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World War II

Glossary TermIdentification
Allies World War II military alliance of Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, China, and 45 other countries
Axis World War II military alliance of Germany, Italy, Japan, and six other countries
Battle of Midway A turning point battle fought in 1942 in the Pacific during which American planes sank four Japanese aircraft carriers who were never able to recover from this defeat and afterwards were always on the defensive.
Invasion of Poland Germany's use of the blitzkrieg on this country led to the start of World War II.
Blitzkrieg "lightning war " German military tactic for quick victory by use of massed airplanes, tanks and mobile infrantry.
Phony War A period of time following the German invasion of Poland. Although the European powers had declared war on one another, there was little combat.
Dunkirk Allied soldiers were cut off in northern France by a German armoured advance. Over 330,000 Allied troops caught in the pocket were subsequently evacuated by sea to England. The majority of British troops were able to survive and fight another day.
Battle of Britain Germany's failed attempt to subdue Britain in 1940 in preparation for an invasion (Operation Sealion). This was the first battle fought entirely in the air and the first time that Hitler suffered a military setback.
Operation Barbarossa The codename for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II.
Pearl Harbor The suprise attack by Japan on U.S naval base in Hawaii, December 7, 1941. This brought the United States into World War II.
D-Day The Normandy Landings, June 6, 1944 — the day on which "Operation Overlord" began commencing the Western Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II.
Battle of Stalingrad City in Russia, site of a Red Army victory over the Germany army in 1942-1943. The turning point in the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, this battle is marked by heavy losses on both sides and fierce combat--much of it hand to hand.
El Alamein The site for a major battle where the British were able to defeat the Germans who were led by Rommel. Success in this turning point battle ended the North African Campaign and set up the invasion of Italy.
Manhattan Project The American effort to develop the first nuclear weapons. Leads to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan's surrender during World War II.
Hiroshima On August 6, 1945 the nuclear weapon Little Boy was dropped by Americans, killing an estimated 80,000 people and heavily damaging 80% of the city. The first use of atomic weapons in history.
Nagasaki The second city that an atomic bomb was dropped on by the U.S. during World War II. This lead to Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers.
Lend-Lease Act The United States becomes the "arsenal of democracy" and provides the material for an Allied victory in World War II once Britain couldn’t pay for them any more under the Cash and Carry plan.
Battle of the Bulge Germany's last attempt to push back the Allies in Western Europe. Hitler was hoping that a quick victory here might cause the Allies to negotiate a peace treaty.
island hopping Allied strategy of capturing Japanese-held islands. From these bases the United States could bomb the main islands of Japan, including the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
kamikaze During World War II Japanese pilots were trained to make a suicidal crash attack, upon American ships. Very successful and had huge effect of allied moral.
Holocaust Germany's systematic elimination of Europe's Jews during World War II. Over 6 million Jews were killed.
Nuremberg Trials 22 leading representatives of the Nazi regime had to answer to the International Military Tribunal of the victorious powers on four counts: conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Adolf Hitler Born in Austria, he became a radical German nationalist during World War I. He led the National Socialist German Workers' Party-the Nazi Party-in the 1920s and became dictator of Germany in 1933. He led Europe into World War II.
Invasion of Norway This gave Germany access to good naval bases from which they could launch their U-boat operations, and it also secured their shipments of iron-ore from Sweden.
Fall of France, 1940 This resulted in Germany's control of Western Europe. For the Axis, the campaign was a spectacular victory.
Vichy France Was thought of as a satellite state or "puppet state" of Germany after the fall of France in 1940.
Operation Sea Lion A World War II Nazi Germany plan to invade the United Kingdom, beginning in 1940. It never actually happened because Germany lost the Battle of Britain.
Luftwaffe The German airforce during the Second World War.
Radar Secrect weapon used by British during the Battle of Britian. It allowed the British to identify enemy aircrafts and then intercept them.
The Blitz The German's intense bombing campaign on London, during the Battle of Britain. Considered one of Hitler's mistakes of WWII.
General Rommel He was the commander of the Afrika Korps. His nickname was The Desert Fox because of the skillful military campaigns he waged for Germany in North Africa. He was later in command of the German forces opposing the Allies in the invasion of Normandy.
Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was one of the most important leaders in modern British and world history.
Battle of the Atlantic At the beginning of the war German U-boats devastated Allied shipping and navies. Nearly cut off Britain from supplies and support but was eventually slowed and halted by Allied weapon advances.
Battle of Kursk One of the turning point battles of World War II. A German defeat by Soviets. Afterward Germany was totally on the defensive. The largest tank battle in history.
Operation Torch Allied invasion of northwestern Africa. Improved naval control of the Mediterranean, and prepared an invasion of Southern Europe 1943.
Operation Husky The Allied invasion of Sicily which leads to an Allied victory in Italy, July 1943.
Siege of Leningrad Germans beseiged this city for 3 years, from 1941-1944. The Soviets were able to stop the German advance in the north here. The German plan was coded as Operation Nordlicht. The siege lasted from September 8, 1941 to January 18 1944.
Battle of the Coral Sea In May 1940, a battle between Japan and the USA; a battle at sea but fought entirely by aircraft carriers. A tactical victory for the United States as the Japanese plan for the invasion of Australia was cancelled.
D-Day Beaches Juno --Canadian Sword and Gold --British Omaha and Utah --American
Operation Overlord Invasion of Normandy, France in June of 1944.
Strategic Bombing A military strategy that attempts to destroy the economic ability of a nation-state to wage war. A tactic used in world war two that utilized aircraft to disable key targets. A major factor in the defeat of both Germany and Japan.
Battle for Leyte Gulf Largest naval battle in history. Fought by the Empire of Japan and the Allies between Ocotber 23-26 1944. Last major naval battle of WWII. The first use of Kamikazees.
Auschwitz The largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps and extermination camps. This camp was a major element in the perpetration of the Holocaust; at least 1.1 million people were killed there, and 90% of them were Jews.
Yalta Conference The 'big three' (Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt) met to decide how to divide up Europe after the defeat of Germany.
Harry Truman Was president from 1945–1953 he took over from Roosevelt due to Roosevelt’s Death. He was the president in power when the Atomic Bombs were dropped.
Potsdam Conference The Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the U.S represented by Joseph Stalin, Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman. They tried to decide what to do with a defeated Germany but couldn’t come to an agreement.
Created by: alfromcanada on 2006-11-30



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