part series)

Rosie the Riveter Remembers


Japanese-American internment

Smithsonian National Museum of American History
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution

Click on "Begin the Story Experience"
Each of the six pictures corresponds to the six major headings listed below.
Click on either the picture or the major heading to go to that section.

Here is an outline of the topics contained within each of the major headings of the exhibit. Within each topic, use the horizontal scroll bar to move through the exhibit materials.
A. Immigration
1. Issei: First Generation
2. Hawaii [use horizontal scroll bar at bottom of page]
3. U.S. Mainland
4. Legalizing Racism

B. Removal
1. Crisis: Pearl Harbor
2. Constitution and the Executive Order
3. Process
4. Moving Out
5. First Stop: Assembly Centers

C. Internment
1. Permanent Camps
2. Conditions
3. Home==Barracks
4. Work
5. Community Activities
6. Arts and Culture

D. Loyalty
1. The Questionnaire
2. Segregation Camp: Tule Lake
3. Expatriation and Repatriations
4. The Draft

E. Service
1. 100th and 442nd
2. Soldier's Life
3. Military Intelligence and Translation
4. Honors and Awards
5. Ironies of Service

F. Justice
1. Post-War
2. Court Cases
3. Formal Apologies and Redress
4. Repairing the Constitution
5. Japanese Americans Today

See also:

National Park Service: Confinement and Ethnicity (Japanese-American Internment Sites)

Manzanar National Historic Site

On This Day: Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Japanese Internment

Children of the Camps: the Japanese American WWII internment camp experience

Japanese-American Evacuees Celebrate New Year's Eve

How an eagle feels when his wings are clipped and caged (Prologue NA)

Tuskegee Airmen

Here are some of the best places to learn about them.

A. Our Norton text: "African Americans and 'Double V'" (pages 782-783)

B. The comprehensive article in Wikipedia

1. Note particularly the section entitled "The First Lady's Flight"

2. Rose Bowl float: from the section titled "Postwar"

"In the 2010 Rose Parade, the city of West Covina, California paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float, entitled "Tuskegee Airmen—A Cut Above", which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtail" fighter planes and historical images of some of the airmen who served. The float won the mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry—national or international."

Click on this link for a picture of that float:

C. "Tuskegee Airmen" movie

D. The Tuskegee Airmen were honored guests at President Obama's inauguration


Doolittle raid on Tokyo (4/18)
Work your way through each of the parts of this wonderful animation: Prelude, Preparations, Deployment, Approach, The Raid, Aftermath

Battle of Midway (6/6). U.S. wins. Turning point in Pacific war.

07 Jun 1942: Japanese beaten in Battle of Midway

Work your way through each of the parts of the following animation: Early 1942, Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway Island, Japanese Deployment, American Deployment, Fleet Movements, Action June 3, Action June 4-7


19 Aug 1942: Allies launch daring raid on Dieppe

El Alamein

04 Nov 1942: Rommel goes on the run at El Alamein

Britain Knows Detail of Holocaust

17 Dec 1942: Britain condemns massacre of Jews


02 Feb 1943: Germans surrender at Stalingrad


10 Jul 1943: Western Allies invade Sicily

25 Jul 1943: Italian dictator Mussolini quits

03 Sep 1943: Allied troops invade mainland Italy

08 Sep 1943: Italy's surrender announced

28 Apr 1945: Italian partisans kill Mussolini

Teheran Conference (Dec).

01 Dec 1943: Allies united after Tehran conference

In the following web link, read the two paragraphs entitled "Objectives" and "Outcomes."
Dispute b/n Britain & U.S: when/where Europe invaded.
Soviets demanded a second front.
Soviets bore brunt of land war until mid–1944.
Decision was finally made on a cross-channel invasion against Europe mainland
Eisenhower was named to be Supreme Commander of Allied Forces

See also:

Big Three in Teheran


Normandy invasion

D-Day=Operation Overlord. (June 6, 1944).

Biggest invasion armada in world history (5,000 ships, 150,000 men).

1. BBC Special Section: D-Day and Operation Overlord
Animated Map: The D-Day Landings
Read the description for each of the four maps: The Atlantic Wall, Concentration of Forces, The Landings, Securing the Beachheads

2. Paratroopers and their equipment

Fantastic story of one US paratrooper:

U.S. Paratrooper Joseph Beyrle fought for both U.S. and Soviets.

