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History Final '08 1914-1945


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Political union of Austria with Germany, which occurred when Adolf Hitler annexed Austria. In 1938 the Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg was bullied into canceling a plebiscite on union with Germany, which he expected Austrians to oppose. He resigned his office and ordered the Austrian army not to resist the Germans. The Germans invaded on March 12, and the enthusiasm shown by Austrians persuaded Hitler to annex Austria outright the next day. Though France and Britain protested Hitler's methods, they and other countries accepted it.
Treaty of Locarno
(1925) Multilateral treaty signed in Locarno, Switz., intended to guarantee peace in western Europe. Its signatories were Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Germany's borders with France and Belgium as set by the Treaty of Versailles were decreed inviolable, but its eastern borders were not. Britain promised to defend Belgium and France. Other provisions included mutual defense pacts between France and Poland and between France and Czechoslovakia. The treaty led to the Allied troops' departure from the Rhineland by 1930, five years ahead of schedule.
Great Depression
An economic failure in the entire world around the 1930's. It hit Germany especially hard. This state of weakness gave rise to communism and dictators in the East.
Paris Peace Settlement
At the initial Paris Peace Conference in 1919 Britain and France, the victorious allies, were more concerned with adjusting their differences and harmonizing their territorial appetites than with a just and durable final settlement. the Paris conference was a political disaster; it sowed the seeds of future conflicts in the region.
Paul Von Hindenburg
was a Prussian from Germany's eastern frontier and had a successful military career in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1), retiring as a general in 1911. He was recalled in 1914 and achieved spectacular successes against the Russians at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes in 1914. He was promoted to field marshal and in 1916 became the supreme military commander. Hindenburg was elected President on 26 April 1925, on the death of Ebert. He was the candidate of the right and defeated the candidate of the Catholic Centre, Social Democrats, and Liberals by 14.6 million votes to 13.8 million. In April 1932 he was re-elected as the candidate of the moderates, defeating Hitler by 19.36 million to 13.4 million. Hindenburg had appointed Brüning Chancellor in 1930, hoping that together they would introduce a more presidential-style government. His subsequent appointees, von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher, shared these views. By appointing Hitler Chancellor on 30 January 1933 Hindenburg made the greatest mistake of his career as President. He did so because he did not really believe in the Weimar Republic and hoped for an alliance of all "national" forces leading, via an authoritarian state, to the restoration of the monarchy. He greatly underestimated Hitler, thinking he could be controlled by the non-Nazi majority in the "government of national concentration". Hindenburg, a senile and arrogant old man, was manipulated by Hitler with the help of his son Oskar von Hindenburg.
Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
A treaty of August 23, 1939, in which Adolf Hitler's Germany and Josef Stalin's Soviet Union pledged friendship and cooperation as well as to refrain from aggression against each other. The secret protocols of the treaty provided for spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and a pledge by each signatory not to interfere should the other choose to invade and conquer one or more of the states assigned to its influence. The Nazi-Soviet Pact appears to have had two major outcomes: it effectively neutralized the Soviet Union long enough for Germany to attack and defeat Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, France, and the Low Countries, and it lulled Stalin into complacency and led to his failure to prepare the Soviet Union for the war with Nazi Germany which began in 1941.
Kellogg-Brian Pact
(1928) International agreement not to use war as an instrument of national policy. It was conceived by Aristide Briand, who hoped to engage the U.S. in a system of protective alliances to guard against aggression from a resurgent Germany. The U.S. secretary of state, Frank Kellogg, proposed a general multilateral treaty, and the French agreed. Most states signed the treaty, but its lack of enforceability and exceptions to its pacifist pledges rendered it useless.
Weimar Republic
The German government in the post- World War I period, so called because the Reichstag (national assembly) met in the town of Weimar. The republic was proclaimed on November 9, 1918, and its constitution was adopted on July 31, 1919. The Weimar Republic ended with the ascension of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933, and the passage of the Enabling Act on March 23 of that year.
one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany. In Hitler's book Mein Kampf, he detailed his belief that the German people needed Lebensraum ("living space", i.e. land and raw materials), and that it should be found in the East. It was the stated policy of the Nazis to kill, deport, or enslave the Polish, Russian and other Slavic populations, whom they considered inferior, and to repopulate the land with Germanic peoples. The entire urban population was to be exterminated by starvation, thus creating an agricultural surplus to feed Germany and allowing their replacement by a German upper class.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
(March 3, 1918) Peace treaty signed at Brest-Litovsk (now in Belarus) by the Central Powers with Soviet Russia, concluding hostilities between those countries in World War I. Russia lost the Ukraine, its Polish and Baltic territories, and Finland by signing the treaty, which was later annulled by the Armistice.
