Great Depression/World War II

The Great Depression


During the Roaring Twenties, people were having fun and the economy was stable. However, on Tuesday, October 29, 1929, (Black Tuesday) an unthinkable event happened... the Stock Market Crashed. Businesses soon went bankrupt, and thousands of people lost their money, and became unemployed. Several events caused the Stock Market to crash like people buying and selling stocks, (which meant that the value of the stocks increased, and decreased.), people bought on margin, inflation, stock prices increased, etc. However, many people ignored this, and on Black Tuesday people were trying to get their money back, but the Stock Market Crashed on Wall Street.

Newspaper article about the Stock Market Crash

Important People

Herbert Hoover- president of USA, people became dissatisfied with him, and believed that Hoover wasn't doing anything to help the economy. Hoover set up the "Trickle Down" theory, and people started to make fun of Hoover by calling towns Hoovervilles. Set up public works programs.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)- president after Hoover, during the first 100 days in office, he created several programs to get the economy in shape, created the New Deal, spoke the "Fireside Chant", and set up soup kitchens to help the poor., and declared a bank holiday.

Eleanor Roosevelt- Wife of FDR, improved the way of life for African-Americans, the poor, and the elderly.


1. The Stock Market Crash of 1929.

2. Banks failed, and lost money.

3. People borrowed too much money.

4. People invested their money in stocks, and people lost all their money.

5. Businesses made more goods then they could sell.

6. Overproduction of goods

7. Overproduction of farming

8. Buying on margin- when one puts 10% down of a stock.

Chaos on Wall Street

President Hoover takes charge

After the Stock Market Crash, people were poor and wanted the government to help get the economy back "on its feet again". President Herbert Hoover believed in a lassie-fare economy (the government can't interfere with the economy). He also thought that if people help other people out, then the U.S. would be out of the Great Depression. However, the public became very unhappy with Hoover's idea of the government not interfering with the economy. Since the citizens were unhappy with the president, people started to call towns Hoovervilles which made fun of the president. After this, Hoover started the "Trickle Down" theory. The "Trickle Down" theory was when big businesses gave money to smaller businesses and consumers. He also created the Pipe Priming plan, and both plans failed to work. He then set up a project called the Hoover Dam which is on the border of Arizona and Nevada. President Hoover created the project so many people could earn money, and it was a success! He also went on to set up soup kitchens and bread lines for the poor. The soup kitchens were places that the poor could go to buy soup for free, and the bread line is where the poor could get bread for free.

Hoover Dam

A New President

In 1932, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected president of the U.S.A. Roosevelt promised the people a New Deal to get the economy back in shape. It was a plan to create new organizations to get the economy stable, and to get people working again. The New Deal had three goals: relief, recovery, and reform. It gave relief or created programs to help the poor like the Civil Works Administration, Emergency Banking Act, etc. The New Deal offered recovery or increasing employment so people could work again, and expanded businesses like the Agriculture Adjustment Act, the Home Owners Loan Company, etc. The last thing the New Deal offered was reform which was to make changes for a much better life like the Social Security Administration, National Labor Relations Board, etc. The chart below shows some of the different agencies that the New Deal created, and these agencies are still around today. The organizations below are ones that you need to know.

Bank Holiday and FDR's Fireside Chants

During FDR's first 100 days in office, he declared a bank holiday. The bank holiday closed all the banks for four days. FDR is also famous for his Fireside Chants. The Fireside Chants were spoken by Roosevelt to talk about unemployment, the economy, etc.

Fireside Chants

The Dust Bowl

During the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl carried dust across the Midwest damaging homes, and suffocating people. The Dust Bowl occurred for a few years damaging crops, animals, etc. The Dust Bowl had many causes and effects as well. Top soil became dry due to the lack of rain, drought, farmers over grazing their land, and farmers plowing, all contributed to the Dust Bowl. As a result, people had to then migrate. People often had to stay in their homes, and couldn't move to another location do the dust trapping them in their homes.

