A Journey Into World War II

By, Chaitanya Srinivasan

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Japanese Empire

Japanese Goals:

- Japan was overpopulating very quickly, and there was only limited space on the island for settling due to the large mountain range located throughout the middle half of the main island. Because of this, Japan wanted to expand into other areas for settling.

- Japan had very limited resources, since it is somewhat remotely located with no access to profitable natural resources. Hence, Japan was eyeing Manchuria for settlement as it was the closest mainland to the island and had an abundance of oil reserves as well as land for agriculture.

- Japan wanted to eliminate all possible threats that would hinder imperial expansion into surrounding nations. Since the US was recognized by Japan as a powerful nation that was also in control of many Caribbean and pacific islands, Japan felt obligated to frighten the USA away.

International Response:

- The League of Nations disapproved of Japan's control of Manchuria and advised Japan to immediately return to its territory. However, Japan simply left the League of Nations, so that they were not obligated to follow orders, and continued occupying Manchuria.

Chinese Under the Japanese Rule:

- The Chinese were currently having a political civil war between the communists and nationalists when Japan began occupying Manchuria.

- Despite this, both the Chinese communists and nationalists united in the mutual effort to drive Japan out of China.

- However, Japan was much more advanced than China in terms of weapons, as industrialization had reached Japan at a much larger scale, and had better military strategies.

- China switched tactics, and stationed troops in remote areas to lure Japan out of its comfort zone.

Japan's Attack on Pearl Harbor:

- In order to frighten USA and prevent future hindrances in Japan expanding throughout Southeast Asia, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which was a USA controlled territory at the time,

- However, this had a very opposite effect. USA was simply aggravated by this, leading to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as USA entering World War 2.

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Principle Ideas Behind Fascism:

- A Fascism is a totalitarian regime based on centralized government in which there is heavy repression of public criticism and a leader exalting the state and religion.

Mussolini's Rise to Power:

- Before World War 2, Italy had been struggling financially due to its weak political system that did not appeal to the public.

- Mussolini presented the idea of Fascism in an appealing way that really caught Italy's attention. This lead to Mussolini rising to power through public support.

Reasons Why Italy was a Weak Axis Power:

- Italy had severely weakened itself by joining the Axis Powers, which had made itself enemies with USA, one of the most powerful nations on the allies's side.

- Italy joining with Japan and Germany to form the Axis Power meant that when one nation was weak, the rest were too. As Hitler started to gain power, he started taking up too many responsibilities which weakened Japan and Italy, as well.

- Hitler declared war on the USSR, which was too much for the Axis Powers as a whole to deal with on top of the allies whom they were already fighting. This led to each nation in the Axis Powers eventually surrendering individually.

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Hitler's Rise to Power:

- In his relatively earlier years, Hitler had associated himself with the political parties struggling for power in the still developing government of Germany.

- Although not well known initially, Hitler soon became well recognized for his outstanding speaking skills, a trait seen in most influential leaders.

- Over a period of 8 years, Hitler eventually became a prominent individual who appealed well to the public and was able to rise to power in this way.

Anti-Jewish Laws:

- Jews had been already occupying parts of Europe as brokers since the 12th century. However, being foreigners, they were discriminated for their stereotyped large noses and ugly faces.

- Germany took this to the next level, in which Adolf Hitler claimed that Aryan was the purest race, and all others were subpar.

- Jews from all throughout Europe and Asia were persecuted on Hitler's behalf. They were either killed, tortured, or put into concentration camps all simply for being Jewish. Most fled from their homes, scattering throughout Palestine and Asia.

Reasons for Expansion:

- After taking blame for World War I and being heavily restricted by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had heavy inflation in the early 1900's and the unemployment rates had shot up.

- In order to counter this, Germany decided to expand into other neighboring territories to open up more job opportunities and find more sources of wealth to repay debt to the League of Nations. To do this, Germany would need an army and a navy. Hence, Germany disobeyed the terms to the Treaty of Versailles and built up a humongous army.

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Soviet Union

Non Aggression Pact

- Since USSR along with the Axis Power were unable to come up with a collective-security agreement, they formed a Non-Aggression pact. This meant that none of the countries could attack or show any signs of aggression towards each other. This ended up dividing Europe into spheres of German and Soviet influence.

Advantages over Germany

- With both the Soviet and German army having exposure to industrialized weapons and machinery, the Soviet army only had a slight advantage over the German army due to the instant back up received from the surrounding nation-allies. On the other hand, Germany was allied with Italy and Japan, who was almost at the other side of the world.

Battle of Stalingrad

- Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan fought against Soviet Russia for control of Stalingrad, in modern day Russia. The battle was one of the most strategically decisive of the entire war. The close quarters combat made this battle significant as it resulted in many civilian casualties, and it conveyed the true power of Soviet Russia; the Axis Power were unable to penetrate the city, even teamed up.

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Reasons for Joining World War 2

- Believing that the U,S was going to be a hindrance to Imperial Japan's expansion, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, telling the USA to back down. However, this simply became a motive for USA to join the war.

How Japan Lost the Initiative

- Japan began to lose the initiative as soon as USA joined the allies in World War 2. This is because the USA was a contributing factor to the decline of the Axis Powers, who had bitten off more than they could chew.

- Plus, the Axis Powers had declared war on the USSR, which also led to their decline.

- As the Axis Powers declined in power, Japan lost its initiative and had to focus on financial costs of war, rather than the strategic counterparts.


- D-Day was significant as it was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. It required extensive planning and many strategies were used for the British, Canadians, and the Americans to execute this attack on the heavily fortified Normandy region of France.

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