Remilitarization of the Rhineland
The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland by the German Army took place on 7 March 1936 when German forces entered the Rhineland. This violated many treaties previously made. Although Western Europe was prepared to fight Germany physically,
Invasion of the Ruhr Valley
The Occupation of the Ruhr between 1923 and 1924, by troops from France and Belgium was a response to the failure of the German Weimar Republic to pay reparations in the aftermath of World War I. Having been thwarted by the UK and USA in its attempts to establish more robust security guarantees vis-à-vis Germany after World War I, France had sought to tip the economic balance more into its favour by exacting arguably over-severe German reparations, which Britain at first supported, only to reconsider later. Internationally the occupation did much to boost sympathy for Germany, although no action was taken in the League of Nations since it was legal under the Treaty of Versailles. The last French troops evacuated Düsseldorf, Duisburg along with the city's important harbour in Duisburg-Ruhrort, ending French occupation of the Ruhr region on August 25, 1925.
The introduction of the collective farm (kolkhoz) into the Soviet countryside began in the late 1920s and was substantially completed by the mid-1930s. The collectivization of Soviet agriculture, along with the introduction of state ownership (nationalization) and national economic planning (replacing markets as a mechanism of resource allocation), formed the dominant framework of the Soviet economic system, a set of institutions and related policies that remained in place until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1929 Josef Stalin initiated the process of collectivization, arguing that a "grain crisis" (peasant withholding of grain) could effectively limit the pace of Soviet industrialization. Collectivization was intended to introduce socialist organizational arrangements into the countryside, and to change fundamentally the nature of the relationship between the rural and urban (industrial) sectors of the Soviet economy. Markets were to be eliminated, and state control was to prevail. The organizational arrangements in the countryside were fundamentally changed, the relations between the state and the rural economy were altered, and the socialist ideology served as the framework for the decision to collectivize.
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were denaturalization laws passed in Nazi Germany. They used a pseudoscientific basis for racial discrimination against Jews. People with 4 German grandparents (white circles on the chart) were of "German blood", while people were classified as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of "mixed blood".
March on Rome
(October 1922) Insurrection that brought Benito Mussolini to power in Italy. Social discontent gave Fascist Party leaders the opportunity to take control of the Italian government. Assisted by the armed squads known as Blackshirts, they planned to march on Rome and force King Victor Emmanuel III to call on Mussolini to form a government. Since the king was unwilling to use the Italian army to defend Rome, the government capitulated to the Fascists' demands. The March on Rome turned into a parade to show the Fascist Party's support for Mussolini as the new prime minister.
Spanish Civil War
(1936-9), conflict precipitated by a failed military coup d'état in July 1936, itself provoked by violent social and anticlerical disorders following the election of a Popular Front government. It became a protracted struggle between two uneasy alliances of traditionalist and fascist 'Nationalists' and the socialists, communists, Trotskyites, anarchists, and separatists known as 'Republicans'. ----------
"Stab in the Back"
The German population felt stabbed in the back by its own government, as well as foreign governments. All throughout WWI, the population was told propaganda that said Germany was winning the war, when it was in fact losing. Citizens were shocked when they lost, because they had no warning. Immediately after that Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points promised a kind treatment of Germany, but in fact the economy was destroyed and territories were lessened. Germany had to pay reparations for the war, which increased inflation to a historical level, throwing the whole country into bankruptcy. This also created some tense feelings from Germans to Jews, because many Jews held higher up positions in banking and tax collection. This is where stereotypes os Jews began to originate.
A battle between Germany and Russia during Hitler's summer campaign. The principal German objective for the 1942 summer campaign had been the Caucasus oilfields. The battle took place in the city on the river of Volga.Both the high command and Sixth Army had anticipated a Soviet attack against its vulnerable flanks but underestimated an encircling offensive on the massive scale prepared by the Red Army. It was a Soviet triumph and a Nazi disaster.
