Twentieth Century History: Important Struggles and Forces

Compiled by Rachel Bryan, Jennifer Coomes, Mike Dias, Lee Higgins,
Alyssa Luppold, Amy Manning, Jesse Marrus, Marisa Miller,
Nicole Norona, Elizabeth Roberts, Christine Seddon, & Craig Wingate

Click to go to:
The Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War II
The Rise of Hitler
The Destruction of the Eastern European Jews
The Destruction of the European Jews
World War Two, frist version
World War Two, second version
A History of Chile in the Twentieth Century
A History of Turkey in the Twentieth Century
 A History of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

The Spanish Civil War
        contributed by Elizabeth Roberts

     King Alfonso Xlll was struggling with the failing parliament in 1923, Spain. He attempted to strength his reign by appointing General Miguel Primo de Rivera as dictator. This lasted for nearly seven years but when Alfonso saw that Primo began to loss momentum, he rid Primo of any government status. Out of desperation, Alfonso attempted other military cabinets that failed and he fled the country in 1931.

     The Republic gained control over Spain at the time of Alfonso’s exile and brought new hopes to Spain. There was immediate relief to thousands of semi-starving peasants, and wages were increased for farm workers. The Republic continued to further the dam and canal development to improve flood control and irrigation that was initiated by Primo during his previous rule. Primary schools and more universities were becoming available throughout Spain, the Church and State was separated, and divorce was legalized for the first time in Spain. Also, the elections were the most honest in the history of Spain.

     The Republic was changing the face of Spain and many Spaniards were wary without the familiar ruling of a monarchy. Military officers, judges and civil servants were monarchists at heart and even felt loyalty to their exiled King. Without supports from powerful citizens and rejection from the churches the Republic had little chance to continue. The Socialists in Spain supported the Republic over the King but at the elections in 1936 the Socialists dropped the Republic and defended their own group. With all this against the Republic Fascism was also rising through out Europe. Mussolini was ruling Italy since 1922 without much influence over Spain to follow Italy’s lead. But the rise of Hitler in Germany was powerful and appealing. Spaniards were divided all over Spain unable to unite. There were Fascists, Socialists, the Republic, the Churches, and peasants all whom wanted control and or were planning to revolt. The 1936 elections solved nothing for Spain and groups prepared for military action. In response, the Republic prepared for military attacks in June of 1936.

     General Franco led the Nationalists revolt to destroy the Republic with the help of Mussolini and Hitler as allies. Through the ally’s resources, Franco attacked with the first airlift of troops into battle. In October, Stalin responds to the Republic by sending aid also by air. He also sent political advisors to assist. Italy’s brigade aid Spain and defeat Mussolini in Guadalajara in 1937. Abraham Lincoln’s brigade send 450 volunteers to Jarama Valley were 127 were killed. Even authors such as Ernest Hemmingway and George Orwell write novels in Spain’s defense.

     German warships attack Almeria and after retaliation from Spain withdraw from naval patrol. Stalin ceases to aid Republicans in 1938 due to lack of western democracies not helping and Franco’s success in most battles. In January 1939, Barcelona fell followed by Catalonia in February. Finally in March Valencia and Madrid also fell to Franco’s Nationalists revolt. The Republic was destroyed.