3. BBC Special Section: D-Day and Operation Overlord
Animated Map: Operation Overlord
Read the description for each of the seven maps: Operation Overlord, D-Day, The Slog for Normandy, A Slow Advance, The Breakout, The Falaise/Argentan Gap, The Liberation of Paris

4. From D-Day to Berlin Photo Gallery.
Click through each of the 12 photos

See also:

Interactive Map with D-Day Invasion of Normandy | EDSITEment

Attempted Assassination of Hitler (July 1944)

20 Jul 1944: Hitler survives assassination attempt

Liberation of Paris (August 1944)

On This Day: Paris Liberated from German Occupation

25 Aug 1944: Paris is liberated as Germans surrender

A Bridge Too Far

17 Sep 1944: Airborne invasion of Holland begins

26 Sep 1944: Airborne troops retreat from Arnhem

Battle of the Bulge

(December). Surprise German attack. Ultimate Allied victory.

17 Dec 1944: Germany counter-attacks in Ardennes

Battle of the Bulge (American Experience)


Bataan Rescue (January)

This entire website is great. The movie "The Great Raid" is based on this event.
[Click through the 12 drawings in this section. Read the caption to each one.]
Montana native Ben Steele was a Bataan death march survivor. He spent the next 40 months in prison camps, [click on this link] on a hell ship, and working as a slave laborer in a Japanese coal mine before his liberation at the end of the war.

Surviving Bataan: Ben Steele

Bataan Death March (Wikipedia)

See also:

American POWs on Japanese Ships (2 part series)

Forbidden Diary of American woman prisoner in Philippines

Bataan Death March

Yalta Conference (February 1945)

07 Feb 1945: Black Sea talks (Yalta) plan defeat of Germany

From the following weblink, read the two paragraphs entitled "Objectives" and "Outcomes."
Soviets would control most of Eastern Europe.
Germany would be divided.
Soviets would fight Japan three months after German surrender

See also:

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Witness, Yalta

Iwo Jima (Feb-Mar)
Battle of Iwo Jima (Wikipedia)

23 Feb 1945: US flag raised over Iwo Jima

Animated map of the battle

Code talker (Wikipedia)
Code Talkers virtual exhibit from the National Museum of the American Indian

Code Talkers

Okinawa (April) Attacks by 3,000 kamikaze planes on U.S. fleet.

(Today in History, Library of Congress)

Animated map of the battle

21 Jun 1945: US troops take Okinawa

Kamikaze Attacks

Kamikaze attack at Okinawa as experienced by an American

Kamikaze attack as experienced by a Japanese


World War II in focus: Alan Taylor photo essays in Atlantic Wire

SS St. Louis: the ship of Jewish refugees nobody wanted

America And The Holocaust
Primary Sources
Rabbi Stephen Wise

BBC Archive: WWII: Witnessing the Holocaust (Major Source)

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State | PBS

FRONTLINE Memory of the Camps

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

27 Jan 1945: Auschwitz death camp liberated

Liberation of Dachau, 7 May 1945,9171,797475,00.html?internalid=ACA

Victory in Europe

FDR died (4/12)
Hitler died (4/30)

21 Apr 1945: Red Army enters outskirts of Berlin

Russia Celebrates Victory Day 2012 - The Big Picture -

Annual Russian Victory Day Parade 2012 | The Frame

01 May 1945: Germany announces Hitler is dead

07 May 1945: Germany signs unconditional surrender

Germany surrendered (5/7)
May 7, 1945 | Nazi Germany Surrenders in World War II -

08 May 1945: Rejoicing at end of war in Europe

Potsdam Conference

16 Jul 1945: Allied leaders gather at Potsdam

26 Jul 1945: Churchill loses general election

Notes by Harry S. Truman on the Potsdam Conference
His handwriting is wonderfully legible

Victory against Japan

Japanese Balloon Bombs

BBC News - Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese soldier who held out in Guam for 28 years after WWII ended

1. Role of Manhattan Project in building atomic bomb.
Film “Fat Man and Little Boy.”

2. Factors involved in the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan:
Fear that the Soviet Union would soon enter the war against Japan
Concern that a land war in Japan would result in massive American casualties

First atomic bomb: Hiroshima (8/6)
06 Aug 1945: US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima

Soviets entered war in Pacific with 1.5 million troops (8/8)

Second atomic bomb: Nagasaki (8/9)
09 Aug 1945: Atom bomb hits Nagasaki

Japanese survivor of both bombs

3. Victory Day

15 Aug 1945: Allied nations celebrate VJ Day

4. Japanese surrendered (9/2)

02 Sep 1945: Japan signs unconditional surrender

Emperor allowed to keep his throne
Allied Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur would rule Japan.


24 Oct 1945: United Nations Organization is born

20 Nov 1945: Nuremberg trial of Nazis begins

Death Toll of World War II
World–wide: 55 million
United States: 405,000
Soviet Union: 21 million (one–ninth of Soviet population).

Postwar position of the U.S.
We suffered little damage to our own land.
We emerged as the world leader