Winston Churchill
one of Britain's greatest 20th-century heroes. He is particularly remembered for his indomitable spirit while leading Great Britain to victory in World War II. Churchill fought with the British Army in India and Sudan, and as a journalist was captured in South Africa (where his dispatches from the Boer War first brought him to public prominence). He became a member of Parliament in 1900 and remained an MP for over 64 years. His early topsy-turvy political career earned him many enemies, but his stirring speeches, bulldog tenacity and refusal to make peace with Adolf Hitler made him the popular choice to lead England through World War II. When Britain and its allies prevailed in 1945, Churchill's place in history was assured. (Ironically, he lost the prime ministership two months after Germany's surrender.
Vladimir I. Lenin was a driving force behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 and became the first great dictator of the Soviet Union. After his brother was executed in 1887 (for plotting to kill the Czar), Lenin gave up studying law and became a full-time revolutionary. He studied Karl Marx and formed workers' groups, but was arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1895. In 1900 he went to Europe, and in 1903 he led the Bolsheviks in the split of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' party. When revolution broke out in Russia in 1917, he led the Bolsheviks to control the government. Lenin had complete political control over the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) until his death, and is remembered as the man who put Marx's ideas to practical use.
Third Reich
Term adopted by Adolf Hitler in the 1920s to describe the thousand-year imperium he intended to create. The First Reich (or Empire) was the Holy Roman Empire which existed from the time of Charlemagne to 1806. The Second Reich was the German Empire of 1871-1918 created by Otto von Bismarck.
Lateran Accord
three agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, ratified June 7, 1929, ending the "Roman Question". They consisted of three documents: 1. A political treaty recognizing the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the State of Vatican City, which was thereby established. 2. A concordat regulating the position of the Catholic Church and the Catholic religion in the Italian state. 3. A financial convention agreed on as a definitive settlement of the claims of the Holy See following the losses of its territories and property.
Operation Barbarossa
the code name for Germany's surprise attack on the USSR on 22 June 1941. It was the most ambitious campaign of WW II, planned and prepared to achieve by combat a strategic objective within a single theatre of war and a set time frame. It was also the centrepiece of a geopolitical vision clearly predicated on genocide. Hitler's war against the USSR had two facets, a military and an ideological one, since BARBAROSSA was meant to solve Germany's strategic dilemma and at the same time conquer Lebensraum (living space). Hitler succeeded in branding BARBAROSSA a war of annihilation against Bolshevism and Jewry because the army high command and other senior commanders willingly allowed the troops to 'fight the ideological war' alongside the various SS forces. Thus the Nazi concept of extermination could also become a component of operations, rear area security, and exploitation. The brutalization of German soldiers had begun in Poland. The barbarization of warfare itself would begin on Soviet territories. Soviet atrocities and partisan activities fanned the fires of war. Hitler used them to camouflage extermination as a war necessity. By the end of July 1940 Hitler had decided to 'finish off' the USSR in the spring of 1941. That decision was a symbiosis of calculation and dogma, strategy and ideology, foreign policy and racial policy. The destruction of the USSR, Hitler's ultimate goal since the 1920s, would now serve as an indirect means of forcing Britain out of the war as well as opening up the acquisition of Lebensraum. This latter was an amalgam of notions of economy, settlement, and power politics, which also included the annihilation of 'Jewish Bolshevism'.
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler's 12 years as ruler of Germany, which led to the deaths of millions in World War II, have made him one of history's most hated villains. A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the German Workers' Party in 1919, later renaming it the National Socialist German Workers Party (which was shortened to the Nazi Party). By 1921 he was the leader of the group, and in 1923 led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the ruling German Weimar Republic. Hitler was sent to prison, where he wrote his manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), and he emerged from jail less than a year later as a populist spokesman for poor and nationalistic Germans. Made chancellor in 1933, he suspended the constitution, forcibly suppressed all political opposition and brought the Nazis to power. He enforced his new rules with a brutal secret police (the Gestapo) and formed concentration camps for the organized murder of Jews, Gypsies and political opponents. Hitler's bullying, aggressive foreign policy led to the start of World War II in 1939. Although he had remarkable early success in the war, by 1942 the tide had turned, and by 1945 Allied troops had crossed into Germany and were headed for Berlin. Hitler apparently committed suicide in his command bunker in Berlin in 1945, ending both Nazi rule and the war.
Vichy France
(July 1940 - September 1944) French regime in World War II after the German defeat of France. The Franco-German armistice (June 1940) divided France into two zones: one under German military occupation and one under nominal French control (the southeastern two-fifths of the country). The National Assembly, summoned at Vichy to ratify the armistice, was persuaded by Pierre Laval to grant Philippe Pétain authority to assume full powers in the French State. The antirepublican Vichy government collaborated with the Germans and became increasingly a tool of German policy, especially after the Germans occupied the whole of France in 1942. By early 1944 the Resistance movement against the Gestapo and Vichy militias created a period of civil war in France, and after the liberation of Paris the Vichy regime was abolished.