Effects of the Great Depression

1. New programs were created

2. The Great Depression led to the Rise of Fascism, and World War II

3. People migrated to other places

4. People continued to get food from soup kitchens

World War II

1939- 1945

During the rise of Fascism, Adolf Hitler (Fuhrer of Germany) and Benito Mussolini (Italian ruler) both took over land to create huge empires, and used violence to rule. However, this eventually lead to the outbreak of the bloodiest war in the world which was World War II. World War II started in 1939, and ended in 1945 costing thousands of deaths. Many of World War I's effects also caused World War II to erupt. During the war, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Party sent anyone who wasn't Aryan (anyone who didn't have blond hair and blue eyes) to concentration camps as well as anyone who opposed the Nazi Party. This was just the beginning of the Jewish persecution. Just like World War I, the U.S. remained neural for a few years, but that all changed when the Japanese bombed a U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor (which is in Hawaii). However, years later Germany and Italy surrendered, and for the first time the U.S. launched two atomic bombs on Japan's cities of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki which lead to Japan surrendering on August 15, 1945.

Important People

Benito Mussolini- Became the Fascists dictator of Italy, founded the Fascist Party, used violence and terror to rule, his country was on the Axis Powers, and conquered more territory to create an empire.

Adolf Hitler- Fascist ruler of Germany, elected himself as Chancellor, violated the Treaty of Versailles, believed in Anti-semitism, started the Nazi Party in Germany, put Jews into concentration camps, committed suicide before WWII ended, his country was on the Axis Powers, and conquered more territory in order to create an empire.

Hideki Tojo- Japanese leader, his country was on the Axis Powers, and conquered more territory in order to create an empire.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)- president during the first half of WWII, helped get America out of the Great Depression, described Pearl Harbor "a date which will live in infamy", declared war on Japan and the Axis Powers. Died towards the end of the war, one of the Big Three, and his country joined the Allied Powers.

Winston Churchill- Prime Minister of Great Britain, one of the Big Three, and helped Britain win the Battle of Britain. His country joined the Allied Powers.

Joseph Stalin- Ruler of the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic), his country joined the Allied Powers after Hitler attacked his country, at first he was on the Axis Powers, formed a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler, invaded Poland with Hitler, his country got attacked by Hitler, and is one of the Big Three.

Harry S. Truman- President after FDR died, his country was on the Allied Powers, and made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.

General Douglas MacArthur- Commanded American troops in the South Pacific Ocean.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower- American commander, led the attack on Normandy, France on D-Day. Supreme Allied commander in Europe.

General Erwin Rommel (Desert Fox)- Nazi general who fought against the Allies in the Battle of Tunisia.

General George S. Patton- U.S. general who was put in charge by Eisenhower to fight in the Battle of Tunisia against Rommel.

Who vs. Who?

Allied Powers

. England

. U.S.A.

. France

. Soviet Union

Axis Powers

. Nazi Germany (The Third Reich)

. Italy

. Japan


1. The Great Depression led to the rise of Fascist leaders, and they promised to get their country's economy back on its feet.

2. The Treaty of Versailles made Germany pay reparations from World War I, and Germany was angry with the treaty. As a result, Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by conquering lots of territory, and created a huge empire.

3. Fascists leaders conquered and took over lots of land. The Japanese invaded Manchuria, China in September 19, 1931- February 27, 1932 where they brutally tortured. Hitler conquered the Rhineland (1936), Austria (1938), Czechoslovakia(1939), Poland (1939) , etc. Mussolini also took over territory as well. He first conquered and took over Ethiopia. China and treated the Chinese people harshly. The Japanese were also responsible for raping women and killing several Chinese citizens during the Rape of Nanking in 1937.

4. The Munich Conference (1939) was when France and Britain appeased (or gave into the aggressor to prevent war) Hitler. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain(Great Britain) and the French leader told Hitler he could keep the land he had, but couldn't annex anymore territory. However, France and Britain told him that he couldn't take any more land. However, Hitler wouldn't listen, and he continued to take over territory (like Czechoslovakia) in order to create a vast empire.

5. The League of Nations failed to keep peace between countries. Germany and Italy withdrew from the League.

6. Germany and the Soviet Union use their blitzkrieg strategy to invade and annex Poland on September 1, 1939.

Hitler's Empire

Early Alliances

The first Anti-Comintern Pact was signed on November 25, 1936 between Germany and Japan. Another of the same pact was signed on November 6, 1937 between Italy, Germany, and Japan. Then on September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed another pact called the Anti-Comintern Pact.

Stalin and Hitler

After Hitler conquered the Rhineland (1936), Austria (1938), and Czechoslovakia(1939), he and Stalin formed a Non-Aggression Pact (Nazi-Soviet Pact) in 1939 which meant that both men were on the same side, and promised one another to not attack each other. The two dictators also agreed to attack Poland together using a military strategy called blitzkrieg or "lighting war".