~ Links~  look at A Spanish Civil War Photo Essay

The Spanish Civil War
        contributed by Allysa Luppold

        The early 1930’s proved to be a unique time for change within the country of Spain.  General Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship ended in January 1930.  In August 1930, the Republicans and Socialists made the Pact of San Sebastian in order to overthrow the monarchy.  And in April 1931, the results of municipal elections showed the monarchist candidates being crushed by opponents. Soon after, King Alfonso departed Spain for exile in Rome.  Because of the King’s departure, a new republic was established and many eager citizens of Madrid rejoiced the fall of the monarchy’s reign.  Alcala Zamora became the Prime Minister of this new provisional government.  The goal was to establish a modern democratic society, in which the voice of Spain’s people would be heard loud and clear.  Yet, the plan to modernize Spain was met with many obstacles.  There were many disagreements among the various arrays of people within Spanish society.  Disputes between different social classes, religious groups, etc. evolved from the government’s attempt to modernize Spain.
        During this troublesome time, Alcala Zamora was elected President of the Republic and Manuel Azana became the Prime Minister of coalition government of Left Republicans and Socialists.  But during the elections of November 1933, the CEDA gathered many conservative votes while the Socialists and the Left Republicans gave their support for Azana’s government.  Eventually the Socialists began to feel that Azana’s type of reform moved too slowly.  Ultimately the Socialists abandoned Azana’s government.  Therefore, both parties went against each other in the elections of November 1933.  As a result of this, the CEDA and the conservative Radical Republican Party of Alejandro Lerroux tried to change the ways of the Azana government.  While the Socialists leader, Largo Caballero felt that the CEDA were fascists.  After the CEDA entered the government in October 1934, the Socialist and Communists planned a rebellion in the province of Asturias while the Catalan nationalists planned a rebellion in Barcelona.  In Asturias, General Franco and his military crushed the rebellious uprising.  More than a thousand rebels were massacred.
        The Socialists, the Left Republicans of Azana and Communists formed a Popular Front and won the elections of February 1936.  Largo Caballero, however, rejected the modest social reforms of the Left Republicans and did not want to join the government of Left Republicans under Prime Minister Azana.  Instead, Caballero wanted to form a government, which helped meet the needs of the numerous workers in Spain.  Many people protested the bourgeois Republican government and often went on strikes.  Also, many of these people joined groups like the Carlists (anti-liberal Catholics) and Falangists (a mixture of Fascism and Spanish nationalism).  Young, soldiers in their own private armies backed both the Carlists and the Falangists groups.  Eventually, the rebels took over the conservative, pastoral areas of Spain, while the Republic owned the gold reserves at the Bank of Spain.  Soon after the elections of February 1936, the rebels felt that it was time to take action.
        On July 17, 1936, the armies against the Republic revolted against the barracks in Spanish Morocco.  Many towns were taken and General Franco flew to Morocco so that he could take command over the African Army.  General Franco played a huge role in securing the help of Mussolini and Hitler.  Through Germany and Italy’s help, planes brought in more troops to southern Spain.  Martinez Barrio failed in his attempt to negotiate with the rebels.  After Barrio’s resignation, Giral replaced him and gave weapons to the workers’ organizations.  Giral also asked the French Republic for help in aiding them with more weapons.  In doing this, the workers’ organizations and the security forces were able to overcome the rebels in the streets.
On July 21, 1936 the rebels serving under Colonel Moscardo occupied the fortress of Alcazar in Toledo.  During a two-month long period, the rebels who had taken refuge in the garrison held back the Republican Militia.  Eventually they were helped by troops from the Army of Africa, led by Colonel Jose Varela.  Throughout the end of July, there were victories and defeats.  The rebels held Galicia and were able to take over Granada on the twenty-fourth of July.  In addition, German planes arrived in Morocco and began to airlift the Army of Africa troops into Seville.
        By August of 1936, France closed its border with Spain and began a non-intervention policy.  Britain also banned any type of export of arms to Spain.  Republican forces landed on Majorca and the Soviet Union’s first ambassador (Marcel Rosenberg) to Spain was sent to Madrid.  On the twenty-eight of August, Madrid received its first aerial bombardment.  By September, Largo Caballero becomes Prime Minister of government of Socialists, Communists and Left Republicans.  And by the ninth of September, the first meeting of Non-Intervention Committee of European powers occurred in London.  By the end of September, the Republican government published evidence of Italian and German violation of non-intervention agreement.
In November 1936, a battle for Madrid once again emerged.  The nationalists desired to take over the capital, which would end the war.  General Emilio led the forces and ordered Colonel Jose Varela to attack Madrid.  By the sixteenth of November, almost three-quarters of the University City fell to the Nationalists. But by November twenty third, both sides tired from fighting.  Although the Nationalists captured most of the city, it seemed that any further attacks on Madrid would most likely end in failure.  But more importantly, November was the month Franco’s regime was recognized by Germany and Italy.  Also, November marked the month that the Republican authorities executed Jose Antonio Primo De Rivera.  This act made him into a Nationalist martyr.  His death, however, benefited Franco because he was a serious threat.
          By December 1936, there were many Nationalist attacks around Madrid.  The Nationalists tried to cut the capital off from the rest of Spain (which was primarily Republican).  The Port of Barcelona was also under air attack and by January 1937, there were Nationalist attacks on the western Madrid front.  By the twenty-first of February, Largo Caballero released General Asensio, because of Communist pressure.  And by March thirteenth, the Condor Legion (under Nationalist control) bombed Durango.
        In March 1937, the Battle of Guadalajara occurred.  Two of the Nationalist armies started towards Guadalajara (thirty-four miles away from Madrid) which forced the Republic armies to head back.  Led by General Mario Roatta, the eastern army faced an extreme amount of resistance after their capture of Brihuega.  While the western army, led by General Jose Moscardo did not experience any trouble with the Republican troops.
        General Roatta stopped his advance on the fifteenth of March.  During this break, the Republicans decided to attack once again.  With the help of Russian tanks and aircraft, the counter-attack hurt the Italian units very badly.  Ultimately, the Republic recaptured Brihuega.
         By April 1937, Franco’s Decree of Unification united Falange and Carlist movements into a single party under his leadership.  In May fighting began between the POUM and anarchist groups in Barcelona.  Almost five hundred people were killed and more than a thousand were wounded.  Assault guards were ordered to Barcelona from Valencia, in an attempt to restore order.  By July 1937, the Battle of Brunete occurred.  The Republic army attacked Brunete (located towards the west of Madrid).  The Nationalists, however, were able to bring in the Condor Legion and this helped them counter-attack on the eighteenth of July.
    In September 1937, the Nyon Conference occurred.  The British called for this conference to discuss unknown attacks on submarines.  Italy was partly responsible and Germany decided not to attend.  The conference decided to set up patrols in the Mediterranean and the attacks began to stop.  By December 1937, the Nationalists air-bombed Barcelona and the Republicans air-bombed Leon.  Also, the Republican armies captured Teruel.
        On September twenty-ninth, the Munich Conference began.  From this meeting, a pact between Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier and Chamberlain was arranged.  Because of this, the Republic would not get any help from the French or the English.  In March 1938, Barcelona was bombed.  Nationalist planes dropped bombs on Barcelona and more than thirteen hundred people were killed.  On April fifteenth, Navarrese troops arrive at Vinaroz.  This split the Republican zone into two areas.  Led by General Aranda, the Nationalists took the port of Castellon by June of that year.  From July to November, the Battle of the Ebro occurred.  The Republican forces were able to reach Gandesa, but the Nationalist troops completed several fierce counter-attacks.  The Republican armies finally retreated by November eighteenth.
        By December 1938, the Germans took control of mining operations in Montana and Tetuan.  In January 1939, the fall of Catalonia occurred.  As a result of this, Barcelona fell easily to the force of Franco’s army.  Many refugees fled to the French frontier.  By March 1939, Negrin decided to change his military commands.  He promoted Communists officers to be in charge of Cartagena and Alicante.  By March seventh, street fighting in Madrid began between Casado’s Defence Council supporters and Communists.  By the fifteenth of March, Hitler marched into Prague.  By the twenty-ninth of the same month, Franco’s troops captured Albacete, Valencia and Alicante.  By April first, Franco announced the end of the war.  And the United States recognized Franco’s government.