Battle of Jutland
Fought between the British and German fleets in the North Sea, was the biggest naval battle of WW I, and in terms of the forces engaged, close to being the largest naval battle ever fought. Germany hoped to weaken Britain's navy by ambush, but failed. The battle ended in a stalemate
the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. After 1922, the Cheka underwent a series of reorganizations. It was soon an important military force, crucial for survival of the Soviet regime. In 1921 the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic (a part of Cheka) numbered 200,000. These troops policed labor camps, ran the Gulag system, conducted requisitions of food, put down peasant rebellions, riots by workers, and mutinies in the Red Army, which was plagued by desertions.
A swift, sudden military offensive, usually by combined air and mobile land forces. Lightning war used by Hitler.
Popular Front Strategy
The Popular Front (Spanish: Frente Popular) in Spain's Second Republic was an electoral coalition and pact signed in January 1936 by various left-wing political organisations, instigated by Manuel Azaña for the purpose of contesting that years' election. The Popular Front defeated the National Front (a collection of right-wing parties) and won the 1936 election, forming the new Spanish Government. Manuel Azaña was elected President of the Republic on May 1936, but the PSOE didn't join the government because of the opposition of Francisco Largo Caballero. In July 1936, Francisco Franco and other conservative/monarchist generals instigated a coup d'état which started the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The Government dissolved the army in the loyal territory and brought weapons to armed groups organized by the unions (UGT and CNT) and workers' parties (PSOE, PCE, POUM) that had initial success in defeating the Francoist forces in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. Ultimately though Franco would defeat the Popular Front forces due to the greater aid his forces received from abroad, and because the Popular Front forces fragmented and often fought amongst one another. Franco would rule Spain as a dictatorship until he died in 1975.
New Economic Policy (NEP)
Economic policy of the Soviet Union (1921 - 28). A temporary retreat from the failed War Communism policy of extreme centralization and doctrinaire socialism, the new measures included the return of most agriculture, retail trade, and light industry to private ownership (though the state retained control of heavy industry, banking, transport, and foreign trade) and the reintroduction of money into the economy. The policy allowed the economy to recover from years of war. In 1928 chronic grain shortages prompted Joseph Stalin to begin to eliminate private ownership of farmland and to collectivize agriculture under state control, effectively ending the NEP. By 1931 state control was reimposed over all industry and commerce.
Black Shirts
A member of a fascist party organization having a black shirt as part of its uniform, especially an Italian fascist.
Fourteen Points
Frustrated by the European Allies' unwillingness to specify their terms for peace in the Great War (later called World War I), President Woodrow Wilson outlined his own plan, later called simply the Fourteen Points, to a joint session of Congress on 8 January 1918. Essentially a foreign policy manifestation of American Progressivism, Wilson's vision of a "Peace Without Victory" articulated modern ideas of free trade, fair dealing, and self-determination, as well as the belief that morality, and not merely self-interest, ought to guide foreign affairs.
