June 6, 1944 - Led by Eisenhower, over a million troops (the largest invasion force in history) stormed the beaches at Normandy and began the process of re-taking France. The turning point of World War II.
Site of critical World War II Soviet victory that reversed Germany's advance to the East. In late 1942, Russian forces surrounded the Germans, and on Feb. 2, 1943, the German Sixth Army surrendered. First major defeat for the Germans in World War II.
1303. Winston Churchill
Prime minister of Great Britain during World War II.
1304. Casablanca Conference
Jan. 14-23, 1943 - FDR and Chruchill met in Morocco to settle the future strategy of the Allies following the success of the North African campaign. They decided to launch an attack on Italy through Sicily before initiating an invasion into France over the English Channel. Also announced that the Allies would accept nothing less than Germany's unconditional surrender to end the war.
1305. Cairo Conference
November, 1943 - A meeting of Allied leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-Shek in Egypt to define the Allies goals with respect to the war against Japan, they announced their intention to seek Japan's unconditional surrender and to strip Japan of all territory it had gained since WW I.
1306. Tehran Conference
December, 1943 - A meeting between FDR, Churchill and Stalin in Iran to discuss coordination of military efforts against Germany, they repeated the pledge made in the earlier Moscow Conference to create the United Nations after the war's conclusion to help ensure international peace.
1307. "Unconditional surrender
It means the victor decides all the conditions the loser must agree to. The Allies wanted Germany and Japan to agree to unconditional surrender.
The U.S. Army in the Pacific had been pursuing an "island-hopping" campaign, moving north from Australia towards Japan. On April 1, 1945, they invaded Okinawa, only 300 miles south of the Japanese home islands. By the time the fighting ended on June 2, 1945, the U.S. had lost 50,000 men and the Japanese 100,000.
1309. Battle of the Bulge
December, 1944-January, 1945 - After recapturing France, the Allied advance became stalled along the German border. In the winter of 1944, Germany staged a massive counterattack in Belgium and Luxembourg which pushed a 30 mile "bulge" into the Allied lines. The Allies stopped the German advance and threw them back across the Rhine with heavy losses.
1310. Manhattan Project
A secret U.S. project for the construction of the atomic bomb.
1311. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967)
Physics professor at U.C. Berkeley and CalTech, he headed the U.S. atomic bomb project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He later served on the Atomic Energy Commission, although removed for a time the late 1950's, over suspicion he was a Communist sympathizer.
1312. Atomic bomb
A bomb that uses the fission of radioactive elements such as uranium or plutonium to create explosions equal to the force of thousands of pounds of regular explosives.
1313. Hiroshima, Nagasaki
First and second cities to be hit by atomic bombs, they were bombed after Japan refused to surrender and accept the Potsdam Declaration. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki was bombed on August 9, 1945.
1314. Yalta Conference
February, 1945 - Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met at Yalta to make final war plans, arrange the post-war fate of Germany, and discuss the proposal for creation of the United Nations as a successor to the League of Nations. They announced the decision to divide Germany into three post-war zones of occupation, although a fourth zone was later created for France. Russia also agreed to enter the war against Japan, in exchange for the Kuril Islands and half of the Sakhalin Peninsula.
1315. Potsdam Conference
July 26, 1945 - Allied leaders Truman, Stalin and Churchill met in Germany to set up zones of control and to inform the Japanese that if they refused to surrender at once, they would face total destruction.
1316. Partitioning of Korea, Vietnam, Germany
The U.S. played a role in dividing these countries into sections, each of which would be ruled by different authority figures and managed by one of the Allied powers.
1317. Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)
He formed the French resistance movement in London immediately after the French surrender at Vichy. He was elected President of the Free French government in exile during the war and he was the first provisional president of France after its liberation.
1318. Winston Churchill (1874-1965), "Iron Curtain" speech
March, 1946 - He reviewed the international response to Russian aggression and declared an "iron curtain" had descended across Eastern Europe.
1319. Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)
After Lenin died in 1924, he defeated Trotsky to gain power in the U.S.S.R. He created consecutive five year plans to expand heavy industry. He tried to crush all opposition and ruled as the absolute dictator of the U.S.S.R. until his death.
1320. Bretton Woods Conference
The common name for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held in New Hampshire, 44 nations at war with the Axis powers met to create a world bank to stabilize international currency, increase investment in under-developed areas, and speed the economic recovery of Europe.
1321. Dumbarton Oaks Conference
In a meeting near Washington, D.C., held from August 21 to October 7, 1944, U.S., Great Britain, U.S.S.R. and China met to draft the constitution of the United Nations.
1322. San Francisco Conference and U.N. Charter
1945 - This conference expanded the drafts of the Yalta and Dumbarton Oaks conferences and adopted the United Nations Charter.
1323. United Nations: Security Council, General Assembly, Secretary-General
Only the Security Council could take action on substantive issues through investigation. The General Assembly met and talked. A secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General, was to perform the organization's administrative work.
1324. Atomic Energy Commission
Created in 1946 to oversee the research and production of atomic power.
The name give to the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. because of their dominance in the arms race and economic struggle for world power. Both countries had nuclear bombs by the late 1940's and 1950's.