Websites of artists and poets from this time period:

Pablo Neruda
Rafael Alberti
Federico Garcia Lorca
Cesar Vallejo
Historical information, photos, propaganda posters and bibliography of links to other websites:

The Rise of Hitler 1920’s –1940
        contributed by M. M. Dias

     In a sense, Adolf Hitler started his rise to power during the 1920’s.  Just one year before he joined the German Workers’ Party at age 30, he soon became 1 of the 7 executive members running what would soon be known as the militant group who’s objective was to rule the earth, the Nazis.  It was his involvement with the German Workers’ Party throughout the 20’s that helped Hitler perfect his method of speech-making which would be crucial to his mass plan of gaining support for the “pure” race.  The topics of his speeches attacked the Treaty of Versailles and the Jewish race for creating the problems plaguing the German people.

     On February 24, 1920 Hitler held a mass meeting outlining his 25 Points.  The basis of these 25 Points was to portray the party’s’ platform and planks, while issuing Anti-Semitic Laws.  That summer Hitler chose the symbol that would haunt millions for many years, the swastika.  He received the idea from one of the monasteries he studied at when he was a child.  He picked the color red to oppose those who supported Marxism.  With the swastika in place, he changed the name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi for short.  By 1921, the party has risen from a few hundred to several thousand.

     After the war France and England demanded that Germany pay off the dept it incurred.  A total of 33 billion was owed, bringing Germany into a state of depression.  The “mark” severely decreased and Hitler saw his chance to make a move on overthrowing the Republic.  With Hitler parading around with forceful speeches and propaganda, he was soon accused of high treason.  However, Hitler used the trail to exploit the situation in Germany and promote the Nazi regime.  The trail lasted for 24 days and for those 24 days Hitler used the technique of public speaking he perfected with the GMP and admitted that he was in fact trying to overthrow the government.  The verdict came back guilty, but his presence in the courtroom helped Hitler to receive a reduced sentence (he should have received life, however Adolf only had to do 5 years, with a possibility of parole after 6 months).  On April 1st 1924, Adolf Hitler was imprisoned.

     It was during Hitler’s time in jail that he began to plan his attack for world domination.  During the next year Hitler dictated his thoughts for the future of the Nazi party to his companion, Rudolph Hess.  The results of these talks would be Hitler infamous work known as Mein Kampf.  In Mein Kampf, Hitler divided the human race into categories.  The first category, and the one that was to be above all else, was the Aryan race.  A pool of fair skinned, light haired and blue eyed loyalists working for the soul purpose of creating a pure blooded people.  The next category dealt with the bottom of the barrel of human existence, the Jews.  As Hitler quotes, “Jews engage in a master conspiracy to keep this master race from assuming it’s rightful position as rulers of the world.”  Mein Kampf was released in 1925 and went on to sell millions, making Hitler a very rich man.

     With Germany still is shambles from its war dept, Hitler was released from prison after serving 9 months.  When he got out he reorganized the Nazis into several new ways.  First he divided the party into two movements.  POI was dedicated to undermining and overthrowing the government and POII was established to create a new government in waiting.  Hitler then turned to the youth of Germany and established the Hitler Youth Movement.  And the fist that was going to fight it all came in the form of the SS, Hitler’s loyal and abiding storm troopers.  With these chess pieces in motion, Hitler only needed the perfect time to strike.

     In the ensuing years from 1926-1929, Germany slowly climbed it’s way out of the cellar in terms of dept, and the “mark’ soon returned back to normal.  The German people soon had money to spend and a period of resurgence fell of Germany.  Hitler knew that with Germany in an era of good feeling, he couldn’t make the move to take over his motherland.  But, he did know how to be patient and knew that to good times would not last.  By May of 27, Hitler became the Supreme Ruler of the Nazis, overcoming the other six executive members. The waiting game took shape for Adolf as he was banned from public speaking and on parole from prison.

     His patience was rewarded in the form of the Great Depression that hit the United States in 1929.  The Depression was felt all over the world and especially in Germany.  You see, Germany was heavily reliant on foreign capital, and the government soon unraveled in an effort to counter act this new slip in the economy.  With new election coming up in March 1930, he seized the moment.  Hitler and the Nazis went on a whirlwind campaign, making several speeches a day and cascading Nazi propaganda.  When all was said and done, Hitler and the Nazis became the second largest political party overnight, winning 107 seats in the Reichstag, the German House.

     With a rapid takeover of the Reichstag soon complete, Hitler set his sights for the presidency.  In 1932, Hitler ran against Hindenburg in March.  With his “Freedom and Bread” campaign slogan, Hitler and the Nazis ran a furious campaign, far out reaching that of 1930.  His counterpart, Hindenburg, relied on his reputation to win and did far less than his eager opponent.  In the spring of 1932, with 6 million Germans out of work, chaos in Berlin, starvation, and an uncertain future, people looked towards the Nazis with a new and positive light.  On March 13, the results came back and Hitler had won 30% and Hindenburg 49%, a run-off election had to take place to decide the winner.  The Nazis set out on another whirlwind campaign and Hindenburg did even less than before.  Rumors stared of Hindenburg having ill health, but his overall reputation won him the election in the end.  However, the Nazi Party gained a huge following and Hitler a new sense of hope for the future.

     On July 31st 1933, Hitler’s sense of hope was strengthened was the Nazi Party became the largest party in the Reichstag.  The 33 election won Hitler 230 seats in the House.  With a strong control of the government and being sworn in as the Chancellor of the German Nation several months prior (Jan. 30, 1933), Hitler began to win over Hindenburg.  Adolf became such a power in the German Gov’t that anything that he wanted signed by Hindenburg, Hindenburg did without question.  Hitler became the president without actually becoming the president.

