From 1939 to 1942, Hitler’s German war machine strung together a nearly undefeated campaign throughout Europe. It appeared that Hitler’s path towards world domination was becoming a reality. In the time period between 1942 and 1945, the world witnessed some of the bloodiest and deadliest war campaigns in history. But it also was full of pivotal turning points in the war that lead to D-Day, the surrender of Japan, and the eventual end of the war itself.
The second half of WWII was full of turning points that shifted control of the war from Germany to the hands of the Allies. Political cartoons, developing technologies, and the Allies' unified front were all key to this change.
The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the central turning points during this part of the war, followed by the invasion of Europe by the Allies. After the colossal defeat in Stalingrad, the once indestructible Axis forces were showing signs of mortality. The Allies continued to fight throughout Europe, changing the tide of war when they invaded Normandy, France, an event known famously as D-Day. Following D-Day, the Allies began their trek of liberation throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.
From 1942-1945, the world witnessed some of the bloodiest and deadly war campaigns in history. Despite the overwhelming numbers of Allied resources and soldiers compared to the Axis, the war continued to bring fierce and unrelenting combat until Japan surrendered on August 14th, 1945. The last three years of the war are defined by the liberation of Nazi occupied lands, the brutal fighting throughout the Pacific, and the use of an apocalyptic weapon the world has never seen used again.
Through the activities in this unit, students will research the power of political cartoons during World War II and the significance they had in shaping a national identity. They will also analyze the chronology of events, understand who the key leaders were, and debate one of the most controversial decisions in history: President Truman’s decision to use the Atomic Bomb on Japan to end World War II.