Josef Stalin
rose within Lenin's Bolshevik faction of the Rus sian Communist Party from 1898 through the Russian Revolution in 1917 and beyond. Following Lenin's death, he outmaneuvered Trotsky and other rivals and by 1929 became the sole leader of the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union. A shrewd and ruthless political infighter, he built a tyrannical but powerful totalitarian state. Millions were "liquidated" in massive "purges." In inter national affairs, although Stalin's outlook was shaped by belief in a historically destined global victory for communism, he was also a realist and pragmatist. When World War II came to the USSR in 1941, despite Stalin's political machinations to avoid German invasion (including the Nazi‐Soviet Pact of August 1939), the Soviet Union was ill‐prepared. Stalin, who had become prime minister as well as chief of the ruling party, also became commander in chief of the armed forces. For many Russians, he symbolized successful determination to win the war. The Soviet Union entered a grand alliance with Great Britain and the United States against the Axis powers (although against Japan only in the final weeks of the war). Stalin concentrated on winning the war, but not at the expense of constant calculation of how to enhance the international role and power of the Soviet Union in the postwar world. He dealt shrewdly with Western leaders, including Winston S. Churchill of Great Britain and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference and Harry S. Truman at Potsdam. Despite victory and the founding of the United Nations, the very success of the wartime coalition ended the common interest that had brought the USSR and the Western democracies together. The end of World War II thus quickly led to the emergence of a new so‐called Cold War, dividing the former Allies. Stalin's ideological predispositions, reinforced by personal suspiciousness, if not paranoia, led him to pursue an aggressive postwar course in foreign relations that constituted a central element in the unleashing of the Cold War. His reliance on a personal dictatorship within his own Communist Party, and a totalitarian state structure within the Soviet Union, required severe limitations on contact with the outside world. It also contributed to a conduct of relations with other states that soon resulted in the sharp drawing of lines between the bloc he controlled and the outside world. Stalin sought to expand Communist rule, Soviet influence, and his own control in those places and under circumstances where it was possible. Unlike Adolf Hitler, however, he was not driven to advance where it was inexpedient, much less to court or initiate war. This was true of even the most apparent exception—the Korean War. Archival documents released in the 1990s showed that the principal impetus for a North Korean military attack on South Korea came from Kim Il Sung, although Stalin (and Chinese leader Mao Zedong) were led to approve and provide support for the attack and thus bear responsibility. Initially, however, Stalin refused to approve Kim's plans, and did so only when he mistakenly concluded that the United States would not intervene. The Korean attack was neither Stalin's test of Western resolve nor precursor to a possible Soviet attack in Western Europe, as was widely feared at the time. Stalin suffered a stroke and died in 1953.
A lawyer by trade, Alexander Kerensky was elected to the Duma in 1912 at a time when the rule of Czar Nicholas II was on shaky ground. Kerensky was a member of the moderate Labor party until the February Revolution in 1917, when he became a leader in the Socialist Revolutionary party. Together with the Bolsheviks, led by Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin, Kerensky helped form a provisional government to replace the overthrown government of the czar. Kerensky became the most powerful member of the provisional government and forced the Bolsheviks underground, arresting Trotsky and several others (Lenin escaped to Finland). The Socialist Revolutionaries, unlike the Bolsheviks, intended to keep Russia fighting in World War I, a decision that became increasingly unpopular with the Russian people. When social reforms were slow to take place under Kerensky (especially land reform), he lost popular support to the Bolsheviks. He fled to Paris when the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution (1917), and eventually emigrated to the United States, where he lectured and wrote until his death in 1970.
Manhattan Project
Code name for the Anglo-American project to develop the atomic bomb. In June 1943 Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed that development should be based at the top-secret research establishment of Los Alamos in New Mexico. Brig Gen Groves was appointed to oversee the project, but the scientific director was Robert Oppenheimer and there were other Soviet intelligence assets involved, so the details were well known to Stalin from the beginning. The first live test of an atomic bomb was on 16 July 1945.
(3-7 June 1942), turning point of the Pacific campaign. The Japanese were looking to control islands in between Japan and the US and further deplete the US naval fleet. US naval intelligence was achieving considerable success against the Japanese naval code then in use and Nimitz was well informed of his opponent's intentions. The US navy lost 150 aircraft and 300 men. The Japanese lost their entire front line of naval aviators, 250 aircraft, and their crews, as well as the carriers that had been running wild in the south Pacific for six months. Yamamoto ordered a withdrawal and the combined fleet never regained the strategic initiative.
Great Purges
The Bolsheviks were convinced that the USSR was threatened by internal adversaries. They never hesitated to attribute discontent among the people to instigation by irreconcilably hostile elements, and they frequently did not even trust fellow militants. In the course of the 1930s, failure was increasingly imputed to deliberate sabotage. Unwilling to accept responsibility for the system's failures, the Bolsheviks intensified the search for hidden enemies. Even top leaders were convinced that intractable problems were due to subversion. They projected the secretive character of their own dealings onto controlled aspects of the Party and state apparatus, and imagined conspiratorial intrigues behind the USSR's accumulating troubles. For Bolsheviks, there was no question but that the remnants of the prerevolutionary elite, adherents of defunct parties, and former kulaks represented a threat. They also suspected erstwhile oppositionists of disloyalty. Many of the Trotskyites and other deviationists of the 1920s had the same revolutionary credentials as their persecutors and thus were seen as dangerous rivals for legitimate authority. Josef V. Stalin feared that they might try to claim power if the situation worsened. Although thousands of deviationists remained in the Communist Party until 1937, many others were expelled during membership screenings in 1935 and 1936. Starting in 1935, secret directives instructed the NKVD to detect their terrorist intentions, even if they were in exile and detention. A show trial highlighted the terrorist designs of the deviationist leaders Lev B. Kamenev and Grigory E. Zinoviev in August 1936, and this date is seen as the starting point of the Great Purges.