Nazi-Soviet Pact Political Cartoon

The Invasion of Poland and the Traitor

On September 1, 1939, both men invaded Poland using their blitzkrieg strategy. When Hitler and Stalin used the blitzkrieg tactic, it included bombing Poland continuously, destroying the enemy's property, and having several troops coming in on land to overwhelm the enemy. As a result, Poland surrendered and Hitler and Stalin took it over. After, Germany went on to invade Norway, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. After the invasion of Poland, in 1941 Germany then invaded the Soviet Union for their oil (Operation Barbarossa). Nazi Germany failed to take over the Soviet Union because the Germans found it hard to survive the harsh Soviet winter. Another reason the Soviet Union was hard to take over was because the empire is huge which made conquering pretty difficult. As a result, the Soviet Union joined the Allied Powers, and France and Britain declared war on Germany.

Invasion of Poland

The Fall of France

On May 10, 1940 northern France was invaded by the Nazis. A month later, southern France was invaded by the Italians which ended with the Nazi occupation of Paris on June 14. An armistice was signed between the two sides on June 22. As a result, the Nazis controlled France and split the country into two. On June 23, 1940 Hitler flew to Paris for a tour of France. Then, August 1944, Hitler ordered for the Eiffel Tower to be knocked down, but thankfully the order wasn't executed.

The Siege of Leningrad

On September 8, 1941 the Nazis began their siege of Leningrad in the Soviet Union. Hitler decided to siege Leningrad because he believed it served as a vial role in invading the Soviet Union. However, an all- out battle would require too many losses of men. Hitler hoped Leningrad surrendered quickly, so he starved the city. During this event, the Nazis constantly used guns to pound the city which ended on January 27, 1944. Leningrad faced a harsh winter which caused Lake Ladoga to be frozen. As a result, trucks had the ability to transfer food and supplies into the city. 1941/42 saw a very cold and deadly winter. The citizens was almost electricity and fuel was scarce. Summer of 1941, the Soviets had to evacuate Leningrad and by August 29 636,0000 people evacuated.

The Siege of Leningrad

An Act of Genocide

Adolf Hitler wanted to create an all Aryan race (blond hair, blue eyes). He believed that Jews were a minority, and Germans should have more authority over the Jewish population. His anti-Semitic (discrimination against Jews) views led him to implement a cruel plan called "The Final Solution". This plan was would try to completely wipe out the Jews completely, and anyone else who opposed the Nazi Party. As a result, Hitler ordered for all minorities, and all those who opposed him into the ghettos (a temporally place to stay). After, the Jews and minorities were transported to concentration camps where only those who were fit and strong survived. The Nazi's also put all those who were weak, old, all women, and young children straight to the gas chambers where they would die instantly. The Jews however were required to were the Star of David, so the Nazi Party could determine who was Jewish. The party would also send anyone who wouldn't obey orders to death camps like Buchenwald or Auschwitz. At the end of the Holocaust, over six million Jews were murdered just because they were Jewish.

Jews in crowed bunks

The Battle of Britain

In 1940, Nazi and England planes fought for the first time in the air during the war. German planes constantly dropped bombs on Britain, because they wanted Britain to surrender. However, Britain wouldn't give up, and it wasn't done fighting against Nazi Germany. As a result, Germany surrendered which made British victorious. They won the battle, because they had much better radar then the Germans did, and Britain is an island which makes it harder for the Germans to attack it.

The U.S. is Neutral

The U.S. followed a policy of neutrality, and passed the Neutrality Acts which declared the U.S. neutral, but it could sell weapons to "nonbelligerent" countries. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt then passed the "Cash and Carry" law which said that the U.S. can sell weapons to Britain, but only if England agreed to pay cash, and pick up the weapons themselves. Then, in 1941 the U.S. passed the Lend-Lease Act which said that the U.S. could lend, lease, or sell war materials free of charge to any nation the U.S. viewed as vital. After, FDR described the U.S.'s role in the war by calling America the Arsenal of Democracy.

The U.S. Enters the War

Before Pearl Harbor was attacked, America stayed neutral in the conflict that was happening in Europe. However, that all changed because on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the American military base called Pearl Harbor (located in Hawaii). The Japanese planes destroyed war boats, supplies, weapons, and several American lives. After Pearl Harbor, FDR described the day as "the date which will live in infamy", and soon asked Congress to declare war on Japan. As a result, Congress granted FDR's proclamation, and the United States of America entered World War II as an Allied Power. Three days later, Nazi Germany and Italy declared war on America.