The Destruction of the Eastern European Jews
        contributed by Christine Seddon

“As long as Nazi violence was unleashed only, or mainly, against the Jews, the rest of the world looked on passively and even treaties and agreements were made with the patently criminal government of the Third Reich…  The doors of Palestine were closed to Jewish immigrants, and no country could be found that would admit those forsaken people.  They were left to perish like their brothers and sisters in the occupied countries.  We shall never forget the heroic efforts of the small countries, of the Scandinavian, the Dutch, the Swiss nations, and of individuals in the occupied part of Europe who did all in their power to protect Jewish lives.”    - Albert Einstein
     Between 1930 and 1945 the Eastern European Jews were the victims of one of the most devastating and horrific events in history.  Within those fifteen years millions of Jews were persecuted, brutally murdered, and relocated to ghettoes, labor camps, and death camps as a result of religious discrimination.  Many social and political changes and maneuvers lead to the implementation of the ghettoization and execution of the Jews in Eastern Europe, also known as the Holocaust, but the most significant change occurred in 1933 when Adolf Hitler was elected the Chancellor of Germany and the Nazi political party held the majority of seats in the German Reichstag.  That same year Hitler convinced President Hindenburg to sign Article 48, an “emergency” decree authorizing Hitler to suspend all civil rights, and arrest and execute any suspicious person. From that point on Hitler and the National Socialist Party continued to obtain more political power and a reign of terror that would last for ten years began.  The Reichstag granted Hitler total control by empowering him to make laws.  With this power he began to establish concentration camps to incarcerate political opponents of the regime; declared a boycott of all Jewish businesses; seized control of the German labor unions; outlawed the Social Democrat Party, making the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany; revokes citizenship to those “undesirable” to the government; withdraws from the League of Nations and the Versailles disarmament pact; and announces the dissolution of the Reichstag.

     On June 30, 1934, also known as “the Night of the Long Knives,” Hitler had one thousand political enemies, including Ernst Roehm, the leader of Germany’s political left, executed by the Gestapo.  In August of that year, following the death of former president Hindenburg, Hitler declared himself both President and Chancellor of the Third Reich and Commander-in-Chief of the Military.  On September 15, 1935 German Congress passed the Nuremburg Laws, which redefined German Jews as non-citizens, banned Jews from any political participation, prohibited Jews from marrying or having extramarital relations with German citizens, or from raising a German flag.  In 1937 the massive concentration camp at Buchenwald was opened and all Jews were prohibited from obtaining passports or traveling abroad.  Then in 1938 Germany invaded Austria making Hitler the undisputed ruler of over 70 million people and a full-fledged program of mass destruction was officially put into motion on November 9, the night of Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass.”

    By 1939 all Jews had to carry special identification cards, they were forbidden to attend plays, movies, or concerts, they could not attend German schools or universities, they had a special curfew, and they were forced to wear a yellow Star of David.  Germany under Hitler’s reign went on to conquer Czechoslovakia, and on September 1, 1939 invaded Poland, thus beginning World War II.  In 1940 Germany began the deportation of Jews to concentration camps and labor camps, and the relocation of the Jewish populations into enclosed ghettoes.

    On January 20, 1942 the Wannsee Conference is held in Berlin.  Here the Nazis announce what they called “The Final Solution,” or the extermination of all European Jews.  As a result of this decree millions of Jews were brutally murdered by gassing, starvation and “scientific experimentation” in concentration camps like the massive Auschwitz-Birkenau complex.  This process of ethnic cleansing reached new heights in 1944 when the Germans announced a plan to breed an Aryan elite race by encouraging unmarried women to bear children of German SS officers.

    Although the political leaders of the United States, Europe, and most of the world were aware of Hitler’s implementation of concentration and labor camps, as well as his forced deportation and murder of millions of Jews, the Holocaust and Hitler’s reign of terror and destruction was not halted until 1945 when Soviet and US forces liberated Warsaw, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald and forced Germany to surrender.  A few months later World War II ended and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials began.

Links with further information:

Links providing images:
National Holocaust Museum site
Alan Jacob’s photos of Auschwitz

Link to a list of further links:

The Destruction of the European Jews
        contributed by Sam Lawrence

    The seeds of the Holocaust began with the evolution of Adolph Hitler's maniacal dreams based on his interpretation of Germanic history, the quest for the "Aryan ideal", and a lust for power. By 1934, one year after he rose to Chancellorship, Hitler began to implement the pieces of his strategy to take over Europe, expand his race, and eradicate the Jewish population; Man, woman and child alike. By 1938, Hitler began to strip Jews of their identity through taking away their jobs, land, passports, and education. By 1939, concentration camps were created while ghettos were being established throughout Poland. By 1940, Jews were being escorted to these concentration camps while the Tripartite Pact was being signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan.  By 1943, many of the ghettos were liquidated while some of the camps were experimenting with gassing. In 1945, Hitler committed suicide while Germany surrendered. On May 8, 1945 the War in Europe ended, which is now known as V-E Day. And by 1948 the last displaced persons camp was closed.


World War Two
        contributed by Craig Wingate

    After the end of WW I in 1918, the League of Nations was founded, and the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The League, which was started by the U.S, was rather powerless, since it had no army to reinforce it’s ruling. The League was a way to keep all of the winners and losers of WWI together, while the treaty asked Germany to break up its army and use stricter rules when they were allowed to rearm. Neither of these two things helped soothe the burning anger that the defeated countries held against the non-defeated ones. In 1934 Adolf Hitler became the Fuhrer of Germany. A year later he stripped the German Jews of their rights, using the Nuremberg Race Laws. He also violated the treaty by beginning military conscription. While this was occurring the dictator, Mussolini, came into power and invaded Ethiopia. He completely controlled it by 1936 and the League could do little to help. The Japanese were also creating problems in the pacific. They invaded Manchuria, and the League ordered them out. Instead of leaving Manchuria, they left the League. Again, the League could do little to help.

