** World War II strategy and campaigns








World War II Strategy and Campaigns (1939-45)


Figure 1.--The Wehrmacht by 1939 as a result of a massive NAZI military spending campaign had outclassed every other country in world and was ready for war. Even more importantly, Adolf Hitler desired a war. Britain and France were no longer willing to appease him, but did mot possess the military force to effectively oppose a now well-armed Germany. This German unit was photographed in June 1939, only a few months before Hitler launched his war. Note the little boy trying to stay in step with the soldiers.

World War II began with the NAZI invasion of Poland (1939). Historians often note the earlier Japanese seizure of Manchuria (1931) and invasion of China (1937). The NAZI invasion was followed by a British and French declaration of war, but failure to come to Poland's assistance. Within only a few days, the Soviets joined the NAZIs in invading Poland, followed by a series of other invasions of their own. The NAZI success in Poland was followed by a string of startling military successes, especially the invasion and defeat of France (1940). The NAZI successes were puncutated by the victory of the RAF in the Nattle of Britain (1940). The Italians joined their Axis partner after the defeat of France was already largely achieved. Almost from the beginning, however, the Italians proved more of a drag on the NAZI war effort than an assett. The War was tranformed when Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union and then without any effort to coordinate opetrations, the Jsapanese bombed Pear Harbor. Historians argue about the turning point of the War. After a series of almost uniterupted victories, the War turned against the Axis in second half of 1942. The Red Army bled the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Font while the Western allies ponded German cities. Finally the German losses in the East combined with growing Allied air power enabled the Western Allies to renter the Continent with the D-Day landings. What followed was a string of Allied victories, although achieved at great cost. Finally after Hitler's suiside and the fall of Berlin the NAZIs surrendered (1945). The Japanese surenderd after America dropped the A-Bomb and the Soviets invaded Manchuria (1945). The War included land, air, and sea campaigns conducted on different continents. It was, however, in Europe that the outcome of the War was determined.

Strategy

The two countries most responsible for launching World war II were NAZI Germany and the Soviet Union. Both countries began the War by invading Poland as Allies (September 1939). As it was, Japan would have never attacked Britain, let alone the United States had the Germany not achieved enormous military successes in Europe. Luckily for the world, the goals of the Soviet Union and Germany fundamentally conflicted. The strategies adopted by the principal combatant countries are not entirely known. This in part because German and Soviet strategy was entirely devised by Hitler and Stalin who only shared his plans with a small number of associates and then often not in complete detail--especially Stalin. After the bloodletting of World War I, few in Europe wanted war. This was true in Germany as well. Hitler did spell out his strategic vission in Mein Kampf. World War II was essentially the creation of German F�hrer Adolf Hitler who and Soviet dictaor Joseph Stalin who were prepared to go to war and invade other countries. Geography meant that only Hitler would confront the Western democracies. Major decessions by Hitler were made on the basis of largly imagined racial doctrine. Combatant decessions were also made on the basis of very poor understanding of their adversaries. Hitler appears to have diverged from basic military doctrine as he seems to have convined himself tht NAZI propaganda of German sperority was correct. Americans badly under estimated Japanese capabilities. The Japanese for their part deasically understimated the American character and the potential of American industry.

Campaigns

There were many different World War II camapigns involving many different countries in all the different cpntinents except Anarctica. There are many different ways at looking at these campaigns, each with ueful insights. Chroologically, World War II began with the NAZI invasion of Poland (1939). Historians often note the earlier Japanese seizure of Manchuria (1931) and invasion of China (1937). The NAZI invasion of Poland was followed 3 day later by a British and French declaration of war, but failure to come to Poland's assistance. Within only a few days, the Soviets joined the NAZIs in invading Poland, followed by a series of other invasions of their own. The NAZI success in Poland was followed by a string of startling military successes, especially the invasion and defeat of France (1940). The NAZI successes were puncutated by the victory of the RAF in the Battle of Britain (1940). or a while onlt the British conitnued the esistance to the NAZIs. This changes abruptally hen Geramy and Japan brought the oviet Unin and Ameica into the War. It would take more than 3 years of orce fighting, but both NAZI Geramny and Imperial Japan would be destroyed in the process. There were three different types of operations, land, air, and sea. Often these operaions were combnined. The German success and conmbined opertions (Blitzkrieg) was a key to their early success. There were sone largely single operation success like the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, and the Strategic Bombing Campaign. There were also theaters with discrete operations. America and Bitain agreed from an early point that that it was Europe that was the vkey theater and adopted a Germany First stratgy even vefore America entered the War. The United States stuck with this stategy even when Americas demanded action agains Japan. We also have detailed information on the war histories of individual countries.








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Created: 3:57 AM 7/11/2005
Last updated: 7:51 PM 7/28/2019