World War II

   1. Period between wars

   Between the First and the Second World War twenty years were passed (1918-1939) with an unstable peace. The main characteristics of this age were:

   - Economic problems for defeated and victorious countries in the rebuilding of their territories.

   - Hostility between nationalist and internationalist.

   - Territorial claims of the defeated countries for their excessive asignments.

   - Social unrest, which increased the enemity between countries and set the stage for a new war.

   - Imperialist politics from Italy. Mussolini’s government invaded Abisinia, and the emperor, Negus Haïle Selasïe, sought refuge in London. Later, Mussolini occupied Albany (see Mussolini figure).

   - Imperialist politics from Germany. The German Fürer-Chancellor Adolf Hitler wanted the built of a Great Germany and occupied Austria.

   - Violation of the Munich Agreement signed by Germany, Italy, Great Britain and France years ago to prevent another war. Hitler and Mussolini violated the agreement. Two blocs were formed: the Berlin-Rome Axis (Japan joined it later) and the Allies bloc, formed by Great Britain, France, Russia and the United States.

   2. Aswer if the following facts are true or false:

There were thirty years of peace

They had economic difficulties

Friendship between countries

Italy invaded Austria

The Emperor of Abisinia went to London

Germany invaded Abisinia

They signed the Munich pact

Two blocs were formed

    3. First stage of the war

   - GERMANY. Hitler claimed the Dantzig port and the Polish corridor to Poland, but they denied it. Germany signed the Non-agression pact with Russia and, inmediately after that, it invaded Poland (see Hitler figure).

   The German army was well equipped with planes, tanks, lorries, etc., and soon started an impressive “Blitzkrieg”(lighting war). It conquered Denmark, Norway, Holland and Belgium.

   The first days of June 1940, German Panzer Armies avanced over the North of France and, breaking the Somme and Maginot lines, they arrived to Paris (14 June). The marshal Petain, a First World War hero in the battle of Verdun, requested an armistice, but from London general De Gaulle organiced the Free French Resistance movement.

   Hitler, feeling victorious, offered a treaty of peace, but England, with Winston Churchill as its leader, decided to continue the war until a final victory.

   - ITALY. Its strategic movements in the war were unfortunated. It invaded Greece, but its troops were stopped by Albanians and Greeks. Italy was defeated by the English from Eritrea, Somalia and Abyssinia.

   - RUSSIA. Hitler declared the war to the Soviet Union, making the same mistakes as Charles XII of Sweden and Napoleon of France did before him. At the beginning, the success of the German army was complete, conquering Ukraine, occuping a million and a half kilometres and capturing three million prisoners. When winter came, ice trapped the German army and a tragedy happened. While trying to conquer the city of Stalingrad, Germans were surrounded by Russians and, after a siege of months, general von Paulus had to surrender with haf a million of men. As a consequence, Germans left the Caucasus and started to retire from Russian lands. The defeat changed the direction of the war, which until that moment was favourable to Germany.

    4. Write if the following facts are related to Germany, Italy or Russia:

Claimed for the Dantzig port

The same mistakes as Charles XII and Napoleon

Its movements were unfortunated

They occupied a million and a half km2

A well equipped army

Conquered Denmark and Norway

Invaded Greece

Winter stopped their advances

A lighting war

They lost Somalia and Abyssinia

Huge defeat in Stalingrad

     5. Second stage of the war

   - JAPAN. It approached to Germany and Italy, signing the Tripartite pact. The 8 December 1941 the Japanese attacked the North American naval base of Pearl Harbour (or Pearl Port, in Hawaii islands) by surprise, sinking and destroying many ships and killing many crewmen.

   The Japanese occupied Singapur, Burma, Philippines and threaten Australia. Japan suffered the attack of two atomic bombs; one of them devasted Hiroshima (350.000 inhabitants) and the other Nagasaki (250.000 inhabitants). Against this, the Japan Emperor accepted the unconditional surrender (10 August 1945).

   - THE UNITED STATES. Against the attack of Pearl Harbour, the United States started to build ironclad battleships, planes, tanks and weapons for the Allied forces.

   Under the command of North American government Eisenhower the Allies started the first great attack against the forces of the Axis. They disembarked in Sicily and Calabria, while Mussolini was signing the armistice of Italy. Eisenhower’s army disembarked in Normandy and quickly conquered France. After that they crossed the Rhin and entered in Germany (See Eisenhower picture).

   - RUSSIA. After the victory in Stalingrad, Russian troops reconquered Ukraine and arrived to Poland. In the winter of 1944 Russian armies avanced over Hungary, Poland, East Prussia and Silesia.

   With the advances of the Russian army at the East and of the Allies at the West, Germany accepted an unconditional surrender and the winner armies occupied its territories.

    6. Write if these events are related to Japan, EE.UU and the Allies or Russia:


Conquered Ukraine

Attacked Pearl Harbour

Under the command of Eisenhower

They suffered two atomic bombs

Occupied Ocuparon Sicilia y Calabria

Arrived to Poland

Disembarked in Normandy

They advanced over Hungary and Prussia

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

They crossed the Rhin and entered in Germany

     7. The UN and the peace treaties.

   International organization after the Second World War was debated in the United Nations (UN) and the peace conferences of 1946 and 1947 (see the UN building in New York).

   - THE UN. The founding charter was signed in San Francisco, California, the 26 June 1945, and is similar to the League of Nations which appeared after the First World War. Currently, the UN has its headquarters in New York, and its main objective is to ensure peacekeeping and to establish an promote good international relationships between countries. Future conflicts must be solved without military force. But some divergences between countries are inevitable.

   - PEACE TREATIES. In 1946 started the Paris Peace Conference, and in 1947 the peace treaties of Italy, Finland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria were signed.

  Germany was divided into four occupied areas, ruled by militar commanders from England, EEUU, France and Russia. Its capital city, Berlin, was also divided in four parts. Later, in 1949, it was proclaimed the Federal Republic of Germany, with capital in Bonn and the German Democratic Republic with capital in Berlin.

   After the war, the world was divided into two blocs by the Iron Curtain:

   + The East bloc, formed by the URSS and its satellite states.

   + The West bloc, with EEUU, Great Britain, France, Italy and Belgium.

   At the present, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, these blocs have lost their meaning.

    8. Señala si estos hechos se refieren a la ONU o a los tratados de paz:


Similar to the League of Nations

Paris Peace Conference

Its headquarters are in New York

It was divided in four parts

Its objective is to ensure peacekeeping

The capital, Berlin, was divided

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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