The Internment of Japanese- Americans and Korematsu v. United States

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, FDR issued a law called Executive Order 9066 in mid February 1942, which stated that the military must remove all Japanese-Americans to internment camps, because they could be spying for Japan (the Japanese- Americans weren’t spying for Japan though). After this, in 1944 Fred Korematsu was a Japanese- American who was blamed for trying to avoid the internment. As a result, Korematsu took his case to the Supreme Court which ruled that Korematsu did not have the right to avoid the internment under Executive Order 9066.

Interests in the Philippines

During the year of 1942, the U.S. became interested in the Philippines, since it was annexed by America during the Spanish-American War. During the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese also bombed the Philippines. Then, on April 9, 1942, the U.S. surrendered in the Philippines to the Japanese which made it the largest surrender to an enemy.

The Bataan Death March

In mid April 1942, the Japanese forced several thousand Americans along a week long march (which consisted of 100 miles of walking). Along the march, Americans faced severe brutality when they got tortured, and murdered.

The Battle of Midway (Operation Magi)

In June 1942, the Japanese targeted Midway Island which was home to an American airfield. The Americans knew that the Japanese would attack Midway Island (thanks to code breaking), and America responded by sending planes to attack the Japanese planes. The U.S. fought this battle to ensure that another Pearl Harbor innocent wouldn't happen again. As a result, the U.S. won the battle which turned the tide of the war in the Pacific against Japan.

The Battle of the Stalingrad

From 1942-1943, the Germans went to seize the oil fields of Soviet controlled Stalingrad. The battle was fought between the Germans and the Soviets over control of Stalingrad. At the end of the battle, the Soviets finally pushed the Germans back which resulted in the Soviet Union winning the battle.

Women at Home

While men went off to fight in the war, women stayed home and participated in the war effort. People started to recycle materials in order to turn them into weapons for the war. A propaganda poster called "Rosie the Riveter" ( as shown after the introduction to WWII, and below) encouraged all women to participate in the war effort by doing a variety of things such as making bullets, machine guns, and more.

Rosie the Riveter (Example of propaganda that was used to get women to work during the war.)

Operation Torch

In November of 1942, the Allied forces (lead by General Dwight D. Eisenhower) attacked the Nazis during Operation Torch. Operation Torch is the code name for getting Allied troops into North Africa. However, forces in Vichy, France fought against the Nazis, but were unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the operation ended with the Germans entering Vichy, France and occupying it.

The Battle of Tunisia

The Battle of Tunisia began in February of 1943, and was the very first battle which the U.S. fought against the Nazis. Nazi forces under General Erwin Rommel (nicknamed the Desert Fox because of the battle) won the battle at first. However, General Eisenhower (Ike) put General George S. Patton in charge of going up against Rommel. Towards the end of the 1943 summer, U.S. forces took North Africa back, and won.

Operation Husky

In July of 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily (which is nicknamed Operation Husky). During this battle, the island of Sicily saw thousands of planes, and boats landing Allied troops. The Allied troops launched a massive assault on the Axis Powers before sunrise. While Hitler told the Nazis to resist surrender, it wasn't enough to defeat the enemy. As a result, the Allies won the invasion, and went directly into Italy to liberate it as well as Europe of tyranny.

Operation Avalanche

In July 1943, the Allied invade Italy and remain there till the end of the war. The operation had positive results for the Allies. The Invasion of Italy distracted the Nazis away from Normandy, which gave the Allies an advantage for when they landed their for D-Day. Italy was also liberated from Nazi control, and fought along side the Allies for the rest of the war.

The Battle of Normandy (D-Day -Operation Overlord)

In 1944, Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the troops, and their goal was to liberate Western Europe from the Nazi Party. The Allies forces invaded France on five beach fronts. However, this was a huge turning point for the Allies, because they liberated Western Europe from the enemy. The Germans finally realized that that the Allies were winning the war. This battle is the second bloodiest day history, with the Battle of Antietam being the first.

The Liberation of France

After the D-Day invasion, the Allied forces chased the Nazis out of France in order for it's liberation. Allied forces pushed forward towards Paris on August 19, 1944. Forces which were part of the French Resistance revolted by hurting the Nazis communication, and supplies. Hitler ordered for the city of Paris to be flatten, but something amazing happened. The French Resistance negotiated with the Paris, Nazi leader. As a result, Hitler's orders were never obeyed, and liberated Paris.

