After the worldwide Great Depression, all around the world, millions of people had lost their jobs and there was a need for strong leadership.
In 1933, Germany saw Adolf Hitler rise to dictator power. Hitler was blaming the Jews for all of Germany’s problems.
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Nazi soldiers started to arrest numerous Jews and send them to prison. In Italy, Germany’s ally, dictator Mussolini was the powerful man. They formed the “Axis Powers”.
Britain, France, and Poland then formed the Allied Powers and in the year 1939, Hitler started to invade Poland. The Allies then declared war on Germany and World War II had begun. When the war started, most Americans were against fighting in Europe again.
America Goes to War
Japan joined the Axis Powers in 1940 as Japan wanted an expansion of its empire across Asia. Then in 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to destroy the U.S. Navy fleet that was stationed there. Thousands of American servicemen and civilians died and the United States couldn’t do anything but declare war on Japan.
America joined the Allied Powers and subsequently, the Axis Powers were declaring war on the U.S. Many American young men were joining the military and now, most Americans were in support of the war.
Americans were buying state-issued war bonds and many women were working in factories. Many Americans could be seen collecting metal for the production of war supplies but there were also Americans who feared that Japanese Americans might help Japan and the U.S. government locked up tens of thousands of Japanese Americans to live in so-called internment camps.
Fighting the War
World War II was fought in Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa. In May of 1945, Germany was finally forced to surrender and in August of that year, America dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima had killed some 100,000 people and Japan surrendered. World War II had come to an end.
When WW II was over, Allied troops discovered that the German Nazis had forced millions of European Jews and other minority people into their “concentration camps” where, in total, more than 12 million people perished in the camps’ gas chambers. Some six million of these people were actually Jews. We refer to this Nazi mass murder as the Holocaust.