Chapter 14: World War II and Its Aftermath : 1931–1955
Section 4: Victory in Europe and the Pacific
Determination, suicide, ravage, kamikaze, macabre, objective, consult, exposure, radioactive, intervene.
WAR IN EUROPE
By early spring 1945, the war in Europe was nearing its end, and the Allies turned their attention to winning the war in the Pacific. There remained a series of bloody battles ahead, as well as an agonizing decision for American President Harry Truman.
• March 1945 – the Allies had crossed the Rhine into western Germany. From the east, Soviet troops closed in on Berlin.
• April 1845 – American and Russian soldiers met and shook hands at the Elbe River. All over Europe, Axis armies began to surrender. As Soviet troops fought their way into Berlin, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker.
• May 7, Germany surrendered. Officially, the war in Europe ended the next day, May 8, 1945, which was proclaimed V-E Day (Victory in Europe).
WAR IN ASIA
• May 1942 – the Japanese had gained control of the Philippines, killing several hundred American soldiers and as many as 10,000 Filipino soldiers during the 65-mile Bataan Death March.
• By 1944, the United States Navy, commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz, was blockading Japan, and American bombers pounded Japanese cities and industries.
• In October 1944, MacArthur began the fight to retake the Philippines. The British, meanwhile, were pushing Japanese forces back into the jungles of Burma and Malaya.
• In bloody battles on the islands of Iwo Jima from February to March 1945 and Okinawa from April to July 1945, the Japanese had shown that they would fight to the death rather than surrender.
• Some young Japanese men chose to become kamikaze (kah muh kah zee) pilots who undertook suicide missions, crashing their explosive-laden airplanes into American warships.
• In July 1945, they successfully tested the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
• The new American president, Harry Truman. Truman had taken office after Franklin Roosevelt died unexpectedly on April 12.
• The Allies issued a warning to Japan to surrender or face “complete destruction” and “utter devastation” When the Japanese ignored the warning, the United States took action and used the atomic bombs.
The effects of the atomic bombings that took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
• Hiroshima -73000 people died.
• Nagasaki – 37500 people died.
• Many more died from the effect of radiation and related illnesses.
1. Which factors attributed to the Axis powers’ defeat by the Allies?
• Because of the location of Germany and its allies, they had to fight on several fronts simultaneously.
• Hitler underestimated the ability of the Soviet Union to fight his armies.
• The enormous productive capacity of the United States was another factor. By 1944, the United States was producing twice as much as all of the Axis powers combined.
• Allied bombing hindered German production. Oil became so scarce because of bombing that the Luftwaffe was almost grounded by the time of the D-Day invasion.
2. What strategy did General MacArthur use to fight the Japanese in the Pacific?
By the summer of 1942, United States Marines landed at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Victory on Guadalcanal marked the beginning of an “island-hopping” campaign.
The goal of the campaign was to recapture some Japanese-held islands while bypassing others. The captured islands served as steppingstones to the next objective. In this way, American forces, led by general Douglas MacArthur, gradually moved north toward Japan. By 1944, the United States Navy, commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz, was blockading Japan, and American bombers pounded Japanese cities and industries.
3. From the perspective of the United States, list all the advantages and drawbacks of using the atomic bombs on Japan during the war.
• The atomic bomb will save American lives because the U.S. will not have to invade Japan.
• It will end the war quickly by not dragging it on for years. It will reduce the financial cost of the war.
• Many innocent civilians will die as a result.
• Cities will be wiped out.
• The long lasting effects of the atomic bomb will be felt for many years.
• Other nations will want to have the powerful weapon of mass destruction.