League of Nations
A world organization established in 1920 to promote international cooperation and peace. It was first proposed in 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson, although the United States never joined the League. Essentially powerless, it was officially dissolved in 1946.
Final Solution
A term applied by Nazis to the genocide of European Jews during World War II. Before instituting the Holocaust, the Nazi government had abolished the Jews' rights, destroyed and confiscated their property, and confined Jews in concentration camps. Holocaust.
Known as "Il Duce" -- the Leader -- Mussolini was the Fascist dictator of Italy during World War II. Mussolini grew active in Italian politics in the first decade of the 1900s. He then spent time in exile in Switzerland and Austria, where he worked writing and editing socialist newspapers. He returned to Italy after serving in World War I and gained power and notoriety as a revolutionary nationalist. He founded the Fascist Party in 1919, used force and intimidation against political opponents and took power in 1922. Nicknamed Il Duce, Mussolini created a dictatorship and dissolved the parliament. Yet for many years he was popular as he expanded government services and public works. In the 1930s Italy invaded Ethiopia and Albania and in 1939 Mussolini promised an alliance with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Italy's failures in the war led to Mussolini being removed from government, and when the war ended he was arrested, tried and executed.
Neville Chamberlain
British Prime Minister from 1937-1940. His premiership was dominated, and destroyed, by his handling of foreign affairs. He had no grounding in the subject but was driven by a belief in his own rightness. Believing he could handle Hitler in Germany, he pursued a policy of appeasement, returning from Munich in 1938 with a signed agreement that was popular but ultimately worthless. He was harried by anti-appeasers on the Conservative benches. In September 1939 he found himself in the unenviable situation of having to declare that a state of war existed with Germany and transforming himself into a wartime leader. It was a role for which he was ill-suited. The Labour Party refused to enter into government with him and Conservative dissension reached a peak in 1940 with the failure of the Norwegian campaign. At the end of the Commons' debate on the campaign's failure, 41 Conservatives voted against the government and a further 60 abstained from voting. The government's majority fell from its normal 200 to 80. Chamberlain at first failed to recognize the significance of the vote but then succumbed to the message that the House of Commons had sent him. He submitted his resignation as Prime Minister, though not as party leader. He carried the title of party leader for a few months, before ill-health forced him to relinquish that in Churchill's favour.
Battle of the Marne
Marne, which joins the Seine on the edge of Paris, offers a barrier to invaders entering France from the north. In 1914 the German invasion plan initially went well, but by the beginning of September was in difficulties. France was successful
Invasion of Ethiopia
Mussolini, wanting a greater link to the Horn of Africa, invaded Ethiopia. The League of Nations knew this was going to happen, but took no effective action. Even though they were out numbered and out armed, the Ethiopians held Italy back for 7 months, once again showing Mussolini's incompetence.
Munich Conference
A peace settlement reached in Munich on September 30, 1938, by leaders of France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy to allow German annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. It was accepted by all parties to prevent an attack planned by Adolf Hitler on Czechoslovakia, which had alliances with France and Great Britain, who both felt unprepared to defend the country
Charles DeGaulle
He was the dominant political leader and grand figurehead of France during and after World War II. De Gaulle was a career soldier in the French Army who had been wounded and held prisoner during World War I. He rose to the rank of general and was serving as France's minister for National Defense and War in June, 1940, when France capitulated to Germany early in World War II. DeGaulle escaped to Britain, where he made a famous broadcast calling on the French people to resist (earning him the nickname of the "Man of June 18, 1940"). DeGaulle formed the Free French forces and led the provisional government that ruled France after it was retaken from Germany. After the war he was elected head of the French government.
Free French
French movement to continue warfare against Germany after France's 1940 defeat in World War II. Led by Charles de Gaulle in exile in London, the Free French Forces gained power in 1942 with the growing underground Resistance movement in France and the defection of many Vichy France troops stationed in North Africa. After a power struggle with Henri Honore Giraud, commander in chief of French forces in North Africa, de Gaulle succeeded by 1944 in controlling the entire French war effort. The 300,000 Free French forces took part in the Allied invasions of southern France and Normandy (see Normandy Campaign) and were the first Allied troops to liberate Paris.