The Battle of the Philippines (Leyte Gulf)

The Battle of the Philippines was the largest naval battle in history, and also saw the first time use of Japanese suicide bombers (Kamikaze). During October 1944, the Japanese and Americans fought, and America became victorious.

The Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge was Hitler's last western offensive in winning the war. Germany decided in December 1944 to try and cut through the Allied Powers in order to beat them in the war. As a result, the Germans were pushed out of France which severely hurt Hitler's army. This battle also brought Germany closer to surrendering. The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle the U.S. fought during World War II.

The Battle of Iwo Jima

In February of 1945, the Americans battled the Japanese for four days in Iwo Jima. The Americans knew that Iwo Jima was a strategic importance to the Japanese which is why the Americans attacked there. After four days, the Americans captured, and put the American flag on top Mt. Suribachi(the highest hill).

Tokyo Firebombing

On March 10, 1945, the Allies fire bombed Tokyo, Japan by using a deadly gas called Napalm. The gas burned 10,000 people as well as the whole city. However, the months between March, the U.S. alone fire bombed 60 Japanese cities.

The Battle of Okinawa

During April of 1945, the Battle of Okinawa occurred. The Japanese fought the Americans during this battle, because they (Japanese) were afraid. The Japanese thought process was if the U.S. captured Okinawa, it would only be a matter of time until America got to mainland Japan. As a result, the Japanese stopped U.S. troops in Okinawa, and fought a bloody battle. The U.S. came out as victorious losing 12,000 troops, while the Japanese lost 100,000 troops.

Surrender and Yalta Conference

Prior to the Yalta Conference, Italy kept getting crushed in the Balkans and in North Africa. As a result, the Italian people became less confident in Mussolini. The Italian people drove Mussolini out of the country, and replaced him with a different leader. On September 8, 1943, Italy surrendered and joined the Allies during the remaining of the war. Then, in February of 1945, the Yalta Conference convened in Yalta, Germany. There, "the Big Three" (FDR, Stalin, and Churchill) met to discuss the ending of the war. They all agreed on splitting Germany into four zones so each of the Allied Powers would get a zone. Germany would remain divided until the end of the Cold War. The Big Three also discussed how Germany was going to be defeated as well. Then, April 1945 saw the deaths of several leaders. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 which resulted FDR's vice president Harry S. Truman becoming the next leader of the U.S. Benito Mussolini ended up getting captured and hung by the Italian resistance on April 23, 1945. In Germany, Hitler knew Germany wasn't going to win the war, and wanted to escape being captured. On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler and his wife committed suicide in a German underground bunker. After this, Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945 which became to be known as V-E Day or Victory in Europe. Even though the war was over in Europe, the U.S. still needed to defeat the Japanese Empire.

From right to left Stalin, FDR, and Churchill

President Truman and the Manhattan Project

After Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of polio, Vic President Harry S. Truman took office. During Roosevelt's administration, the U.S. tested the first atomic bomb in New Mexico during the Manhattan Project led by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer. The atomic bombs already started to begin being built by the time Truman assumed office. Truman had a very difficult decision to make: if the U.S. should drop the atomic bomb on Japan. There were five reasons the U.S. agreed to use the bomb: end the war quickly to save countless American lives, scare the Soviet Union not to mess with America after the war was over, end the war quickly so the U.S. occupies Japan before the Soviet Union does, America had no sense politically but to use the bomb, and revenge for Pearl Harbor. Days later, the plane Enola Gay flew to the Japanese city of Hiroshima and dropped "Little Boy" killing thousands of civilian on August 5, 1945. Then, a plane flew and dropped "Fat Man" on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. As a result, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, which marked the end of World War II!

The Nuremberg Trials and the Aftermath

In Germany, the Nuremberg Trials(1945) were held to convict all Nazi leaders of the harsh treatment that the Jews and many other people faced. Nazi leaders were either sentenced to death or were sent to prison. Some Nazi personal ran away from Germany, and are still living to this very day. Another thing that came about after World War II was that the United Nations (UN) was created. The United Nations was and still is an international peace keeping organization that tries to keep peace among nations.FDR created this organization even before the war ended, and before his death. Originally, 50 different countries join the UN including the U.S. Roosevelt also created the G.I. Bill which gave veterans coming home cheap loans in order to purchase a house, and it paid for college.

The Nuremberg Trials

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