     Hitler went against the treaty again by remilitarizing the Rhineland. He revealed his war plans at the Hossbach Conference in 1937. Four months later, Germany made a union with Austria and Hitler took over Sudetenland. France and Britain met with him and Mussolini at Munich and they agreed to let him keep control of Sudetenland. A year later Hitler took over the rest of Czechoslovakia along with Lithuania. Earlier that year, Hitler made threats towards the Jews at the Reichstag speech.

     After the Ribbentrop Pact was signed between the Soviets and the Germans, Hitler conquered Poland, and divided up between his army and the Soviets. The Soviets went on the conquer Finland while the Germans went after Denmark and Norway. Two day after Germany invaded Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The Tripartite Pact was signed later that year, linking Germany, Italy, which was slowly being overtaken by Mussolini, and Japan, who was stirring up more trouble by making plans to expand into China, together.

     Germany was conquering the countries using a strategy called Blitzkrieg or lightering war. There was a “cool down” period between the invasion of Poland and the invasion of Norway and Denmark, which was called the “phony” war. Holland and Belgium were taken over in May along with Paris. Hitler tried to use the Luftwaffe, which was the Germans air force, to get more control in the skies as well as control over Britain, but the British Royal Air Force crushed the German’s air force. Hitler went on to conquer Moscow, but the Russian winter and the Soviet forces were enough to fight off Hitler’s invasion. Hitler tried to invade Stalingard, but lost that battle as well. While Hitler was winning and losing the battles between the Soviets and British, the gas chambers were being used at the concentration camps like Auschwitz.

     On the pacific, the Japanese continued to expand its power by force. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked the U.S. Navy base of Pearl Harbor, because of the American trade embargoes. Four day later, Germany declared war on the U.S. and the Japan invaded the Philippines, Burma, and Hong Kong.

     While this was occurring, Mussolini invaded Libya and Egypt along with Greece and Albania. The U.S. entered the war and became one of the Allies. The first American force arrived in Great Britain on January 26, 1942. They recaptured Africa and Sicily in 1943, and Italy later signed a secret surrender pact, taking it out of Mussolini’s rule. In the pacific, the U.S. recaptured the Guadalcanal, the Aleutian Islands, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands from the Japanese. The British and Indian army helped as well by recapturing Burma.
On D-Day, in June of 1944, the Allies marched into Normandy and recaptured it from Germany. At the same time the Soviet army continued to push the Germans back to their own territory. The Germans did have one small victory, which was at the Battle of the Bulge. Over 19,000 Americans were killed, and the invasion of Germany by the Allies was delayed.

    The next year the Soviets liberated Auschwitz, along with other concentration camps setup by the Germans. The poet Robert Desnos was a prisoner at this camp. The liberation was a little too late for him though. He contracted typhus and died soon after he was liberated. More and more camps were liberated and the Holocaust started to reveal itself. The Soviets were also trying to beat the Germans and other Western Allies to Germany. On April 21, 1945 the Soviets researched Berlin first, conquering over the Germans. Hitler took his own life nine days later and Mussolini was captured right after his death. The Italian partisans hanged Mussolini for his war crimes. Germany surrendered on May 7th, which marked the end of the war in Europe.

    The war on the pacific was still in progress when Germany surrendered. American soldiers took over the Philippines in 1944 and the Allies took over the island of Okinawa. The Japanese surrendered on August 14, 1945, after President Harry Truman ordered the use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
WW II casualties were outrageously high. Millions were lost on every side. Medieval monasteries like Monte Cassino, and beautiful cities like Dresden, London, and countless others, were completely destroyed. Millions of Jews were killed, tortured and displaced from their families because of the use of concentration camps. Writers, entertainers, and pretty much everyone else who were in German regions were persecuted, if they wrote, taught, or said anything that went against what the Germans believed. This war was truly the worst war ever.

For more information on WW II, please see

For pictures on WW II, please see

For more bibliographies of links on WW II, please see

World War Two
        contributed by Jennifer Coomes

     After World War I, nearly every participating country was in shambles, both socially and economically.  A grand total of over 186 billion dollars had been spent, and more than 9 million men had lost their lives in the fighting.  International finance suffered.  But this had not been “the war to end all wars,” as so many had hoped.  Much of Europe had been reduced to rubble, and the Germans looked for leadership in Adolph Hitler.  His rise to power in 1933 led to the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Pact of 1939.  He had anticipated easily taking over Poland, but he was mistaken.  Refusing to become a willing participant in Hitler’s up and coming Nazi Empire, Poland was then invaded and defeated by Germany.

     It was Hitler’s desire to take over the West, ultimately conquering Russia and Great Britain.  But although the country endured heavy and daily aerial raids, Great Britain would not concede defeat.  Hitler unleashed his army on Russia in June of 1941 and took over 3 million Russian prisoners of war.  However, the winter to come would kill many Germans, who were unprepared and lay stranded outside of Moscow.  Germany would ensue another strike against Russia, but by this time the United States had already entered the war, after being bombed by the Japanese, (a German ally) on December 7, 1941.  In 1942, the situation in Russia began to look bleak for Germany, and although they had made it as far as the Volga at Stalingrad, they lost a major army to superior Russian forces that were being industrially supplied by the United States.  Germany fell back.
 Anglo-American troops liberated occupied France and Belgium in 1944 before moving onto Germany.  Italy had been forced into surrender in 1942-1943 after Axis powers in Sicily were defeated.

