The Course of the Second World War

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The Second World War began with Hitler's attack on Poland in 1939 and ended with the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. During these six years many battles were fought in both the European and Pacific theatre that led to the success of the Allies and to the collapse of the Axis Powers.

On September 1 1939 Hitler attacked Poland and two days later Britain and France declared war. For the next five months little military action was taken and this period was named 'the Phony War'. However, in April 1940 Hitler broke the silence with his invasion of Denmark and Norway.

Norway was important to Hitler because of the iron ore she produced, which was crucial to the German armaments industry. Since the British were interfering with this trade Hitler decided to invade and secure the Norwegian ports. As a result of this invasion Chamberlain was forced to resign and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain.

On the May 10 Hitler attacked Holland, Belgium and France. Both Holland and Belgium surrendered not long after and the 338 000 Ally troops were forced to evacuate from Dunkirk. Luckily for them the German navy had lost several cruisers and destroyers in the invasion of Norway which made them less effective and therefore the troop were successfully evacuated. Unfortunately, the British arms and equipment had to be left behind which in turn made it impossible for them to help France.

Now that Hitler had gained access to France through Belgium he was able to attack France while avoiding the Maginot defence Line. Under Mussolini, Italy also joined Germany's attack on France and declared war. Despite the French having just as many troops as the Germans, the reason for their defeat was that they had poor communication between their army and air...