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How Did World War II End?

August 11, 2020 in History

By Christopher Klein

The war lasted six years and a day. These key moments marked the beginning of Allied victory over the Axis powers.

World War II ended six years and one day after Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, sparked the 20th century’s second global conflict. By the time it concluded on the deck of an American warship on September 2, 1945, World War II had claimed the lives of an estimated 60-80 million people, approximately 3 percent of the world’s population. The vast majority of those who died in history’s deadliest war were civilians, including 6 million Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Germany employed its “blitzkrieg” (“lightning war”) strategy to sweep across the Netherlands, Belgium and France in the war’s opening months and force more than 300,000 British and other Allied troops to evacuate continental Europe from Dunkirk. In June 1941, German dictator Adolf Hitler broke his nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union and launched Operation Barbarossa, which brought Nazi troops to the gates of Moscow.

By the time the United States entered World War II following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, German forces occupied much of Europe from the Black Sea to the English Channel. The Allies, however, turned the tide of the conflict, and the following major events brought World War II to an end.

WATCH: ‘Hiroshima: 75 Years Later‘ on HISTORY Vault

1. Germany Repelled on Two Fronts

The Lasting Impact of War (TV-PG; 2:01)

WATCH: The Lasting Impact of War

After storming across Europe in the first three years of the war, overextended Axis forces were put on the defensive after the Soviet Red Army rebuffed them in the brutal Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from August 1942 to February 1943. The fierce battle for the city named after Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin resulted in nearly two million casualties, including the deaths of tens of thousands of Stalingrad residents.

As Soviet troops began to advance on the Eastern Front, the Western Allies invaded Sicily and southern Italy, causing the fall of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s government in July 1943. The Allies then opened a Western Front with the amphibious D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. After gaining a foothold in northern France, Allied troops liberated Paris on August 25 followed by Brussels …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How Teddy Roosevelt's Belief in a Racial Hierarchy Shaped His Policies

August 11, 2020 in History

By Christopher Klein

His conviction that white men of European descent were innately superior informed his actions on matters from national parks to foreign policy.

. But Roosevelt didn’t come to those ideas himself. According to Cullinane, his racial ideology drew on his readings of leading evolutionary theorists such as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin.

Roosevelt “admired individual achievement above all things,” wrote biographer Edmund Morris—which is why he became the first president to invite an African American to dine at the White House when he broke bread with Tuskegee Institution founder Booker T. Washington just weeks after his inauguration. “The only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each Black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have,” Roosevelt wrote of his meeting.

Roosevelt also defended Minnie Cox, the country’s first African American female postmaster, after she was driven out of Indianola, Mississippi, because of the color of her skin. He appointed Black Americans to prominent positions, such as his nomination of Dr. William Crum as customs collector in Charleston, South Carolina, which drew considerable political opposition and this presidential response: “I cannot consent to take the position that the door of hope—the door of opportunity—is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon the grounds of race or color.”

READ MORE: How Woodrow Wilson Tried to Reverse Black American Progress

He Took a Dimmer View of Racial Groups as a Whole

A painting depicting Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders storming San Juan Heights in a key battle of the Spanish-American War on July 1, 1898 near Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

In spite of those words, though, Roosevelt hardly saw all Black Americans as equals. “As a race and in the mass they are altogether inferior to the whites,” he confided to a friend in a 1906 letter. Ten years later, he told Senator Henry Cabot Lodge that “the great majority of Negroes in the South are wholly unfit for the suffrage” and that giving them voting rights could “reduce parts of the South to the level of Haiti.”

Roosevelt also believed that Black men made poor soldiers. He denigrated the efforts of the buffalo soldiers who fought alongside his men at San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American …read more

Source: HISTORY