     Japan had expanded throughout much of Asia after 1931, in an effort to become economically self-sufficient.  The increase in their military security and a self-imposed leadership in Asia led the Japanese government to infringe upon colonial empires, including the Netherlands and France who were currently occupied by Japan’s ally, Germany.  In September of 1941 Japan took over French Indonesia, and the U.S. put a steel and scrap metal embargo on Japan.  Japan had signed a neutrality pact with Russia, who was viewed as her primary potential enemy since the Russo-Japanese war from 1904-1905.  Before attempting to gain full control of all colonial powers in South East Asia, the felt it was necessary to lash out at the United States in retaliation of the embargo.

     On the morning of December 7, 1941 Japan bombed and partially destroyed the United States’ Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  It was the first foreign military attack on U.S. soil in centuries.  Upon this day that would “live in infamy,” we entered World War II.  Germany also declared war on the United States.
 By 1942, the Japanese had conquered American outposts at Guam and the Philippines, and were occupying many of the British and Dutch colonies throughout South East Asia.  But that June, with the aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet that were not present at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. destroyed a major Japanese carrier force at Midway Island.  From then on, it was our intent to take back the Philippines and advance on the Marianas using amphibious and aerial forces.  Russia broke her neutrality pact with Japan and invaded Manchuria in 1945.

     Though close to defeat and greatly fatigued, Japan would not yield to these traditional war tactics.  Instead, it took two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 to subdue the Japanese into unconditional surrender.

Are you interested in learning more about World War II?  Go to…

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Here are some other sites about WWII and those it affected…

A History of Chile in the 20th Century
        contributed by Nicole Norona

     In the years following World War I Chile experienced economic problems because nitrate, which it exported, was being used less than the newer man-made fertilizers. The government could no longer use the profits that came from nitrate to support its social programs. The president, Arturo Alessandri  Palma, wanted to implement a reform program. He could not because the congress blocked it. When he tried to resign the congress would not allow him to. He was allowed only a six month leave of absence. During this time the Chilean armed forces were put in charge of the government . When Alessandri returned to office in 1925 he drafted a new constitution, which gave the president increased power while taking power from the congress. During these years communist and socialist parties came into being in Chile.  In 1938 a coalition of radicals, communist, and socialist parties called The Popular Front won the presidential election. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s ideological divisions began to grow among the Chilean population.

    In 1952 no one won the presidential election and Carlos Ibanez del Campo who had ruled Chile from 1927 to 1932 was made president by the congress. His presidency was followed by Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez and Eduardo Frei Montalva.

    In 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens was elected president . Allende was the first democratically elected Marxist to become head of state in the western hemisphere. Allende nationalized many businesses. He also began many social programs such as; providing poor children with milk everyday, building low income housing, and transforming little used land into farming cooperatives. However life was very difficult for small business owners.  In 1972 a strike was called to protest his policies. In 1973 inflation had climbed to 1,000 percent. This, combined with severe shortages, created strikes and violence. Many people were frightened that Chile would become like Cuba, poor and repressive.

    On September 11, 1973 the military staged a coup led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. Allende ether killed himself or was murdered. The military dissolved the congress and banned political parties. They imposed a state of siege which gave the military power to arrest, detain and jail people without court proceedings. In the first few years of Pinochet’s rule as many as two thousand people were killed and one thousand more were disappeared.  Despite this many Chileans supported Pinochet due to the economic and political problems of the Allende years. By 1977 the methods of repression and control became more subtle. In 1977 and 1978 there were only two political killings. Torture victims were released back into the communities where their presence served as a warning to others. In 1983 the economy collapsed and protests against Pinochet began.  Repression returned to its massive scale. The protests died out of fear.  In 1988 Pinochet was voted out of office, in elections that he had called. In 1998 he was arrested in London, after Spain asked for his extradition to face charges for the murders of hundreds of Chilean and Spanish citizens.  In 2000 Pinochet was declared medically incompetent to stand trial by a British court. He returned to Chile.  That year a socialist, Ricardo Lagos was elected president. In July 2001 an appeals court in Chile barred Pinochet from ever being tried in Chile due to his dementia.

Links to other web sites:

U.S. Library of Congress country study-Chile
Derechos Chile
Chile under Salvador Allende and the popular unity

A History of Turkey in the 20th Century
        contributed by Amy Manning

The Ottoman Empire and WWI

    Although the Ottoman Empire had been founded in the late thirteenth century, by the start of the twentieth century it was in decline and would not survive the aftermath of World War One.  At the beginning of the century its territory consisted of Asia Minor, parts of the Balkans, and parts of the Middle East.  Sultan Abd al-Hamid found modernizations and reforms necessary to increase his internal control of the empire and to make it more responsive to external events.  For example, he introduced the telegraph and built railroads.  However, he was also internally repressive and in 1908 and 1909 the Committee for Union and Progress, also known as the “Young Turks,” revolted and took over the Ottoman government with their own agenda of nationalism and modernization.  They forced the sultan to restore the constitution and the parliament (which he had introduced and then abolished).  They also opened schools to women and legislated some rights for women.

    After the start of the Great War in 1914, the Ottomans stayed out of the conflict until 1915, when fear of Russia, which was in the Allied camp, led them to enter the war on Germany and Austria-Hungary’s side.  Although Germany and Austria-Hungary had goals of adding to their European and colonial territories, the Ottoman Empire felt it had to go to war in order to survive.  Ironically, its participation in World War One would lead to its own end.

    The battle of Gallipoli was the only direct attack by the Allies on the Ottoman Empire and also the only real victory for the Ottomans.  Churchill’s plan to strike at their “soft underbelly” ended in disaster for the Allies, because the plan was betrayed and the Turks, led by Kemal Pasha, were waiting for the expeditionary force.  Afterwards, the battles nibbled at the edges of the empire.  The French held Lebanon, while the British had victories in Palestine, Persia, and Mesopotamia.  In the Caucasus Mountains, the Russians and the Ottomans struggled over the Armenian border region.