1326. Socialism, Communism
Socialism is the social theory advocating community control of the means of production. Communism is the social system based on collective ownership of all productive property.
Eastern European countries conquered by the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War.
1328. Nuremberg trials
19 out of 22 German civil and military leaders were found guilty of "war crimes." 12 were sentenced to death, 3 to life sentences and the rest to five to twenty year sentences.
1329. Department of Defense created
Headed by McNamara, it succeeded in bringing the armed services under tight civilian control.
1330. Voice of America, CARE
Established in 1942 as part of the Office of War Information, since 1953 it has been the international radio network of the U.S. Information Agency.
1331. Yugoslavia, Marshall Tito
An election was held in 1945 in which the moderate candidates were not allowed to run. On November 29, 1945, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed. Following the adoption of a new constitution, the assembly reconstituted itself into a parliament. Tito was the Premier of the cabinet.
1332. Czechoslovakian coup
1948 - Czechoslovakia succumbed to Soviet subversion. Although moderates and Communists shared power after WWII, in 1947-1948, fearing a loss of popular support, the Communists seized control of the government and the moderates gave in to avoid civil war.
1333. Containment, George F. Kennan
A member of the State Department, he felt that the best way to keep Communism out of Europe was to confront the Russians wherever they tried to spread their power.
1334. Truman Doctrine
1947 - Stated that the U.S. would support any nation threatened by Communism.
1335. Marshall Plan
Introduced by Secretary of State George G. Marshall in 1947, he proposed massive and systematic American economic aid to Europe to revitalize the European economies after WWII and help prevent the spread of Communism.
1336. Point Four
Program proposed by Truman to help the world's backwards areas.
1337. Israel created
1948 - In 1947 the UN General Assembly had approved the creation of a Jewish homeland by ending the British mandate in Palestine and partitioning it into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. On May 14, 1948, the Jews proclaimed the State of Israel, and all of the surrounding Arab nations declared war and invaded. After a short war, the Israelis gained control of the country.
1338. Berlin blockade
April 1, 1948 - Russia under Stalin blockaded Berlin completely in the hopes that the West would give the entire city to the Soviets to administer. To bring in food and supplies, the U.S. and Great Britain mounted air lifts which became so intense that, at their height, an airplane was landing in West Berlin every few minutes. West Germany was a republic under Franc, the U.S. and Great Britain. Berlin was located entirely within Soviet-controlled East Germany.
1339. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Chartered April, 1949. The 11 member nations agreed to fight for each other if attacked. It is an international military force for enforcing its charter.
1340. Warsaw Pact
To counter the NATO buildup, the Soviets formed this military organization with the nations of Eastern Europe. Also gave Russia an excuse for garrisoning troops in these countries.
1341. Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)
September, 1954 - Alliance of non-Communist Asian nations modelled after NATO. Unlike NATO, it didn't establish a military force.
1342. Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)
Members were the U.S., Great Britain, Turkey, Iran and West Pakistan. Treaty to improve U.S. relations and cooperation with Latin and South America. Fairly successful, similar to ANZUS.
1343. Australia, New Zealand, U.S. (ANZUS)
Security alliance ratified in 1952 to protect against Communist China, Soviet Power, the war in Korea and Asia/Pacific decolonization.
1344. Collective security
An Article 10 provision of the League charter, it stated that if one country was involved in a confrontation, other nations would support it. Collective security is agreements between countries for mutual defense and to discourage aggression.
1345. Fall of China, Mao Tse-Tung (Mao Zedong)
Mao Tse-Tung led the Communists in China. Because of the failure to form a coalition government between Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communists, civil war broke out in China after WWII. The Communists won in 1949, but the new government was not recognized by much of the world, including the U.S.
1346. State Department White Paper
1949 - Set forth the State Department's efforts and future plans to stoop Communism. With regard to China, it declared the historic policy of the U.S. to be one of friendship and aid to the Chinese people, which would be maintained both in peace and war.
1347. Chiang Kai-Shek, Formosa
Chiang and the nationalists were forced to flee to Formosa, a large island off the southern coast of China, after the Communist victory in the civil war. Throughout the 1950's, the U.S. continued to recognize and support Chiang's government in Formosa as the legitimate government of China, and to ignore the existence of the Communist People's Republic on the mainland.
1348. Quemoy, Matsu
Small islands off the coast of China occupied by the nationalists and claimed by the People's Republic. Late in 1954, the U.S. hinted at defending them because they were considered vital to the defense of Formosa, even though they were not expressly covered by the mutual defense treaty.
1349. Korean War, limited war
After WWII, Korea had been partitioned along the 38th parallel into a northern zone governed by the Soviet Union, and a southern zone controlled by the U.S. In 1950, after the Russians had withdrawn, leaving a communist government in the North, the North invaded the South. The U.N. raised an international army led by the U.S. to stop the North. It was the first use of U.N. military forces to enforce international peace. Called a limited war, because the fighting was to be confined solely to the Korean peninsula, rather than the countries involved on each side attacking one another directly.
1350. Truman-MacArthur Controversy
Truman removed MacArthur from command in Korea as punishment for MacArthur's public criticism of the U.S. government's handling of the war. Intended to confirm the American tradition of civilian control over the military, but Truman's decision was widely criticized.
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