Battle of Somme
fought in the summer and autumn of 1916, was one of the largest battles of the First World War. With more than one million casualties, it was also one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Allied forces attempted to break through the German lines along a 25-mile (40 km) front north and south of the River Somme in northern France. One purpose of the battle was to draw German forces away from the Battle of Verdun; however, by its end the losses on the Somme had exceeded those at Verdun. It can not be considered a victory for either side.
Treaty of Rapallo
(April 16, 1922) Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed at Rapallo, Italy. Negotiated by Germany's Walther Rathenau and the Soviet Union's Georgy V. Chicherin, it reestablished normal relations between the two nations. The nations agreed to cancel all financial claims against each other, and the treaty strengthened their economic and military ties. As the first agreement concluded by Germany as an independent agent since World War I, it angered the Western Allies.
Battle of Tannenberg
took place on August 26-30, 1914. The battle was fought between the German and Russian armies, close to the village of Tannenberg, which is located in northeastern Poland. The Russian army was defeated by the Germans and subsequently German-controlled territory was never invaded by Russia for the remainder of the war. The Russian army incurred major losses, with 30,000 casualties and 92,000 soldiers captured by the Germans. The Germans suffered 13,000 casualties and the battle forced them to redirect their soldiers from the French battlefront.
6 June 1944, was decisive in the war on Germany. D-Day, though cloudy and windy, justified Eisenhower's decision to accept a comparatively hopeful weather forecast. Montgomery, in command of ground forces, dispatched five infantry divisions, to five separate Normandy beaches, plus three airborne divisions, landing over 150, 000 men on the first day. On one American beach, Omaha, against a good German division, casualties were high. The British and American air forces virtually stopped German movement of troops by day and made impossible a co-ordinated German counter-attack.
Japanese Invasion of Manchuria
(1931) Seizure of the Manchurian city of Mukden (now Shenyang, China). Responding to Russian pressure from the north and to the increasingly successful unification of China by Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese garrison in Manchuria used the pretext of an explosion along its railway to occupy Mukden. With reinforcements from the Japanese colony of Korea, its army had occupied all of Manchuria within three months. The Chinese withdrew, and the Japanese established the puppet state of Manchukuo.
Battle of Verdun
In terms of casualties and the sheer suffering of combatants, Verdun has good claim to being one of the most terrible battles of history. Late in 1915 the German CGS Falkenhayn decided to attack Verdun. He later claimed that he selected a spot of such importance that the French would have to 'throw in every man they have. If they do so the forces of France will bleed to death'. France, although having lost more men, won the battle.
Dawes Plan
(1924) Arrangement for Germany's payment of reparations to the Allies after World War I, produced by a committee of experts presided over by Charles Dawes. The total amount of reparations was not determined, but payments were to begin at 1 billion gold marks in the first year and rise to 2.5 billion by 1928. The plan, which also provided for the reorganization of the Reichsbank and for an initial foreign loan of 800 million marks to Germany, was later replaced by the more lenient Young Plan.
Russian Revolutions 1917
a series of economic and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. This eventually led to the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922, which lasted until its dissolution in 1991. It resulted in the overthrow of the autocratic rule of the Tzars and the building up of socialism in the USSR.
Night of violence against Jews, carried out by members of the German Nazi Party on Nov. 9 - 10, 1938, so called because of the broken glass left in its aftermath. The violence, instigated by Joseph Goebbels, left 91 Jews dead and hundreds seriously injured. About 7,500 Jewish businesses were gutted and some 1,000 synagogues burned or damaged. The Gestapo arrested 30,000 Jewish males, offering to release them only if they emigrated and surrendered their wealth. The incident marked a major escalation in the Nazi program of Jewish persecution, foreshadowing the Holocaust.