The Armenian Genocide

    In May of 1915, the Ottoman government decided on the forcible deportation of the Armenians from eastern Anatolia. Because the Armenians were Christians, the Ottomans suspected them of plotting with the Russians on the Caucasian border to set up an Armenian state under Russian protection.  Although exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that from two to three million Armenians were deported, and of those millions, about one third were massacred, one third did during the deportation, and one third survived.  After World War One, one part of the Treaty of Sèvres nominally set up an independent Armenian state, although in reality the republic was allowed to be partitioned between Soviet Russia and the Republic of Turkey.  More Armenians were killed in the struggle between Turkey and Russia during World War One and in further massacres after the war, until 1923.

Events after WWI

    After the end of World War One, the Ottoman government was very weak and the Allied forces held large portions of Ottoman territory.  Although the government signed the Treaty of Sèvres, the Ottoman parliament refused to ratify it.  The Supreme Allied Council invited the Greeks “to restore order in Anatolia.”  Although the Greek forces marched into Anatolia, they had not counted on the influence of Mustafa Kemal Pasha (later known as Atatürk).

    In recent years, Kemal Pasha, the hero of Gallipoli, had emerged as the leader of a Turkish national movement whose goal was to create a Turkish national republic and a modern, secular society.  He opposed the rule of the sultanate, the theocratic state and the veil for women.  The presence of foreign invaders catalyzed this movement and by 1922 the Turkish War of Independence had expelled the Greek army from Turkey.  The Treaty of Sèvres was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the terms of which the  Turkish government had more say in.

    One effect of the emergence of the Turkish nation at this time was the “Great Catastrophe.”  The Turks exiled almost all the Greeks from their territory in Asia Minor and the shores of the Black Sea, where many of their ancestors had been living for three thousand years.  These people were exchanged for the Turkish population that Greece similarly exiled from their territory.

The Modern Turkish Republic and Atatürk's Reforms

    Kemal Pasha abolished the sultanate in 1922 and the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923. He introduced a number of significant reforms to his country.  The republic’s constitution made primary education free and compulsory, as 90% of the population was illiterate in 1923. In 1924 the religious courts were abolished and in 1928 Turkey officially became a secular state.  Women’s suffrage began in 1934.  One of Kemal Pasha’s reforms was the introduction of Western-style last names, and the parliament decided to give him the name “Atatürk,” which means “father of the Turks.” The multi-party political system began in 1946 and has usually resulted in coalition governments.  Except for a military junta in 1960-61, Turkey remained under civilian rule until 1980, when political unrest, acts of terrorism, and inflation led to the military’s taking control.  By the end of 1983 civilian rule had again been restored.  In recent years, various Islamist parties have formed and been outlawed by the country’s judiciary as threats to the secular nature of the state.

For Further Reading

Turkish literature is considered the most highly developed of the country’s arts.  Turkish Poetry in Translation has links to
     the works of many twentieth-century Turkish poets. has a biography of Atatürk and a bibliography of suggested books and articles on this hero of the Turkish
The Armenian National Institute has a website with a history of the genocide, contemporary photographs, and excerpts
     from contemporary documentation.
The Library of Congress maintains a very thorough treatment of everything you ever wanted to know about ancient or
     modern Turkey.
A helpful  map of Turkey.

A History of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
        contributed by Lee Higgins

