Chapter 20: World War II and the Early Cold War
was the British Prime Minister who (along with
sought to appease Adolf Hitler at the Munich Conference of 1938. Driven by
war brought by the horror of World War I) Britain and France agreed to let Germany have the
Sudetenland in exchange for Hitler’s promise to expand no further. Chamberlain called this
. In reality, Peace in our time, destroyed Collective Security, angered Stalin, betrayed the
Czechs and encouraged Hitler to think the West was afraid to fight. It was appeasement at its worst.
was the leader of Great Britain during World War II. His famous quote during the
dark days of the Battle of Britain was, “Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled
British. His first speech as Prime Minister was the famous "
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil,
tears, and sweat
" speech. He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just
before the Battle of Britain. One included the immortal line, "
We shall defend our island, whatever the
cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the
fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender
." The other included the
equally famous "
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the
British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their
Dwight D. Eisenhower
was the top allied commander in Europe. He was in charge of opened the main
) attack in Normandy on the French coast on June 6, 1944. His forces overcame stubborn
German resistance and swept across France toward Germany in a steady, bloody but victorious push.
Spanish Civil War
in 1936 when he led a military uprising against the
democratically elected, left-leaning (pro-communist) government. Mussolini and Hitler helped him and
Stalin helped the government or republican forces. Britain and France failed to help the republican
forces which embittered Stalin. More than 600,000 people would be killed before Franco wins in 1939.
Franco never joins the Axis and remains neutral in WWII. He died in 1976.
was dictator of Germany. After World War I he became leader of the
German Workers’ Party
. Hitler promised a new order that would lead Germany to greatness. Stressing
radical doctrines, particularly anti-Semitism and anti-communism, he legally won the chancellorship of
Germany. But once in power, Hitler established himself as an absolute dictator within months. In 1939,
he disregarded the appeasement policy signed at Munich and led Germany into war by invading Poland.
He committed suicide as Soviet troops invaded Berlin in 1945.