Lend Lease
Following the fall of France, Churchill bombarded his friend and contemporary Franklin D. Roosevelt with increasingly desperate requests for help. Though sympathetic, with an election looming the latter knew that his critics would excoriate any action that might lead to US involvement in another European war. The fear of the British fleet falling into German hands galvanized him into more concrete measures to support Britain. In July 1940, arguing that it was in the national interest, he agreed to swap 50 obsolete destroyers for 99-year leases on a number of British bases in the western Atlantic. Although in retrospect this was indeed the thin end of the wedge his opponents denounced, he argued that it enhanced US national security, and that supporting Britain would help keep America out of the war. After winning the November 1940 election, and after consultations with Churchill by his personal envoy, Harry L. Hopkins, he introduced a 'Lend-lease' Bill into Congress in January 1941 empowering him to sell, transfer, exchange, lease, or lend war supplies to any nation whose defence was deemed vital to US security. Though bitterly contested by isolationists, the bill became law in March 1941, and ten US Coastguard cutters were transferred to the Royal Navy. In July, when American troops relieved the British garrison in Iceland, US destroyers and aircraft began to escort convoys to and from the island, and by September the US Navy was escorting convoys in the western Atlantic, leading to hoped-for clashes with U-boats. After the launching of operation BARBAROSSA, he extended material aid to the USSR as well, after which opposition from the US left was muted. The Lend-Lease Act must be seen in the context of Roosevelt's very delicate balancing act to reverse hostile US public opinion and bring it around to active support for Britain, a process that was far from complete when Pearl Harbor and Hitler's declaration of war obviated the need for further subtlety.
Battle of Britain
In the summer of 1940 the Luftwaffe attempted to win air superiority over Britain as a sine qua non for an invasion code-named SEALION. On 30 June Herman Göring issued multiple directives to draw the RAF into combat over the Channel by attacking coastal convoys (which the Admiralty unwisely continued to run), and bombing the string of radar stations along the south coast, the British aircraft industry, and RAF airfields. This dispersion of effort was the first of a triad of reasons why the RAF won the battle. The second was Hugh Dowding, in charge of Fighter Command since 1937. He had been involved in the procurement of the Spitfire and the Hurricane, and in the development and deployment of radar. He resisted demands by Churchill to send his reserve of fighters to France, and refused to commit them in strength to defending the convoys, or indeed to involve them in mass battles at all. The third was that the Luftwaffe was not well equipped for a sustained air superiority campaign. Like the RAF's Hurricanes and Spitfires, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a short-range aircraft, but the former were fighting over their own bases. Likewise a downed pilot who survived was lost to the Luftwaffe but returned immediately to his RAF squadron.
Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson was the president who led the United States through World War I. Although he first championed isolationism, he became a strong advocate for U.S. involvement in World War I. When the war ended in 1918, he pushed for the U.S. to join the League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations.
Five Year Plan
a series of nation-wide centralized exercises in rapid economic development in the Soviet Union. The plans were developed by the Gosplan based on the Theory of Productive Forces that was part of the general guidelines of the Communist Party for economic development. Fulfilling the plan became the watchword of Soviet bureaucracy. The same method of planning was also adopted by most other communist states, including India's pro-Soviet government and the People's Republic of China in the 1950-60s. In addition, several capitalist states have emulated the concept of central planning, though in the context of a market economy, by setting integrated economic goals for a finite period of time.Several five-year plans did not take up the full period of time assigned to them (some were successfully completed earlier than expected, while others failed and were abandoned). The initial five-year plans were created to serve in the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union, and thus placed a major focus on heavy industry. Altogether, there were 13 five-year plans. The first one was accepted in 1928, for the five year period from 1929 to 1933, and completed one year early. The last, thirteenth Five-Year Plan was for the period from 1991 to 1995 and was not completed, as the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.
Leon Trotsky
A key figure in the creation of the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky was later unseated and expelled by the ruthless Joseph Stalin. As a young man Trotsky became a disciple of Karl Marx and a friend of future Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin. A powerful writer and political thinker, Trotsky used his pen to oppose the rule of Czar Nicholas II and so spent much of his adult life in prison or in foreign exile, writing for communist newspapers and journals. He was Lenin's right-hand man in the Russian Revolution of 1917; Trotsky became commissar of war (1918-25) and organized the victorious Red Army in the civil war that followed. After the formation of the Soviet Union and then Lenin's death in 1924, Trotsky lost out in a power struggle with Stalin; he was exiled to Kazakhstan in 1927 and expelled to Turkey in 1929. In 1937 Trotsky settled in Mexico at the behest of artist Diego Rivera. He was assassinated at his villa in 1940 by a probable agent of Stalin, Ramon Mercader, who posed as a friend of Trotsky's and then killed him with the blow of an ice axe to his head.
Italia Irredenta
an Italian nationalist opinion movement that emerged after Italian unification. It advocated irredentism among the Italian people as well as other nationalities who were willing to become Italian and as a movement is also known as Italian irredentism. Not a formal organization, it was just an opinion movement that claimed that Italy had to reach its "natural borders". Similar patriotic and nationalistic ideas were common in Europe in the 19th century.

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