        From 1880-1914 the Zionist movement was founded in response to the increasing persecution of European Jews and their desire to join the community of modern nation-states that comprise Europe.  Thousand of Jews began immigrating to Palestine, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
         In 1918, Britain won control over the area of Palestine, and from 1918 to 1948 Britain governed over the Jews and Arabs living in this territory.  Britain gave the area of British-mandate Palestine east of the Jordan River to Emir Abdullah, forming the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan in 1921.  Violence erupted during the mandate period on May Day, leaving scores of Jews and Arabs dead along the Jaffa-Tel Aviv border.  In 1929, the second major intercommunal violence erupted in Jerusalem, spreading throughout the country, particularly in Hebron, where 67 Jews were killed.
         The General Assembly of the United Nations recommended the partition of British-mandate Palestine into two separate states in Nov. 1947, one for Jews and one for Arabs.  Fighting broke out, as all the surrounding Arab states rejected the partition plan.
        On May 14, 1948 Zionist leaders proclaimed the state of Israel.  Fighting broke out between the newly declared state of Israel and its Arab neighbors as British troops began leaving the country.  Control of Jerusalem was split between Israel in the west and Jordan in the east.  The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 on Dec. 11, stating that Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes should be permitted to do so and that those who do not wish to return should be compensated by the state of Israel.
         In May of 1964, 422 Palestinian national figures met in Jerusalem under the chairmanship of Ahmad Shuqeiri, who founded the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and laid down the structure of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the PLO Executive Committee, and the National Fund and the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA).  The meeting also approved a Palestinian national covenant and basic law.
         June 5, 1967 marked the beginning of the Arab-Israeli war, when Israeli forces responded to terrorist attacks on Jewish settlements launched by Arab guerilla bands.  Israeli military forces invaded all territories that remained occupied by Palestinians including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank that is home to the disputed city of Jerusalem.  In response to the war, the UN Security Council passes Resolution 242. Among other stipulations, the resolution called for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
         In Sept. of 1970 King Hussein declared war on the PLO and imposed martial law for the PLO’s involvement in Jordanian politics, an involvement that he perceived to be threatening.  Three thousand people lost their lives in the fighting between the Jordanians and the PLO forces.  On Sept. 5, 1972 Palestinian gunmen killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
         On Oct. 6, 1973 Egypt and Syria organized a surprise attack on Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights on the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur.  The war lasted for three weeks.  In the same month, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 338, which called for an immediate cease-fire and the immediate commencement of negotiations toward the implementation of UNSCR 242 with the goal of “establishing a just and durable piece in the Middle East.”
         In 1974, the Arab League declared the P.L.O. the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs.  A year later, the first “Land Day” protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel erupted to protest government confiscations of Palestinian land and other discrimination in access to land and housing.  On July 4, 1976 Israeli commandos rescued 98 Israeli and Jewish hostages in Entebbe, Uganda, held by Palestinians who hijacked an Air France Airbus.  From 1978-1981 President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Jimmy Carter of the United States signed the Camp David accords.  Israel agreed to hand back the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace and normalization.
         On June 6, 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and established a “security zone” in Southern Lebanon in order to block Hezbollah (a Lebanese Shi’a Muslim group whose name means “Party of God” in Arabic) forces from staging attacks on Northern Israeli communities from Lebanon.  The Israeli Army reached Beirut and succeeded in driving out Yasser Arafat’s PLO.
         From 1983-1985, Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon, except for a “security zone” in the south.  On Dec. 9, 1987 a Palestinian Infitada (“uprising” in Arabic) began in the West Bank and Gaza.  Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat condemned all forms of terrorism and recognized the state of Israel on Dec. 14, 1988.  U.S. President Ronald Reagan authorized the U.S. to enter into a “substantive dialogue” with the PLO.  Israel remained hostile to the PLO.
         In Oct. 1991 the Madrid Peace Conference took place in Madrid, Spain.  The conference included delegations from Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinians and marked the first time most of the Arab parties (except for Egypt) and Israel sat down at a table together.  From Jan. to Sept. 1993 secret talks between Israeli and PLO negotiators began in Oslo, Norway.  On Sept. 13, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a Declaration of Principles in Washington on the basis of the negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian teams in Oslo, Norway.
         A militant Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians praying at the main mosque in Hebron in the West Bank in May 1994.  Israel and the PLO reach the “Cairo Agreement,” which included an Israeli military withdrawal from about 60% of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.
         On Sept. 28, 1995 Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Taba agreement in Washington to expand Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza and allow Palestinian elections (held on Jan. 20, 1996).  From Feb. to March 1996 a series of Hamas suicide bomb attacks killed 57 Israelis.  In May of 1996 Likud candidate Binyamin Netanyahu won the election for prime minister defeating incumbent Shimon Peres, of the Labor party.  Violence claimed the lives of 61 Arabs and 15 Israeli soldiers over Israel’s opening of an archaeological tunnel site close to Muslim shrines in Jerusalem in September.
         On Jan. 17, 1997 Israel handed over 80% of the West Bank town of Hebron to Palestinian rule, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Netanyahu signed the Wye River Memorandum on Oct. 23, 1998, that outlined further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank.  On May 19, 1999 Labor Party leader Ehud Barak was elected Prime Minister of Israel, having campaigned on a platform of bringing an end to all of Israel’s conflicts with all its neighbors, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.  In Feb. of 2000, a summit between Barak and Arafat broke up over a disagreement on a promised Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank under the Wye accord.  On July 4, 2001, the Israeli security cabinet voted to give the Israeli Defense forces a broader license to target Palestinian terrorists.
         The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has escalated since the Oct. 17, 2001 assassination of the Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi by Palestinian militants.  Since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11 2001, the Bush administration has shown more of an interest in bringing Israel and the Palestinians to negotiations, primarily in response to requests form Arab and Muslim governments that are supporting the U.S. war against terrorism.


A History of Arab-Israeli Conflict
        contributed by Jesse Marrus

            Jewish immigration to the Holy Land increased dramatically after World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. The influx of Jewish immigrants resulted in increasing tension with the local Arab population, a development that led the United Kingdom torenege its mandate and place Palestine under United Nations supervision in 1947 (TIME, October 6, 1947). The inability ofthe Arabs and Jews to compromise on the distribution of Holy Lands led to friction along disputed territories. The ensuing violence culminated when Jewish Agency President David Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948. The neighboring Arab countries of Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria mobilized against the fragile state and periodic fighting continued, in spite of several cease-fire attempts, until early 1949. The migration of thousands of Palestinians to neighboring Arab countries led to further violence throughout disputed border regions. The escalating violence inthe Egyptian controlled Gaza Strip led to an Israeli military campaign in 1956. Supported by French and British forces Israel successfully occupied the Sinai Peninsula. Although Israel attained a decisive military victory, they were coerced to relinquish the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.
        Even though Israel maintained military superiority in the region since its inception, further trends of violence were perpetuated against the young state. The formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in May of 1964 led to the escalation of guerrilla activities against Israel. The PLO claimed to be the exclusive representative of the Palestinian people, pledged to reclaim their land, and destroy the State of Israel. Ongoing regional tensions compelled Egypt and Jordan to ally under a joint military command. Presuming their Arab neighbors would attack, in June of 1967 Israel launched strikes against the Arab regiments. "The Six Day War" culminated with Israel occupying parts of the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israeli occupation of these disputed territories have led to continual Arab uprisings against the Jewish state. Although the Arab invasion of 1973 was the last "conventional" battle between Israel and it_s neighbors, violence in the Middle East has continually spiraled out of control.

        Over the past thirty years, advocates of peace in the Middle East have been few and far between. Courageous leaders like Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin were assassinated for striving for peace in the region. Furthermore, actions of Israelis and the Palestinians has perpetuated further violence between the ancient neighbors. Only a shift in the mindset and policies of the two ancient rivals can bring about a peaceful resolution for the state of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Camp David
History of the Golan Heights
Israel Present Day 2002
Israel in Maps
Jewish History Timeline
Timeline of Israel at War with its Neighbors
The Israeli Government's Official Website
Palestinian National Authority's Official Website